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Guide to Sound Design with Audacity

vikiwalden | Thursday April 25, 2013

Categories: Production Zone, Audio Production, Video Production, Skills, Software, Video Camera Skills, iTraining, Improve Your Teaching, Staffroom


Associated Resources

  • Audacity Cross-Platform Sound Editor

Step 1 | Importing Sound or Music


Click on the Project tab and select Import Audio. Choose your selected sound effect or music track from the hard drive.

Note: Music or sounds from CDs should be uploaded onto the computer hard drive first, rather than importing from CD.

Audacity will then load the audio file into the project window.

Step 2 | Functions

The Selection Tool


This is the most useful icon and will allow you to select a place on a track. With this cursor you can play a track from a particular point by clicking on the moment in the track, but you can also highlight sections of a track to delete, or cut, and move.  This should be the tool which you have selected as standard. Always remember to click back onto the selection tool after enveloping, zooming or shifting, otherwise you will continue to edit your track and destroy the perfect design you have achieved!

The Envelope Tool


Allows you to adjust the volume (so to fade in / fade out) sections of the track.

This is particularly useful at the beginning and end of an audio - visual piece, but may also be a handy tool when a sound effect track is used allowing you to give a sense of depth, i.e. to footsteps that are gradually getting louder or a train that is pulling away.

Below is a diagram of the envelope tool in action:


The Draw Tool


The Draw Tool is only specifically useful for editing samples of a sound effect.

This is more likely to be used if you have created your own music / sound effects or are using short samples.

The Zoom Tool


The Zoom Tool will help you to find the exact point at which you want to cut a sample.

Specificity is important in sound design to prevent music or sound effects cutting too abruptly which sounds foreign to the ear and unnatural, thus will distract the audience from the diegesis.

To zoom in, select the tool and left click on the mouse. To zoom out, select the zool and...

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