For many of us, one of the biggest concerns when recording audio on our own is sound quality. However, it’s possible to do a good job without too many problems or resorting to expensive programs. In this post, I’ll give you the tips you need to take on audio recording all by yourself. You just need a microphone for recording and a computer.
The program we’re going to use is called Audacity, an audio editor that has two big plus points. The first piece of good news is that it’s free! Yup, it won’t cost you a penny. What’s more, the program works on both MAC and WINDOWS operating systems.
Table of Contents
- Let’s get started
- 1. Noise reduction
- 2. Compression
- 3. Bass boost
- 4. Treble boost
- 5. Limiter
- 6. Normalize
Let’s get started
First of all, prepare your recording space. Try to remove as much noise as possible from your surroundings and keep a distance of approximately 30 centimeters from the microphone. This will help you to have a clearer voice recording. If you’re also recording video, it’ll also make sure the microphone is out of frame.
Once you start recording, I recommend you wait about 5 seconds to record only the background noise so that you can eliminate it in the rest of the clip later. Now, choose the text you want to record and get to work.
1. Noise reduction
To remove background noise, select the first 5 seconds of previously recorded silence with the cursor, or select an area where you have background noise and your voice can’t be heard. Once you’ve done this, go to the Effects menu and select Noise Reduction. In the following window, click on the Get Noise Profile button, without altering the settings below.
Now, select the entire clip, go back to the Effects tab and select Noise Reduction once more, but this time, click OK.
Before you start recording, always try to eliminate as much noise as possible from your surroundings. This includes fans, air conditioners, the wind, etc. But for noises that you can’t get rid of, this trick will help you create a cleaner sound.
Compression is a way of balancing the audio by “squeezing” the sound wave to make it more harmonic. This means the quietest and loudest sounds in your recording will meet at a midpoint to prevent dissonance. To do this, select the entire audio track, go to the Effects tab and select Compressor. Move the slider in the first bar to modify the threshold. I recommend keeping it between -15 and -20 dB.
3. Bass boost
We recommend this step for those of you who want to give your voice a more serious tone. To increase the bass in your audio, open the Effects tab and select Equalization. At the bottom of the window, select Filter Curve, click on Manage, and then Factory Presets. There you can select the Bass Boost option.
Now listen and adjust manually by clicking on the green line and raising or lowering the level as you deem necessary. To save the changes, click OK.
4. Treble boost
This step is very similar to the previous one, only this time we’re dealing with the high-pitched sounds in your recording. It’s important to keep a balance between the different recordings. Once again, open the Effects tab, select Filter Curve, click on Manage, and then Factory Presets. This time, however, choose the Treble Boost option and click OK.
The limiter is a compression tool that will help reduce peaks in the audio, without distorting it. Performing this step will help you in the mastering process, giving a boost to the audio output level.
To use this feature, go to the Effects tab and select Limiter. On the dropdown, where it says Type, make sure it’s in Hard Limit mode.
Once that option is selected, click on OK.
Go to the Effects tab and select the Normalize option. This feature will help to raise the volume of the audio wave without going over the peaks, meaning it won’t get saturated. This step saves a lot of time if you’re going to use the audio later in programs like Final Cut, because you can import it right away at the desired volume. I recommend a maximum amplitude of -1.0 dB.
And that’s it! By following these 5 simple steps, you can achieve a clean, high-quality sound. You might want to try to these tricks in the program, too:
- Add sound effects to your recording.
- Mix multiple audio tracks.
- Alter the pitch and speed of the clip.
Remember that this editor supports formats such as MP2, MP3, FLAC, WAV, and AIFF. Once the project is finished, you can export the audio to other applications such as video editors where you can integrate it into your audiovisual projects.
If you want to find a very good database of high quality audio for your video or your next project please check out comparison I did between artlist vs epidemic sound.
I hope you found this tutorial useful. Now it’s over to you: Give these tips a try and prove you can make a good recording at no cost. As ever, don’t be afraid to experiment!