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Audio Editing & Production

A guide to Audacity, GarageBand and FL Studio, three free Digital Audio Workstations.

Installing Audacity

The Audacity file available at is approximately 20 MB. After completing the download, run the install file. After choosing a language and agreeing to the terms and conditions, you will see a prompt to choose a directory for installation. Before installation begins, an option to create a shortcut on the computer’s desktop is also available.


Open Audacity after installation is complete. The first step is to designate how audio will be fed into Audacity, and how Audacity will output it for the user to hear.


To do this, select the ‘Edit’ menu and choose ‘Preferences’ from the bottom.


Sound Device Setup

In the Preferences menu, the top option on the left menu is ‘Devices.’ On the right panel, choose the Audio Host. A description of each is listed below from the Audacity manual:

  • MME: The Audacity default, and the most compatible with all audio devices.
  • Windows Directsound: A more recent device with the potential for less delay.
  • Windows WASAPI: This is the most recent Windows Interface supported by Audacity. WASAPI is particularly useful for loopback devices for recording computer playback.

Different interface devices or setups will have varying results depending on the user's needs. 


Playback Setup

The second option in the Devices menu is the output selection, which is labeled 'Playback'.


To use internal laptop speakers or speakers connected to the computer's soundcard, select Microsoft Sound Mapper. 


A second option labeled 'Speakers (InterfaceModel)' will be available if an audio interface is connected to the computer and external speakers are connected to the interface.


See the example image below -- in this image, the user is selecting the Universal Audio Apollo interface. 




Recording Setup

Select your desired input settings under 'Recording.' A connected audio interface or USB microphone will appear in the ‘Device’ preferences. The maximum number of inputs available from the interface should be selected from the ‘Channels’ dropdown. 


The interface shown in the image below has a maximum of 2 inputs that can be used at once. The dropdown menu allows for use of both simultaneously. 




Click the link below to view a tutorial on how to select a recording device.