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Audio Editing & Production

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

Arrangement & Working with Regions

After audio regions have been created, they can be edited in various ways. Common edits include:

  • Trim silence at the beginning or end: Using the selection tool, click and drag across a desired area to create a selection. The highlighted selection can be trimmed using the delete key on your keyboard.
  • Split region: Using the selection tool, click on an audio region at the desired point. The playhead moves to that point, represented as a thin black vertical line. The ‘Ctrl + I’ keyboard command will split the audio region into two, represented as a thicker black line. 
  • Move audio region: Using the time shift tool, click on a region and hold. Dragging the region to right or left will adjust its place in time. Regions can also be moved vertically to additional tracks above or below. 
  • Select all regions: To do this, use the keyboard command ‘Ctrl +A’.
  • Delete a region: Using the selection tool, double click on the desired region and press the delete key on your keyboard. 

For more tips and tricks, watch the video below.

Post Effects: Mixing and Audio Processing

The above editing tools all involve arrangement of audio regions. Audacity also has valuable tools to process or change the qualities of the regions themselves. Commonly used effects for home recording include:

  • Amplify: Increases the volume of a region by a designated amount. 
  • Compressor: Lessens the difference in volume between the loudest peaks of a region and the quietest parts.  
  • Fade In / Fade Out: Gradual increases or decreases the volume in a region. 
  • Graphic EQ: Increases or decreases the bass or treble of a region. 
  • Noise Reduction: Removes ambient room noise from a selection.  
  • Normalize: Adjusts overall volume of a region so that loudest peak reaches maximum volume without degrading. 

To apply effects, at least one audio region must be selected first. To select all regions within a track, left click on the desired track’s info box at the very left of the track. To select a single region, double click on it with the selection tool. 

Pictured is Audacity's Equalization tool. The user has chosen to silence bass frequencies below 35 Hz and treble frequencies above 7000 kHz.



For more on Audacity effects, click the link below.