Create hypnosis & guided meditation recordings with Audacity

Audacity is free, open source software for recording, mixing and editing sound and music. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, and other operating systems and it’s a great tool to use to create and mix your own professional hypnosis and guided meditation recordings.

You can use Audacity to..
• Record live audio
• Convert tapes and records into digital recordings
• Edit MP3, WAV or AIFF files
• Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together
• Change the speed or pitch of a recording
• And more!

1. Import your background music into Audacity
First you need to import your backing music into Audacity. This could be an audio file like an .mp3 or .wav that you already have on your computer. Import by clicking Project > Import Audio.

If you want to import music from a CD into Audacity you need to first extract the audio from the CD to a WAV or AIFF audio file using Windows Media Player ( Windows) or iTunes (either on OS X or Windows) and then import that audio file into Audacity.

It is also important to note that you must have full permission or a license for all the music which you use in your project however small a clip you might be using.

2. Create your voice track
Create your voice track by recording with a microphone on to a new track in your Audacity Project. As the clean voice recording will be on a different track, it can then be edited entirely independently allowing you to get just the right balance of voice and music.

To start recording with your microphone, you set the recording source to microphone in Audacity’s mixer toolbar input selector (Windows) or if you use a Mac (OS X) you set the microphone as the default recording source in Apple Audio-Midi Setup. Then press the red Record button!

It is a good idea to do a level test of your voice before you record for real. Click on the downward pointing arrow in the right hand (red) recording level meters and click “monitor input”. While speaking into your microphone as loud as you would for the loudest part of what you want to record, adjust the recording level slider on the mixer (by the microphone symbol) until the recording meters are almost reaching the far right-hand side without bringing the red hold lights on. If the recording level meters are not visible, go to the Preferences and check “Enable Meter Toolbar” on the Interface tab.

Audacity also allows you to record your voice track while listening to the music track. To do this, check “Play other tracks while recording new one” in the Audio I/O tab of Audacity Preferences, and press the red Record button. The Preferences are under usually under the Edit Menu, but on OS X are under the Audacity menu. It’s important to use tight fitting headphones to record while listening to a music track, to avoid your microphone picking up the music playback in your voice recording.

After you have finished recording, just press ‘play’ in Audacity to hear the result – the music track and your voice track will be mixed together just as they will when you come to ‘export’ the recording as an audio file.

 

3. Editing, mixing and effects
Now can use the commands on the Edit menu to do things like cutting pieces out of the music where you don’t want it, and on the Effect menu to do things like fade the music in and out, and so on.

Selecting Tracks: You have to select your track before you can apply edits and effects, and you cannot apply these whilst you are playing,recording or pausing the track. You can select all of a track by clicking on its Track Panel (where the mute/solo buttons are). You can select part of a track by clicking in the track and dragging to left or right with your mouse, or with the left or right arrow keys.

Another very useful tool is the Time Shift Tool <–-> top left of the Audacity screen (hit F5 to select it). With this you can move your music and vocal tracks back and forth so you get the music in the right place underneath your words.

Balance the voice and music making the tracks as loud as they can be without distorting using the -/+ gain slider on each track. Hit the green Play button to play the music and voice track together and watch the green playback VU meter next to the red recording meter. If the red hold lights at the right come on, move both gain sliders further back by the same amount

 

4. Exporting and creating CDs
You can export your finished project as a .WAV file (Windows Wave format) or an .AIFF file (Audio Interchange File Format) and use these high quality formats to burn CDs or convert to .MP3 for downloads and podcasts using software such as iTunes (either on OS X or Windows).

5. More information
The Audacity website and wiki has more information including tutorials and FAQs.

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