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Audacity Portable
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Audacity Portable FAQ

Check our Frequently Asked Questions to get a quick answer to the most common inquiries.

The FAQ page features selected solutions for users' reference by the PenZoft technical support
team.

How can I record in stereo?

How do I record from vinyl records, cassette tapes, or minidiscs?


Why can't I hear what i'm recording?

Can I play a track while recording a new one on top of it?

Why isn't my new track in sync with the previous ones?

Can Audacity record RealAudio or other streaming audio?

Can I set Audacity to record at a certain time?

Why does Audacity create a folder full of .au files when I save a project?

Can Audacity import file formats like WMA, AAC, FLAC, etc.?

Why can't I play MIDI files?

How do I import a track from an audio CD?

How can I split a long recording into multiple files or CD tracks?

How do I combine two files into one longer file?

Can I remove the vocals from a recording to make a Karaoke track?

 
How can I record in stereo?

This depends on the protocol.

To record in stereo, open the Audacity preferences. In the “Audio I/O” section, change the
number of recording channels from 1 (mono) to 2 (stereo).

 
How do I record from vinyl records, cassette tapes, or minidiscs?

First, set Audacity to record in stereo.

Next, plug one end of a stereo cable into the “Line Out” or “Headphone” connector on your tape
deck, minidisc player, or stereo system. Plug the other end into your computer's “Line In”
connector. If you do not have a cable that fits both of these connectors, you can find one at an
electronics store.

Choose “Line In” as the input source on the Audacity toolbar, and press the Record button. While
Audacity is recording, start playing your tape or disc. When you have captured the entire
recording, press the Stop button.

Notes:

Do not plug stereo equipment into your computer's “Microphone” port, which is designed for
low-powered (“mic-level”) signals only. Use the “Line In” port instead.

Do not connect a turntable directly to your computer. The signal from a turntable is
distorted; it must be corrected by passing it through a phono pre-amp or a receiver with a
“phono” input.

 
Why can't I hear what i'm recording?

Windows and Linux

To monitor your recording, open your computer's volume control panel. Turn up the playback
volume and turn off the “mute” checkbox for your recording source (usually “microphone” or “line
in”).

If this does not work, open the Audacity preferences. In the “Audio I/O” section, turn on the
“Software Playthrough” option.

Mac OS X

Open the Audacity preferences. In the “Audio I/O” section, turn on the “playthrough” option.
“Hardware Playthrough” is best if it is available. If it does not work, you can choose “Software
Playthrough” instead.

Can I play a track while recording a new one on top of it?

This is called multi-track recording. It makes it possible to record harmonies with yourself, or add
new instruments or vocals to an existing recording. To do this in Audacity, follow these
instructions:
  1. Import or record the first track.
  2. Open the “Audio I/O” section of the Audacity preferences, and check the box labeled Play other tracks while recording new one.
  3. Close the preferences and press the Record button.
 
Why isn't my new track in sync with the previous ones?

When you make a multi-track recording , there is an unpredictable delay between playback and
recording. Audacity tries to correct for this automatically, but this doesn't yet work on all
computers.

If a new track is not synchronized with the others, you can zoom in and use the Time Shift tool to
drag it to the correct location.

 
Can Audacity record RealAudio or other streaming audio?

Windows and Linux

With most Windows and Linux audio devices, it is possible to record whatever sound the
computer is currently playing, including internet radio streams.

In the drop-down menu on Audacity's mixer toolbar, choose “Wave Out” or “Stereo Mix” as the
input source. (The exact name may be different, depending on your computer's sound drivers.)
When you press the Record button, Audacity will capture whatever sound is playing on your
computer's speakers.

If this doesn't work on your computer, you can instead use a cable to connect your computer's
“Line Out” (speaker) port to its “Line In” port, and use Audacity to record from Line In.

Mac OS X

Mac OS X users can capture streaming audio using a program like Audio Hijack or Wiretap Pro.

 
Can I set Audacity to record at a certain time?

Sorry, Audacity does not yet support scheduled recording. We may add this feature to a future
version of the program.

You can make Audacity stop recording after a certain time limit, by following these steps:

  1. Turn on “Play existing tracks while recording” in the “Audio I/O” section of the preferences.
  2. Choose “New Audio Track” from the Project menu.
  3. Zoom out if necessary, then click and drag to select the amount of time you want to record.
  4. Start recording. Audacity will stop recording automatically when it reaches the end of the
    selected area.
 
Why does Audacity create a folder full of .au files when I save a project?

Audacity breaks long tracks into small pieces so it can edit them more efficiently. When you save
a project, Audacity stores all of the pieces in a folder with a name like “project_data.”

You do not need to open these files yourself. Audacity will load them automatically when you
open the “project.aup” file, which is saved in the same location as the “data” folder.

 
Can Audacity import file formats like WMA, AAC, FLAC, etc.?

Audacity cannot import or export files in WMA, AAC, RealAudio, Shorten (SHN), or most
other proprietary formats. Because of licensing and patent restrictions, we are not allowed to
add these formats to Audacity. Future versions of Audacity might be able to support these
formats using codecs installed in your operating system.

Some open formats are not yet supported by Audacity, including Ogg Speex and FLAC. We
hope to support these formats in future versions of Audacity.

 
Why can't I play MIDI files?

Sorry, Audacity cannot play, edit, or convert MIDI files. It can only display them visually (for
comparison with recorded sounds). We might add MIDI editing to a future version of Audacity,
but for now Audacity is focused on sampled audio (like WAV files).
 
How do I import a track from an audio CD?

Audacity cannot import a track directly from an audio CD. You must use a separate program like
CDex or iTunes to extract CD tracks into a format that Audacity can read, like WAV or AIFF.
 
How can I split a long recording into multiple files or CD tracks?

Follow these steps to create a separate file for each song or segment of a long recording. This is
particularly useful if you are creating a CD, since each file will appear as a separate track on the
CD.
  1. Click to place the cursor at the start of the first song.
  2. Choose “Add Label at Selection” from the Project menu. If you wish, you can type the name
    of the song.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for each song.
  4. When you are finished, choose “Export Multiple” from the File menu. When you click the
    “Export” button, Audacity will save each song as a separate file, using the format and
    location you choose.
 
How do I combine two files into one longer file?

Follow these steps to splice two files together:

  1. Import both files into Audacity.
  2. Select the second one by clicking on its label (the area around the mute/solo buttons).
  3. Choose “Cut” from the Edit menu.
  4. Place the cursor by clicking in the first track, after the end of the audio.
  5. Choose “Paste” from the Edit menu.

    You can press the Play button to hear the result, and use the Export commands (in the File menu) to save it as a sound file.
 
Can I remove the vocals from a recording to make a Karaoke track?

This is possible only for certain stereo tracks. When the vocals are exactly the same on
both stereo channels, you can remove them by “subtracting” one channel from the other. This
works for many studio recordings, where the vocal track is mixed exactly in the center.

To do this in Audacity:

  1. Import your stereo file into Audacity.
  2. Open the track menu (click the arrow next to the track title), and choose “Split Stereo Track.”
  3. Select the lower track (the right channel) by clicking it in the area around the mute/solo buttons.
  4. Choose “Invert” from the Effects menu.
  5. Using the track menus, change each track to “Mono.”

Press the Play button to hear the results. If you are lucky, the voice will be gone but most of the
other instruments will be unaffected, just like a karaoke track. You can use the Export commands
in the File menu to save the results.


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