Getting Started with Audio Editing

Overview #

There are many audio editing tools out there, and you should use what you are most comfortable with. If you have no experience with audio editing, this page includes tool recommendations and basic tips to help you get started.

Beginner-Friendly Tools #

These tools are easy to get started with but may lack some useful features the Advanced Tools have. Check out our DKC guides for these free tools:

Advanced Tools #

These tools are some of the most powerful you can find for this type of project but may be overwhelming for a beginner. Some of these tools require purchase or subscription. Check out our guides to find out more:

  • Adobe Audition (Available through AppsAnywhere and HCC lab computers or with a paid subscription)
  • Logic Pro (Purchase required, only for Mac/IOS. Available in HCC Multimedia Lab) 

Tips and Tricks #

  1. Record your audio before you start editing.  It is always better to have everything that you need at the beginning of a project, rather than having to go back and rerecord new audio in the middle of the creative process.
  2. Record your audio in a quiet place. This will help limit background noise and interference. This will eliminate wasting time trying to edit out a lot of background noise.  
  3. Know the difference between different audio files.   
    1. Audio Files and The Difference Between Them 
  4. Stay within -12 and -6 decibels. This allows tracks to not be overpowering when there are multiple tracks of audio and prevents audio distortion.

Common Mistakes #

  1. Not Labeling audio files while recording/before editing. Labeling your files will help tremendously before you start editing your project. You will know what each file is and it will help you navigate and create faster than if you had to keep playing each track over again to know which audio file is which.  
  2. Not using keyboard shortcuts. In audio editing knowing the keyboard shortcuts, especially for things like cutting, splitting, and deleting clips, can make things go much faster.  
  3. Recording all in one layer. This can create problems while editing because it can become difficult to isolate any audio you need to edit individually.
    1. Layering in Audacity 
    2. Layering Sound 

On-Campus Resources #

Accessibility Considerations #

  • Make sure you can be heard when recording audio.
  • Include a transcript with any audio recording.
  • See our Accessible Audio Editing guide for more info.

Want More Help? #

Reviewed by Anastasia Zanyuk 09/01/22

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