Last week, in part 1 of this article we looked at how you could record a music track at home. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, be sure to check it out.

Now, you’ve got your track or tracks laid down and it’s time to edit.  A necessity if you want a truly professional recording.  You can either edit each track as you lay it down or wait until they’re all recorded, then mute all of them except the one that you’re working with to get a better idea of how they sound together as you edit them.

The first thing that you’ll want to do is to edit out sounds that you don’t want.  Eliminate background noise, etc.  First, to eliminate background noise, what you’ll do is to highlight a section of the noise that you want to eliminate.  Make sure that you don’t select anything that you want, only background noise.  You’ll have to do this on each track.  Here’s what my recording looks like with a section of silence selected:

Next, you’ll click on EFFECTS, and then NOISE REDUCTION.

On the next window, you’ll click GET NOISE PROFILE.

This will take the section that you’ve highlighted and find any section with that sound in it.  Now click anywhere in your track, follow the first step again and select OK.  It will reduce the noise in all of the tracks, and the result will look like this:

The next thing that you’ll want to do is to “synch” your tracks.  This is where you get all of the sound on the tracks exactly where you want them.  For instance, you’ll notice that, on my recordings, the two are not quite happening at the same time.  So the first thing that you want to do is to click at the beginning of the sound that you want to move and drag over the entire section of sound that you want to move.

In about the middle of your Audacity window, you’ll notice the TOOLS pane:

The highlighted tool here is called the TIME SHIFT TOOL.  Click on that, then click on the section that you want to move and move it.

Do this with each track, and you’ll have them all synched up.

There are also a number of other special effects that you can do with Audacity, such as increase or decrease the volume of a track using the NORMALIZE tool, add reverb, or change the pitch of the track up or down.  My recommendation is to do as little post-editing as possible, or your recording will eventually stop sounding like a recording of you and start sounding like something that’s been auto-tuned.

Once you’ve got your recording where you want it, you can send it to friends or upload it to one of the sites that allows people to sell their music such as tunecore.com or cdbaby.com.

I hope that this helps!
~ Randal Schaffer