If you've want to edit your digital audio files, but don't have expensive software like ProTools, I've found a great solution. It's free audio editor called Audacity. They have versions for PC and Mac, and you can download it free here.
Audacity is really user friendly and is useful if you want to make individual song clips, or a montage of song clips (i.e.: for promoters or fans to sample your music without downloading full songs.)
Here's a short tutorial on how to make individual song clips:
- The first thing you need to do is download a file that lets you encode Mp3s. Click this link and click on the link to Audacity for Windows, or Audacity for Mac OS.
- When that is finished downloading, you can unzip the file by opening it and clicking "Extract all files" to the default folder.
- Next, open Audacity, and go to file - open and select the song you want to edit.
- You can use the selection tool (located directly under the file menu option) to select the part of the song you want to use in your clip (Note: when you press the "play" button it will only play the part you have selected.)
- While your song is "stopped" go to edit - trim. This will trim the song so only the part you selected will play.
- If you'd like to add effects to your song, like a fade in/fade out, go to Effect - Fade in or Fade Out
- The "normalize" effect is also useful if you have tracks that are encoded too low. Normalization will increase volume to the maximum without introducing distortion. In other words, normalization sets the average volume level to be the same as most professionally recorded music.
- To save your clip, go to File - Export Mp3. The first time you try to export an MP3 file, Audacity will ask you to locate your MP3 encoder. Select the file named lame_enc.dll and click Open. From then on, Audacity will not need to ask you again and you will be able to export MP3 files easily. Your next option will be to save your new sound clip on your computer. ** Be sure to save it under a new file name to not overwrite your original mp3.
If you'd like to make a montage of different songs:
- open Audacity, and go to Project - Import Audio to add each song that will be in your montage (or you can click and drag the songs you want into the window, one on top of the other.)
- Next, select and trim each song you want in the montage.
- To change the position of each clip in your montage, click on that track where you'd like that clip to start playing, then go to Project > Align tracks... - Align with Cursor.
- Tip: If you want to use the Fade In/Fade Out Effect it may be a good idea to overlap your song slightly. To Cross Fade In all of the tracks at once, hold down the shift key while dragging across multiple tracks, then go to Effect - Cross Fade In
- When you are done, go to File > Export mp3 and save your new montage.
If you need more help with this program, or if you want to take advantage of its many other features, there is a complete reference manual available here. Enjoy!
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