Polish Your Lecture Audio with Audacity

Have you ever listened to an audio file that just didn’t sound right? It might have been a podcast, a radio interview, or even an online lecture. Maybe it was plagued by a constant hissing noise in the background. Perhaps the speaker’s voice was clear and loud at the beginning, but muffled and soft towards the end. Or, you might have found the “ums” and pauses between statements to be distracting.

Surely, you’ve also heard audio files that sound professional. There is virtually no background noise, the speaker’s voice plays at a consistent volume, and the oral delivery is articulate and smooth. That’s how you want your online lectures to sound. In this post and in the video below, we’ll show you how to use free software to iron out the wrinkles in your audio files. They won’t sound like an episode of All Things Considered, but they will be clear and semi-professional.

The first step towards better audio is to download a free application called Audacity. It’s available for both Macs and PCs. When you first open Audacity, you might find it a little overwhelming. Don’t worry, though. Audacity is packed with features, but you can do a lot by learning just three functions: reducing noise, normalizing loudness, and removing pauses. Watch the video below to learn how to use these functions.

Once you have completed editing and polishing your audio, you’ll need to export it into a file format that other applications can play, such as .wav or .mp3. Select File>Export Audio to begin that process. And then you’re done!

Do you have questions or suggestions about how to improve audio lectures? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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