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Improving Recording Quality

by David Birrow Birrow.David@MacPhail.org

Sometimes when recording in Audacity, the sound is poor for some reason.  Luckily most of the time it can be improved with one or more of the following steps:

  1. Move the microphone further away from the instrument
  2. If using a SnowBall mic, click the black switch to the "2" setting
  3. Adjust the input volume

These three things reduce the chance that the recording will "clip". Basically the volume of the instrument is too loud and the computer can't record the entire waveform. I have no background in audio engineering or sound recording, but I can recognize clipping when I hear it: the sound is distorted or 'fuzzy' sounding. You can visually recognize clipping when the top and the bottom of the waveform are "clipped" off. 

Normal Waveform:

Clipped Waveform:

 You can also tell Audacity to mark clipping with red so you can easily spot it:

This video walks you through how to get the best sound out of your recordings:

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