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How to Edit YouTube Audio in Audacity

Hello ModMic fans! A common question we get from people who have just started their YouTube channel is how to get their mic (ModMic or otherwise) to sound as good as the big guys they hear on YouTube. Well, the answer is: Post production! Edit your audio after you record for optimal results.

Well, first, let be start by saying there's no such thing as "use these settings all the time, every time" in audio. The settings I will use below are probably going to get you close, but you'll want to play around a little to get it "just right" for you. Maybe that means more bass, maybe it means less treble. Maybe it means more compression. Once you get your settings "right for you" editing in post is fast. It took me 3 minutes total to create the changes you'll see below.

All of the effects here can be found in Audacity, which is free and worth every penny! 

The Raw Recording:

Input device: Antlion USB and ModMic. Note that this machine is not typically used for recording, it is my home PC, so any PC should get similar results. Record volume at 100%, AGC Off. I find the raw recording is a little bit quiet, but I get loud at the word "Jumped" to show how our step of compression works.

Step 1: Bass/Treble Boost

I like to start with a +3db bass and -.9 Treble. This gives my somewhat high voice a little more of that "radio announcer" quality. Don't go too crazy on bass, I find beyond +5 or 6 and you'll get major distortion.

Step 2: Compression

With that loud "JUMPED" we peaked our audio (meaning we went past 0 decibels). Compression works by taking anything past the threshold and reduces it by the ratio, in this case a 3:1. Typically 2:1 is probably enough, but given the size of that spike I wanted to go a little higher. You typically want to set the threshold between -14 and -18. Oh and make sure Make up Gain is unchecked! 

Step 3: Normalize

Now that we've gotten rid of the peaks, we can bring the WHOLE recording up in volume. Normalize will make sure nothing goes beyond the "peak DB" you set. Often times this is set at -1dB, but honestly I prefer it at -3dB.

Step 4: Noise Reduction

If you turn up the volume during the quiet parts in earlier recordings you'll hear a background "whine" that is caused by my PC. To use Noise Reduction first take a ~-.5 - 1 second sample of dead air. I used the end of the clip. Then pick Noise Reduction from the Effect menu. Click on "Get Noise Profile", then Control+A to select all and from the Effect menu select Repeat Noise Reduction. You should see the lines visible flatten during the quiet moments. 


Final Product!

And that's it! You can see the difference in waveform between the two below, with the top being the original recording and the bottom the final recording. The final should sound a bit louder with greater clarity and a slightly deeper voice.

The loud "Jumped!"  - Top is the original. Note how its been reduced to a reasonable level and the space between the words are totally flat.

If you've found this helpful, please by all means share it with your friends, and of course, be sure to check out the amazing ModMic!

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