Audacity: Mixing multiple tracks into one

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There are cases when you have multiple audio files and, for convenience, you would like to create a single audio file for whatever purpose, be it background music for a movie or background speech for a digital presentation etc. This blog entry will explain how to combine multiple audio tracks into a single track. For this purpose we are going to use Audacity, which is an open source software for recording and editing sounds. If you do not have Audacity installed, you can download the install program from here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

Let's combine two audio tracks into one. Follow these steps to see how you can go about doing that in Audacity:
1. Open Audacity 
2. Open the first audio file. To do this, go to File and then click Open and browse on your hard drive to the location of your audio file, select it and click Open. You should see an importing dialog box. This tells you that the file is being imported into Audacity. The time you have to wait for Audacity to import varies with the length of your audio track. Once it is done, you should see something similar to Figure 1 below: 

Audacity-openFile.jpg
Figure 1: Audacity, Track view

3. Open your other audio tracks by navigating to their location on your hard drive and simply drag and drop them into Audacity. Again, you should see an importing dialog box before the files are available in Audacity.

4. Use the Time Shift Tool to change when each audio track starts playing. By default, when the audio tracks are first imported, they all start playing at the same time. In most cases, you would probably want to change the audio tracks' location in the timeline. Select the Time Shift Tool, go over an audio track that you want to move, hold down left-click and move left or right depending when you would like the audio track to start playing. Look at figures 2 and 3 for help: 

Audacity-TimeShiftTool.jpg
Figure 2: Audacity, Selecting the Time Shift Tool


Audacity-usingTheTimeShiftTool.jpg
Figure 3: Audacity-Using the Time Shift Tool

In this example, we chose to move the second track at the end of the first one.

5. Once you are done moving things around and making sure that everything is the way you want it, save the resulting audio track by going to File and clicking Export as MP3. You could also try Export as WAV, but this usually results in a larger file size. 
6. In the Save As dialog box, name your file, browse to the location where you want the file to be save and click Save. 
Note: if you get a warning about the LAME MP3 encoder, follow this link to have that installed: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3

If everything went well, you should now have a single audio file comprised of multiple audio tracks. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us at sta-help@trincoll.edu or by phone at x2589.
 

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