The Clean Up

Posted: April 29, 2010 in Internet, music, recording, Self Publishing
Tags: , , ,

Now that you have one or more audio files imported into Cakewalk and saved, now it’s time to briefly move that file over to Audacity. With these two programs having so much in common as far as what they can do, it might seem a bit redundant to have to use both. However, in over a decade of using this exact same Cakewalk program, we have yet to find or figure out any sort of static cleanup function on there. Conversely, Audacity does this simply, but there are other functions (more on that later) that are a lot easier to figure out on Cakewalk. With both programs, you’re going to figure out everything you need to know basically on the first day you are using it, and the rest you can forget unless you graduated from MIT or are extremely bored. The Cakewalk program for instance comes with a book that is huge and is actually written in plain English, which would make it seemingly easy and convenient to use, except that seriously in ten years of having it, it has not come in handy even ONCE, because everything you try in that book does not work. As it is quite thick you might soundproof your studio wall with it, but that’s about it.

Ok, enough about that, now onto the fun stuff. Opening up your file in Cakewalk, you will want to export the song to your desktop. Click on Tools, then Mixdown Audio, then Export To File(s). Type in the song name, then click Export. Make sure it is a Wave file for this step of operation, by the way. You also do NOT want to cut out any clicks or scrapes or static just yet from the beginning or end or for that matter the middle of the song – for the time being, these are your friend.

Open up the Audacity program.  Here you will want to click on Project, then Import Audio. Choose the song you want to import, which will now show up as a Wave in Audacity. Now, find a stretch of pure static and/or unwanted noise in your song – chances are this comes at either the beginning or the end. With one finger of your left hand, hold down the Alt button on your computer keyboard. With your right hand, left click your mouse and drag across the entire section of static. Let go.

Now go up to and click on Effects, then Noise Removal. Click on Get Noise Profile. What this is doing here is analyzing the section of music you’ve just highlighted and saying, okay, this unwanted noise, we are going to delete this. After this is finished – and it only takes a split second – now left click into the little tan box to the left of your track. It should turn grey, which means the entire song has now been highlighted.

Click on Effects again, and Noise Removal once more as well. This time, however, you’re going to move that slider over to the left a little (this step of the process will take some tinkering, so don’t obsess over exact placement) and then either “Preview” or “Remove Noise.”  If you click on “Remove Noise” it is somewhat time consuming, so “Preview” is probably better until you get what level of static you’re trying to wipe out dialed in. However, even if, after going through the “Remove Noise” process and finding that you don’t like the way the finished product sounds,  you can simply click on Undo up top, make an adjustment to the slider, and try again.

Once you have a static/noise free track that you are happy with, go under File and Export as WAV this file to your desktop. Your work is done here for now. Next up: converting the file to MP3, tagging it to be recognized in cyberspace, and all that fun stuff.

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