Sound Exercise 3 & 4

Sound Exercise Three:  The awful mixing exercise (or NMI Acid Test)

1.Download three short songs from Be sure to select "In-Class Use" as the license option when you check out. They should be free ($0). Unzip each file by double clicking them. Now your files are ready to open in Audacity. In Audacity, click Open and navigate to the mp3 file in the each song folder you just downloaded and unzipped. Open all three with Audacity.

2. Inside one of the songs create two new stereo tracks.  Tracks > Add New > Stereo Track.

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3. Copy and paste the tracks from the other two songs into the new tracks. 

4. Test it.  If it wasn't quite weird enough, try out some amplification.

Sound Exercise Four: Normalization

Recording often happens at a less than optimum volume.  Voice recordings, in particular (in my experience), often seem not to be as loud as they should be.  When I record my students, the volume always varies a lot.  To compensate, I use the "normalize" tool, a very handy way to generate a consistent volume for sound files.  What the normalize tool does (based on my limited understanding) is make a best estimate (think Educated guess) of the ideal volume for a given file and then sets the volume as high as possible without introducing distortion.  Try it out.

1. Make a 10 second voice recording.  Feel free to mumble. 

2. Select your recording and Effect- Normalize it.  Chances are, the volume increased quite a bit. 

Sound Exercise Two

Sound Exercise Two

A common problem in voice recording comes from the dreaded P sound which often becomes exaggerated when it hits the sensitive diaphragm of a microphone. The P-Problem is why you sometimes see stockings, socks, and other ad-hoc coverings placed over microphones.  The best way to eliminate this problem is to avoid it by having a good mike, maintaining an adequate distance during recording, and (most likely) some other tricks that I don't know (speak up if you know some). Fortunately, electronic massaging can reduce this problem this exercise is about to demonstrate.

1. Download p.mp3 from  The file will most likely open in Quicktime inside of your browser window. To download, choose "File - Save As." Once the file is downloaded and saved, open it with Audacity and  listen to the sound.  Note the sharp spike where the P sounds.

2. Select the spike and use the magnifying glass to zoom in on the specific segment that needs to be subdued. 

3. With the segment still selected, use the amplify tool to lower the volume on the segment.   Listen the recording again and continue de-amplifying until you are as satisfied as you can be with the effect.

Next: Sound Exercise Three & Four


Audio Effects. Dedicated to Kelly Tribble

The exercises in this section either do not fit into the main three main sections, Html/css, WordPress, and Introductory Coding, or have been extracted from the Html/Css section in order to make more time in the semester for new material. The Audio Effects lesson, in particular, is one of my favorites because students enjoy it a lot and it and because it offers a fundamental lesson in sound editing. 

Audio Effects. Dedicated to Kelly Tribble

Sometimes you get lucky and have the opportunity to collaborate with someone who is a real pleasure to work with.  Such was my working relationship with Kelly Tribble. In addition to being a hardworking, talented guy, Kelly was a human multimedia machine who could generate a seemingly limitless variety of sounds for the projects that we worked on together.  By smacking his lips, clicking his tongue, thumping his cheek, etc.  Kelly could convincingly mimic the sound of a soccer ball being kicked, a fish splashing in water, or seemingly anything he wanted to imitate. I could never hope to match Kelly's talents as a producer of sounds but I did pick up on one of his tricks: amplification. A seemingly soft sound can become something very different when it is magnified. 

Sound Exercise 1

1. To explore the "Kelly Effect", find and open a program called Audacity. 

2. Click the record button, position your mouth approximately 8 inches away from the isight on top of your computer and embarrass yourself by making a puffing sound, clicking your tongue and anything else that occurs to you.  When finished, stop the recording.

3. Play the recording and watch the graphic sound display as you listen to your recording. 

4. Select a portion of one of your sounds (one thump for example) and amplify it (Effect-amplify) 


5. Listen to the sound.  Loud enough?  If not, Effect- Repeat Amplify - until you are satisfied. 

Still not satisfied? Try some of the other effects such as speed and pitch (you too can sound like a chipmunk) or even phaser.

6. Once you have a sound that you like, you can easily export it for use in flash or some other application.  With the sound selected, File - Export as Wav. 

7. Now try File - Export as MP3.  Can't do it? Blame the lawyers because a lot of organizations claim ownership of the mp3 format and the Audacity developers don't want to be sued. Their way around this issue is to require a download of the lame library (lame.lib). If you are a Georgia Journalism Academy student, you will find lame.lib on your desktop. Otherwise, follow Audacity's cues to find  or download LameLib. (or try going to and download LameLib-Carbon.sit .  Once the file is uncompressed, drag the result (named LameLib) into the applications folder)

8. Export as MP3 again and this time Play around with some of the other "kellysounds" and re-record if you like. 

9. Find the sound that you like the best, select, copy, and paste it somewhere further down the Audacity timeline.  This is how sounds are pieced together.

 Next: Sound Exercise Two