Creating and editing audio files

This resource will help you understand some basic features and useful tools to create and edit your own audio files.

What should I consider before I begin?

Start by thinking about what you want to do - this will help you choose the right tool for your purpose.

Examples include:

  • Creating a podcast or voice recording
  • Recording or editing original music
  • Editing sound files for use in combination with other creative production tools (i.e. editing a song to use as part of a soundtrack for a video)

Audio editing generally refers to working with tracks using editing software. A simple audio file might have a single track, where more complex files may have a number of tracks that are edited together.

You can start by recording an original track which you then edit to suit your purpose, or you might start with a pre-recorded track. There are lots of tools and tutorials freely available to help you teach yourself how to do audio editing.

Audio mixing is a more complex process of combining tracks together to create a high quality end result, that is most commonly performed by professional mix engineers.

To view a list of common terminology used in audio and other creative production tools, see the glossary.

Creating an audio file

Spoken word and vocal tracks

Quick and easy - use the microphone and voice recording app available on your smartphone or computer
Better quality - use a professional microphone such as the RODE Podcaster mic available through the UOW Student Makerspace

Music (recording)

Quick and easy - Use the simulated instruments in a program like Garageband using your keyboard
Better quality - Record live instruments or vocal tracks into a program like Garageband or Audacity using direct input or a combination of room microphones and direct input in an acoustically controlled room

Pre-recorded tracks

Recorded music and sound files are subject to copyright so always make sure you have permission to use a pre recorded file as the basis for your project.

The CC Search engine will help you find prerecorded music that is legally allowed to be reused. Make sure you tick the box to search for content that you can modify, adapt, or build on.

The audio editing process

The audio editing process generally involves:

  • editing the length of audio files
  • adjusting the volume
  • making sure the different sound elements are balanced to suit your desired end result
  • applying effects

There are a variety of paid and free tools that you can use for creating and editing audio - we have listed some of the common or more easily available tools below, but this is not an exhaustive list.

Do a search for "audio editing tools" "sound editing tools" or similar to find additional info.

The UOW Student Makerspace has a range of hardware and software tools that you can use to create and edit audio, and there are common apps and programs that are easily downloaded to your computer or smartphone that range from free to paid subscriptions.

Common audio editing software

ToolFeatures/limitationsTutorialCost
Audacity

Audacity is a free and open source, cross-platform desktop audio editing tool.

The tool includes a wide range of features.

Learn Audacity (Free online Udemy course)

Free

Open source

Available on UOW Library computers

Available in UOW Student Makerspace on Wollongong campus

GarageBand

Garage Band is Apple's free audio editing tool.

Primarily, Garageband is used for recording music but it can also be used for creating podcasts.

This tool can be used on desktop computers or as a mobile app.

Garageband support - basic training in the primary functions.

Garageband 101 (free online Udemy course)

Garageband Training suite (Lynda.com - UOW does not subscribe to this resource, but check your local council library to see if they offer a subscription to this training database).

Standard included software on Mac computers

App available in Mac app store

Available in UOW Student Makerspace on Wollongong campus

Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X is a professional-level audio editing tool by Apple.

It offers a range of plug-ins and sounds effects you can use. 

Logic Pro X - Apple guidance and training resources (text)

Logic Pro X training courses (Lynda.com - UOW does not subscribe to this resource, but check your local council library to see if they offer a subscription to this training database).

Paid
Adobe Audition Adobe Audition is professional level audio editing software for creating, mixing, and editing audio files. Adobe Audition tutorials (Adobe - short clips for various functions) Available in the UOW Student Makerspace on Wollongong campus

This resource was adapted and remixed from "Digital Essentials" by UQ Library Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This adapted work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.