Psychometric Research - Professional Tools for Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy Practitioners
Hypnotherapy CD Tutorial - Mixing background music

Now you should be at the stage where you have successfully edited your voice, and you have some background music files in WAV or AIF format.  If you are not using background music then you can skip this step and go straight to Burning to CD.


Importing the background music

Open the project file containing your voice track.  Choose "Import Audio..." from the Project menu and open the track or tracks that you want to use as background music.  Each background music track will appear as a separate stereo track underneath the track with your voice.  From the View menu choose "Fit Vertically" to resize the tracks so you can see them all at once.


Adjusting the background music volume

If you have imported multiple background music tracks, click the Mute button on all but one of the tracks.  Then click to position the cursor somewhere in the middle of the unmuted background track and click the play button.  You will hear the unmuted track plus your voice.  Now adjust the volume of the background track using the -/+ slider to the track left until there is a good balance between your voice and the music.  Generally the music should be much quieter than your voice so you will probably have to turn down the background track quite a lot.  If your voice recording is particularly quiet you may also need to turn up the voice track.

Once you have found a good level for the background track, set the volume slider of the other muted tracks to the same level.  If they are all from the same CD the level should be correct, but you can always adjust it by ear later once the tracks have been positioned.


Positioning the tracks

If you have multiple background tracks, make sure that all are muted except the track that comes first.  You will need to decide if you want the music to start a little way before the voice, or at the same time, or a little way after.

To make the music start before the voice:  Mute the voice track, zoom in so you have the first minute or two in view (set the cursor near the start and click the zoom button, or use the zoom tool), then position the cursor at the start and play through the music (you will see the cursor moving along as it plays).  When it comes to the point at which you feel the voice should come in, click stop, then click in the voice track to position the cursor at the time where the voice should come in.  Now choose from the Project menu "Align Tracks..." -> "Align with Cursor".  The voice track will move to the correct position.  Unmute the voice track and listen to check it sounds in the right place - if not then set the new position in the same way.

To make the music start at the same time as the voice:  No adjustment necessary.

To make the voice start before the music:  Mute the music track, zoom in so you have the first minute or two in view (set the cursor near the start and click the zoom button, or use the zoom tool), then position the cursor at the start and play through the voice track (you will see the cursor moving along as it plays).  When it comes to the point at which you feel the music should come in, click stop, then click in the music track to position the cursor at the time where the music should come in.  Now choose from the Project menu "Align Tracks..." -> "Align with Cursor".  The music track will move to the correct position.  Unmute the music track and listen to check it sounds in the right place - if not then set the new position in the same way.

You may wish to fade in the music track, especially if it comes in after the voice and starts abruptly.  This can easily be accomplished by selecting the beginning of the music track (click and drag with the mouse to select) and choosing "Fade In" from the Effect menu.  Listen back to check if it sounds correct - if it doesn't you can always undo the fade (from the Edit menu) and try again.

If you are using multiple background tracks then you will need to position the tracks sequentially (when they are first imported they will all start at the beginning).  Set the zoom so you can see the whole project (the zoom button on the far right).  The first background track will already be in the correct place so leave this alone.  Click in the second background track to set the cursor to a position level with the end of the first track, then choose from the Project menu "Align Tracks..." -> "Align with Cursor".  The second track will move to the new position you selected.  Now using the zoom tool, or by clicking the zoom button, zoom into the minute or so around where the two tracks meet so you can set the position more precisely.  If necessary fine tune the position of the second track.  If the tracks fade at the end and beginning you may want to overlap them slightly so there isn't a gap in the background music.  Even if the tracks don't fade you can always overlap them, then use the "Fade Out" and "Fade In" functions from the Effect menu to create smooth fades at the end and beginning of the tracks.  Always listen back to what you've done to see if it sounds right (you will have to unmute the second background track), and remember there's always the undo function if you don't like what you've done.



Repeat the above process for all background tracks until they are arranged sequentially.  You may wish the background music to extend a bit beyond where your voice ends.  If you have more background tracks than you need to fill the time you can get rid of them by clicking the X at the top left corner of the track.  If you want to cut some time off the end of the last track to make it end sooner, select the part to cut off and choose from the Edit menu "Silence".  You will probably also want to make a fade just before the cut to avoid an abrupt end (select end, then Effect menu -> "Fade Out").


Listen to the end result

That's about it - but don't forget the important last step: listen through to the end result and see if you need to make any final adjustments.  There are other things you can do with Audacity so don't be afraid to experiment (there's always the undo function!) - for example if a particular sentence or phrase seems to jump out as being too loud, or appear too quiet against the background music, you can zoom into the area, select the offending phrase and use the Amplify function (from the Effect menu).  Choose a positive Amplification value to boost, or a negative value to cut - usually +/- 2 or 3 dB will be enough, but you can always repeat the process.  If you find you are having to adjust the voice level in many places (can be a painstaking process) this is usually an indication that you were not keeping a constant distance and angle to the microphone while recording.  If you find the voice level sometimes is getting obscured by the music, the easiest fix is just to turn down the overall level of the music tracks (remember to adjust all the music tracks by the same amount).

One final point to note is that now you have all the background music tracks arranged, you can easily use this project as a starting point for another recording - just save a copy of the project (File -> "Save Project As..."), remove the voice track and record a new one.  Mute the background music track(s) while recording and editing the voice.


<- Obtaining background music | Burning to CD ->