How to (Correctly) Use the Special Effects

So I know we briefly went over some of the basic effects in class, but since we are all new to Audacity, I thought it would be helpful for us all to understand (and for me to really get to know the software) the very intricate effects that Audacity has very easily laid out for us to use.

The fact that the toolbar has an option labeled “Effect” is not surprising. But do we really understand how to make these effects worth using, more than just pressing fade in or fade out?  With a few of the options provided, we can alter our sound and cater it to exactly what we need for our piece.


1. Let’s start with the easiest: echo effect.

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 1.59.19 PM

Just plug in how many seconds you want it to delay under “Delay time (seconds).” By also playing around with the decay factor, you can choose the amplitude of each echo.  0 means that there is no echo, and 1 means the same amplitude of the original each time it echoes, so choosing lets say right in the middle at 0.5, the amplitude is cut in half each  time it echoes, slowly dying out.

2. Let’s enjoy sounding funny: change pitch.

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 1.59.13 PM

This effect can be used to correct singing imperfections, but since I’m assuming most of us aren’t laying down the beats for this project, we can still use this effect for other reasons.  Maybe you hate how your voice sounds recorded, why not change the pitch?  Changing the pitch from one key to another won’t affect the pace of the voice.

3. Esrever: Reverse

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 1.59.28 PM

I remember hearing about how the song Stairway to Heaven had backward-masking where the lyrics were played backwards and revealed some underlying theme.  As a little kid, I was so impressed, thinking that the singers had to actually sing backwards to record this effect.  Without really thinking about it again until now, I’m having my own fun playing with the reverse effect.  This would be especially useful if you want to create an effect like “So I said this” “WAIT you said what?” (reverse) and replay.  You can also use the reverse effect to “blur” a curse word or inappropriate phrase.

Hopefully you’ll now be able to effectively use the right special effects in appropriate sections of your piece to make it even better!

Good luck,



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