Tools We Use: Audacity

Thrive Church records audio for every message. We do this for two reasons.

First, we want people to be able to hear messages that they’ve missed. People who were sick, or traveling, or had to work, on a particular Sunday can access the messages they’ve missed on the web site at their convenience.

The second reason we record our messages is so that people can share these messages with other people as they feel led. It’s really mind-boggling to see the server logs indicating that people in France, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, Korea, Brazil, and Germany are listening to our message podcasts.

We try to get them uploaded to the web server that day, as soon after the service as possible, so that people can share them as soon as possible. One way we are able to do this is by using Audacity, the free audio editing and recording app. Audacity is available for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.

Audacity has all the tools you need to record, edit, and tag your sermons. It supports a ton of different sound formats, so you can use a variety of sources if you prefer recording with other gear. You can cut, splice, trim, amplify, and compress your audio. But that’s not all – there are a ton of features. It supports mono and stereo, as well as multiple tracks.  You can even import audio (for bumpers, etc.) and apply effects to clean up shoddy recordings. It also includes plug-in support (there are many).

These days, we do minimal editing before we upload, and I’m not the one who does it anymore. But, one of the features I really liked when I was doing the editing was the noise removal feature. For a free program it’s pretty good at it. You do have to be careful with the feature – overdoing it will make you sound like Mr. Roboto.

For a free program, Audacity is incredibly full-featured. In addition to handling our messages, I’ve used it as a digital recording studio for writing songs, incorporating multiple instruments (on their own tracks). Audacity is a strong, free product.

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