Audio Track Dropdown Menu

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TrackDropDown for Bug1250.png

The Audio Track Dropdown Menu is accessed by clicking in the Track Name, by the downward-pointing triangle TrackDropDown.png in the Track Control Panel. Alternatively, you can access the Track Dropdown Menu on the currently focused audio track by pressing SHIFT + M.

Use the Drop-Down to manipulate individual or stereo tracks:

  • Rename a track
  • Move a track up or down in the project window
  • Set the current type of view for the track
  • Swap the channels of a stereo track
  • Make or split stereo tracks
  • For a mono track, set whether a track is mono, left channel or right channel
  • Set the current sample rate and sample format for the track.

There is no need to select the track before accessing the dropdown menu.

  • To change the default type of track view with which a new project always starts, change "Default View Mode" in Tracks Preferences.
  • To change the default sample rate and sample format with which a new project always starts, go to Quality Preferences.

Name...

Displays the "Track Name" dialog where you can give the track a new name. Useful in multi-track projects to provide a visual indication of the content of each track.

Moving Tracks

Any individual track can be moved up or down using the menu items.

  • Move Track Up: Moves track up.
  • Move Track Down: Moves track down.
  • Move Track To Top: Move the track to the top of the project window.
  • Move Track To Bottom: Move the track to the bottom of the project window.
It is often more convenient to just click in the Track Control Panel on the left of the track and drag the track up or down.

Waveform

SndAudacityWave.png

This first half of this waveform is a "Chirp" tone which stays at the same amplitude (loudness), as shown by the horizontal top and bottom. The linear scale on the left goes from +1 at the top (the maximum possible loudness without distortion when the signal is positive) to -1 at the bottom (the maximum when it is negative). The horizontal line centered on 0.0 is silence. What you can't see without zooming much further in is that the pitch of this tone is gradually increasing. Zooming would show the individual cycles in the waveform (the positive and negative peaks) occurring much closer together at the end of the sound. The second half of the waveform is the word "Audacity" spoken by a male voice.

SndChirp.png

This image is a waveform view of an extremely short chirp, one tenth of a second, with only a few cycles, where the pitch increases very rapidly. As it's so short, we can zoom in to show the closer spacing of the cycles as the frequency (and hence the pitch) increases from left to right.

Waveform (dB)

SndAudacityDb.png

This is the same chirp and word as in the first Waveform image, but in this view the vertical scale is in dB. This is a logarithmic method of displaying the amplitude.

The dB range of the vertical scale is set in Edit > Preferences > Interface.

Visit the Audacity Waveform page for details and examples of the waveform views.

Spectrogram

SndAudacitySpectrogram.png

This view of the same chirp and word shows how the amount of energy in different frequency bands changes over time. Higher frequencies are at the top of the scale, lower frequencies at the bottom. The blue color is the least energy and the red and white are the most. The progressive increase of pitch in the chirp tone is vividly demonstrated by the upward sloping diagonal line. Spectrogram view also confirms that the "Audacity" word has most energy in the middle of the word.

  • Go to the Spectrograms Preferences to see the options for adjusting exactly how the spectrum is displayed and for the various styles of spectrogram display.
  • You can click in the Vertical Scale at any time to zoom in to a particular frequency range, or right-click to zoom out. Frequencies higher than half the sample rate of the track are not displayed because a given rate cannot contain higher frequencies than that.
  • See Spectrogram View for more details of the Spectrogram views.
  • This tutorial shows how the Spectrogram view can be used to help track down and eliminate hard to find clicks.

Spectrogram Settings

These are the same settings that you find in Spectrograms Preferences but here they apply just to the particular track.

Note carefully that the Track Control Panel setting will override the Preferences setting if Use Preferences is unchecked in the Track Control Panel's Spectrogram Preferences. If you check that here then the Preferences settings will override any settings shown here.

Splitting and Joining Channels

The Track ControlPanel Menu varies slightly bewtwen etereo and mono tracks. For a stereo track you only see commands applicable to a stereo track and similarly for a mono track. The image at the top of this page is of a stereo track.

Stereo Tracks

  • Swap Stereo Channels Use this command on a stereo track to swap the left and right channels without having to split the stereo track (see below). The left channel and the right channel and will change places, so that the audible content of the left channel moves into the right and the audible content of the right channel moves into the left.
  • Split Stereo Track splits the two channels of a stereo pair into separately editable tracks for left and right channels, left above the right. If you are mixing multiple single channel files, you might want to use the "Split Stereo to Mono" command noted below then use the pan slider on the Track Control Panel. This will give you more control over the pan than leaving the tracks as left and right channel.
  • Split Stereo to Mono splits the two channels of a stereo pair into two separately editable mono tracks.

Mono Tracks

  • Mono feeds the output of the track to both left and right speakers on most two channel systems.
  • Left Channel feeds it only to the left speaker .
  • Right Channel feeds it only to the right speaker.
Currently Audacity does not support multi-channel playback.
  • Make Stereo Track Use this command on the upper of two adjacent, single channel tracks which you want to join into one stereo track. The upper track always becomes the left channel of the new stereo pair and the lower the right channel, irrespective of whether each was mono, left or right before joining to stereo.
See Splitting and Joining Stereo Tracks for more details on using the Split Stereo Track, Split Stereo to Mono and Make Stereo Tracks commands.

Format

Converts the sample format of the current track state to 16-bit integer PCM, 24-bit integer PCM or 32-bit floating point. The number of computer bits representing each sample in the waveform will be recalculated for the changed precision. Further edits will be performed at the new bit depth, but audio data for any track states before the conversion remains at its previous bit depth. This means that undoing the format change is always lossless.

Rate

Change the sample rate of the track, which can be thought of as the concentration of audio samples in the track or the time distance between them. Increasing the rate squeezes the existing samples into a shorter length (so increasing playback speed and pitch), while decreasing the rate spreads them out over a greater length (so reducing playback speed and pitch). This is useful for example if you import a file that has the wrong rate and thus plays at the wrong speed.

Changing the sample rate of a track without changing the speed involves resampling. Resampling for export is always done by changing the Project Rate in Selection Toolbar. To resample a track for use in the project, choose Resample in the Tracks Menu.

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Useful External Links