Audioboo is one of my favorite (and FREE) iPhone/iPad apps for audio recording and sharing. Since Audioboo provides HOSTING for audio files you record, it’s not necessary to find another website to share your audio recordings with others. Audioboo does this for you. In this post, I’ll explain how you can use a trick to directly save mp3 audio versions of Audioboo recordings you (or others) have shared online, and then combine them together in a single recording using free Audacity software on a laptop or desktop computer. This is a great technique to use if you want to combine multiple student “narrated art” projects with AudioBoo together, or if you want to create longer “radio show” student projects using AudioBoo to record the individual segments.
This December I used the free Audioboo app on my iPhone to record excerpts of several music concerts I attended at school and at church. These included four different recordings: Singing Oh Christmas Tree, Nostalgic for the 1950s, O Holy Night, and Images of Christmas. In order, these were recorded at Independence Elementary School in Yukon, Oklahoma, at Quail Creek Elementary in Oklahoma City, at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, and at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond. The embedded AudioBoo versions are below.
These are the steps I followed to combine these four Audioboo audio files into a single mp3 file, which I shared on my “Sounds of My World” blog.
1. Save Audioboo recording as a MP3
When you click on the title of an Audioboo recording on your channel, the “direct link” to that Audioboo will open in your web browser. Add “.mp3” (without quotation marks) to the end of that direct web link, as shown below.
After you add .mp3 to the web link and press return or enter, your web browser will forward to the saved mp3 file for this recording on the Amazon S3 cloud.
With that mp3 file opened directly in your browser, choose FILE SAVE AS and save the mp3 file into a new folder on your computer. In this example, using the Chrome web browser, I saved the mp3 audio file into a new folder on my computer’s desktop.
2. Import MP3 Files into Audacity
Audacity is a free, cross-platform audio editing software program. (Cross-platform means it runs on Apple/Mac computers as well as Windows computers.) If you have not already, download and install Audacity on your computer. You will also want to download and install the free LAME encoder for MP3 files. From a technical standpoint, this can be the most tedious part of all these instructions. Refer to the Audacity wiki for help.
After completing the above steps, you should have a folder on your computer containing the four audio files you want to combine. In this example, I saved four different Audioboo mp3 files locally. It helps to put these in a new folder on your desktop for quick access.
Use the FILE – IMPORT menu command in Audacity to bring all the audio files you want to combine into a new Audacity project file.
By default when you import an audio file into Audacity, it will start at the 0:00 time mark. Use the TIME SHIFT tool (it looks like a horizontal timeline icon with arrows on its left and right sides) to drag each audio file to the time mark where you want them to start. Audacity will show a vertical yellow line when you reach the end of the preceding audio file, which can speed up this process if you imported your audio files in the same order you want them to play in the combined version.
3. Export Your Combined MP3 File
Now you are ready to export your combined audio file as a “flattened” MP3 audio file. Do this by choosing FILE – EXPORT in the Audacity menu.
Like QuickTime export settings, there are a lot of choices for MP3 audio exports in Audacity. Generally I use 32 kbps for spoken audio podcasts, and 64 kbps for files (like this example) which include music. You can use higher quality settings, but the better the quality settings the larger the final file size will be. This correlates to longer download times for people who will listen to your file.
If you don’t have a WordPress site where you can upload your audio files directly, as I do with “Sounds of my World,” you can upload your final combined file to another site. Good, free options include SoundCloud (which tracks numbers of plays and provides embed code) or Dropbox. You can upload to AudioBoo, but standard/free accounts have a 3 minute time limit for individual tracks. I recommend SoundCloud.
If you use these ideas to combine multiple audio files recorded with AudioBoo or another app/website, please let me know with a comment or via Twitter! Good luck and have fun combining audio recordings with Audacity!