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A Very Handy Guide To Installing Audacity, LAME and The Levelator

Hey, there!

I’m often asked to help people install the three pieces of software I use most often with my voice work.

Happy to help.

They are all free, and relatively painless to install.

So, let’s do this.

We’ll first be installing LAME, the plug-in that lets you export MP3 files, then Audacity, then Levelator.

Why?

If we put LAME where it needs to be, Audacity will find it automatically.

Cool, huh?

And Levelator’s a standalone piece of software, so we’ll install that last.

Lame_logo-smallSo, let’s start with LAME.

On my website, VO2GoGo.com, I maintain the latest location of all of the items we’re going to need here. And I do so with links that make it easy to remember where to go get them.

Visit:

https://www.vo2gogo.com/get-lame

And you’ll be taken right to the page where you can download LAME.

You’ll be downloading an installer that will have to be run on your system, and will magically install LAME for you.

Look for the version of the LAME installer that’s appropriate for your operating system and version, as there are different “builds” of the installer for different OS versions.

The page is a bit busy, but the downloads are about halfway down the page.

Click on the installer link.

Once it’s downloaded, find it on your hard drive (usually in the Downloads folder, unless you’ve customized your download “path.”)

Double click on it, and let it install itself on your main hard drive. Don’t change anything, or try to put it anywhere special. LAME knows exactly where it wants to be, deep in the bowels of your user directory.

Humor it.

Let it do it’s thing.

(You’ll need your password on some systems to have the install continue, so have that handy.)

Success?

Great.

Audacity logoNow, let’s go about installing Audacity. Visit:

https://www.vo2gogo.com/get-audacity

And you’ll be taken to directly to the download page for Audacity. Click the link for the version of Audacity appropriate for your operating system, and you’ll be taken to that version’s download page. Download the installer there.

Don’t choose the zipped version. Just download the “dmg” file for Mac, or the “installer” for Windows.

(By the way, all of this software is free, and can be downloaded and installed on all of the computers you have. If you have a desktop at home, one at work, a laptop or two that you use, you can repeat this process on all of them – that way, you can plug your AT-2020 USB Plus into any of them, and off you go.)

Once the Audacity package is downloaded, the instructions are a wee bit different for Mac and Windows. So…

– For Mac users, double-click on the “dmg” file you downloaded, and a window will pop open with the Audacity folder containing the program itself and all of the files it needs. Just drag that folder onto your Applications folder, let it copy, and then you’re done.

– For Windows users, double click on the installer you downloaded and it will take you through an install process. Again, just let the installer put Audacity where it want to put it (in your Programs folder, usually).

At this point, you can do a little housekeeping, and close the windows the installer or dmg file have open.

Now, let’s launch Audacity and confirm that LAME is being recognized.

The first time you launch Audacity, a window will come up referring to wanting to help you. Click on “Don’t show this to me on startup” and dismiss the window.

What you’ll see is a recording window, ready to accept the gooey goodness of your voice work.

Not yet.

Go to Preferences (under Audacity menu on Mac, and at that bottom of the Edit menu on Windows), and look at two things:

– if your mic is plugged in to your computer (and it should be), check that it’s selected in the Recording area of the Devices tab, and that Channels are set at 1 (Mono). The Devices tab is the first tab in the list on the left, and is always displayed by default when you open Preferences.

By the way, the mic you should be using is the AT-2020 USB Plus, a mic that sounds hundreds of dollars more expensive than it is, and is available here: https://www.vo2gogo.com/get-at2020usbplus.

– Then, in the left hand list of options, click Libraries. You should see two areas, MP3 Export Library and FFmpeg Import/Export Library. You can safely ignore anything but the MP3 Export Library settings. If all has gone according to plan, you should see the version number of LAME next to the MP3 Library Version: label – it should say something like LAME 3.98.2.

(If it says something like “not found,” we need to reinstall LAME. Go back to that and this time, do it right, or it’s going on your permanent record that you’re a troublemaker.)

If all is well, close the Preferences window, and go about your business, smug in the knowledge that you’ve done all you need to do to record with Audacity and export those recordings as MP3 files.

levelator-screenshotFinally, let’s install Levelator, the software that will spiffy up your audio for upload to ACX.

Visit:

https://www.vo2gogo.com/get-levelator

You’ll be taken to the Conversation Network page, where you can again choose the download that’s right for your operating system (usually version 2.1.2, the last version developed).

Follow a similar path to installing Levelator as you have with the other two piece of software:

– For Mac users, double-click on the “dmg” file you downloaded, and a window will pop open with the Levelator application itself, and a handy alias to your Applications folder. Just drag the Levelator app onto the alias of your Applications folder, let it copy, and then you’re done.

– For Windows users, double click on the installer you downloaded and it will take you through an install process. Again, just let the installer put The Levelator where it want to put it (in your Programs folder, usually).

Suggestion: put aliases/shortcuts in your Dock (on a Mac) or your taskbar (on Windows PCs) of both Audacity and Levelator – that will be handy for launching Audacity when you need it, and dragging and dropping audio files onto The Levelator.

Once you’re done, you have a whole new accomplishment, installing Levelator, to lord over your peers. Enjoy that.

Hope this helps.

David

9 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    David

    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    David,
    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!
    Shirley

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

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