Installing Audacity and Plugins for Sermon and Announcement Processing
Update January 18, 2012: It has come to my attention that Kjaerhus Audio appears to be out of business. I've removed the dead link from the body of the post. Check the comments for more recent links, as it appears the classic plugins used in this tutorial are still available from alternative links. Also, my church no longer uses Audacity a regular basis, so this post is probably a bit outdated.
Audacity is a free, open-source audio editing tool. I have found it to be very useful for recording, processing and manipulating audio files.
We use Audacity to record worship services at our church, and then for post-processing Pastor's messages for podcast and radio broadcast. We also use Audacity to record and process voice-overs for Pastor's radio broadcast, and for our PowerPoint announcements shown during services.
I've created step-by-step instructions for both the sermon processing and announcement recording tasks. Both of these rely on not only Audacity, but on some additional free plug-ins that are needed. Here are the steps for installing Audacity for use with the other instructions on this site.
Installing and configuring Audacity for use with my instructions on both sermon post-processing and announcement audio recordings is a fairly simple task. Three components are needed. First, the Audacity program is needed. Most processing will be done with some VST plug-ins created by Kjaerhus Audio. VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology, and it is a standard created by Steinberg, the makers of Cubase. Because of licensing limitations, a third piece needs to be installed to allow Audacity to use VST components.
Begin by simply downloading and installing Audacity from http://audacity.sourceforge.net, using the Windows Installer program. (Note: at the time of this writing, I recommend using Audacity version 1.2.x, and not the Beta 1.3.x line.)
Next, download the VST enabler from http://audacityteam.org/vst/ and copy the VST Enabler.dll file into the Plug-Ins directory of your Audacity installation. (This is usually in C:\Program Files\Audacity\Plug-Ins)
Finally, download the needed Plug-Ins from
removed-dead-link. You will need the Classic EQ, Classic Compressor, and Classic Master Limiter. Download and open each zip file, and copy the DLL files for these into your Audacity Plug-Ins folder.
In order to make ensure that your completed files are properly formatted, open Audacity, pull down the File menu, and select Preferences. Click to the Quality tab and confirm that your sample rate and bit depth are set to 44100Hz and 16-bit, as shown below:
Now, go to the File Formats tab and confirm that the export file type is Microsoft 16 bit PCM.
You should now be ready to use Audacity.