6 Cool Sound Effects You Can Make Using Audacity | MakeUseOf

Audacity is a popular open source audio editor and a great tool for your audio editing needs.

But there's a strong chance you're not using Audacity to its full capability. The feature-strong application offers amazing sound effects that can be used to add an extra dimension of polish to your audio projects.

These tips show you how to take your audio projects to the next level with cool Audacity sound effects. Forget thoughts of "upgrading" to Adobe Audition---try these Audacity voice effects and keep it open source.

Have you ever needed to treat some audio to make it sound as though it is coming out of a telephone? Perhaps your audio production needs a voice that appears to be calling from overseas.

Achieving this is straightforward:

  1. Select the audio track to edit
  2. Click Effect > Filter Curve
  3. Click Manage > Factory Presents > Telephone
  4. Next, click Preview to get an idea of the filter
  5. When you're happy, click OK

Achieve a telephone vocal effect in Audacity

From here, go to the Select Curve drop-down box, and choose, unsurprisingly, Telephone. Wait as the effect is applied, then listen back.

Note that other effects are available from this drop-down menu, most notably one that applies a "Walkie-talkie" sound to your audio project.

2. How to Have a Radio Playing in the Background

Producing an audio drama or short scene? Need some "background radio" to portray a location (perhaps a kitchen, or a car) with a radio playing?

For this effect to be applied, again start by selecting your audio track/section of audio. Then:

  1. Select Effect > High Pass Filter
  2. Click the Rolloff drop-down menu
  3. Select 12 dB
  4. Click OK then wait while the effect is applied
  5. Click Effect > Amplify and click OK for the default option
  6. Next, go to Effect > Low Pass Filter
  7. Here, set the Rolloff to 6 dB
  8. Click OK then return to Effect > High Pass Filter
  9. This time set the Rolloff to 6 dB again
  10. Click Effect > Amplify, and again OK the default option
  11. Finally, return to Effect > Low Pass Filter and select 12 dB

Create a radio effect in Audacity

Throughout, check the audio as you go. Each step you change will further "radiofy" the track. It might be that you like the effect as it is, or you might like to add a final Effect > Amplify.

You can also add some white noise to the radio by adding a new track:

  1. Tracks > Add New > Audio track
  2. Select Generate > Noise and click White

Create white noise effect in Audacity

Once created, apply the same effects as outlined above to the white noise track.

3. How to Create a Demonic Voice Effect in Audacity

Need to present some sort of evil, devilish tones to your production? Perhaps you're doing some voices for a video game mod project, or a radio play. Either way, you can use Audacity to bring a hellish quality to proceedings.

Related: The best audiobooks to listen to on Audible

It's remarkably simple, too. First, select the track you wish to treat, then hit Ctrl+D to create two duplicates.

Rename the three identical tracks if it helps. Then, proceed to adjust the tracks as follows:

  1. Select track 2 and increase the gain using the slider on the track header
  2. Next, click Effects > Change Pitch and move the slider to set the pitch to -5
  3. Repeat these edits for track 3, this time setting the pitch to -25
  4. Select track 2 again and open Effects > Echo
  5. Change the Delay to 1 and click OK
  6. Once again using track 2, open Effect > Reverb and click OK to accept the defaults
  7. Select track 3 then open Effect > Bass and Treble
  8. Increase Bass (dB) slightly, to no more than 5 dB and click Apply

Create a demonic voice effect with Audacity

There is plenty of room to adjust the demonic voice. Experiment using these settings, tweaking where necessary.

4. How to Create a Robot Voice in Audacity

Want a different type of voice? How about a robot? Like the demonic voice effect, this can be done in just a couple of minutes with Audacity.

Begin with a phrase you wish to robotize and duplicate it once with Ctrl+D. Then:

  1. Select the second track
  2. Open Effects > Echo
  3. Set the Delay time to 0.4, and the Decay factor to 0.6
  4. Clicking OK to confirm the change
  5. Select track 2
  6. Go to Effects > Change Pitch
  7. Set the Percent Change value to -10
  8. Click OK

Create a robot vocal effect in Audacity

Once you've done that, duplicate the original track again.

  1. Select track 3
  2. Open Effects > Change Tempo
  3. Set Percent Change to -3
  4. Click OK to confirm

You should now be done, but you may need to tweak all three tracks to suit your robotic voice.

Note that robots don't talk like people. Whatever popular robot you're trying to replicate, you'll need to modify your delivery to suit the job.

5. How to Create a Laser Blaster Sound Effect With Audacity

While we're thinking about sci-fi effects, let's look at creating a laser blaster sound. This is simple to start but can get complicated later on if you want to keep tweaking things.

  1. Start with an empty track
  2. Click Generate > Chirp to create the Chirp effect
  3. Set the Waveform to Sawtooth
  4. Select a Frequency Start value of 1200
  5. Set the End value at 50
  6. Set the Amplitude to 7 in both fields.
  7. In the Interpolation drop-down menu select Linear
  8. Give this a duration of 200 seconds
  9. Click OK to finish.

Create a laser blaster effect in Audacity

The resulting sound effect will resemble a 1980s style laser blaster noise. It can be further developed with tweaks, echoes, and other effects.

6. How to Change Your Voice Pitch in Audacity

It can be useful to be able to make your voice high in Audacity. Alternatively, you might prefer to set a deeper vocal track with more bass. You could make your voice sound male or female, or just completely ridiculous.

To create a higher-sounding voice:

  1. Select the track
  2. Open Effect > Change Pitch
  3. Use the Pitch section to slowly increase the pitch incrementally using the up arrow
  4. You can also use the Frequency slider to increase pitch and frequency
  5. Click Preview to check the results
  6. Click OK to confirm

Meanwhile, you can make your voice lower using the same steps, but decreasing the pitch or frequency.

Whichever option you're using, keep in mind that you should only need to increase or decrease pitch by a couple of semitones to get the effect you're looking for.

It's probably fair to say that most people don't take advantage of Audacity's wide selection of features and effects. We reckon that these top sound effect tutorials should help you get more out of this free sound editing tool.

If you didn't already know, Audacity is a powerful digital audio workstation. It has all the tools you need to create professional-sounding audio productions, from podcasts to music to audio dramas, and everything in between!