How to Make 8-Bit Sounds With Audacity

By J.T. Barett

A step-by-step guide that describes how to convert audio recordings into 8-bit sound files with Audacity software.

The Audacity sound editing program, available as freeware on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX, has a built-in function that turns high-fidelity 16- and 32-bit sound files into low-fi 8-bit recordings.

Step 1

Click the File menu. Select an audio file to work on, then click the Open button to open the file.

Step 2

Click the File menu, then select Export Audio.

Export the file.

Audacity opens a file dialog box.

Step 3

Type a name for your 8-bit audio file in the File name field.

Enter new name for 8-bit file.

Step 4

Click the Save as type pull-down list and select Other uncompressed files.

Select Other uncompressed file type.

Step 5

Click the Options button and select Unsigned 8-bit PCM from the list that appears. Click the Save button. Audacity displays a dialog box containing metadata information for the file.

Select Unsigned 8-bit PCM.

Step 6

Edit the file metadata, including Artist Name, Genre and Year. You can modify this information or leave it blank. Click the OK button. Audacity saves your file in the 8-bit format.

Edit metadata and save the file.

Tip

Changing an audio file to 8-bit resolution reduces the file’s size as well as the sound’s dynamic range giving it a somewhat “muffled” quality. You may also hear more “hiss” noise in an 8-bit file compared to a 16-bit recording.