Nyquist Basics: The Audacity Nyquist Prompt
|With the Audacity Nyquist Prompt, you can test small snippets of Nyquist code and run an effect in any way you wish (as opposed to how the effect normally works built-in to Audacity). This page explains basic usage of the Nyquist Prompt and what can be accomplished with it.
The Audacity Nyquist prompt appears in Audacity's "Effect" menu, which is activated only if an Audacity audio track exists and at least some audio in it is selected.
Load a Sound File
Sound files are imported into Audacity via:
CTRL + SHIFT + Ior the shortcut
If you have no pre-existing sound files to work with, you can create your own mono or stereo tracks via the Audacity "Generate" menu.
Create a Mono Track
Click. Leave everything as-is and just click "OK". A mono track will appear in the Audacity window:
Create a Stereo Track
1. Create an empty stereo track.
- In Audacity 1.2.x, click .
- In Audacity 1.3.x-beta, click .
An empty stereo track will appear in the Audacity window.
2. Now click. Leave everything as-is and just click "OK". The stereo tracks will become filled with the generated sound.
The Nyquist Prompt
Select the track(s) and click CTRL + A on the keyboard.. Effects are not activated until at least a portion of the track(s) have been selected. You can select all tracks by pressing
The Nyquist Prompt appears like this:
The Nyquist Interpreter
In the Nyquist Prompt window, type "hello" into the text field with quotes, like follows:
When you click OK, you should get a message box displaying the word hello:
The message box disappears when you click OK.
This, as you have learned, is how you can send messages to the user.
The Nyquist Debugger
After clicking OK in the "hello" message box, go back to, and this time, type the word hello without the quotes:
Important: This time, click "Debug" instead of "OK".
You should first get a window displaying a "Nyquist did not return audio" or a similar message:
After clicking OK in the window above, a second window appears, displaying the error messages that Nyquist returned:
Basic Nyquist Commands
The Nyquist manual relevant to Audacity is available here: Nyquist Reference Manual.
Audacity uses the 's' variable to reference the current audio file/selection. Thus, you can use basic commands such as 'mult' or 'sum' with 's' and the Nyquist prompt will replace the file/selection with the result (or as Audacity calls it, "returned audio").
Applying a DC offset to a signal
Original Signal before command.
Type the following into the Nyquist Prompt:
(sum s 1)
The whole signal has now moved up to above zero.
Modulating with a carrier frequency
To multiply a signal with a generated carrier signal, you can use the following commands:
(mult s (hzosc 19000))
The (hzosc 19000) produces 19kHz sine wave carrier.
(mult s (osc-pulse 19000 0))
The (osc-pulse 19000 0) produces 19kHz square wave carrier (note the 0 is the bias or 50/50 duty cycle, -1 to 1 = 0%-100% pulse-width ). Applying the 19kHz square wave carrier obtains this result.
The top and bottoms of the signal can then be clipped using the Hard Limiter option from the effects menu (0dB limit and Wet level 1) if required.
The above examples show how you can use the many Nyquist commands to perform basic signal processing without using scripts.
- Find the zero crossing points
- Then only apply the carrier frequency to those regions above zero.
Thanks to Forum moderators stevethefiddle & kozikowski for their help with Audacity & Nyquist.