Audacity ® is free, open source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing.
Recently Audacity ® has been updated reaching the 2.2.2 version with a tons of new features and fixes, here is a list of the main changes:
- Easier zooming in and out with mousewheel, new Zoom Toggle command, and context menu for vertical rulers (thanks to James Crook).
- Easy access to change keyboard bindings of menu commands by holding Shift key.
- Detection of dropout errors while recording with overburdened CPU.
- Improved contrasts in Light and Dark themes.
- Half-wave display option.
- Several bugs/annoyances in 2.2.1 are now fixed.
For a detailed list please have a look at the official page.
For people that doesn’t know this software here is a brief description of this free software gem : yes, Audacity® is free and open source, developed by the Audacity Team and the software is licensed under the terms of GPL v2.
Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems, the interface is available in many languages, and generally here are the main areas where you can make advantage of this software:
- Record live audio.
- Record computer playback on any Windows Vista or later machine.
- Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
- Edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files.
- AC3, M4A/M4R (AAC), WMA and other formats supported using optional libraries.
- Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
- Numerous effects including change the speed or pitch of a recording.
- Write your own plug-in effects with Nyquist.
- And more! See the complete list of features.
If you have clicked one or more of the links in the above list you may have noticed how good is the Audacity® manual, very detailed and comprehensive!
FEATURES IN DETAIL
Do you need to record audio?
Audacity can record live audio through a microphone, an external mixer or from your computer mixer so that you will be able to access (and record) from any audio source, like the audio track of a video played-back on your computer.
You have several tools to control your input, here is a bried list (have a look at the official guide for more informations):
- With the Device Toolbar you can manage multiple recording and playback devices.
- With the Level meters you can monitor volume levels before, during and after recording. You can easily monitor the clipping because it is clearly displayed on the level meters and on the waveform display.
- Ability to record from microphone, line input, USB/Firewire devices and others.
- Ability to record computer playback on Windows Vista and later by choosing “Windows WASAPI” host in Device Toolbar then a “loopback” input.
- Timer Record and Sound Activated Recording features.
- Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.
- Record at very low latencies on supported devices on Linux by using Audacity with JACK.
- Record at sample rates up to 192,000 Hz (subject to appropriate hardware and host selection). Up to 384,000 Hz is supported for appropriate high-resolution devices on Windows (using WASAPI), Mac OS X, and Linux.
- Record at 24-bit depth on Windows (using Windows WASAPI or Windows DirectSound host), Mac OS X or Linux (using ALSA or JACK host).
- Record multiple channels at once (subject to appropriate hardware).
Softwares like Audacity are often used to export, import, edit or just convert audio from one format to another and Audacity can be used for this task too, you can import sound files, edit them, and combine them with other files or new recordings. You can export your recordings in several file formats:
- Import and Export WAV, AIFF, AU, FLAC and Ogg Vorbis files.
- Fast “On-Demand” import of WAV or AIFF files (letting you start work with the files almost immediately) if read directly from source.
- Import and export all formats supported by libsndfile such as GSM 6.10, 32-bit and 64-bit float WAV, RF64, and U/A-Law.
- Import MPEG audio (including MP2 and MP3 files) using libmad.
- Import raw (headerless) audio files using the “Import Raw” command.
- Create WAV or AIFF files suitable for burning to audio CD.
- Export MP3 files with the optional LAME encoder library.
- Import and export AC3, M4A/M4R (AAC) and WMA with the optional FFmpeg library (this also supports import of audio from video files).
Audacity can manage sound at very high rates to obtain the best quality:
- Supports 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit (floating point) samples (the latter preserves samples in excess of full scale).
- Sample rates and formats are converted using high-quality resampling and dithering.
- Tracks with different sample rates or formats are converted automatically in real time.
- Easy editing with Cut, Copy, Paste and Delete.
- Find the spot to edit easily with scrubbing and seeking or Timeline Quick-Play.
- Unlimited sequential Undo (and Redo) in the session to go back () any number of steps.
- Edit and mix large numbers of tracks.
- Multiple clips are allowed per track.
- Label tracks with selectable Sync-Lock Tracks feature for keeping tracks and labels synchronized.
- Draw Tool to alter individual sample points.
- Envelope Tool to fade the volume up or down smoothly.
- Automatic Crash Recovery in the event of abnormal program termination.
Many, many useful effects are available at your finger-tips, Audacity support many plugin formats (see below) so you can add your own easily. You will be able to process your sounds using VST, for examples, or using the built in filters. You can normalize, amplify or fade your sounds or create voice-overs.
- Real-time preview of LADSPA, LV2, VST and Audio Unit (macOS) effects.
- Plug-in Manager handles plug-in installation and addition/removal of effects and generators from the menus.
- Generate tones, silence, noise, instruments or rhythm track.
- Change the pitch without altering the tempo.
- Change the tempo without altering the pitch.
- Noise Reduction to remove static, hiss, hum or other constant background noises.
- Alter frequencies with Equalization, Bass and Treble, High Pass, Low Pass and Notch Filter effects.
- Filter a frequency selection created in Spectrogram view or Spectral Selection Toolbar using spectral edit effects.
- Adjust volume with Compressor, Amplify, Normalize, Fade In/Out, Studio Fade Out, Crossfade Clips, Crossfade Tracksand Adjustable Fade effects.
- Reduce or Isolate Vocals given suitable stereo tracks (vocal reduction produces a stereo result).
- Create voice-overs for podcasts or DJ sets using Auto Duck effect.
- Other built-in effects include:
- Paulstretch (extreme stretch)
- Truncate Silence
- Run “Chains” of effects on a project or multiple files in Batch Processing mode.
You can access several tools to analyze your audio, here are some of them:
- Spectrogram view mode for visualizing and selecting frequencies.
- Plot Spectrum window for detailed frequency analysis.
- Sample Data Export for exporting a file containing amplitude values for each sample in the selection and Sample Data Import for import of numeric values from a plain ASCII text file
- Contrast Analysis for analyzing average RMS volume differences between foreground speech and background music.
- Support for adding VAMP analysis plug-ins.
Free and Cross-Platform
As said in the beggining Audacity is FREE, completely free! It’s licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and runs on Windows, Mac OS X/macOS and GNU/Linux.