Audacity

Audacity is a free and open-source digital audio editor and recording application software, available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and other Unix-like operating systems.   Audacity won the SourceForge 2007 and 2009 Community Choice Award for Best Project for Multimedia. Audacity is licensed under GPLv2 or any later version.

The interface is translated into many languages. You can use Audacity to:,•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., •Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together. •Change the speed or pitch of a recording.

In addition to recording audio from multiple sources, Audacity can be used for post-processing of all types of audio by adding effects such as normalization, trimming, and fading in and out. Audacity has also been used to record and mix entire albums, such as by Tune-Yards. It is also currently used in the UK OCR National Level 2 ICT course for the sound creation unit.

Audacity’s features include:

  • Recording and playing back sounds
    • Scrubbing (Version 2.1.1 and later)
    • Timer Record enables the user to schedule when a recording begins and ends to make an unattended recording.
    • MIDI playback is available (from version 2.2.0 onwards)
    • Punch and Roll recording – for editing on-the-fly (from version 2.3.0 onwards)
  • Editing
    • via cut, copy, and paste, with unlimited levels of undo
    • Features of modern multitrack audio software including navigation controls, zoom and single track edit, project pane and XY project navigation, non-destructive and destructive effect processing, audio file manipulation (cut, copy, paste)
    • Amplitude envelope editing
    • Precise adjustments to the audio speed (tempo) while maintaining pitch in order to synchronize it with video or run for a predetermined length of time
    • Conversion of cassette tapes or records into digital tracks by splitting the audio source into multiple tracks based on silences in the source material
  • Cross-platform operation — Audacity works on Windows, macOS, and other Unix-like systems (including Linux and BSD)
    • Audacity uses the wxWidgets software library to provide a similar graphical user interface on several different operating systems.
  • A large array of digital effects and plug-ins. Additional effects can be written with Nyquist, a Lisp dialect.
    • Built-in LADSPA, VST(32-bit) and Nyquist plug-in support.
    • Noise Reduction based on sampling the noise to be minimized.
    • Vocal Reduction and Isolation for the creation of karaoke tracks and isolated vocal tracks.
    • Adjusting audio pitch while maintaining speed and adjusting audio speed while maintaining pitch
    • LADSPA, VST (32-bit) and Audio Unit (macOS) effects now support real-time preview (from version 2.1.0 onwards). Note: Real-time preview does not yet support latency compensation.
    • Saving and loading of user presets for effect settings across sessions (from 2.1.0 onwards).
  • Multitrack mixing
  • Support for multi-channel modes with sampling rates up to 96 kHz with 32 bits per sample.
  • Audio spectrum analysis using the Fourier transform algorithm
  • Importing and exporting of WAV, AIFF, MP3 (via the LAME encoder, now integrated as part of Audacity), Ogg Vorbis, and all file formats supported by libsndfile library. Versions 1.3.2 and later supported Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC). Version 1.3.6 and later also supported additional formats such as WMA, AAC, AMR and AC3 via the optional FFmpeg library.
  • Detection of dropout errors while recording with an overburdened CPU
  • From 2.3.2 onwards, mod-script-pipe for driving Audacity from Python now comes with Audacity and it can be enabled via preferences.
  • A full downloadable manual. (or available online without downloading).
  • Four user-selectable themes enable the user to choose their preferred look and feel for the application (version 2.2.0 and later)
    • Four user-selectable colorways for waveform display in audio tracks (version 2.2.1 and later).

Audacity supports the LV2 open standard for plugins and can therefore load software like Calf Studio Gear.

Audacity’s 3.0 update, in March 2021, introduced a new project file format, .aup3, using SQLite database to store everything.

Limitations

Audacity supports only 32-bit or 64-bit VST audio effect plug-ins, depending on which architecture it was built for, but not both at the same time. It is built-in 32-bit for Windows and 64-bit for macOS.

It does not support instrument VST (VSTi) plugins.

Audacity lacks dynamic equalizer controls and real-time effects while recording.

Audacity does not natively import or export WMA, AAC, AC3 or most other proprietary or restricted file formats; rather, an optional FFmpeg library is required.

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