Audacity the cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing it can be used for recording sounds and music, it offers exporting to WAV, AIFF and MP3 formats with a wide variety of audio cleaning and manipulation options.
Features and usage
In addition to recording audio from multiple sources, Audacity can be used for post-processing of all types of audio, including podcasts 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.
- Editing via cut, copy, and paste, with unlimited levels of undo
- Importing and exporting of WAV, AIFF, MP3 (via the LAME encoder, downloaded separately), 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.
- Conversion of cassette tapes or records into digital tracks by splitting the audio source into multiple tracks based on silences in the source material
- Multitrack mixing
- 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
- Amplitude envelope editing
- Noise Reduction based on sampling the noise to be minimized.
- Vocal Reduction and Isolation for the creation of karaoke tracks and isolated vocal tracks.
- Audio spectrum analysis using the Fourier transform algorithm
- Support for multi-channel modes with sampling rates up to 96 kHz with 32 bits per sample
- 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
- Adjusting audio pitch while maintaining speed and adjusting audio speed while maintaining pitch
- 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)
- Cross-platform operation â Audacity works on Windows, Mac OS X, and 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.
- LADSPA, VST (32-bit) and Audio Unit (macOS/OS X]) 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).
- A full downloadable Manual (or available online without downloading).
Audacity supports the LV2 open standard for plugins and can therefore load software like Calf Studio Gear.
Record in Multiple Formats
Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from other media. With some sound cards, and on any recent version of Windows, Audacity can also capture streaming audio.
- Device Toolbar manages multiple recording and playback devices.
- Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during and after recording. Clipping can be displayed in the waveform or in a label track.
- Record from microphone, line input, USB/Firewire devices and others.
- Record computer playback on Windows Vista and later by choosing âWindows WASAPIâ host in Device Toolbar then a âloopbackâ 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).
Import and Export
Import sound files, edit them, and combine them with other files or new recordings. Export your recordings in many different file formats, including multiple files at once. Export to other audio processing programs such as Logic X Pro, GarageBand and others.
- Import and Export WAV, AIFF, AU, FLAC and Ogg Vorbis files.
- Fast âOn-Demandâ 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 âImport Rawâ 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).
- 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.
- 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 Tracks and 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 âChainsâ of effects on a project or multiple files in Batch Processing mode.
- Support for LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit effect plug-ins.
- Effects written in the Nyquist programming language can be easily modified in a text editor â or you can even write your own plug-in.
- Experimental modules that extend the functionality of Audacity.
- 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.