Audacity (audio editor)
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2013)|
|Developer(s)||The Audacity Team|
|Initial release||28 May 2000|
|Stable release||2.0.5 (21 October 2013[±])|
|Preview release||None (None) [±]|
|Written in||C and C++ (using the wxWidgets toolkit)|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Unix|
|Available in||Over 20 languages|
|Type||Digital audio editor|
Audacity is a free open source digital audio editor and recording computer software application, available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other operating systems. Audacity was started in May of 2000 by Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg at Carnegie Mellon University. As of 10 October 2011[update], it was the 11th most popular download from SourceForge, with 76.5 million downloads. Audacity won the SourceForge 2007 and 2009 Community Choice Award for Best Project for Multimedia.
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 the following:
- 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 support Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC). Version 1.3.6 and later also support additional formats such as WMA, AAC, AMR and AC3 via the optional FFmpeg library.
- Recording and playing back sounds
- Editing via Cut, Copy and Paste (with unlimited levels of Undo)
- Multitrack mixing
- A large array of digital effects and plug-ins. Additional effects can be written with Nyquist
- Built-in LADSPA plug-in support. VST support available through an optional VST Enabler.
- Amplitude envelope editing
- Noise removal based on sampling the noise to be removed.
- 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's speed while maintaining pitch (Audacity calls it changing tempo), in order to synchronize it with video or run for a predetermined length of time
- Changes to the audio's pitch without changing the speed
- Features of modern multi-track 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)
- Conversion of cassette tapes or records into digital tracks by automatically splitting the audio source into multiple tracks based on silences in the source material
- Support for multiple platforms — Audacity works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Unix-like systems (including Linux and BSD), among others
- The latest stable version supports Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7, but Windows 95 and NT are not supported.
- Audacity uses the wxWidgets software library to provide a similar graphical user interface on several different operating systems.
Audacity supports only 32-bit VST audio effect plug-ins. It does not support 64-bit or instrument VST plugins. Audacity lacks dynamic equalizer controls, real time effects and support for scrubbing. MIDI files can only be displayed.
Audacity does not directly support WMA, AAC, or most other proprietary or restricted file formats. To import or export AC3, AMR(NB), WMA and other proprietary formats, requires the optional FFmpeg library.
Also, while Audacity does feature a vocal remover for the easy creation of karaoke tracks, a more desirable result requires several steps and use of the noise removal feature.
In addition to English language help, the ZIP file of the downloadable Audacity software program includes help files for Afrikaans, Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Welsh in its user interface. A partial Bengali help file is also included.
The free and open nature of Audacity has allowed it to become very popular in education, encouraging its developers to make the user interface easier for students and teachers.
CNET rated Audacity 5/5 stars and called it "feature rich and flexible". Preston Gralla of PC World said, "If you're interested in creating, editing, and mixing you'll want Audacity." Jack Wallen of Tech Republic highlighted its features and ease-of-use. Michael Muchmore of PC Magazine rated it 3.5/5 stars and said, "Though not as slick or powerful as programs from the likes of Adobe, Sony, and M-Audio, Audacity is surprisingly feature-full for free software."
In The Art of Unix Programming, Eric S. Raymond says of Audacity "The central virtue of this program is that it has a superbly transparent and natural user interface, one that erects as few barriers between the user and the sound file as possible."
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