Audacity (audio editor)

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Audacity (audio editor)
Audacity Logo With Name.png
Audacity 2.0.6 on Arch Linux
Developer(s) The Audacity Team
Initial release 28 May 2000; 14 years ago (2000-05-28)
Stable release 2.0.6 (29 September 2014; 5 months ago (2014-09-29)) [±]
Preview release None [±]
Development status Active
Written in C and C++ (using the wxWidgets toolkit)[1][2]
Operating system Windows, OS X, Linux, Unix[3][4]
Platform IA-32, x86-64
Size 21.83 MB: Windows
32.4 MB: OS X
Available in
Type Digital audio editor
License GNU GPLv2+[5]

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.[3][4] Audacity was started in the fall of 1999 by Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg at Carnegie Mellon University and was released on May 28, 2000 as version 0.8.[6][7] As of 10 October 2011, it was the 11th most popular download from SourceForge, with 76.5 million downloads.[8] Audacity won the SourceForge 2007 and 2009 Community Choice Award for Best Project for Multimedia.[9][10]

Features and usage[edit]

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.[11] Audacity has also been used to record and mix entire albums, such as by Tune-Yards.[12] It is also currently used in the UK OCR National Level 2 ICT course for the sound creation unit.

Audacity's features include:

  • 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).[13] 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.[14]
  • Amplitude envelope editing
  • Noise Reduction based on sampling the noise to be minimized.[15]
  • 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
  • Features of modern multitrack audio software[16] 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
  • Cross-platform operation — 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.

Audacity supports the LV2 open standard for plugins and can therefore load software like Calf Studio Gear.[17]


Screenshot of an Audacity project

Audacity supports only 32-bit VST audio effect plug-ins. It does not support 64-bit or instrument VST (VSTi) plugins.[18] Audacity lacks dynamic equalizer controls, real time effects and support for scrubbing.[19] MIDI files can only be displayed.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22]

Language support[edit]

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.[23]

The Audacity website also provides tutorials in several languages.[24]


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.[25]

CNET rated Audacity 5/5 stars and called it "feature rich and flexible".[26] Preston Gralla of PC World said, "If you're interested in creating, editing, and mixing you'll want Audacity."[27] Jack Wallen of Tech Republic highlighted its features and ease-of-use.[28] 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."[29]

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."[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SourceForge (July 2004). "Project of the Month July 2004 - Audacity". Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  2. ^ United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2004). "E-Commerce and Development Report 2004". Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  3. ^ a b "Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder". Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "About Audacity". Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  5. ^ Audacity Team. "License, and Advice for Vendors and Distributors". Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-23. 
  6. ^ "Version 0.8: May 28, 2000" in README.txt of
  7. ^ "Credits". Retrieved 2012-02-19. 
  8. ^ " All-Time Top Downloads". Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010. 
  9. ^ " 2007 Community Choice Awards". Archived from the original on 20 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  10. ^ " 2009 Community Choice Awards". Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  11. ^ "Podcasting with Linux Command Line Tools and Audacity". Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  12. ^ "World of Wonder". The New Yorker. May 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ Audacity development team (2006-10-30). "Audacity 1.3.2 a 1.2.5 released". Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  14. ^ Audacity development team. "Audacity: Plug-Ins and Libraries". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  15. ^ "Noise Removal". Retrieved 2012-02-24. 
  16. ^ "Compare Sequencing & Multi-track Recording - Kelly's Music & Computers Comparison Charts". Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  17. ^ "Calf Studio Gear supports LV2". 
  18. ^ "FAQ:How do I install VST plug-ins? - Audacity Manual". Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  19. ^ Audacity Project (November 2008). "Audacity Feature Requests". Archived from the original on 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  20. ^ "Quick Guide - Audacity Manual". Retrieved 2009-12-16. 
  21. ^ "Audacity: Features". 2013-03-22. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  22. ^ Sheogorath (2013-07-11). "Perfect Chipmunkising in Audacity - Sheogorath - Original Work [Archive of Our Own]". Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  23. ^ "Changing the current language - Audacity Wiki". 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  24. ^ "MultiLingual". 
  25. ^ Jaworski, Nick; Thibeault, Matthew D. (2011). "Technology for Teaching: Audacity. Free and open-source software.". Music Educators Journal 98 (2): 39–40. doi:10.1177/0027432111428745. ISSN 0027-4321. 
  26. ^ "Audacity". CNET. 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  27. ^ Gralla, Preston (2008-10-22). "Audacity". PC World. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  28. ^ Wallen, Jack (2011-07-18). "Giving Audacity its due: An audio editor with serious functionality". Tech Republic. Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  29. ^ Muchmore, Michael (2010-02-05). "Audacity 1.2 review". Retrieved 2013-09-01. 
  30. ^ "Studying Cases Chapter 6. Transparency". 
  • Franklin, Jerry (2006). "The Sheer Audacity: How to Get More, in Less Time, from the Audacity Digital Audio Editing Software". pp. 92–105. doi:10.1109/IPCC.2006.320394. 
  • Mazzoni, Dominic; Dannenberg, Roger B. (2002). "A Fast Data Structure for Disk-Based Audio Editing". Computer Music Journal 26 (2): 62–76. doi:10.1162/014892602760137185. ISSN 0148-9267. 
  • Bernardini, Nicola; Rocchesso, Davide (2002). "Making Sounds with Numbers: A Tutorial on Music Software Dedicated to Digital Audio". Journal of New Music Research 31 (2): 141–151. doi:10.1076/jnmr. ISSN 0929-8215. 

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