Audacity (audio editor)
|Developer(s)||The Audacity Team|
|Initial release||May 28, 2000|
|Stable release||3.0.0 (March 17, 2021)|
|Written in||C, C++ (using the wxWidgets toolkit)|
|Operating system||Windows, macOS, Linux, other Unix-like systems|
|Platform||IA-32, x86-64, PowerPC|
|Size||65.2 MB: Windows|
85.5 MB: macOS
includes downloaded Manual
|Type||Digital audio editor|
|License||GPLv2, CC BY 3.0 (documentation)|
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 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.
As of March 17, 2021, it is the most popular download from FossHub, with over 108 million downloads since March 2015. Previously, downloads were served from Google Code and SourceForge, with a combined total in excess of 200 million downloads. Audacity won the SourceForge 2007 and 2009 Community Choice Award for Best Project for Multimedia. Audacity is licensed under GPLv2 or any later version.
Features and usage
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
- 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)
- 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
- 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 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.
In addition to English language, the Graphical User Interface of the Audacity software program is translated into Afrikaans, Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Corsican, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Marathi, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Welsh.
The documentation, the Audacity Manual, is available only in English. The Audacity Forum offers technical support in: Spanish, French, Russian and German.
The diagram illustrates the layers and modules in Audacity. Note the three important classes within wxWidgets, each of which has a reflection in Audacity. Higher-level abstractions result from related lower-level ones.
For example, the BlockFile system is a reflection of and is built on wxWidgets' wxFiles. Lower down in the diagram is a narrow strip for "Platform Specific Implementation Layers."
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 (2003), open-source software advocate Eric S. Raymond wrote 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."
Some reviewers and users have criticized Audacity for its inconvenient UX design, unsightly GUI, destructive editing, and comparative lack of features, contrasting Audacity with competing products that require fewer actions from the user to perform tasks such as noise reduction.
In 2021 Anthony Spadafora of TechRadar reported: "Audacity 3.0 finally lands after years of waiting - Latest version of Audacity comes with some big improvements including a brand new file format. It's been over nine years since Audacity last released a new numbered version of its free audio editor but fans of the open source software can now download Audacity 3.0. With the release of Audacity 3.0, the company has made a number of significant improvements to its software including adding new features, fixing over 160 bugs and introducing a brand new project file format."
- "Release Notes 3.0.0". Audacity Wiki. June 26, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- SourceForge (July 2004). "Project of the Month July 2004 - Audacity". Archived from the original on December 23, 2008. Retrieved November 27, 2008.
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2004). "E-Commerce and Development Report 2004" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved November 27, 2008.
- "Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder". audacityteam.org. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
- "About Audacity". audacityteam.org. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- Audacity Team. "Copyright". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- "Version 0.8: May 28, 2000" in README.txt of audacity-win-0.8.zip
- "Credits". audacityteam.org. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- FossHub.com. "Download Audacity".
- "SourceForge.net: 2007 Community Choice Awards". Archived from the original on January 20, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
- "SourceForge.net: 2009 Community Choice Awards". Retrieved February 4, 2012.
- "License". Audacity ®. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
- James Crook (March 15, 2012). "Chapter 2. Audacity". The Architecture of Open Source Applications. Amy Brown, Greg Wilson. ISBN 978-1257638017.
- "Podcasting with Linux Command Line Tools and Audacity". Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
- Frere-Jones, Sasha (May 2, 2011). "World of Wonder: How Merrill Garbus left the theatre and took the stage." The New Yorker. Retrieved 2015-05-16.
- "Playing and Recording". Audacityteam.org.
- "Scrubbing and Seeking". Audacityteam.org. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016.
- "Timer Record". Audacityteam.org.
- "Note Tracks". Audacityteam.org.
- "Edit commands in Audacity". Audacityteam.org.
- "Audacity's Envelope Tool". Audacityteam.org.
- "Change Tempo". Audacityteam.org.
- "Copying tapes, LPs or MiniDiscs to CD". Audacityteam.org.
- "Cross-platform downloads for Audacity". Audacityteam.org.
- "wxWidgets Cross-platform GUI Library". Audacityteam.org.
- "Index of Effects, Generators and Analyzers in Audacity". Audacityteam.org.
- "Nyquist Plug-ins Reference". Audacityteam.org.
- Audacity development team . "Audacity: Plug-ins and Libraries".
- "Noise Reduction". Audacityteam.org.
- "Vocal Reduction and Isolation". Audacityteam.org.
- "Change Pitch". Audacityteam.org.
- "Real-time preview of effects". Audacityteam.org.
- "Manage Effects, Generators and Analyzers". Audacityteam.org.
- "Audacity Tracks Menu". Audacityteam.org. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- "Multichannel Recording". Audacityteam.org.
- "Plot Spectrum". Audacityteam.org.
- "Audacity's Spectrogram View". Audacityteam.org.
- Audacity development team (October 30, 2006). "Audacity 1.3.2 a 1.2.5 released". Retrieved January 19, 2010.
- "Importing Audio". Audacityteam.org.
- "Audacity Manual". Audacityteam.org.
- "Themes". Audacityteam.org.
- "Waveform colorways". Audacityteam.org.
- "Calf Studio Gear supports LV2".
- Linder, Brad (March 17, 2021). "Audacity 3.0 released with new project file format (Open source, cross-platform audio editor)". Liliputing. Retrieved March 20, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Spadafora, Anthony (March 18, 2021). "Audacity 3.0 finally lands after years of waiting". TechRadar. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2021.
- "FAQ:How do I install VST plug-ins? - Audacity Manual". Audacityteam.org. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- "Audacity: Features". audacityteam.org. March 22, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
- "Languages - Audacity Development Manual". manual.audacityteam.org. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- "Audacity Development Manual". manual.audacityteam.org. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- 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.
- "Audacity". CNET. November 8, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Gralla, Preston (October 22, 2008). "Audacity". PC World. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Wallen, Jack (July 18, 2011). "Giving Audacity its due: An audio editor with serious functionality". Tech Republic. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- Muchmore, Michael (February 5, 2010). "Audacity 1.2 review". Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- "Studying Cases Chapter 6. Transparency".
- Lewis, Daniel (December 3, 2012). "7 reasons I'm switching from Audacity to Audition (and why you shouldn't)". Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- McLean, Matthew (June 1, 2017). "Audacity Vs Adobe Audition CC | Where Should I Record & Edit My Podcast?". Retrieved February 15, 2018.
- Franklin, Jerry (2006). "The Sheer Audacity: How to Get More, in Less Time, from the Audacity Digital Audio Editing Software". 2006 IEEE International Professional Communication Conference. pp. 92–105. doi:10.1109/IPCC.2006.320394. ISBN 978-0-7803-9778-1. S2CID 23353302.
- Mazzoni, Dominic; Dannenberg, Roger B. (2002). "A Fast Data Structure for Disk-Based Audio Editing". Computer Music Journal. 26 (2): 62–76. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.72.7855. doi:10.1162/014892602760137185. ISSN 0148-9267. S2CID 1709255.
- 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. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.41.1211. doi:10.1076/jnmr.126.96.36.19989. ISSN 0929-8215. S2CID 15597769.
- James Crook, Amy Brown, Greg Wilson - The Architecture of Open Source Applications - Chapter 2 Audacity, released 2012 under CC BY 3.0 (open access).