Audacity is a term which means the willingness to take bold risks. Often, such actions yield extreme results. However, the individuals who have the guts to take such bold risks are never concerned about the results. There are countless instances in history where we have seen such audacity leading to develop something beneficial for humanity. Now, those of you who are reading this might be wondering why we are spending time on audacity so much. Well, today we are here to talk about a music editing software of the same name, Audacity. Since the launch of the software, it has received warm accolades from everyone. So let us go a little deeper to understand what it is all about.
Introduction to Audacity
Audacity is a free, open source digital audio editor. It is the brainchild of a group of developers. The distribution of the software is under the GNU General Public License (GPL). True to its name, the audio editor is capable of giving many premium software of the same genre a good run for their money. The software is incredibly rich in various features and is the ideal alternative to all the expensive audio editors out there. The best thing about Audacity is that it is very user-friendly. You need not be a music literate person or a music expert to use this software. As already mentioned, Audacity is a free and open source music editor, so, anyone who is a music lover (which we all are to a certain extent) can download it for making recordings, eliminating noise from the music, combine various audio clips, and apply special effects and perform a host of other functions. Despite being open source software, the results are as good as they get.
Open source software have many benefits. Audacity is no exception either. You have the option of expanding the software by downloading plugins. The addition of plugins will successfully add more variety to the software like adding improved effects, and the ability to integrate with other applications. Practically, the scope of working with Audacity is unlimited. Once you download and start using the software, you can create your own music, podcasts, audio books and virtually any kind of projects associated with audio or music files.
The features that make Audacity unique
Of course, there are valid reasons that make Audacity the preferable audio editing software for the music-loving community. The list of its advantages is pretty exhaustive. You can read about them from the various web resources. In the meantime, we highlight the points that make Audacity such a unique proposition.
- Audacity is cross-platform software. Therefore you can run it on all the operating systems.
- You have unlimited potential while working with Audacity. So, there are no limitations on the number or the length of music tracks.
- Audacity will let you experiment with a set of high-quality effects. Additionally, you can use plugins with the software for enhancing the music effects even more.
- Audacity is designated for everyone. The music professionals, in particular, find it very useful as some of the plugins are written in the Nyquist programming language. This language is specially designed for those who need to work with audio files.
- Real-time audio processing can involve a lot of complications. However, when you use Audacity, you will find that there are no complications at all. Audacity allows its users to perform multiple levels of undo. Additionally, it also makes the necessary changes to the audio.
- With the help of Audacity, now you can label the audio tracks. The labelling will make it convenient for annotating waveforms. At a later point in time, you can export the waveforms to a text file.
- The pitch-changing and tempo-changing effects of Audacity are simply awesome.
- The ability to view the waveforms as spectrograms or to do the same for a specific section of the audio file is a unique feature.
Various ways of using Audacity
We keep on reiterating; do not think Audacity has certain limitations just because it is a free and open source. In fact, the software features many powerful tools for the sake of enhancing music. Audacity offers you the best tools to perform various actions like reducing noise from audio, eliminating vocals from tracks and much more. To make the procedure more natural, Audacity is always ready to help you with its useful wizards.
When you have this open source software ready, you can record audios from a computer playback or a microphone. Additionally, the software has a plethora of features for the users. For instance, with Audacity, you have the license to import many different file formats. Generally, you have the power to enhance your audio experience. Some of the features of Audacity include the ability of multi-track editing, smooth fading, labelling, syncing and much more. Audacity is also known for rendering some other essential services that include the removal of annoying hissing sounds, humming and other background noises. Audacity also allows you to save your editing work as a project, or you may also export them in a specific way.
When you try Audacity, you will notice that it is practically flawless. The software has only a minor con (if you think so), some of the tools you will be using may be a trifle inconsistent in their design. The blemish is attributable to the size and variety of those who are continually developing the software.
Features of the Audacity software
By now, you have undoubtedly realized that Audacity is going to be your ultimate choice for editing music files. If you are using the software for the first time, you should learn how to use the essential features of this software. So let us begin:
Of course, anyone using Audacity for the first time would want to test it by recording audio. The following steps will help you do so in a perfect manner:
Firstly, plug in your microphone into the computer.
- Open the Audacity software and navigate to the drop-down list to select the location of your microphone. You need to mention the place where it has been plugged in.
- You will find a red button, clicking on which will start the recording. Click on the stop button for finishing the recording process.
- Now click on the play button which will enable you to listen to your recording. While the audio track is playing, a graphical representation of the audio will also be visible just below the menu options.
Importing an audio file
If you desire to introduce another audio track, already present on your computer, select File > Import > Audio. Now, select the file which you want to play. The audio file will start playing, and as mentioned above you will see the graphical representation of the audio file.
Exporting an audio file
You can import and export any audio data to this software. The files Audacity supports include WAV, AIFF, AU, FLAC and Ogg Vorbis files. At the present day, we all know the MP3 files are the most common audio files. If you intend to export an MP3 file, you will have to install different software preferably the Lame MP3 encoder. For this, open the home page of Lame and navigate to the download section. Search for the latest version of the MP3 encoder and download it. During the installation of the Lame MP3 encoder ensure, you have to follow the on-screen instructions correctly. The encoder should now be ready to be used with Audacity.
Now, you can export the MP3 audio file of your choice. For this, select File > Export and choose the file you want to export. Once it appears, select a destination for saving the file. That’s it; your audio file will now be saved at this location.
You have the option to add multiple effects to the file you imported into the software. Audacity offers you the option of adding effects to the entire file or a specific section of the file. For applying effects to a particular section, you need to hold and drag the mouse button and select the part you intend to modify. You will notice, the selected section will appear in a different colour. You are now ready to apply the effect. Click on the Effects from the menu, and in the drop-down list, you will find a host of effect options. You can try each one of them and see how it fares with your audio. Applying effects can significantly enhance the quality of poorly recorded audio tracks.
Viewing the edits
Professional music editors would prefer an option for precise audio selection. Audacity offers an opportunity to zoom into the audio wave. To achieve this, you need to select View > Zoom In, additionally there are other features like standard zoom and zoom out.
Adding a new track
Audacity has the provision of adding multiple tracks even when a track is already open. You can perform a series of operations to these tracks to further enhance the sound quality, and these include generating silence, cut and pasting, and muting tracks.
Advantages of the updated Audacity
Free and open source software like Audacity can gradually become difficult to use in the long run. The software, unlike the other paid software, gets regular additions of tricks and effects. At one point in time, things are bound to become difficult for you. Due to this reason, some loyal fans of Audacity were starting to think of switching to other free music editing software. Thankfully, Audacity was quick to realise this. The release of the Audacity version 2.2.0 has thus come as a relief for the users of the software. The new and updated version of Audacity features tidy menus and a brand new user interface. If you have not gone for this critical update, it is high time you do so.
The process of updating Audacity
Unfortunately, when you are trying to update the software, you will not find an inbuilt update option. You have to do so manually. For doing this, navigate to the official website of the Audacity software and locate the download link. Now, you should be able to see the following options:
Download Audacity for the Windows XP (SP2), Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10.
Download Audacity for Mac OS X/macOS version 10.6 and later.
Download Audacity for GNU/Linux. (You can download the source code from the Audacity website).
After completing the download for your operating system, install the updated Audacity. You should ensure, you are not running a previous version of the same software. To put it in simple words, you have to make a fresh install of the updated Audacity software.
The new and improved features of Audacity
- Firstly, you will love the new look of the updated Audacity. For making the user experience even better, the developers include more modern user interfaces regularly. To change the look, you can select Edit > Preferences >Interface. Here, you are going to find the Theme drop-down menu which has several options that include light dark, classic, and high contrast to name a few. Additionally, you also have the opportunity of designing the user interface with the help of the custom option.
- Secondly, the updated Audacity will present new and tidier menus. The update comes as a welcome relief as the menu of the older version of Audacity was becoming very congested.
- Thirdly, the updated Audacity includes the MIDI support. You may find this surprising, but it is true that the older versions had no support for MIDI files. MIDI is one of the commonly used music files. You can easily import MIDI tracks and similarly work with them as we have explained in the earlier part of this article.
- Lastly, the latest version of Audacity has been built to help the users in every possible way. Precisely speaking, when you click on the help option on the software, you are going to get answers for most of your queries. Audacity also features a manual that explains everything related to the software in a better manner.
You should now be able to use Audacity without any problems. So, download this remarkable music editing software today and experiment with your audio files.