Audacity is a powerful but free audio editor with many effects and functions. The open-source and cross-platform software hides great capabilities under its simplistic interface, which allows people with little experience to use it with great success.
- Versatile recording function via either a mixer or microphone
- Exporting from and importing to different audio formats
- Editing with various features and effects
- Different accessibility options that enhance ease of use
- Provides analysis tools
- Supports plug-ins
Audacity installer gave us the option to select the plug-ins we wanted to install. When we launched the free audio editor for the first time, it displayed a window showing us different methods of getting help.
On the top left side of the grayish user interface were familiar buttons for playing, pausing and stopping in addition to three others for recording and skipping to the start and end. Below them were sliders for selecting the respective levels of speaker, microphone and playback speed. At the middle upper section were buttons for selecting different tools, while the playback and recording levels were on the top right side.
The window displaying audio waves, either of a loaded file or the one being recorded, was in the middle section of the program window. Below them were numbers showing audio position, selection start and either end or length. It also displayed Project rate and ‘Snap To’ option.
We could let program use the default sound and recording devices on our system or select the specific ones we wanted to use. Recording was as easy as pressing the ‘Record’ button. Under the ‘Transport’ menu, we could choose to turn ‘Overdub’ either on or off depending on whether we wanted to erase earlier tracks or create a multi-track file.
Although it is a good idea to make as clean a recording as possible, we did not have to worry too much about where we took our recordings because we could later apply relevant effects to improve quality. For example, we could amplify sounds and then remove noise selecting a small section with the noise we wanted to filter to generate a noise profile.
In the second step of removing noise, we could adjust noise reduction, sensitivity, frequency smoothing and attack or delay time. We could then choose either to remove or isolate the noise.
Although Audacity is a free audio editor, it has powerful features for improving sound quality and adding tags.