Audacity

Audacity 2.3

Free
Audio editor with sound recording capabilities
4.1  (1,068 votes)
2.3.2 (See all)
Edits audio files by adding effects and distortions, cutting, trimming, or joining multiple sounds together, changing the pitch levels, tempo, or loudness, etc. Record the audio from the microphone and convert between FLAC, WAV, AIFF, etc.

Amongst a large number of audio editing tools available in the market, Audacity stands out for various reasons. Firstly, it is an open source development, and therefore, it is completely free. Secondly, for that unbeatable price, it offers you tools and features usually available in professional editors only. And last but not least, it comes in an intuitive interface despite its extensive functionality and its professional features.

Audacity resembles very much the look and feel of well-known professional and expensive audio editors. Its waveform-based interface makes the entire editing process a very intuitive one, helped by the wise configuration of the mouse buttons. Cutting, splitting, mixing, inserting, or merging audio files are easily done just by dragging and clicking your mouse and following your intuition. Even first-time users will find themselves capable of recording and editing audio files without looking at the help files first.

As a recording tool, Audacity is equally easy to use. The waveform of the incoming audio is painted on the program’s interface on the fly, letting you know if the recording level is the right one and if the program is capturing the desired audio or not. You can make as many recordings as you wish and combine or mix them as you wish just by cutting, copying, merging, and pasting them without leaving the main interface. Alternatively, you can open the program’s graphics mixing desk and play DJ with your favorite tracks.

This open source audio editor comes with all the effects, filters, and functions that you would expect to find in the most sophisticated professional audio tool – change the pitch and tempo, apply noise reduction, alter the frequencies, change the volume (compress, amplify, normalize, fade in and out, etc.), and add distortion, echo, wah-wah, reverb, and phaser effects, among others. You can concatenate any of these effects (and their corresponding settings) and apply them in batches to any number of audio tracks.

None of the features required to process an audio file in a professional way are missing from Audacity. Despite being a completely free tool, it can not only be perfectly compared with any of its professional competitors but it also clearly beats them in terms of accessibility. Thus, together with via its highly intuitive yet fully visual waveform graphical editor and your mouse, Audacity can be also enjoyed in full by using solely the keyboard. It has incorporated all the keyboard shortcuts required for a person with a visual impairment to create and edit audio using this tool, as well as support for the most widely used Windows screen readers, such as JAWS and NVDA.

Both for its wide range of functions and features and the high level of robustness acquired over the years, Audacity is clearly the only audio editor you’ll ever need, suitable for both the amateur and professional audio editor.

Francisco Martínez
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Shows audio files as waveform graphs
  • Supports macros to automate common tasks
  • Includes a graphic mixing desk
  • Supports basic accessibility features

Cons

  • Lacks support for some popular formats due to license restrictions
Info updated on: