Audacity is an open-source digital audio editing software program that is free to use. The program is compatible with numerous operating systems including macOS, Linux, Windows, and other Unix-style operating systems. The program was started in 1999 by students at Carnegie Mellon University and was released during the summer of 2000.
Audacity is one of the most popular audio editing programs of all time and has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times during the years since it was released. It was acquired by Muse Group in 2021, a group that also owns Ultimate Guitar and MuseScore. The group announced that the program would remain open-source and free for its users.
Audacity has a number of features, including the ability to record audio from multiple sources simultaneously. Users can also process numerous types of audio, adding a variety of effects including trimming, fading, and normalization. The program has also been used to mix entire music albums. Users are able to record their own tracks, import and edit sound files, and convert files from one format to another using high-quality resampling and mixing features. Some of the key features of Audacity include:
- Recording and playing back sounds including MIDI playback, scrubbing, punch and roll editing, and timer recording
- Editing sound bites including copying, cutting, pasting, and multitrack features
- Tempo adjustments even while maintaining the pitch of the programs
- Converting older audio formats, such as cassettes, into digital tracks
- Cross-platform editing, meaning the conversion of one file type to another for use on numerous audio systems
- Audio spectrum analytics through the Fourier Transformation algorithm
- Support for multi-channel audio files
- Multiple visual themes with several colorways for waveform display on the audio tracks
Audacity is also available in dozens of languages, including English, French, Basque, Bulgarian, Swedish, Russian, Turkish, Mandarin, Spanish, Japanese, and Portuguese.
While Audacity has become a popular audio editing program, there is no instrument plugin, which is usually a VST or VSTi plugin. There are no real-time track equalizers or other real-time effect capabilities for recording or playback features. Audacity is not able to handle all file types, such as AC3 or AAC.
Throughout the years, the Audacity download has become popular across multiple industries, particularly in education. The free program encourages students to record, alter, and edit their files for various project types. The programming has also been helpful for students looking to learn how to do their own programming.
The user interface has gone through several rounds of changes, gradually becoming friendlier to those who do not have a strong technical background. New effects have been added, the tracks and selections have become easier to manipulate, and the editing options have become more robust, allowing users to customize their experiences to meet their needs. With each new version that is released, new features are added, creating more options for each Audacity download.