Audacity is a fantastic audio editor, that while a bit difficult to wrap your head around during the first few uses, offers immense potential for editing your audio files in a very clean package. Given that working with audio files is hardly a simple task, a moderate learning curve is acceptable (outside of the audio engineering crowd).
I’ll be the first to admit that my simple requirements fall dramatically short of Audacity’s potential, but it handles what I need it to do beautifully. I’ve had no difficulty splicing clips, mixing tracks, fading albums, tweaking audio channels, and cleaning up defective segments of damaged audio tracks. Considering my inexperience with any audio editor, Audacity is surprisingly intuitive.
With no special configuration required (on Linux anyways), it supports most major formats (Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV, AIFF, AU). I imagine this doesn’t cover the professional editing formats, but for average users, it means we can get to work without mucking about with format conversions.
Playback is available directly from the application, with no “exporting” required to check your work. Just click the play button to hear the piece. For selective playback, highlight an interesting segment and hit play: perfect for fine-tuning fades.
It is worth noting that Audacity is also cross-platform. It claims to run smoothly on Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. I haven’t verified that claim on the latter two platforms, but if the performance on Linux is any indication, things are looking good.
Audacity is fast, efficient, and effective. I don’t know enough about audio editing to know if it does everything anyone could want, but I have yet to find something I want to do, that it doesn’t support. How useful is this for people with more complex demands than mine? Share your experiences in the comments!
- Audacity for Ubuntu (requires 7.10+)