Featured in our list of the Best Music Production Software
Audacity is a free multi-track sound editor for MacOS, Windows, and Linux. It can record directly or import WAV, Ogg Vorbis, MP3, AIFF, and many other formats. Features include builtin effects, VST plugin loading, fast editing, and unlimited undo.
Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidiscs. With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio.
- Record from microphone, line input, or other sources.
- Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.
- Record up to 16 channels at once (requires multi-channel hardware).
- Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during, and after recording.
Related Recording Equipment:
Hitsquad's Comprehensive Guide to DAW Controllers
Import and Export
Import sound files, edit them, and combine them with other files or new recordings. Export your recordings in several common file formats.
- Import and export WAV, AIFF, AU, and Ogg Vorbis files.
- Import MPEG audio (including MP2 and MP3 files) with libmad.
- Export MP3s with the optional LAME encoder library.
- Create WAV or AIFF files suitable for burning to CD.
- Import and export all file formats supported by libsndfile.
- Open raw (headerless) audio files using the “Import Raw” command.
- Note: Audacity does not currently support WMA, AAC, or most other proprietary or restricted file formats.
- Easy editing with Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete.
- Use unlimited Undo (and Redo) to go back any number of steps.
- Very fast editing of large files.
- Edit and mix an unlimited number of tracks.
- Use the Drawing tool to alter individual sample points.
- Fade the volume up or down smoothly with the Envelope tool.
- Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.
- Remove static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.
- Alter frequencies with Equalization, FFT Filter, and Bass Boost effects.
- Adjust volumes with Compressor, Amplify, and Normalize effects.
- Other built-in effects include:
- Record and edit 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit (floating point) samples.
- Record at up to 96 kHz.
- Sample rates and formats are converted using high-quality resampling and dithering.
- Mix tracks with different sample rates or formats, and Audacity will convert them automatically in realtime.
- Add new effects with LADSPA plug-ins.
- Audacity includes some sample plug-ins by Steve Harris.
- Load VST plug-ins for Windows and Mac, with the optional VST Enabler.
- Write new effects with the built-in Nyquist programming language.
- Spectrogram mode for visualizing frequencies.
- “Plot Spectrum” command for detailed frequency analysis.
Changes in v2.0.6:
- Improved interface
- Improved effects
- VST effects now support standard FXP presets
- LV2 effects supported on all platforms
- Various bugfixes
Changes in v2.0.5:
- Navigate through an effect or other dialog using keyboard TAB.
- Fixed shaped dither being too loud
- Improved tracks menu and label editor.
Changes in v2.0.3:
- Uses libsoxr resampling library by default, instead of libresample, for higher quality and speed.
- Bugfix for Time Tracks and improvements
- New effects: "Studio Fade Out", "Adjustable Fade" and "Bass and Treble"
Changes in v2.0.2:
- Bugfix for Timer Record: Interlinking of the Start, End and Duration controls.
- Bugfix for Normalize crash
- Bugfix for clicks on split lines
- Improved toolbars
- Enhanced some Nyquist effects
Changes in v2.0.1:
- Bugfix for issue with .Aup files not opening with Audacity (they opened in the web browser instead).
- Selection Toolbar: a value for the previous whole second displayed if the value was close to a whole second.
- Finding zero crossings could cause the selection to expand into white space at either side of the clip.
- Clips did not drag to another track if mouse was over a selection.
- Mixer Board: Rendering four tracks resulted in a redundant Track Strip followed by a crash.
- Imports, Exports and Files
- Exporting to WAV or AIFF led to a "Libsndfile says" error or corrupted output due to order of metadata in imported files.
- Fixed issues where normalization could be to wrong value if applied with DC offset correction, or if applied to "read-directly" WAV and AIFF files
- Bugfix for an audible discontinuity at the beginning of the processed selection; fixed a serious quality problem on Linux 64-bit.
- Bugfix to prevent zooming with mouse wheel or ball scrolling the content off-screen.
- Shortcuts can now be added in Keyboard Preferences to items in the Generate, Effect or Analyze menus, including user-added plug-ins.
- Nyquist Effect plug-ins can now be added to Chains.
- New "Paulstretch" effect for extreme slowdown without pitch change.
- New "Sample Data Export" Analyze effect for exporting a file containing amplitude values for each sample in the selection.
- New Preference (off by default) to import files On-Demand (without seek ability) when using the optional FFmpeg library.
- New Preference (off by default) to retain labels when deleting a selection that snaps to the label without extending past it.
- CleanSpeech Mode (no longer supported) will not now be enabled even if it was enabled by an earlier version of Audacity.
- Added Serbian (Latin and Cyrillic) translations.
- Replaces Audacity 1.2.6, Audacity 1.3.14 and older versions
- Many effects were enhanced
- Equalization, Noise Removal and Normalize heavily improved
- Vocal Remover now included plus GVerb on Windows and Mac
- VAMP analysis plug-ins now supported
- Improved label tracks with Sync-Lock Tracks feature in the Tracks Menu.
- New Device Toolbar to manage inputs and outputs.
- Timer Record feature.
- New Mixer Board view with per-track VU meters.
- Automatic Crash Recovery in the event of abnormal program termination.
- Fast "On-Demand" import of WAV/AIFF files if read directly from source.
- FLAC now fully supported
- Added support for optional FFmpeg library
- Multiple clips per track
- Bugfixes for playback speed, synchronization and shortcut use
- Bugfixes for file imports and exports
- Bugfixes for analysis and effects
- New interface preference to show the track name in display
- Restored use of Page Up/Down to scroll horizontally
- Longer default playback preference for effects preview