Audacity: the best free voice editing software
Audacity, the best free audio editing software that everyone loves to use, has been around for almost two decades. First created in 1999 as a part of a research project at the Carnegie Mellon University, creators Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg released it as an open-source free sound software in 2000. Two years later, Audacity 1.0 was released to the public. Contributors all over the world have since helped to improve the software and its voice over technology. The program is now in version 2.1.3.
Audacity has a wide range of features that you can use to edit your voice overs. It supports different 24-bit and 32-bit audio file formats, including WAV, AIFF, OGG and MP3. (It may also work with 16-bit audio files.) You can record your voice overs using the software and mix it with background music. Its voice over technology also includes features like recording multi-track overdubs, vocal removal and isolation, looping, splitting a recording into separate tracks, etc. When editing your voice overs, you can also add effects, create a crossfade, etc.
Simple, Compatible, Free
A lot of audio editing software boasts top-notch voice over technology. So what separates Audacity from other programs?
Audacity has three major strengths: 1) Its simple interface that allows even the least voice over technology-savvy Pros to edit their voice overs, 2) its compatibility with different operating systems and file formats, and 3) its cost, which is none. Let’s discuss each one.
As you open Audacity, you can immediately find the Menu Bar (1) at the top of the program. You can expand each menu entry by hovering over them. The drop-down menu will show you more options; for instance, under “Effect”, you will find External Effects plug-ins that you can use to edit your voice overs.
Below the Menu Bar, you can find the Transport Toolbar (2) where you can see the pause, play, stop, skip to start, skip to end, and record buttons. To the right of the Transport Toolbar, the Tools Toolbar (3) contains the select, envelope, draw, zoom, time shift, and multi-tool buttons. The Recording Meter Toolbar (4) and Playback Meter Toolbar (5), which you can use to monitor your audio’s signals, are located beside the Tools Toolbar.
The third row of the program contains the Mixer Toolbar (6), where you can adjust the volume of your recordings and audio clips, the Edit Toolbar (7), where you can find eleven editing options including cut, copy, paste, trim, undo, etc., and the Transcription Toolbar (8), where you can adjust the speed of your audio.
The fourth row contains the Device Toolbar (9) which allows you to easily change and access your audio host, recording device, recording channels and playback device. Below that, you’ll finally see your audio timelines. You can edit your voice overs through the timelines and by using the different tools in the toolbars.
As you can see from the image above, everything you need to edit your audio files can be found as soon as you open the program. You don’t need to be an expert in voice over technology for you to use Audacity effectively. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience in audio editing, with Audacity, you can still create beautiful voice overs that will help you become a successful Bunny Pro.
If you’re a fan of Ubuntu, you’ll be glad to know that Audacity is not only compatible with Mac and Windows but is also compatible with GNU/Linux. Unfortunately for Chromebook users, the program doesn’t currently run on Chrome OS. However, you can run it on devices with this operating system by using a Chrome version of Linux Ubuntu.
Like mentioned earlier, it also supports a variety of audio file formats with the option to expand to more formats using a ready-to-download extension from Audacity’s website. Even though some will say that Audacity’s voice over technology is not as elaborate as its competitors’, its extensions allow you to modify it, depending on how you use the program.
As you already know, Audacity doesn’t cost a thing. You don’t have to pay a cent to use this program. Just go to Audacity’s download page and choose your OS to begin downloading the free sound software.
For Mac and Windows users, you can also find additional download options from Audacity, including effects and filters, the LAME MP3 encoder that allows the program to export MP3 files, and the FFmpeg import/export library that allows the program to support more audio formats.
You can also download the source code from the download page (for free!) if you want to build Audacity yourself.
Is it really the best?
Audacity is simple, compatible and free—but is it really the best? What do you get from Audacity and other top sound editing software at their given price points? To help you determine if Audacity is the perfect software for you, take a look at the comparison below:
- Price: $0
- Interface: Easy
- Features: Record, edit, add effects, import/export (with available plug-ins and extensions)
- OS: Windows, Mac, and Linux
- File Formats: WAV, AIFF, OGG, MP3, etc. (with the option to expand)
- Price: $19.90/month
- Interface: Complex
- Features: Record, edit, add effects, import/export
- OS: Window sand Mac
- File Formats: RAW, SAM, WAV, MP3, VOX, etc.
- Price: $69.95
- Interface: Easy
- Features: Record, edit, add effects, import/export
- OS: Windows and Mac
- File Formats: MP3, WAV, VOX, GSM, WMA, etc.
As you can see from above, Audacity is the only free sound software on the list. Still, it delivers quality voice over technology in terms of ease-of-use, features, and compatibility. You can say that it is the most worth it of all three editing software.
Make the most of Audacity
Adobe Audition and WavePad may have more advanced tools for editing sounds, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make quality voice overs with Audacity. Here are some tips on how to create professional voice overs with this free sound software:
Balance volume levels
- If your entire recording is too soft or too loud, go to Effect > Amplify and then adjust the decibel level. You can also use this feature for a specific part of your recording by highlighting it before amplifying.
- If only portions of your recording are too soft or too loud, go to Effect > Normalize.
Remove background noise
- Go to Effect > Noise Reduction and then click on Get Noise Profile.
- Highlight your recording from start to finish.
- Go back to Effect > Noise Reduction and then click OK.
For a ten-minute clip, it’s easy to individually remove gaps from your recording. But if you’re dealing with a longer clip (say, a one-hour recording), this task becomes tedious. Here’s how to remove all gaps of silence with just a few clicks.
- Highlight your entire recording.
- Go to Effect > Truncate Silence.
- Adjust the decibel level and minimum duration of the gaps you want to remove.
- Choose whether to truncate detected silence or compress excess silence from the Action menu.
- Click OK.
Success through the Years
Despite being a free sound software, Audacity has remained successful through the years because of the support of its users. As an open-source software, it has always been about building a community with its users and maintaining this relationship. This is the reason that it continues to be the best free sound software after all these years.
If you ever decide to download and use the program and is satisfied with it, you can support Audacity by making a donation. You can also contribute to the community by testing and using the program, giving feedback, and helping other users in the Audacity Forum.
Audacity – truly the best free sound software there is!
This article was written with WritingBunny!