back to article The Audacity of it all: Version 3.0 of open-source audio fave boasts new file format, 160+ bug fixes

Open-source audio editor Audacity was upgraded to version 3.0 this week with a new single-file project format emitted alongside other fresh features and fixes. Audacity originated from a 1999 research project at Carnegie Mellon University by Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg, and was first released as an open-source audio …

  1. Cuddles

    Detecting track breaks

    "with our old and slightly worn recording it was difficult to find a setting that would recognise the track breaks without also finding spurious breaks elsewhere"

    You weren't testing it on 4'33" were you?

    1. Warm Braw

      Re: Detecting track breaks

      I do find the vinyl version sounds much warmer.

      1. quxinot

        Re: Detecting track breaks

        That is one underrated piece, joking aside.

        I wish more people listened to it.

        And I wish even more people sang it. Constantly.

      2. teknopaul

        Re: Detecting track breaks

        I do find the vinyl version sounds much more worn.

        ftfy

      3. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Detecting track breaks

        I used to have an awesome plugin for WinAmp that simulated vinyl - you could choose the speed (33, 45, etc), simulate dust and scratches, a warped disc, and so on. Yes it was almost entirely frivolous (“Hey look, I can make my clean pristine digital audio files sound like crap!”) but as someone who grew up with record players, I rather wish it was available for VLC.

      4. rnturn

        Re: Detecting track breaks

        I'm waiting for the 4h33m stretched "ambient" version to make it onto the 'net.

    2. Nightkiller

      Re: Detecting track breaks

      I miss my PolderBits Software.

      Vinyl did right by it.

  2. PhilipN Silver badge

    Great!

    As chance would have it I uncovered a batch of audio files I recorded off AOL Radio years ago, some of which had been split into individual tracks some not. One or two are 5 hours-worth of streamed music. Audacity was, and is, perfect for the job.

  3. nintendoeats Silver badge

    That label system would have been really useful a year ago when I recorded all the individual components (over 200) of the System Shock soundtrack through a GUS and needed to break them up into individual files. I love Audacity!

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Another happy Audacity user

    I've been using it for years. It's perfect for topping and tailing a final mix of a new recording. Quick and easy to use.

    On one occasion I was able to hep a friend who had played just one duff note on a long guitar piece. I was able to find a match in an earlier verse, and cut and past it in seamlessly. You can expand the view so much that you can see individual wave cycles, so I was able to trim to a perfect join - wouldn't want to make a habit of it though!

  5. Lon24
    Pint

    Track Breaks ok - but we really we need a DJ detector!

    Yep, cuts the track the moment a DJ is about to talkover. Just think of all those C-60 'Pick of the Pops ' recordings just waiting to be digitised and catalogued. A bonus would be a hetordyne eliminator for '208' recordings.

    A beer for the creators and maintainers of this great public asset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Track Breaks ok - but we really we need a DJ detector!

      "[...] a hetordyne eliminator for '208' recordings.

      There was also unpredictable fading at certain times of the day as the range via the ionosphere started to change.

  6. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

    Have tried it, on and off....

    I've tried Audacity on and off over the years, but have always found it a bit more fiddly and less intuitive that the "rival" Goldwave. Yes, I accept that Audacity is open source, cross platform and free, whereas Goldwave is not. But you can get the fully functional trial/demo version for free, and the lifetime purchase fee is minimal for what it does. I've edited 1000's of hours of audio with it over the years. Just the X/Y and visual spectrum displays are worth it on their own.

    It is quite easy to set a heterodyne filter for those "208" recordings - just introduce a sharp notch at 9khz, or a roll off over 8khz - extremely easy to see on the spectrum graphic. I assume Audacity can do the same. Also useful for correcting those old tape/cassette recordings where the tape deck never ran at the exact speed.....

  7. FuzzyTheBear
    Thumb Up

    Great news

    My favorite audio editor. Been using it for ages and for simple jobs it's perfect. I wouldn't record a 24 track session with it but hell for day to day editing there's nothing better out there. And it's free .. kudos to the Audacity team :)

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Got the Torrent link

    Projects like that are things that I support by torrenting them and leaving them available for upload.

    I don't have any use for the application myself, but if it is popular, then I will torrent it, just like I torrent the latest Linux Mint releases.

    I am happy to give up some of my bandwidth to Audacity.

  9. JDX Gold badge

    Audacity is in my experience a rare FOSS project which is both extremely useful, and fairly easy to use. Wonderful tool.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just a shame its really ugly still!

      1. Baudwalk

        Pretty it isn't...

        ...but i can't recall an audio editor that was, to be honest.

        And with wxWidgets, at least it looks like a desktop application with clearly marked UI elements, rather than a web page where everything is a muddled together, indistinguishable porridge.

      2. Sgt_Oddball
        Pint

        Beauty is in the eyes of the beer holder...

        The thing about the GUI for Audacity, is that everything is pretty easy to find. When it's not, it's easy to figure out.

        I'd take that any day of the week over something that's pretty as hell but makes simple tasks like setting changes, turning off unwanted/intrusive features or configuring input/outputs an absolute ballache (see Virtual DJ and try to stop it pitchmatching, simple it is not...)

      3. keithpeter Silver badge
        Coat

        UI/UX

        @doowles

        A chap called Jouni Helminen is, apparently, working with the Audacity team "on a redesign of the UI/UX". He mentioned this on the third comment about the Audacity announcement over on the orange and grey news forum.

        I'm sure the Audacity people will keep his feet on the ground, so no need to panic just yet...

        1. sreynolds

          Re: UI/UX

          If he manages to fix audacity then perhaps he could take some time with GIMP.

  10. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    Ripping vinyl

    I used Magix Audio Cleaner to rip vinyl many years ago when I did it frequently (using Windows, one of the few reasons I used Windows). That was able to identify track breaks most of the time. The first version I used was a freebee on a cover mount disk on PCW, but I ended up buying the next version anyway. I think it included an MP3 encoder.

    I did use Audacity 2.something to do the same a short while back. I'm sure that there was a plugin to place labels at periods of silence, although I found the label handling with Audacity a little awkward, and I don't believe that it had the ability to generate track listings for CD from the label names. But it can split the tracks into separate files so that they could be burned to CD in the correct sequence using K3B or Brassero.

    When I decommission systems, I tend to keep the hard disk around for a while (well, I guess forever so far). I recently found the disk from the Windows system I used to do rips with about 30 albums ripped, but I could not read the labels and listings, although the audio was in WAV format, so I can actually listen to the rips.

    Of course, I've updated my turntable now (a couple of times actually), so I really should rip them again. But it's surprising how good the rips sound. Most are from before the era of 'remastering', so they are more authentic than current CD purchases that have been messed around with.

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Ripping vinyl

      Have you tried using abcde?

      From the man page:

      SYNOPSIS

      abcde [options] [tracks]

      DESCRIPTION

      Ordinarily, the process of grabbing the data off a CD and encoding it,

      then tagging or commenting it, is very involved. abcde is designed to

      automate this. It will take an entire CD and convert it into a com‐

      pressed audio format - Ogg/Vorbis, MPEG Audio Layer III (MP3), Free

      Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC), Ogg/Speex, MPP/MP+(Musepack), M4A (AAC) wv

      (WavPack), Monkey's Audio (ape), Opus, True Audio (tta) or MPEG Audio

      Layer II (MP2) format(s). With one command, it will:

      * Do a CDDB or Musicbrainz query over the Internet to look up your

      CD or use a locally stored CDDB entry, or read CD-TEXT from your

      CD as a fallback for track information

      * Download the album art appropriate for your music tracks with

      many user configurable options for download and post download

      alterations

      And a lot more options

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Ripping vinyl

        It was ripping vinyl to burn to CD that I was talking about, and I although I guess that you could use A Better CD Encoder to do vinyl as well, I also apply scratch and rumble filters before doing the track separation, but you would need to attach metadata in the track, because it could not be read from the LP.

        I've often found that CDDB is a little unreliable about identifying vinyl albums and tracks. It's a little inflexible when tracks have slightly different lengths or appear in different order from the catalog entry, or in the case of vinyl rips, vs. CD rips, completely different numbers of tracks.

        I'm sure abcde could work, not that I've come across it before. But I'm not really doing this too much any more. The time I did it recently was more an academic exercise to see whether Audacity could do it nowadays, with the additional plugins that have been added since the last time I tried. But thanks for the info.

        For CD rips, I used to use grip, which is now unmaintained. But my local copy of the source still compiles and runs, and I like the interface.

      2. ICL1900-G3

        Re: Ripping vinyl

        It is the absolute best.

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I have used Audacity a few times to digitise recording made on cassette tape years ago. Its probably suitable for the majority of users like myself who aren't sound engineers or audiophiles and therefore don't need all the functions that commercial audio editors come with. Although perhaps there are sound engineers who do use Audacity as find it good enough for their needs to?

  12. jonathan keith

    Excellent news

    These days the rather splendid Reaper is my weapon of choice, but it was Audacity that I cut my teeth on many years ago. Glad to hear that it's in rude health.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent news

      Reaper's excellent - I use the Linux version which despite being experimental I've found perfectly stable. I bought a license, and emailed Cockos to specifically thank them for the Linux port.

  13. Sandgrounder

    Still no VST Instruments?

    Disappointing to see that there is still no support for VST instruments. Given the ubiquity of them in music production since the early 2000s and that Audacity is a wannabe Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), this is a huge omission. Despite this, it is still in the premier league of open source tools. I can't think of many others that get so much right - including the user interface. For free, you cannot argue with what the team have produced. This is one project I will not hesitate to contribute to once I have been able to put in the leg work to learn enough to be useful.

    Some of the comments above made me chuckle. It reminds me of people seeing word processors for the first time and being amazed at what they could do. Yes folks, editing audio on computers is a thing. Works quite well too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Still no VST Instruments?

      I've not seen the Audacity folks claiming it should be considered as a DAW. Their niche is general audio manipulation and they leave stuff like VST support to more complex applications like Ardour.

    2. Tom 7

      Re: Still no VST Instruments?

      But to have instruments of any form would turn into a massive unusable mess.You're holding it wrong!

    3. Terry Barnes

      Re: Still no VST Instruments?

      It’s not a wannabe DAW, it’s an audio editor.

      What use is a VST instrument in a package without midi support or sequencing?

  14. briesmith

    Best Pairing Ever

    Audacity and MuseScore.

  15. Stuart Halliday
    Thumb Up

    It works....

  16. Jonjonz

    Audacity, I use it all the time. It's great, but...

    The whole too proud to code it so it can scan for VSTs in any directory is a bit much. A real pain if you have been using a DAW for years and have a huge collection of VSTs in the usual VST directories.

  17. Steve Graham

    You're using what?

    I'm a long time user of Audacity on Linux, but only for very simple stuff. That's why the model of "a project" doesn't suit me at all. I want to load an audio file, tweak it and save a new copy. And when I exit Audacity, I don't want it to ask me if I want to save "the project". Every time.

    And they've decided to use a relational database to store a project's files? A database is for analyzing and organizing data. It's not a general container for files. You would use zip or gzipped tar for that.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: You're using what?

      They should have gone for IFF 8SVX.

  18. all ears

    Harrison Mixbus -- full featured DAW based on Audacity

    Mixbus has all the bells and whistles, is inexpensive, and most importantly has the big fat sound of a large-format console, which is Harrison's main business. Well worth trying -- one listen and you may become addicted, as I have. Also easily imports all standard formats, making it ideal for final mixes, so you can use your tool of choice for tracking, editing, etc. (although Mixbus does all of that also).

  19. boxplayer

    Mixbus is based on Ardour, which is free software, so if you want a free DAW that's an option too.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like