To develop a personal project, you need to record your voice and make adjustments on the result obtained: by asking some of your friends for information, you discovered the existence of the Audacity program . I want to tell you right away that you have been guided in the right direction! Among the free audio editing programs , Audacity is certainly the best: if you had never heard of it, it is a cross-platform software (able to “run” on the most popular desktop environments, such as Windows, macOS and Linux) suitable for both to beginners and to those with experience in the sector.
Audacity allows, for example, to make audio recordings and manipulate them at a later time, modify existing songs by adjusting the volume, speed and quality of the audio, create mixes between two or more songs, create podcasts, apply equalization and distortion effects and much, much more, all with an interface extremely simple to use but at the same time rich in features (and, if necessary, expandable thanks to plugins created by the community).
Did I intrigue you and now you can’t wait to download Audacity to try it for yourself? Then all you have to do is follow the instructions that I am going to give you to the letter: below, in fact, I intend to explain to you in detail how to download the program on Windows and macOS and the basic plugins necessary to manipulate file types. best known; finally, it will be my care to show you some of the most important features of this powerful software. Ready to go? OK, let’s get started!
- Audacity Download
- How to use Audacity
As I mentioned earlier, Audacity is an absolutely free, open source and cross-platform program: below I intend to provide you with detailed instructions to install it on Windows and macOS computers , along with some plugins to manage proprietary audio formats (such as MP3, WMA , M4A and others).
To download Audacity on a computer with a Windows operating system, the first thing you need to do is go to the program’s website and press the Download Audacity button . Once this is done, click on the Audacity for Windows button located in the next screen and click on the Audacity xxx Installer link to immediately start downloading the installation file.
Next, start the downloaded file (eg. Audacity-win-xxxexe ), press the button Yes , choose the ‘ Italian from the language selection menu, click the button OK , premiums on Next to Quattre consecutive times and finalizes the process of setup by clicking on the Install , Next and Finish buttons . If you do not intend to launch the program immediately after installation, uncheck the Launch Audacity box before clicking the Finish button .
Natively, Audacity is able to correctly manage files in WAV, AIFF, Ogg Vorbis and MP3 format but, to enable the export of songs in the latter format, you need to install a dedicated plugin called LAME MP3 : to download it, connected to this web page , click the Lame vX.yz for Windows.exe link .
To install it, launch the file you just downloaded, press the Yes , Next buttons three consecutive times and Install and complete the procedure by pressing the Finish button . If you also want to manage M4A / AAC, WMA, AMR and AC3 files, you must also download and install the FFmpeg plugin , which you can download from the same web page mentioned above by clicking on the ffmpeg-win-2.2.2.exe link .
Installing Audacity on macOS , the characteristic operating system of iMac and MacBook computers , is just as simple: connect to this web page , click on the Download Audacity button , repeat the operation on the Audacity for Mac OS X / macOS button and, finally , presses the link Audacity xxx .dmg file to immediately start the download of the installation file.
This is complete, run the dmg file you just downloaded and drag the icon Audacity folder Applications for MacOS : To start the program, then went in the aforementioned folder by right-clicking on the icon of Audacity and select the item Open from the menu that appears (you only need to do this the first time, to bypass macOS restrictions on applications from non-certified developers).
Also in this case, the same applies as seen in the section relating to Windows: to add support for exporting to MP3 format , you must download the appropriate plugin from this website , by clicking on the link Lame_Library_vXx_for_Audacity_on_OSX.dmg , start the file of the same name, once downloaded, and launch the pkg package that appears in the next window.
To start the installation of the plugin, you just have to click in sequence on the Open, Continue and Install buttons , type the password of your account (the one you use to log in, so to speak) and finalize everything by clicking on the Install buttons software and Close .
Also, if you intend to manage AAC, AMR and WMA files ( M4A , MP4 and MOV files can be natively opened by Audacity for macOS), you can do the further installation of the FFMmpeg plugin for Mac , available here .
How to use Audacity
Now that you’ve finally managed to install Audacity on your computer, it’s time to take a look at its features: this software, despite its relatively simple interface, is capable of performing a large number of audio manipulation operations. : below I show you the ones that, in my opinion, are the most important.
The first aspect I want to focus on is the audio recording: in this way, it is possible to acquire the sounds reproduced by the microphone (or from another input device) and embed them in the audio track you are about to create.
So, once the program is open, click on the drop-down menu corresponding to the microphone icon and choose the name of the input device you want to use to record (e.g. integrated microphone ), then choose whether to acquire the sound in mode mono or stereo from the immediately adjacent drop-down menu and, through the adjustment bar located next to the other microphone icon, set the recording volume , being careful not to overdo it (to avoid incurring a “croaked” sound).
Once the adjustments are complete, all you have to do is press the Rec button located at the top (the classic red dot) to start creating your audio recording; if necessary, you can pause the sound acquisition and resume it later, thanks to the appropriate button located in the immediate vicinity.
Once the recording is complete, press the Stop button and, if you intend to save it immediately on your computer, go to the File> Export / Export menu , indicate the format with which to save the file in the Save as drop-down menu , select the name and the saving path using of the file manager and click on the Save button to finalize everything.
Note : on Windows computers, it is possible to set the recording from the speakers, so as to acquire all the sounds played by the computer (and not those obtained through the microphone): to do this, select the Windows WASAPI item from the drop-down menu located on the far left of the program and choose the Microsoft Sound Mapper item in the drop-down menu immediately next to it.
Cut or remove audio
As I already mentioned at the beginning, Audacity is an excellent audio manipulation program: in fact, in very few steps, it is possible to cut or delete portions of sound from a recording or from an existing song.
To proceed, make a recording or open an existing audio file using the File> Open menu , select with the mouse the part of the song to cut out (to identify it, you can help with the Play and Stop buttons located at the top) and use the menu Edit> Cut to cut out the selected part of the song (and paste it, perhaps, elsewhere) or the Edit> Delete menu to delete it completely.
If you can’t cut the audio, make sure you have activated the Selection tool by clicking on the black cursor button (similar to an I ) and, if necessary, zoom in by clicking on the magnifying glass icon with the symbol “+” inside .
For more information on this procedure, I recommend you take a look at my guide on how to cut audio .
Adjust the audio volume
Increasing (or decreasing) the volume of an audio file, with Audacity, is very simple: first open the song you are interested in using the File> Open menu , select the track (or a portion of it) from the program graph and go in the Effects> Amplify… menu .
In the next window, make sure that the Allow clipping box is not checked (this to avoid annoying distortions) and select the number of dB to increase / decrease the volume, using the appropriate adjustment bar: completed the operation, click on the Preview button to listen to a preview of the result and, when satisfied, press the OK button to confirm the change.
If necessary, you can “normalize” the volume of an audio track, so as to smooth out the appreciable differences in volume between the parts of which it is composed: to do this, you must go to the Effects> Normalize menu . I explained these steps to you in more detail in my tutorial on how to equalize a song .
Change the speed of the audio
Do you need to make an audio track faster (or slower) to fit the project you’re working on? Nothing could be simpler: you can change the speed of a recording or a song (after opening it via the File> Open menu) by going to the Effects menu > Change tempo and pitch… .
The next window offers an efficient adjustment bar that allows you to increase the speed (by dragging the slider to the right) or decrease it (instead by dragging it to the left): also in this case, you can listen to a Preview of the result, before confirming everything by pressing on the OK button .
Don’t like the pitch of the sound or the vocal track and want to change it without altering the length of the song? Again, you can easily proceed by going to the Effects menu > Change pitch . If you need help with the procedures just explained, you can refer to my tutorials on how to slow down and how to equalize a song.
What I have listed so far are only the basic features of Audacity, but this program offers much more: for example, you can make adjustments to improve the audio quality or merge two or more tracks together , overlapping or mixing them, with the possibility of using effects for fading or altering frequencies.
I have explained everything to you in detail in my guide on how to use Audacity , in which you can also find many other “tricks” to make the most of the program: I guarantee you that the result will not disappoint you!