Friday, June 18, 2004

"Audacity:" free audio editing program!

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I'm interested because it runs on old "clunker" puters, like I have! Even if I can't borrow my friend's computer, loaded with SAW32, I can still edit, if I watch my levels!

And there's SUPPORT! and UPGRADES..which means they might put METERS on it soon!

I LOVE being independent! I can do it myself!

what do you do if you need to do some editing on a budget, or want to run lean-and-mean on a laptop, or are working in Linux? The audacious program Audacity might be worth a look. It has a few significant drawbacks, but has the benefits of being free, continually updated and improved, and will run on just about any operating system.

...ProTools Free only runs on Mac OS9, and Windows 98 or Me (and not too reliably on either of those Windows platforms.) Now, in 2004, if you've bought a new computer it surely came with Mac OSX or Windows XP, neither of which can run ProTools Free. Or even if you're running an older computer, you may have banged-up against some limitations of the free program. So, we've recommended upgrading to the digidesign M-Box, an audio interface that's sold with a more capable version of ProTools. The $450 price is still quite a bargain for an audio interface with good mic pre-amps and an editing and mixing program with plug-ins, but even that expense is an impediment to some, and the fact that the M-Box must remain connected to use the program is a turn-off to many.

And ProTools LE takes a pretty fast computer and lots of RAM to run well under OSX or Windows XP.

Audacity will run pretty efficiently under Windows 98, ME, 2000, & XP, Mac OS9 and X, Linux, and Unix. Go to their website at:

Download the program, documentation and plug-ins. There are links to users groups, FAQs, tutorials, and one can submit requests for features and fixes.

There are a few shortcomings that make the program problematic for serious production, but used with some care, Audacity can be a convenient tool for simple editing or even multi track mixing. The biggest problem is the current lack of any kind of metering. There are no indicators of record levels, track levels or final mix levels. This is one of the most requested feature enhancements, so there's some hope that this will be added in a future release, but for now, it will take some extra vigilance to ensure proper level strength and to avoid distortion.

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