Audacity is one of our favorite audio tools, so we were interested in seeing Audacity Portable, a fully portable version from PortableApps. Like the installed version, Audacity Portable edits your MP3s, WAVs, and other digital audio files. You can remove long intros, extract clips, and change the pitch, tempo, and other parameters of your song files or any audio recording. But, as the name indicates, Audacity Portable is completely portable, which means it runs as soon as you click the program's executable file without having to be installed. You can carry Audacity Portable with you on a USB drive, iPod, smartphone, or any portable storage device and run it on any Windows PC without leaving permanent traces behind. The latest release of Audacity Portable includes Windows 8 compatibility.
We clicked the program file, and the familiar Audacity interface opened, as did the Welcome to Audacity screen with its links to a Quick Help feature as well as a Manual, Wiki, and Forum. If you haven't used Audacity before, these resources explain it all, and other users stand ready to answer any question you can pose. But your best bet may be to do what we did when we were new to Audacity: Load a file and start tinkering. Thanks in part to Audacity Portable's busy but attractive and logical layout, that's a surprisingly easy thing to do. We started by loading a WAV we'd recorded from an LP. Audacity Portable's expandable spectral view let us zoom in to remove lead-in groove noise as well as select tracks for extracting and converting. Though portable, this program has plenty of options, features, and extras, including a long menu of effects as well as tools to analyze recordings and generate test tones, noise, and even silence.
We've had nothing but excellent performance from the freeware programs rendered portable by PortableApps, and Audacity Portable is no exception. Though it's not installed at startup, Audacity Portable even detected our various digital audio devices, interfaces, and outputs, including two external sound cards and both mono and stereo inputs. Audacity Portable lets you take audacious audio editing wherever you go.