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CNET Editors' Rating 5.0 stars


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  • 3.0 stars

    "Feature-rich and powerful, with some rough edges"

    February 24, 2010  |   By Igiveup2


    Everything most are likely to need for sound editing and processing, variety of output formats available.


    Lack of task-oriented features in interface, some major disorganization in menus, weak help feature.


    Audacity has all the classic strengths and weaknesses of FOSS geekware. It is feature-rich, flexible powerful, .......and in some situations maddeningly obscure. The impressive effort at developing this powerful, versatile application is not matched by efforts at logical presentation. If you are already an audio production head or of a patient temperament, this application will serve you well. If you are not willing to go hither and yon pursuing the details you need to get the functionality that commercial software delivers to your doorstep, you might be happier using something else. Audacity gets bundled with a lot of digital audio hardware and gets razzed by the consumers regularly. I can't blame them. The onboard help feature is essentially a catalog of the features with little guidance on how to accomplish tasks with them. Online help fills in most, but not all, of the missing pieces in a more task-oriented manner. The online help is also somewhat out of date.

    I was, after some effort, able to get what I needed from Audacity: an efficient process for recording tracks from an analog source, cleaning them, and converting them to individual indexed digital tracks. But I did feel that there were unnecessary difficulties along the way. Two important settings items are in poorly documented places under the Edit and View menus, where they really don't belong.

    Overcome the sloppy details and ye shall be rewarded. But be aware that using this application will demand more of you than commercial software to accomplish certain tasks.

    Updated on Mar 23, 2010

    My opinion of this software dropped the more I used it, encountering bugs and instability. One crash froze the entire system (Vista) for the first time ever in over three years of use. Another time it lost the ability to save (with no warning) then crashed, costing hours of work. There were also export bugs that required a workaround. I was ready to spring for Goldwave, but tried the Audacity 1.3.11 beta first. The improvements in features and performance are vast. I recommend using 1.3.11 rather than 1.2.6. 1.3.11 feels like a polished product, while 1.2.6 feels like a beta.

    Updated on Mar 23, 2010 notes fixes for crashes and bugs in the release notes for 1.3.11.

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