Audacity's new beta? Sounds good.

A beta version of Audacity, the popular open-source audio editor, sharpens sophisticated editing tools.

Audacity equalizer
Audacity\'s updated equalizer tool adds power and maneuvering room. (Credit: CNET Networks)

Audacity's follow-up to its cult-classic audio editor, Audacity 1.3, warrants the attention of amateur and "prosumer" music editors. Audacity 1.3 adds minor (though useful) editing effects, and greases the wheels with some time-saving functionality. Of Audacity's recently integrated features, the new repair tool, improved equalizer, and souped-up selection bar will have the biggest impact on track masters.

The repair effect bridges two sections of a track over a minor audio irregularity, such as a distortion spike. Docked at the bottom of the app, the selection toolbar adds control to set a track's audio position alongside its project rate. Most impressive is the new equalizer, which adds larger dynamic range, and additional filtering and view controls.

Unlike some beta releases, Audacity 1.3 won't cannibalize the stable version, Audacity 1.2, so feel free to fix, fine-tune, and equalize at will. Although this beta release hasn't been approved as stable yet, it's a good way to master Audacity 1.3's new features in advance.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.