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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New version of Audacity looks good so far

As you know, I have recently discovered a software release that got me quite excited, the newest incarnation of Sourceforge's open source audio editing suite, Audacity. I downloaded it yesterday and I have had a little bit of time to fiddle around with it since then. After that brief exposure I can now give my initial impressions of its capabilities, some of the more obvious differences since the last version, and maybe even a couple of things I don't like or that will, at the very least, take some getting used to.

THE GOOD:
  • Much faster MP3 export
  • Variable speed playback slider keeps you from mucking about in the effects menu just to play something back a bit slower
  • Playhead indicator goes across all tracks when using the time shift tool, making it much easier to synch tracks to each other
  • Includes a sliding time/pitch shift tool - I'm very excited about this one!
  • I'm also excited about the new vocoder tool, but I have not yet had the chance to mess with it
  • New vocal remover tool
  • More tone generators
  • And best of all, NO CRASHES YET!
THE BAD:
  • The reverb option is gone - perhaps it's been integrated with the echo effect
  • The project menu is gone and I suspect it's been split up between the new tracks menu and some of the other menu options, making it difficult to navigate at first
  • The ID3 tagging was also tough to find - in this version it's called metadata, which I guess is an appropriate name anyway; I liked the interface though, once I found it
THE WTF?

This release includes a DTMF generator, for which I cannot imagine a proper use. If someone has any idea, please fill me in. If you don't know what DTMF is, it stands for Dual Tone Multi Frequency... Basically it's the sounds a touch tone phone makes when you press the buttons. The new generator in Audacity allows you to input a string combination and it will insert that string in DTMF format into your project at the indicated point. What for? I don't know. Please help.

So that's my initial impression. If I discover any other new gems (or headaches) in dealing with this software, I'll be sure to post them right here. Any way you look at it, this version is a major improvement on an already superior piece of programming. As I mentioned before, you can't beat free, unless it's free and of a superlative quality; Audacity is both. Thanks, Sourceforge.