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Audacity review

A free, open source audio editor that's the equal of many premium programs.

TechRadar Verdict

Amazingly powerful and feature-rich, Audacity is a great free alternative to costly audio editors – and it's surprisingly simple to use. Download and take it for a spin today


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    Packed with effects

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    VST plugin support

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    Advanced audio editing


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    Some tools are inconsistent in design

Audacity is an incredible free, open source audio editor that's just as good as many premium paid-for applications. You can use it to make your own recordings, remove noise, cut and combine clips, apply special effects and much more, and achieve truly professional results.


Where to download: (opens in new tab)

Type: Audio editor

Developer: The Audacity Team (opens in new tab)

Operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux

Version: 2.1.3

If all that isn't enough, you can expand Audacity with plugins that add new effects, or integration with other applications. There are no limits on the size or length of your projects, and nothing is locked behind a paywall. Whether you're making music, podcasts, audio books, or any other kind of project, Audacity is a truly fantastic tool.

User experience

Despite its huge selection of powerful tools, Audacity is surprisingly simple to use, and many of the most popular tools (such as noise reduction and removal of vocals from music tracks) are accessible via handy wizards.

Audacity can record audio from both a microphone and computer playback, with sample rates as high as 192,000Hz. Level meters monitor the volume levels during recording, enabling you to identify clipping or other issues before the recording is finished, and there's also support for recording at 24-bit depth.

Audacity can also import dozens of different file formats. Once that's done, you can adjust your files with multi-track editing, smooth fading, labelling, syncing and more. Audacity also lets you remove annoying hissing, humming and other background noises – perfect if you can't guarantee the quality of your recording environment.

Audacity can alter frequencies with its Equalization, Bass and Treble, High/Low Pass and Notch Filter effects, and the volume can be adjusted using to the compressor, amplify, formalize, fade in/out and adjustable fade effects. There's also built-in crash recovery and support for plugins (opens in new tab).

Once you've finished, you can either save your work as a project, or export it in a lossy or lossless format of your choice.

It's very difficult to find fault with Audacity. The only criticism we could level at it would be that some tools are a little inconsistent in their design – a result of the size and diversity of its development team.

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Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)