Audacity is my go-to program when I need to edit audio on my system. It is a comfortable to use Open Source application with a feature set that is rivaling commercial sound editors. The developers of Audacity have just released Audacity 2.0 to the public.
The new version as usually is available for all supported operating system, that is Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh and Gnu/Linux, and as a source code download. Audacity 2.0 replaces all previous versions of the program, especially version 1.2.6 and 1.3.14, the previous release versions of the audio software. The 1.2.x versions were the stable versions of the program, while 1.3.x beta versions.
Windows users who want to install the new version need to pay attention to the installation process. If they are upgrading to 2.0 from earlier program versions, they need to download and install the latest version of the LAME mp3 encoder for MP3 support.
The developers note that the Windows installer will replace a 1.2.x installation of Audacity, but install alongside 1.3 beta versions. They therefor recommend to uninstall 1.3 versions prior to installing Audacity 2.0.
Major feature changes in 2.0 over 1.2.6 are:
- Many effects significantly improved, especially Equalization, Noise Removal and Normalize. Vocal Remover now included plus GVerb on Windows and Mac. VAMP analysis plug-ins now supported.
- Improved label tracks with Sync-Lock Tracks feature in the Tracks Menu. Multiple clips per track. Tracks and selections can be fully manipulated using the keyboard. Many more keyboard shortcuts.
- New Device Toolbar to manage inputs and outputs. Timer Record feature. New Mixer Board view with per-track VU meters.
- Automatic Crash Recovery in the event of abnormal program termination.
- Fast "On-Demand" import of WAV/AIFF files if read directly from source. FLAC now fully supported. Added support for optional FFmpeg library for import/export of AC3/M4A/WMA and import of audio from video files.
The changes between 1.3.14 and 2.0.0 are mainly bug fix related, as most of the features have already been implemented into the beta version by the team.
The extensive release notes list bug fixes and known issues between Audacity 1.3.14 and 2.0.0. If you are looking for a free audio editor and recorder, then Audacity should be your first stop.