The best free Audacity Alternatives
Audacity is a popular open source audio editor that is available for Windows, Mac and Linux devices. It is free to use and supports a wide range of editing features. It is used for a wide range of activities, from mixing YouTube video sounds to creating soundtracks or audio samples, or analysis of audio files. Other features include converting audio files, ripping tracks from audio CDs, or cutting, splitting or joining sounds.
Project ownership of Audacity changed in 2021 and one of the first planned changes to the project was the introduction of Telemetry. The plan was abandoned, but the controversy continued with the publication of a new Privacy Notice.
Audacity is an excellent audio editor. It is free, open source and available as a cross-platform application. An alternative should offer a similar feature set, which means that the list that follows does not include commercial applications.
All alternatives listed below lack at least one of the main characteristics of Audacity. They are either only available for one operating system, e.g. Windows, not open source, don't offer the same set of core features, or lack in other departments.
Audacity is an open source project, and developers started to fork the application as soon as the announcement hit the Internet that the project team changed.
Forks match all main characteristics of Audacity, but there is no "main" fork yet that all disgruntled developers and users switched to.
Here is a link to a promising fork (because it is updated regularly)
Ocenaudio is a cross-platform audio editor with an impressive set of features. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS, and free to download and use.
Ocenaudio's core features are:
- Support for VST plugins (Virtual Studio Technology).
- Real-time previews of effects to adjust effects until the desired result has been achieved.
- Multi-selection support.
- Support for the editing of large audio files.
- Fully featured spectrogram.
- Analysis options.
- Support for effects such as silence, reverse or normalize.
Wavosaur is only available for Microsoft Windows devices. It has a small file size and you may download a quick start guide that is also available.
Wavosaur's main features are:
- Support for VST plugins.
- Support for main editing features such as cut, copy and paste.
- Lots of processing options, e.g. conversion from stereo to mono, or changing the volume.
- Batch processing of files.
- Advanced features support that includes resampling, pitch shifts, vocal removals, or slence removals.
- Support for ASIO.
- Frequency analysis and detailed statistics.
Other Audacity alternatives
- Audiodope is a free audio editor for Windows that supports major sound editing features. Downside is that it has not been updated since 2018.
Now You: did we miss an application? Let us know in the comments below!
Thank you for this article, Martin!
Just a funny note: It’s not “Oceanaudio”, but “ocenaudio” (yes: o-ce-n-audio). Weird and confusing name, isn’t it? ?
Another free alternative is DaVinci Resolve (free version). It is a video editor, so it is a lot more than an audio tool. It includes Fairlight, which is a quite serviceable audio recorder and editor. The DaVinci developers have been improving Fairlight as they iterate DaVinci Resolve and it is getting better with each iteration.
Download at https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/
@Richard Fairlight is not standalone, Resolve is too heavy to want to work on it for only audio and it only supports vst2 and no really instruments. It is great for videos but not for audio only, but it has all the features for surround and all that. I wouldn’t think that is an alternative, but it could be used. I would still say Reaper having an unlimited trial and being cheap for home users or indie or whatever license they call it, it is better deal for people who want to work for audio only.
Also installing a 2gb or 3gb or whatever only to use the audio part, can be too much for many, just compare that to the 60mb size of Reaper.
I think people over complicate their lives so much trying to use stuff like audacity when they really don’t do anything that has to do with the audio waves themselves, something like a DAW can replace audio editor easily for 97% of people, but Davinci Resolve is not the alternative for that, or I don’t see it.
@Richard: I’ve read very good things about DaVinci Resolve as a video editor. Note that it is apparently available for Mac Catalina+ and Windows 10 only, not Linux. (Also, the pro version is just shy of $1000. Ouch.)
@peterc…lol…its available for linux, it literally there on download page.
The Pro version isn’t really necessary for home use. Black Magic Design is rather generous with features in the free version. Most amateur users will probably never need to buy it.
Of course, the idea is that people get hooked on it, start using it professionally and also buy their hardware, so it’s not completely selfless, but still, pretty cool that such powerful software can be used without spending a penny.
But, if the software being free as in freedom is important for you, that is where Resolve will fail you, as it is proprietary software. Given Audacity is free as in freedom and beer, which is the grave concern with the current ownership, it might not appeal to disgruntled Audacity users on those grounds.
Thanks for this, Martin, although I don’t use Audacity or its ilk.
Along with DaVinci Resolve is another free, open source, cross-platform video/audio editor named Shotcut.
-Audio scopes: loudness, peak meter, waveform, spectrum analyzer
-Audio filters: Balance, Bass & Treble, Band Pass, Compressor, Copy Channel, Delay, Downmix, Expander, Gain, High Pass, Invert, Limiter, Low Pass, Noise Gate, Normalize: One Pass, Normalize: Two Pass, Notch, Pan, Pitch, Reverb, Swap Channels
-Audio mixing across all tracks
-Fade in and out audio and fade video from and to black with easy-to-use fader controls on timeline
-Cross-fade audio and video dissolve transitions easily by overlapping shots on the same track of the timeline
-JACK transport sync
-Stereo, mono, and 5.1 surround
-Pitch compensation for video speed changes
The so called “technology” people should know that a simple firewall would stop any telemetry being sent to anything, but it seems people just like to complain about anything even if it is free.
But really, why would anyone need to edit the sound waves so much? I am sure all they do is pretty much what a DAW can do but a DAW does it non-destructively. Like the Cheapest option for a home user is Reaper, and to be honest with an unlimited Trial (like winrar) some people don’t even pay for it for a while, they only click the little timer screen before they start the program.
Reaper is great for everything and even has a simple spectrogram editing feature that works like any other feature: non-destructively, supports video if you have vlc or ffmpeg, and it is great for the price, again, people needing to edit the audio are really clueless about much, so complaining about Audacity when they don’t even really need a program like that is just stupid.
Reaper is good, using it too, but I do prefer “destructive” editing. Say you’re making an album, you decide what you want on tracks for one song, then simply apply the same presets to tracks from all songs. Also there’s noise reduction, amplifying only certain parts, fade in/out, it’s just easier when you have the final product in front of you. And easier on the CPU. You can always save the source files. Also, for recording channel by channel, Audacity (or Adobe Audition) are really the simplest and easiest, if you’re a musician you’re not a programmer or a gamer and many DAWs are too complicated and convoluted for comfortable work. A lot of them look like something made for techno, loops etc, which is just too narrow and useless and overdone if you play something non-programmed and the only thing you need to program is the metronome.
As for the firewall thing, my version of Audacity comes from my distro’s app store and I’m sticking with that. I don’t think they would add a version with telemetry when the time comes.
People don’t want to support companies that spy on them or extort them. It’s too bad that they haven’t realized that Google and Microsoft are 100x worse than Audacity.
audacity needs powerful system and i experienced crashing even when just openning short audio files!
i removed it completely and i use mp3 direct cut for years.
its very great and lightweight free application!
Thank you very much for this helpful information – I’m going to look into the featured software!
I used reaper 5 (cockos) for some time.
It’s really powerful and customizable. Not that simple as audacity, I guess.
But it’s more or less free (u can test it as long as you want).
I would give it a try.
Made some good stuff with it. :)
can any of the privacy issues be resolved or mitigated using the portable version of audacity? https://portableapps.com/apps/music_video/audacity_portable
Ocenaudio and Wavosaur are closed source.
reaper is also closed source, it used to be open source but Justin made it closed source some years ago.
The truth is, unfortunately there is no alternative to audacity for now, open source, multi platform and full featured.
I prefer free open source software.
Unfortunately, Ocenaudio is closed source: “The Ocen framework, which is the Ocenaudio’s basis, is a framework developed in cooperation with a telecom company. In a short term, we can’t open the source.”
Developed in cooperation with a telecom company doesn’t sound very trustworthy imho. On the other hand, however, Android is supposed to be open source, but for all practical purposes one can say it’s actually Googleware.
Maybe worth listing Audacium too?
– Has no name issues (like Cookie Engineer fork)
– Repository not personal / private as CE fork is.
– Is already looking for distribution channels…
Thanks. I switched to Ocenaudio.
If this issue with Audacity is reason for you to switch, Ocenaudio is not a good option to switch to. Ocenaudio (and Reaper, and Wavosaur) is not open source software, so it could be doing all sorts of things much worse than what Audacity does and you wouldn’t even know about it.
In other words, if you don’t trust Audacity after this issue, you should never have trusted Ocenaudio in the first place.
I found cross-platform Ardour in ubuntu repositories. I have tried to use that app, little harder than Audacity. But after few minutes i successfully edited sound file.
You can also add Reaper to the list. Technically it’s not free. However, after the evaluation period expires, it will simply politely ask you to buy it, every time you start it, but when you dismiss that notice, you can continue using it. It’s not crippled in any way and the notice actually says that. There’s a Linux version too, you can ask my band if it works (we released an album a month ago). ;-)
There are another alternative. Ardour which is cross-platform and open source app.
I have tried to edit one sound files, looks not bad that app.
Free version of Waveform (by Tracktion) is very nice and easy when it comes to work with audio. Since it’s a DAW, you have much more possibilities to make your stuff.
Let’s just wait and see which fork gets the most momentum. I really don’t understand people hastily moving on to completely different software, which in some cases isn’t even open source.
Moving from Audacity to closed source software is like moving from a house with a leaky roof out into the rain and thinking that at least you don’t have a leaky roof anymore.
Audacity is open source. Part of being open source is a resilience to such issues in the ability to fork the software. Let the system work as intended, fork and move on.
I have used Ocenaudio for years because it is simpler than Audacity, and it is updated frequently. If you only need to trim the audio, convert it, normalize it, you don’t want a complex program.
I used Audacity to make custom ringtones & notifications. When 3.0 rolled out, Audacity started stuttering and lagging real bad. I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve been using it for years with no issues, then all the sudden my 8th gen i7 NUC just couldn’t cut the mustard for this updated app. I just uninstalled it and never thought about looking for a fork of it.
So this is how Linux dies…
Individual apps bought up one by one until it’s done. Sure, you can fork, but good luck with that as more apps are bought up.
M$ knows how to play the long game. Remember SCO?
Thankfully we have developers for projects like VLC which don’t back down and sell the farm.
Audacity is a nice and powerful tool. Let this be a lesson for you, as I’m certain more projects will decide to sell out.
The Register (UK)
Tue 6 Jul 2021 // 13:45 UTC
Audacity users stick the knife – and fork – in to strip audio editor of unwanted features
Why all of their names are stupid though?
I will not support any software that does not run on Linux, I will not support any software that does not give an app-image to run in Linux mint, it seems that the open source is quite happy to create an .exe file for windows but not so happy to give supporters of Linux an app-image,
It seems audacity will give you an app-image of audacity 3.0.4 that does not recognize ffmpeg but if you install it it works without any problem so why support it as it has just been sold off to Muse, this is something that is bound to happen, but I do not have to pay for it by supporting it and I do not use it period.
Dark Audacity is a very good, simpler alternative to Audacity.