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There are plenty of audio-editing software choices. So why go with a free, open-source app for professional productions?
Top 5 reasons to use #Audacity for #podcasting http://t.co/rak5kyBfvo
— Daniel J. Lewis (@theDanielJLewis) February 25, 2013
5. Audacity doesn't get in the way
Audacity is often criticized for its unfriendly user interface (UI). But it's blank-slate approach keeps the program from getting in the way of your creativity.
Audacity is designed for one purpose: audio-editing. It does this very well with a clean interface and yet many extra effects, features, and functionality.
4. Audacity makes multitrack editing easy
Other audio-editing programs, like Adobe Audition, are powerful, but often unnecessarily complex. To create a multitrack project in Audition, I have to create a new project file, import my tracks, and then I can't run effects or some edits in the multitrack editor because they can only be done in the wave editor.
Audacity merges multitrack editing and wave editing into the same interface. You don't have to switch things around to work with one method or the other. You can even create and edit a multitrack project without saving a file (only recommended for tiny, quick things).
3. Audacity is cross-platform
Regardless of whether you prefer Windows, OS X, or Linux, Audacity is available for you and it works great. The interface is nearly identical across these platforms. So once you know Audacity, you'll know how to use it on any PC you ever use.
2. Audacity can do everything most audio podcasters need
Audio-editing podcasts is simple; it's usually only cut/copy/paste, place sound clips, adjust volumes with fades, and run basic enhancing effects. That's all that most podcasters would need to produce high-quality podcasts. Audacity does all of these and more without the need for extra plugins.
Slight caveat is that I don't recommend making podcast MP3s with Audacity. Instead, export as WAV and use iTunes to convert to MP3.
1. Audacity is free
Yes, the #1 reason to podcast with Audacity is because it's free. This is essential for those who start out podcasting as a hobby and have little or no money to spend on their podcasting.
Since Audacity is free, you can use the money you saved by investing in quality hardware, like a decent microphone (about $50), a mixer (about $120), a better mic stand ($50–$120), or even your own website hosting (about $100 per year with BlueHost).
But there is a cost to “free.” Audacity may take you extra time or knowledge to do some advanced procedure that other software makes easy. When podcasting is a hobby, you have more time to spend than money, and you'll be more interested in the joyful process of learning.
Want to learn how to use Audacity?
Sign up today for a one-hour webinar with me (Daniel J. Lewis) as I teach you how to use Audacity from installation through production. The first LIVE webinar will be at noon (EST/GMT-5) on Saturday, March 9, 2013.
We'll also have an open Q&A about Audacity in addition to the hour-long training.
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Great show Daniel, that was a nice list with a lot of benefits!
I for one am thankful for the cross platform aspect of Audacity. While I haven’t started podcasting again yet, I have used Audacity before and loved having it on all my operating systems. I currently use Linux, OS X, and Windows (when I have to). It’s nice to have the ability to work in my environment of choice and have the tools necessary to be productive in any of them.
In addition to Audacity being free of charge it’s also a little empowering knowing that it is intellectually free. If you had the notion you could tweak any bit of the code or rebuild it. Once you download it, it’s yours.
Thanks for all you put into these shows. They’ve been really encouraging and informative.
Thanks, Matt! Are you a developer that you would try playing with the Audacity code?
No, I’m not a developer but I just think it’s really neat that you could dive in there and make changes without any sort of legal ramifications if you wanted to. Unlike using a proprietary software where you get what the developer gives you when you buy it.
I absolutely agree with those 5 points ! I did the opposite of what you did, Daniel, I switched from Adobe Audition to Audacity. Now, when I’m home, I use Audacity on windows, and when I’m on the road, I use my laptop which runs Ubuntu. I can switch back and forth beetween both computers without any problems, and copy projects from windows to linux and I don’t have to export/import stuff and loose half of my work each time.
The price tag on Audacity – yes, $0.00 ! – will allow me to buy some gear – a mixer and a mic – and I think this is one of the important things worth spending money on.
Thanks Daniel for another nice episode ! Cheers !
From Audition to Audacity? I’m guessing the multiplatform compatibility played into that. But what else inspired that direction?
Another good episode. Along with the other comments, I would add “3A – File compatible across platforms”. One of the more frustrating aspects of another recording program is that even though there are versions for both Windows and Mac, they do not support file compatibility or even an acceptable export/import option.
Even when doing voice overs for video tutorials, I’ll often record into a digital recorder at the same time as the screen recorder, process the audio file through Audacity and then replace the original audio track in the screen recording. Yes, it’s a little more work but the audio I can produce through Audacity is far better then what the screen recorder provides.
Thanks, Bob! I do the same thing with most of my audio for videos or screencasts—process them outside of the video/screencast app.
Daniel, we just started a podcast two months ago and have produced every podcast using Audacity. It really is clean, neat, and fairly user friendly if you are decent on a computer. I’ve had the program for years, but have not used it much. Producing nine podcasts with it has me fairly hooked.
We are using two SM58’s into a four channel sound board/amp, then into a digital recorder. I then take out the sd card, drag the file onto my computer and import it into Audacity. Is there anything obvious to you, in that brief description, that I should think about changing? We do use wind screens on the mics.
Our podcast is at http://www.200churches.com. Our goal is to encourage and support pastors in smaller churches.
I’m excited to listen to your podcasts on podcasting! 🙂
That workflow is about what I do, too. I sometimes would convert my WAV files to mono before dragging into Audacity.
I use a TASCAM DR-07 and I think it’s recording right to mp3, so when I drag it off the SD card, it’s already an mp3 that I am importing into Audacity. Should we be recording straight to WAV?
Yes. If you plan to do any kind of editing and resave to MP3, you should work with an uncompressed recording.
Danny, thanks for this!
Have you tried out BounceCast? I think it might be a bit more intuitive to use, with abstraction-free controls and super easy file import / export. https://bouncecast.app
Not yet. But I might try it soon. I see they claim loudness normalization processing, but I want to see whether they follow the podcast standard.