Celebrate Audacity’s 15th birthday early with version 2.1.0! This introduces real-time effects previews, better monitoring meters, a new and improved noise-reduction effect, support for Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, and more!

Definitely listen to the audio of this episode, as I talk through each of the improvements and play some sound samples.

Real-time effects previews

Yes, you can now preview LADSPA, VST, and Audio Unit effects in real-time! Just start your audio playing and go to the effects menu. The real-time-compatible effects will be clickable.

Better monitor meter toolbars

Audacity 2.1.0 enhanced the monitors and split them into two separate toolbars. I like the new design and functionality better. The new design also offers gradient style instead of just the previous RMS style.

Audacity 2.0.6

Audacity 2.0.6

Audacity 2.1.0

Audacity 2.1.0

Noise reduction improvements

UPDATE: Please see Paul Licameli’s comments below for better cross-comparisons.

The previous Noise Removal effect has been replaced with a better Noise Reduction effect. Here are the raw files I used in my own testing. (Raw audio has been only loudness normalized to -19 LUFS mono.)

Raw (Please see Paul Licameli’s comments below for better cross-comparisons):

Download WAV file

Audacity 2.0.6 (Please see Paul Licameli’s comments below for better cross-comparisons):

Noise Removal effect in Audacity 2.0.6

Download WAV file

Audacity 2.1.0 (Please see Paul Licameli’s comments below for better cross-comparisons):

Noise Reduction effect in Audacity 2.1.0

Download WAV file

Full list of changes in Audacity 2.1.0

Read the full release notes.

Improvements

Effects

  • LADSPA, VST and Audio Unit (OS X) effects now support real-time preview, save/load of user presets and saving effect settings across sessions. Note: Real-time preview does not yet support latency compensation.
  • VST effects now support import/export of FXB preset banks.
  • Shell VST effects that host multiple plugins are now supported.
  • All Effect Menu items (built-in or plugin) can now be used in a Chain.
  • Items in the Effect, Generate or Analyze Menus can be sorted or grouped by name, publisher or class of effect.
  • Noise Removal is improved and renamed to “Noise Reduction”.
  • Change Speed has new time controls for current and new length. You can now enter the speed change as a multiplier e.g. “2” is twice as fast.
  • New “Crossfade Tracks” effect can be used for crossfading two tracks. This replaces Cross Fade In and Cross Fade Out.
  • Nyquist Prompt and most shipped Nyquist effects now have Preview button.

Interface

  • Redesigned Meter Toolbars: The default shows separate Record and Playback Meters, half-height so they can be wider while docked, in gradient style.
  • A frequency selection can now be made (and spectral edit effects applied to those frequencies) when in a spectrogram view. You can also create or adjust frequency selections in a new “Spectral Selection Toolbar” (available at View > Toolbars).
  • Transcription Toolbar (Play-at-speed) can now loop play and cut-preview.
  • Timer Record now saves recordings automatically into an existing project.
  • New Armenian translation.

Operating system and sound device support

  • (Windows) Audacity 2.1.0 requires Windows XP SP3 (32-bit) or XP SP2 (64-bit), Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or 8.1.
  • (Windows) Audacity is now compiled using Visual Studio 2013.
  • (Windows) Recording with WASAPI host now includes experimental support for physical inputs (up to 24-bit depth) as well as loopback recording.
  • (OS X) 10.10 (Yosemite) is now supported including Apple Audio Units.
  • (Linux Ubuntu) Under Unity, keyboard shortcuts are not visible in the Audacity menus. Keyboard shortcuts are visible if you install the classic GNOME Flashback interface or under Unity if you open Audacity with the UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0 environment variable. Audacity compiled from source will ship with src/audacity.desktop.in set to UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0 but it will remain up to distributions to use this desktop file.

Bug Fixes

Interface

  • Typing “j” or “k” in a label track activated the “move cursor” shortcut.
  • Spectrogram log (f) view displayed incorrectly until vertically zoomed.
  • Fixed crash after zooming out on vertical scale beyond +/-1.0.
  • Selections made with Selection Toolbar were not restored after Undo.
  • Undo could fail silently if a selection included/touched a clip boundary.

Imports and Exports

  • If there were invalid FFmpeg libs in system PATH this prevented Audacity recognising the installed FFmpeg or the FFmpeg specified in audacity.cfg.

Mac OS X

  • Fix uninitialized buffer – this should correct playback buzz or crackle where the upper of multiple tracks started with or contained white space.
  • Device names were corrupted when using system language other than English.
  • Fixed crashes using (external program).
  • Waves v9 Audio Units should now work correctly.

GNU/Linux

  • Fix “Audacity already running” error when using the command-line or context menu to open multiple or further files.
  • Fix segfault exporting an FFmpeg format to an unwritable folder.
  • Fix silent failure exporting FFmpeg, MP2 or OGG to an unwritable folder.
  • Fix ENTER activated an effect when OK button was greyed out.

Read the full release notes.

Should you update to Audacity 2.1.0?

YES! Full support for OS X Yosemite, real-time effects, and a better noise reduction effect will improve your podcast-editing.

Please comment with your thoughts on the new noise reduction effect.

Announcements

  • Tell me what you would like me to ask one of the Audacity cofounders for an upcoming interview to celebrate Audacity’s 15th birthday!
  • Social Media Marketing World was incredible and maybe my new favorite conference.
  • Upcoming Podcast Midwest conference in Chicago on May 23, 2015.
  • Join me at New Media Expo, April 13–16, 2015. Use promo code “DLEWIS20” to save $100.

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    About the Author
    As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

    13 comments on “What’s new in Audacity 2.1.0 – TAP216

    1. Joe C. Hecht says:

      I was very pleased to hear a episode about the technical side of Podcasting.

      I thought this to be a fairly useful episode to those using Audacity.

      I will also add that the reason why the latest Audacity is compiled with Visual Studio 2013 is most likely due to the fact that this is the compiler version that is currently freely available for download, and has nothing to do with stability.

      Simply put, the Audacity folks just want you to be able to compile it.

      While Daniel J. Lewis had stated there where benefits to using the latest version of the compiler (ie: stability), the opposite is more far more likely (ie: the latest new compiler releases probably introduce more bugs than fixes). In all likelihood, it probably matters little what Visual Studio version you might compile Audacity with, as the underlying code is designed to mostly be cross platform-able, with the platform dependent code mostly being UI related, or related to sound SDK functions that are passed through to the OS.

      I hope to see more shows dedicated to the technical side of podcasting, and pray this departure is not simply due to the fact that the name of the show coincides with the product.

      Good Job Daniel J. Lewis!

      1. Thanks for the clarification!

        You know me, I often get really in-depth on the technical sides (did you survive all the numbers about encoding in episode 215?). 🙂

    2. Peter Sampson says:

      Glad you like the new 2.1.0 Daniel, particularly the new Meters those were a long bugbear of mine – and thanks to Leland Lucius (with some assistance from James Crook) for implementing those starting from an earlier proposal and a discussion at last year’s AU14 “Unconference” in Preston UK. Leland is also the dev. working on the real-time preview stuff, more to come on that in later releases. Special Mention too to Paul Licameli (who has recently been appointed to the Audacity Team) – Paul did the development work for the new spectral editing and the improved Noise Reduction effect. And thanks Daniel for the prompt review – Peter Sampson (Audacity Team member – documentation and support)

      1. Thanks for your great work and for stopping by! I’m honored that the Audacity team took notice. 🙂

    3. Bschwartz88 says:

      In the show, you mentioned Podcast Midwest, an event in Chicago. I could not find a link to it. Is there an event page with all the details?

    4. Paul Licameli says:

      Hello! I am the one who rewrote noise removal for 2.1.0.

      The Sensitivity sliders of the two versions are not really comparable. The old slider has units of dB but the new one does not. The new slider defaults to 6.

      To discover better settings, I recommend you read “Tips” on this page http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/noise_reduction.html

      More in-depth discussion of the effect is here: http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/How_Audacity_Noise_Reduction_Works

      1. Thanks for your great work!

        What would be better settings for a direct comparison between 2.0.6 and 2.1.0?

        1. Paul Licameli says:

          I am playing with this example myself. It is just inherently difficult to find settings that make the breaths sound good when they differ too little in volume from the background.

          But I should mention another thing. Using 0.5 for release time is unfair to the old effect. Reduce that to 0.1 to make it more comparable to the new effect.

    5. Paul Licameli says:

      I recommend this page if you want a deeper understanding of how the effect works and what the Sensitivity and Frequency Smoothing controls do. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwiki.audacityteam.org%2Fwiki%2FHow_Audacity_Noise_Reduction_Works&h=oAQGmTp7a

    6. Paul Licameli says:

      I want to make what I think is a fairer comparison of the two effects. In each I selected exactly 5 seconds starting at 11.2 in the first .wav clip for noise profile.

      First, 2.0.6, with settings 24 (as in your examples), 5 (Sensitivity), 0 (frequency smoothing), 0.1 (attack/release). Really, 0.5 for attack/release makes a very unfair comparison, while 0.1 is the built-in release time for 2.1.0 and attack is shorter. 5 is the smallest whole number sensitivity value that makes all “tinklebell” artifacts in the pauses go away, as seen in spectrogram.

      https://clyp.it/me1x5urj

      As above except frequency smoothing of 150, the default, which I suspect most people used without changing it.

      https://clyp.it/r1zbfds4

      1. Thank you for doing this!

    7. KIC says:

      Hey Daniel,

      I use Audacity for two things:

      1) great noise reduction abilities
      2) auto-duck which i implement during intro/outro with my music

      However, Audacity is INCREDIBLY slow, almost to the point of making want to jump off my balcony from 12 stories up. Do you recommend another software, free or paid, that matches these two Audacity features and doesn’t move slower than a dying snail?

      Thanks for any input

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