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uses for audacityYou’ve probably heard of Audacity. It’s a free cross-platform application for recording and mixing, which also happens to be incredibly powerful and versatile. You can use it to record vocals, instruments and other sounds, mix them up into something useful and then create a music file to share. Many people use Audacity for podcasts or music mixing, but that’s not all it’s good for.

There are so many fantastic things you can do with a program as versatile as Audacity. So many in fact, that it’s possible that a few great ideas slipped by you while you were off doing other things. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the best ideas and give you a few pointers on how to get started doing them yourself. Download Audacity and let’s get started!

If you have any technical questions in regards to these ideas, you should be able to get good answers at the Audacity Wiki, or try asking on MakeUseOf Answers.

Multi-Track Music Recording

If you’re part of a band or a singer who performs with backing tracks, you’ll love using Audacity to record the individual tracks and pull them together as a final piece. It’s easy to get started producing home music recordings in Audacity A Beginner's Guide To Producing Home Music Recordings With Audacity A Beginner's Guide To Producing Home Music Recordings With Audacity For many musicians, the cost of paying a professional sound engineer to record and produce a demo CD or demo tracks for an online talent profile is just too high. A much more affordable option... Read More and the end result can be quite professional once you start adding in effects to the individual tracks. Here’s a list of artists who have created their music with Audacity as the main tool – there’s some great examples to listen to!

uses for audacity

Podcasting & Radio

Since Audacity is the perfect tool for mixing several tracks together and fading in/out different tracks, it makes it the perfect tool for podcast or radio show creation. It’s very easy to fade-in a sound byte around some spoken audio or to add a catchy introduction tune. See this article to learn more about using multi-track recordings in Audacity A Beginner's Guide To Producing Home Music Recordings With Audacity A Beginner's Guide To Producing Home Music Recordings With Audacity For many musicians, the cost of paying a professional sound engineer to record and produce a demo CD or demo tracks for an online talent profile is just too high. A much more affordable option... Read More .

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audacity uses

Record Speeches, Audition Material, Adverts & Voice-Overs

Another few great things you can do when recording your voice using Audacity is to create adverts or voice-overs. If you’re a small business owner who wants to advertise on radio, you could create your own adverts. If you’ve got a fantastic voice, you could practise for voice-over roles and maybe create a portfolio How To Become A Voice-Over Artist With Your PC How To Become A Voice-Over Artist With Your PC Thanks to the Internet, voice artistry is one of those roles that have taken on a whole new shape, with many thousands of voices now available for use in games, on websites, as voice-overs in... Read More to get your name out there.

audacity uses

Also, any students, best men or performers can use Audacity to record themselves doing their speeches, audition pieces or anything else which needs to be perfected. Hearing exactly how you sound will make you realise what you need to work on before the big day.

Recording Audio From Applications

There’s plenty of reasons you might like to record from applications: Maybe you’d like to record from Firefox, a Skype call or from a streaming radio playing on your machine. To do this using Audacity, you’ll need to ensure your sound card can do it. Ensure that you turn off “Software Playthrough” in your recording preferences, then simply click next to the audio source (default says “Microphone”) and choose “Stereo Mix” from the drop-down menu. This will allow you to record any sound that’s being sent to your speakers. Full instructions and guides to soundcards by operating system are here.

Practise Foreign Languages And Record Yourself

Anyone who’s successfully learned a foreign language will attest that you need to speak it frequently to get it right. But often it’s difficult to hear your accent as you say it, so the idea of recording yourself and listening to it later is a good one. This works doubly well if you record your example lesson or a native speaker at the same time so you can really compare how the words sound.

Create Audiobooks For Kids Or For Project Gutenberg

If you have a great reading voice, you could put it to good use by reading public domain books aloud and recording them in Audacity for audiobooks. Project Gutenberg has many public domain books which are yet to be recorded. It’s an ongoing project which anyone can help out with.

If you have small kids in the family, you could read kids books aloud and record them for everyone to enjoy as bedtime stories. There are plenty of public domain kids books you can read, which will mean you can upload and share them legally when you’re finished. Or do both and upload them to Project Gutenberg when you’re done!

Create Karaoke Backing Tracks

Karaoke is great fun, but sometimes you just can’t get hold of songs you’re dying to sing. As long as you’re keeping the file for your own entertainment only, it can be a good idea to create your own karaoke tracks. Yaara has written a step-by-step guide on how to create your own vocal-free karaoke tracks using Audacity How To Create Your Own Vocal-Free Karaoke Tracks How To Create Your Own Vocal-Free Karaoke Tracks I’m sure you will agree with me that there’s nothing better for the spirit than karaoke. Whether you like singing or not, once you get over the initial embarrassment and start picturing yourself standing on... Read More if you want to try it.

audacity uses

Record Your Brainwaves

If you’re a musician and you just thought of a great new melody, you could use Audacity to record it. Or, if you have great ideas all day and just want to note them down quickly, this could be a great tool. Submit the audio to Evernote when you’re done and these recordings could be really useful later!

Make Cool Ringtones

Audacity can be used to create MP3 files, which in turn can be used as ringtones. So, it makes sense that you could conceivably find any cool sound effect or movie snippet and convert it into a ringtone. You could even use your own voice or record one of the littler members of your family saying something cute. If you’re into video games, Justin has found lots of game sound effect sites you can use to create awesome ringtones with Audacity Make Your Ringtone Awesome With Retro Videogame Sounds Make Your Ringtone Awesome With Retro Videogame Sounds Is your ringtone boring, phone-like and stupid? Don't be embarrassed - mine was too. Until, that is, I saw the light and changed it to one of the best sounds in the known universe: the... Read More .

Improve Reading Skills & Speech By Recording Kids Reading

Your kids will get better at reading by doing it more often, and they’ll be better at reading aloud if they practise that often too. So why not use Audacity to record them reading their favourite stories? Not only do they get great practise, but you could share the file with their cousins as a bedtime story and with the rest of the family just so everyone can enjoy listening to a cute kid reading a story. Note: Don’t make these recordings public as only books out of copyright will be legal to record.

uses for audacity

More Reading

With any of these ideas for Audacity projects, there’s always more you can know to make them a bit better. Check out these articles too:

What other ideas can you come up with for using Audacity? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock, Shutterstock, Shutterstock, Shutterstock

  1. Andy Crofts
    August 24, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Also for language studies: Tutorial sound DVD's sometimes are a bit fast to understand. I use the 'tempo' function to slow it down by 10-15%, listen to it a couple of times like this, then increase the speed to normal. Great help, especially with Finnish

  2. Framton Goodman
    November 13, 2012 at 4:47 am

    I volunteer as a Producer at a local radio station and they use Adobe Audition. I've been using Audacity at home for a couple of years, and it's as good as Audition for broadcast-quality results!

    • Angela Alcorn
      November 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks for the comparison. Audacity really is quite powerful!

    • Wave Deaf Retaliator
      December 29, 2014 at 1:28 am

      The quality results depends solely on the hardware. But between these two programs there are huge differences. Audition has many more tools. They are incomparable, Audition is a thousand times more powerful than Audacity. Audacity has a few bugs and is not professional. Compare it with Audition is ridiculous ...

  3. Guest
    September 18, 2012 at 2:06 am

    I use Audacity to rip audio from video files. Some of the movies I have didn't have "official" soundtracks (or did, but they're now out of print), but had some really cool songs in the movie itself. Usually the best recordings come from over the credits, when there's no other dialogue or sound effects coming from the movie itself. Other times there's a montage that uses a particular song, but that song isn't on the album.

    You need the FFMPEG libraries (ffmpeg.org) for Audacity to open the video file directly (especially if it's a DVD .mpg or .vob), unless you use a tool like Virtual Dub or DGIndex to "demux" (separate into individual files) the audio from the video. I've had better luck with the latter -- saving as .wav from Virtual Dub and re-importing into Audacity, then cutting the audio to just where the song is and saving as .mp3 or .flac.

    Another thing I do for fun (in the same way) is to strip various audio segments from the dialogue and make a "soundboard" with the best lines from the movie, like some guy did for Scarface: soundboard.com/sb/scarface.aspx

    "Say hello to my little friend!" :-)

  4. gmonly
    September 9, 2012 at 6:14 am

    i have used this when i had win 98, I used it for burning my albums to cd's, it takes out the album noise, I even made a sound board for Halloween (i lost that a long time ago).
    IMO, for the price, this is the best software for audio. just don't forget to have Lame (also free from Audacity's site), to convert to MP3's.

  5. Kao Vang
    September 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Nice article.

  6. rimaz nazeer
    September 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Using this for a long time,really useful and very easy to use.

  7. Harshit Jain
    September 8, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Audacity can compete with paid audio editing software.

    • Wave Deaf Retaliator
      December 28, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      You can do the same things that are made with Audacity with any audio editing software. But applications like Audition or SoundForge are much more powerful and accurate.

      True, many musicians have used Audacity in their compositions, but that does not mean it is professional software. Just try a demo of either programs that I put as an example and you will see the difference.

      Audacity is a great program, but can not be compared to commercial programs, because it has many limitations compared to them. Otherwise no one would pay for commercial software and everyone would use only free software.

  8. Terafall
    September 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I never knew Audacity can do all that

  9. Justin Winokur
    September 8, 2012 at 3:44 am

    I use it to make slow fade-ins on 40 second snippets of songs I use for my alarm

    • Angela Alcorn
      September 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      That's a cool idea.

  10. Lee
    September 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Another neat use is the fact that you can generate tones and set them to play out of certain channels.
    I've used this before to tell which ear bud is the right and left. Just generate a tone and then limit it to be either the left or right track. Then when you play it back, you can make sure the ear bud is in the correct ear. Most of the time this isn't an issue, but some headphones don't label the left and right.

    • Angela Alcorn
      September 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      That's a very neat trick. Thanks!

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