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As of October 10, 2011, it was the 11th most popular download from SourceForge, with 76.5 million downloads. Audacity won the SourceForge 2007 and 2009 Community Choice Award for Best Project for Multimedia. In March 2015 hosting was moved to FossHub and by September, 2018 it had exceeded 62.5 million downloads there.
Features and usage
Audacity's main panel annotated. All the components that have been labelled are custom for Audacity.
In addition to recording audio from multiple sources, Audacity can be used for post-processing of all types of audio, including podcasts by adding effects such as normalization, trimming, and fading in and out. Audacity has also been used to record and mix entire albums, such as by Tune-Yards. It is also currently used in the UK OCR National Level 2 ICT course for the sound creation unit.
Audacity's features include:
Four user-selectable themes enable the user to choose their preferred look&feel for the application (version 2.2.0 and later)
Four user-selectable colorways for waveform display in audio tracks (version 2.2.1 and later)
Features of modern multitrack audio software including navigation controls, zoom and single track edit, project pane and XY project navigation, non-destructive and destructive effect processing, audio file manipulation (cut, copy, paste)
Audacity supports only 32-bit or 64-bit VST audio effect plug-ins, depending on which architecture it was built for, but not both at the same time. It does not support instrument VST (VSTi) plugins.
Audacity lacks dynamic equalizer controls and real time effects while recording.
Audacity does not natively import or export WMA, AAC, AC3 or most other proprietary or restricted file formats; rather, an optional FFmpeg library is required.
The layers and modules in Audacity. The diagram highlights three important classes within wxWidgets, each of which has a reflection in Audacity. Higher-level abstractions result from related lower-level ones.
For example, the BlockFile system is a reflection of and is built on wxWidgets' wxFiles. Lower down in the diagram is a narrow strip for "Platform Specific Implementation Layers."
Both wxWidgets and PortAudio are OS abstraction layers. Both contain conditional code that chooses between different implementations depending on the target platform.
The free and open nature of Audacity has allowed it to become very popular in education, encouraging its developers to make the user interface easier for students and teachers.
CNET rated Audacity 5/5 stars and called it "feature rich and flexible". Preston Gralla of PC World said, "If you're interested in creating, editing, and mixing you'll want Audacity." Jack Wallen of Tech Republic highlighted its features and ease-of-use. Michael Muchmore of PC Magazine rated it 3.5/5 stars and said, "Though not as slick or powerful as programs from the likes of Adobe, Sony, and M-Audio, Audacity is surprisingly feature-full for free software."
In The Art of Unix Programming, Eric S. Raymond says of Audacity "The central virtue of this program is that it has a superbly transparent and natural user interface, one that erects as few barriers between the user and the sound file as possible."
Several authors criticized Audacity for inconvenient user interface, destructive editing and lack of features, comparing Audacity unfavorably to competing products, which require less actions from user to do tasks such as crossfade and noise reduction.
Bernardini, Nicola; Rocchesso, Davide (2002). "Making Sounds with Numbers: A Tutorial on Music Software Dedicated to Digital Audio". Journal of New Music Research. 31 (2): 141-151. doi:10.1076/jnmr.22.214.171.12489. ISSN0929-8215.