Open source software can be hit-or-miss as far as both quality and features are concerned. For those people looking for a quality audio recorder and editor with cross-platform capabilities, Audacity is a big hit in both categories.
Sporting an impressive number of supported file types, Audacity is compatible with WAV, FLAC, AIFF, AU, and OGG Vorbis files. This provides users with more than the “basic” file types, but keeps users from being overwhelmed. In addition to the flexibility provided by the multiple supported file types, Audacity's usefulness can be extended by installing any number of effects and plug-ins. Many are packaged with the initial installation, and others can be downloaded.
All of the file types and features in the world are worth nothing if they are not presented to the user in an intuitive manner. Audacity accomplishes this mission by presenting the user with a clean, user-friendly interface. The learning curve is short, and many of the options are just one or two mouse-clicks away.
Audacity is built to import any of the previously mentioned file types and provides easy editing. Editing multiple tracks into a single file is as easy as importing, editing with a few clicks, and exporting. The original package includes effects and tools such as amplification, fade in/out, echo, phaser, equalization, and noise processing. Audacity's effects capabilities are incredibly extensible using the previously mentioned plug-in system.
Audacity's capabilities are not limited to the editing of existing recordings. The software is capable of recording multiple channels concurrently using a variety of input devices, including USB, Firewire, and standard microphones. After recording, editing is possible using simple cut, copy, paste, and delete operations that anyone who has used a word processor will be familiar with.
Audacity is the complete package. With an active community, extensive plug-in library, and solid base, it will be top-tier software for years to come. That, combined with the GPL license, multiple OS support, and proven track record, make Audacity the easy choice for anyone in need of audio editing software.