Free audio editing software

What is Audacity?

Audacity is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to:

  • Record live audio
  • Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs
  • Edit WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3 or Ogg Vorbis sound files
  • Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together
  • Numerous effects including change the speed or pitch of a recording

Recording Vinyl Records in Audacity

ARTS 126 - Digital Cinema
  • Using the computer provided, login to your student account
  • Open Audacity
  • Turn on the external speakers
  • Take the dust cover off the turntable
  • Turn on the turntable
  • Find the record(s) you want to record
  • Remove the record from the white paper sleeve and place carefully on the turntable
  • Lift the turntable tonearm off the rest and gently place the needle on the record
  • Click “Click to Start Monitoring” on the Recording Meter within Audacity to listen to the record (See screenshot below)

Audacity screenshot Click to Start Monitoring

  • Adjust external speaker volume as needed (See image below)

Audacity screenshot Click to Start Monitoring

IMPORTANT! If you are not hearing any audio you may need to select "Software Playthough: Listen while recording or monitoring new track" in the recording preferences (See screenshot below). Access this setting via Edit > Preferences > Recording > Software Playthough: Listen while recording or monitoring new track


Aiudacity screenshot displaying software playthrough prefernces

  • Tap “R” on the keyboard to start recording within Audacity
  • Tap the Spacebar to stop recording
  • Tap the Spacebar again to playback what you've recorded (Loop playback = Shift + Spacebar)
  • Edit your sound within Audacity as needed (For example, Trim audio, add effects etc.)
  • Save your sound as a WAV file by selecting File > Export Audio or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + E
  • Name your file and click “SAVE”
  • Bypass the “Edit Metadata Tags” window by clicking “OK
  • When finished recording, take the record off the turntable, place the record back in the white paper sleeve and slide it behind the record cover in the clear poly sleeve as originally found
  • Return the record(s) to the library circulation desk to be placed back on the library shelf

Useful Audacity Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Preferences = Ctrl + P
  • Start Recording = R
  • Start/Stop Playback = Spacebar
  • Loop Playback = Shift + Spacebar
  • Zoom In = Ctrl + 1
  • Zoom Normal = Ctrl + 2
  • Zoom Out = Ctrl + 3
  • Select All = Ctrl + A
  • Export Audio = Ctrl + Shift + E
  • Open = Ctrl + O

Useful Audacity Effects

  • Normalize = Effect > Normalize…
  • Click Removal = Effect > Click Removal…