Audacity 3.1.3 released

Audacity 3.1.3 has been released. It features the following improvements:

  • Made it harder to accidentally create loop regions when attempting to use Timeline Quick Play
  • Added snap guides when resizing clips
  • Added new default shortcuts Shift+L (set loop to selection) and Alt+Shift+L (Clear Loop)
  • Re-added selection and quick play indicators in the timeline
  • Improved performance, especially when loading in projects, up to 50x compared to 3.1.0
  • Fixed various crashes and other bugs. Details can be found in the release notes.

Between this release and 3.1.0 have been two hotfix releases which fixed critical bugs and crashes, but didn’t impact features (details: 3.1.1, 3.1.2).

You can download Audacity at audacityteam.org/download.

Rethinking the Manual

Hello

In this post, I want to introduce our plans to create a new online manual, which we intend to replace the current one found here.

First, it is worth explaining why we want to replace the existing manual, which has been meticulously kept up-to-date by a handful of dedicated contributors. The existing system is built on MediaWiki, which unfortunately comes with a lot of trouble attached that limits its overall usefulness: For example, due to spam problems, it has not been open to contributions from the public for a long time. As a result, the number of active editors has been very small (around 3 or 4 people). Consequently, it has also not been translated in quite a long time, which we feel is a big disadvantage.

Secondly, the manual was being packaged with the installer, which meant that it needed to be completely up-to-date prior to a release. Apart from being an unnecessary release blocker, this also meant that any corrections or optimisations to the manual could only be published whenever a new version of Audacity was released.

Thirdly, it was written to serve a dual-purpose: being both a developer reference as well as a user manual, which made it quite complicated – a problem exacerbated by not having a search function. As a result, around 90% of Audacity users were using web search engines such as Google to get help with Audacity, where more user-focused content from third parties massively out-performed our manual (the average manual page gets about 180 clicks per month). This is significantly lower than what we expect from an app as widely used as Audacity is. 

For the above reasons, we have decided that our resources are overwhelmingly better spent on creating a new manual that attempts to get users up to speed as easily as possible. This new manual will be called Audacity Support. 

With that in mind, we want to accomplish the following goals with Audacity Support: 

  • It should be user-focused. That means it should be easy to read and friendly, giving as much information as necessary to achieve a given task, without being either too vague or too detailed. It also should be search optimized, helping users to find what they’re looking for quickly.
  • It should be continuously editable by anyone and not be a release-blocker anymore. Although this means that pages will sometimes be ‘out of date’ at the time of a new release (although we’ll seek to avoid that as much as possible), we feel it is a price worth paying to achieve the goal of a vibrant community of contributors and translators.
  • In addition to written content, the manual should prominently be accompanied by video tutorials when appropriate. We intend to encourage the already large video tutorial community to create content that fits in with the task-focused structure of the manual. This would be a perfectly symbiotic relationship, since the manual will provide them an additional source of views.
  • Crucially, Audacity Support will also be translatable. Mediawiki can do this with great effort, but we’d like to have a system that supports translations more easily.
  • Readers should be able to search for content in Audacity Support itself, and be able to download a PDF version of it should they need access to an offline copy.

The current plan is to host Audacity Support on Gitbook. Gitbook has inherent benefits over MediaWiki for our purposes in several areas: 

For Contributors, Gitbook has a nice visual editor (as opposed to MediaWiki’s plain-text/wiki-syntax editor). It also can sync to Github, so if you prefer working with a local markdown or text editor, you can do that, too. This Github integration also will enable translations down the line (several translation tools integrate with it easily), but since we’re starting fresh, we’ll hold off on translations until the English version has reached a somewhat decent level of maturity. Video tutorial creators will be able to easily embed their content on relevant pages.

There may be individual pages from the old manual which make sense to be ported over to Audacity Support, but generally, we want a fresh start, with the developer reference bits of the old manual not getting ported over. Speaking of which, the old manual would stay as-is and will not get updated or included in the installer past 3.1.x.

As a preview, you can view the Gitbook page on https://audacity.gitbook.io/audacity/. Please bear in mind that we have only just started the process of populating it with content and it still contains a lot of unfinished material. While we are not yet calling for contributions, you can get editor access on https://audacityteam.org/gitbook-access. We will welcome anyone who wants to take part in defining the overall structure and style.

We would be very interested to hear your suggestions on how we can make further improvements to this plan. You can send them in our Forum, or in our new discord server.

Audacity 3.1 is out now!

Watch the release video now

We’re happy to announce that Audacity 3.1 has been released. This release focuses on making audio editing easier. The key improvements are:

  • Added clip handle bars, allowing you to move audio clips around more easily
  • Added smart clips, a way to non-destructively trim clips
  • Reworked the looping feature.

You can download Audacity 3.1 for Windows, macOS and Linux on audacityteam.org/download.

Audacity 3.0.3 is out now!

We’re happy to announce our latest release: Audacity 3.0.3.

Key improvements:

  • The Windows version of Audacity is now 64-bit
    • (Note: 32-bit plug-ins will not work on 64-bit Audacity)
  • We have improved the default spectrogram colours
  • We now provide an official binary for Linux in the form of an AppImage
  • Audacity can now check to see if there is a newer version available
  • Users are now able to send us the details of a serious error, if one occurs
  • Multiple bugs fixed

You can download Audacity 3.0.3 for Windows, macOS and GNU/Linux at audacityteam.org/download.

Audacity & MuseScore Announcement!

Martin Keary (aka Tantacrul) recently posted a super YouTube video about Audacity containing the following announcement:

Audacity has just joined Muse Group, a collection of brands that includes another popular open source music app called MuseScore, which I’m currently in charge of. And since things are going rather well at MuseScore, I was asked to step up and also manage Audacity in partnership with its open source community. And just like we’re doing at MuseScore, we’re now planning on significantly improving the feature set and ease of use of Audacity – providing dedicated designers and developers to give it the attention it deserves – while keeping it free and open source.

see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMWNvwLiXIQ

We’re scared and excited.

We hope you are too.

Audacity 3.0.2 Released

We’re pleased to announce release of Audacity 3.0.2 which replaces all previous versions for Windows, macOS and Linux. This is a significant bug fixing release.

Better Diagnostics:
As well as bug fixing we have also added more detailed reporting into Audacity to track down some hopefully not too common problems with the new format we introduced in 3.0.0. If you see an unexpected error message with a “Show Log…” button on it, please send the log to [email protected], tell us how the problem happened, and whether it’s repeatable. We think, but do not know for sure yet, that some problems some users of 3.0.0 have had may be caused by networked drives which are slower than drives on the same laptop. We’ve increased a ‘timeout’ which should fix that.

Macro Output:
Users of the Macro feature in Audacity to process multiple files will find there is a new preference, Macro output, for where the results are put. The old way of doing things put the results with the files being processed.

New preference for macro output directory

Untangling Code:
In parallel with 3.0.2 and 3.0.0 work, we’ve been doing a lot of other work on Audacity on another branch that is for the future and not in 3.0.2. Paul Licameli has been untangling dependencies in Audacity and making many graphs of the structure to guide what to untangle next. Here is a small extract of one of those graphs.

Extract from Paul’s work on untangling the Audacity code

If code is hard to work with, we work more slowly. These changes to untangle the code should make Audacity more flexible, and make it easier to work with the code. We kept these changes out of 3.0.0 and 3.0.2, as the changes were substantial and the important aup3 work took precedence. Hopefully the more flexible cleaner structure will be a big win for future versions of Audacity.

Bug Fixes:
3.0.2 has some simple to do but important bug fixes. The compressor effect was not working for longer selections. We were also very occasionally getting an error messages at start up of Audacity, requiring a restart of Audacity. You can read more about what we did for 3.0.2 on the New Features page of the manual.

Progress!
We hope you enjoy Audacity 3.0.2. We’ve made the big move to aup3 format and Paul has untangled a lot of our code for easier future work. We’re hoping we can now start moving forward more quickly with more visible improvements with these changes done.

Google Summer of Code 2021

Audacity is proud to be taking part in Google Summer of Code 2021, having last participated in 2008 and 2009.

Google’s Summer of Code Logo

We created a web page with four seed project ideas for students to base their project ideas on. We then applied to Google to be a mentoring organisation this year, and they said “Yes”. We hope to get two students working on projects for us this summer. The response so far has been phenomenal. Hopefully you will see cool and useful outcomes from their work in September.