Audacity 3 Released – New File Format, Better Noise Gate, Bugfixes

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Audacity v3.0.0 has been released for macOS, Windows, and Linux. The most popular free audio editor is now better than ever.

Audacity is a FREE, open-source, cross-platform audio recorder and editor. It seems crazy to say, but Audacity has been around since early 2000. Since its launch, it has seen many significant updates, and this latest v3.0.0 is quite a major overhaul.

There aren’t many changes in this latest update, it’s mostly one huge change, and it comes in the shape of a new file format. One of the persistent complaints about Audacity was that it had a somewhat convoluted way of saving projects. In short, the data files were not contained within the project file (.aup). The system of saving/piling many small files caused problems and often confused and irritated users.

Now, projects are saved as .aup3 files that contain all of the project data. Audacity makes use of the open-source SQLite3 database for file storage. What this means for users is that you should be able to work faster because your machine is dealing with fewer files at one time.

The downside is that while the old way of saving projects was more convoluted, it was faster because it had less work to do. To give a poor analogy, it’s like not washing the dishes after you eat each time; it’s faster and easier at the time, but soon you’re left with a pile of dishes to clear up before you can eat again. The new .aup3 format might take a little longer to leave/save projects because it’s working harder, but it’s far better in the long run.

There are a couple more minor changes, like an improved noise gate effect, command shortcuts, and a new analyzer. The new analyzer tool analyses and labels sounds and silences to help you work more efficiently. Efficiency is the theme for this latest update, and as you’ll all know, there’s nothing worse than working with tedious, convoluted software; it kills creativity.

Audacity v3.0.0 also fixes over 160 bugs, most of which were minor.

My introduction to Audacity many years ago was when I met young rappers/producers who used it to remove vocals from tracks to make remixes. But, it’s stuck around for over 20 years because it’s a very versatile tool.

Audacity 3.0.0 does a bit of most things, from recording live audio or computer playback to a multitude of chopping and editing options (and more).

More info: Audacity 3

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About Author

James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.

11 Comments

  1. It is great to see it being updated and cared for. It was during the fall semester of ’99 that Mazzoni & Dannenberg started working on it, releasing the first version the following spring. By now it is probably the most popular and most used audio editor/DAW worldwide

  2. Thanks James & BPB, this is great news.
    Audacity is dope, i used to use it a lot before i got Logic, but even so its still handy to have around, i still love using it.
    I’ve gotta say though James, your a great writer, i recently read your article about wav v’s mp3 / non compressed v’s compressed audio files, which was on another website. I found it very interesting to read, thank you 👍
    I have seen a lot of info online on how to make an instrumental / acapella in a DAW, but i’ve never had any luck with that myself, splitting the stereo file & reversing the phase of one side etc. I think it works better with hard panned stereo audio, i tried to do it on more mono sounding songs.
    I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong lol, as i did see a yt video achieve a perfect acapella in another DAW, using a mainly mono song, but i would still love to know the secret 😉
    Thanks again James, respect 💙

    • Hey PUREFIRE,

      It’s great that something like Audacity is still around for free!

      Thank you! That article was a while back; I’m glad you enjoyed it. I try to be as conversational as possible but still give enough helpful info (that’s the plan, at least, haha).

      When I first saw people removing vocals from songs with Audacity, it was the same phase invert method you described, which is the same in Logic, and so on, but it was pretty crude, and at the time, it was good enough. They just wanted an instrumental to rap over. Audacity’s Vocal reduction/isolation tool now makes that easier but still a bit crude.

      A clean acapella is harder; it’s not something I’ve spent much time on. You’re right; hard-panned stereo is easier to work with, but I’ve not seen anyone get amazing results, so if you find out the secret first, let me know! Haha. I like iZotope RX for any noise reduction, but I use it pretty lightly. Depending on the track and how busy it is, you can sometimes do pretty well just with Logic’s Channel EQ set to process side only and drop the gain completely, then add a second stereo EQ to cut everything but the vocal range. It’s not perfect by any means.

      Thanks again; I tend to learn something from your comments; very helpful

      • Thanks James, your very welcome, thats a great tip there about Logic, or any DAW with a mid / side EQ, i’ve not tried that before, thanks for sharing it.
        I think iZotope’s Music Rebalance is ok, but its early days & still not 100% perfect, but like you say about reduction processing, its better if you use it lightly. Also, you can remove the sides first in RX & then apply the processing to get an acapella. You end up with a more mono sound, but that can be helped with something like Ozone 9, which has a free stereo imager plug-in which is handy.
        Theres another plug-in around for isolating just drum sounds, but the results sound a bit crude too ! A bit like an mp3 at a very low bitrate.
        I think the way forward could be some kind of AI that could analyse the target frequency range of the sound to be isolated (from the original sound source) & reproduce or synthesise the missing elements of it afterwards to reproduce at least part of the original sound somehow & mix the two together to get a full fat sound instead of a thin washy sound.
        The science & results at the moment are incredible, but things can only get better with new tech etc.
        Some artists have started releasing “stems” of their songs now, which is awesome if you like the song 😊
        I have this new version of Audacity now, i will try the isolation tool, i didn’t know about that, thanks.
        The reverse phase method relies on studio & exact versions of the vocal & instrumental as well, i tried with a 12″ vinyl rip, so maybe a CD would be a better format to use.
        Thanks for your always helpful info James, is always very much appreciated 👍

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