A brief flirtation with Audacity

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

I had the very unusual opportunity last night to try out Audacity because I needed a program that would record a two-minute reading from a book, and make an mp3 out of it. The circumstances are somewhat unusual and not worth explaining; what was interesting is that Audacity actually did a very good job with that brief task.

That’s the Arch version; the Ubuntu version was nearly identical and worked the same. I actually wanted to use my ugly K6-2 for the task, just to be flippant, but the hard drive in that machine whines so loudly that it was being picked up by the microphone. What is the deal with 4200rpm drives?! 👿

I rarely need or use a sound editor, but this one worked acceptably well and was easy to figure out. The interface is arranged neatly with all the major tools in one area, and a good list of filters and gimmicks for the truly audiophilic.

And really, aside from that I didn’t dig too deeply, so I won’t be terribly critical. The only suggestion would be a little smoother interface — the shaded playback controls are nice, but they don’t seem to mesh well with the bezeled buttons and controls elsewhere. It looks like it’s having an identity crisis, or maybe the GUI is undergoing a transformation and I got the half-Bill Bixby, half-Lou Ferrigno version. 😉

Anyway, I can’t find any faults with it in the short time I used it. If you need a straightforward, easy-to-use audio recorder, I can recommend it. Nicely done. 🙂


6 thoughts on “A brief flirtation with Audacity

  1. Danny

    Audacity has done me well for a few years now. I’ve used it here and there, but nothing consistent.

    I’ve stated on my blog that OSX is ahead of Linux in content creation software. Things like Garage Band and iMovie make it really easy to create content, especially for podcasting and educational videos. While Audacity is nice, it doesn’t hold a candle to Garage Band for ease of use.

    The coming educational changes will be based mostly on the ability to create, store, and deliver educational content, and OSX is ahead. If Linux can catch up, it will be able to open of world of knowledge to people who don’t have, and don’t care to have, the money for something with OSX on it.

    Audacity is excellent for what it does, but it still needs a bit more.

  2. K.Mandla Post author

    I was wondering about this, or at least something similar, the other day. I’m not a Mac user — I haven’t the bank account or interest in owning a front-of-the-line Mac.

    Yet everyone says they’re ahead of the game for just about everything. I was wondering if people like me, who don’t really want or care to see those advances, are hemming in Linux’s viability because everything is just good enough as it is.

    I’ll be honest, I’m never very disappointed with the general status quo, but I’m not overly thrilled when I see a Mac in action either. Most of the time, I would rather it didn’t do all those automatic things that everyone seems keen on.

    Anyway, if the tides of change roll Linux out in the direction of MacLand, it won’t bother me. I just don’t always know, or care, the direction things are headed. 😐

  3. Danny

    I agree. Mac’s habit of pushing the user to only doing things one way can be frustrating for techy types. Personally, I think WindowsXP is still easier. Vista is a nightmare though.

    I think it’s only the perception that “mac type people” are more creative that there is better content creation programs available for it.

    Jokosher is the only thing that comes close to Garage Band, but it’s still in development. And there’s nothing for Linux that can equal iMovie or Windows Movie Maker for ease of use.

    If developers would just forget the eye-candy for a few days, they might be able to get those content creation programs going.

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