What users are saying about
87 Ratings
2 Ratings
87 Ratings
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Score 8.2 out of 100
2 Ratings
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Score 8.6 out of 100

Attribute Ratings

  • Sound Forge is rated higher in 2 areas: Likelihood to Recommend, Support Rating

Likelihood to Recommend

8.8

Audacity

88%
23 Ratings
9.0

Sound Forge

90%
1 Rating

Support Rating

7.7

Audacity

77%
19 Ratings
10.0

Sound Forge

100%
2 Ratings

Likelihood to Recommend

Audacity

For just a quick down and dirty audio recording from computer source, Audacity is a no-frills solution that any user can get up and running with quickly without the intimidating functions seen in most standard DAWs. This would be a great tool to start with to record church services, or basic live performances where someone wouldn't want to use a full DAW like Ableton Live or Studio One.
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MAGIX Software

Sound Forge is great for when you need to edit a lot of audio, like interviews, spoken word, podcasts, monologues, presentations, lessons—you name it. When you have a lot of audio to get through, Sound Forge can make it go by very quickly by using such features as the markers and hotkeys for normalization, inserting silence (where needed), graphical fades to remove audio artifacts, and so on. I've been able to edit a 1 hour interview in 2 hours, having made hundreds of edits in the process. Sound Forge is less useful for situations where you want to hear a realtime effects chain, or record with VST effects on. For instance, if you want the person being recorded to hear their own voice through headphones with reverb and compression applied, I do not know how to do this in Sound Forge. I think it is impossible, but even if it is possible, it is not readily apparent how to do so.
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Pros

Audacity

  • Audacity has a wide variety of controls and capabilities for editing, making it a very robust tool for audio editing.
  • Even though it's a robust tool, it is very easy to use to get many basic things done in audio editing. The learning curve is small.
  • Love that audacity is free! What else could you ask for? There really is no reason not to use it.
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MAGIX Software

  • Markers - You can rapidly edit spoken audio to remove pauses, "ums" and "ahs," by using the marker feature while listening to the audio in realtime. Then, you go back and cycle through the markers and make the edits very quickly.
  • Hotkeys - Once you've learned the Sound Forge hotkeys, you can rapidly perform a number of tasks related to audio editing and mastering.
  • Fixing Clicks and Pops - The Graphical Fade feature allows you to easily draw volume envelopes in extremely short spans of audio, to successfully remove clicks and pops without affecting the rest of the sound.
  • Organizing VST Plugins - Sound Forge has a nice way of organizing VST effects into folders so you can put your most regularly-used plugins in a "Favorites" folder while organizing others in a sensible way.
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Cons

Audacity

  • Although the UI is very simple, it's not great to look at. Making the program more exciting visually would be a great plus.
  • The functionality has never been lacking for what it is, but has also not seen major additions in a long time.
  • The support base of the community is truly impressive, but is also very intimidating to wade through. Having better standardized help avenues would be a benefit to new users.
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MAGIX Software

  • Batch Processing - While I like a lot of things about the batch audio processing in Sound Forge, the inability to hear the effects chain is limiting.
  • Performance - Sound Forge takes a long time to open large files the first time they are opened, as it draws the waveform. It also takes a long time to save large files, every time.
  • Inability to Listen to VST FX in Realtime - Technically you can listen in realtime, but only from the beginning of the waveform, rather and it is not easy. You have to open the VST effect and turn on the "Preview" mode which starts the audio from the very beginning, without being able to seek.
  • Inability to Chain VST FX - You have to apply one, then apply the next, then the next, in a destructive mode. The only non-destructive way you can test out different FX chains is by applying them one at a time, and then hitting "Undo" over and over to get back to an earlier state. But you couldn't, for instance, add a reverb, then add compression, then go back and change the reverb. You'd have to undo the compression first.
  • FX Preset Management - You can save FX presets but it does not save your last-used settings from session to session, and with some VST FX plugins, it doesn't even save them between application, undoing, and attempting to apply again.
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Pricing Details

Audacity

Starting Price

Editions & Modules

Audacity editions and modules pricing
EditionModules

Footnotes

    Offerings

    Free Trial
    Free/Freemium Version
    Premium Consulting/Integration Services

    Entry-level set up fee?

    No setup fee

    Additional Details

    Sound Forge

    Starting Price

    Editions & Modules

    Sound Forge editions and modules pricing
    EditionModules

    Footnotes

      Offerings

      Free Trial
      Free/Freemium Version
      Premium Consulting/Integration Services

      Entry-level set up fee?

      No setup fee

      Additional Details

      Support Rating

      Audacity

      We have not used direct support for Audacity, other than using the information available on their website, which resolved the issues we were experiencing so we had a good experience in that regard. As this is Open Source FREE software, I don't believe there is direct support available. In saying that, it has the following great support options:
      • Online documentation and FAQ
      • Online tutorials covering all functions
      • Online user forums where questions are asked and answered by other users
      • Online wiki with more information
      With these options most issues should be able to be resolved to get full use from Audacity.
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      MAGIX Software

      I've never contacted MAGIX for support, nor Sony or Sonic Foundry before them (Sound Forge is on its 3rd developer now). But I've always been able to find exactly what information I needed through the support of its large user community. There are a number of audio engineering forums available where you can search the post history to find out how to do specific things in Sound Forge, or you can make a new post if you are running into an issue that has not already been solved.
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      Alternatives Considered

      Audacity

      All of the DAW's listed above are great for scoring to picture, which is something Audacity doesn't do. But it's an excellent standalone audio editor, which is a vital tool in any studio. It's very easy to transfer the clip, make the changes, and import it back into your session.
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      MAGIX Software

      I tend to use WaveLab for recording, because I can apply effects chains to the audio as it is coming in. So, if I'm recording a singer, I can give them reverb, compression, EQ, and other audio effects in realtime going into their headphones. I'm still recording the dry signal, so I can change all of those effects later if I wish. Sound Forge does not have a way to do this as far as I know. Where I do prefer Sound Forge is audio editing, specifically of spoken audio, although it is quite useful for music as well. I worked for a company once where I had to edit hundreds of testimonials. I was paid on a per-testimonial basis, flat rate, so I had a strong incentive to get them done as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality. I would listen through a testimonial all the way through, marking every area that had a long pause, an "ah" or an "um," a click, pop, or other undesirable audio artifact. I could then cycle through the markers and fix all the problems quickly.
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      Return on Investment

      Audacity

      • Audacity is completely free, so it has helped us to eliminate the expense of paying for recording software.
      • It is fast and efficient, which helps us save time and generate a great workflow.
      • Even though we have what we need there are some features that cannot be found on Audacity, this affects the quality of our audio in a way.
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      MAGIX Software

      • Sound Forge has had a very positive impact in saved time editing files. It would have taken me hours longer using WaveLab, Audacity, Adobe Audition, or some of the other competitors for tasks like editing interviews.
      • Sound Forge has also had a positive impact in saved time through its batch processing features which allow me to normalize and apply effects to a huge set of files all at once.
      • Sound Forge has not had any negative impacts that I am aware of beside the cost.
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