Powerful, free audio suite that's virtually essential for acoustic analysis of linguistic data
March 20, 2019

Powerful, free audio suite that's virtually essential for acoustic analysis of linguistic data

Ho'omana Nathan Horton | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Audacity

We use Audacity in the linguistics lab to record audio through a USB pre-amplifier (typically the Focusrite Scarlett Solo) and to re-sample or re-encode audio data in other formats which may not be readable (or maybe too big) for analysis software like Praat. We also use Audacity for some post-recording manipulation for perceptual studies.
  • Audacity is free and user-friendly but also allows for outstandingly fine-grained tuning if you know what you're doing.
  • We find this software invaluable for recording or re-encoding audio data for linguistic analysis.
  • We're also able to manipulate audio files (e.g. by changing pitch) to present for perceptual studies. Audacity's algorithms really do an excellent job of manipulating only the selected variable and maintaining the integrity and crispness of the audio file.
  • Audacity has an older-looking interface that can make a large number of options overwhelming sometimes, but it's free, so I've never really found this to be worth complaining about.
  • The included documentation also uses a pretty outdated interface, but again, it's free and there are a huge amount of much more thorough resources available online.
  • Since it's free, our ROI has been huge! We've done a ton of recording, post-processing, analysis, training, and more using this tool.
The only other related program we've used is Praat, and while Praat is unmatched for acoustic analysis, it also has a brutally steep learning curve and its recording leaves much to be desired (and is incredibly risky in terms of losing your recording). If you need to make and/or process/manipulate a recording via computer, Audacity is the best starting point hands down.
Audacity is absolutely invaluable as a free resource for making high-quality audio recordings on a computer and editing those recordings. Sure, there are other paid options with newer interfaces, but they are typically super expensive. Audacity works, it works well, and it's totally free. As a linguistic researcher who does recording, analysis, and manipulation of files, there's virtually no audio problem I've come across that Audacity won't work for.