Do you Even Audacity?

image: GIF of Marc Wahlberg confused in a field from the movie “The Happening”

from Funny or

Where do I even start…

I had never hear about Audacity before this week, and honestly I don’t feel like I’ve been missing out on anything. For anyone who is curious, “Audacity is an open source, cross-platform audio editor and recorder. Audacity can record and play sounds and import and export WAV, AIFF, MP3, and OGG files. Edit your sounds using cut, copy, and paste features, mix tracks, or apply effects to your recordings” (Audacity Developer Team).

I am usually a fast learner, and can normally teach myself to use new tools by fiddling around with them, but I have never in my life struggled so much to figure a program out as I did with Audacity. Two hours in, and tutorial after tutorial, nothing helped me understand how to create a cohesive minute long audio track using the tools preset in the software.

Normally I use Garage Band which tries to replicate the way instruments and musical gadgets look like and work in real life using skeuomorphism. It makes it much easier for the user to navigate through the different tools and effects even if they have very limited knowledge on the program. Audacity doesn’t have instruments or templates for background beats, so I found it impossible to create anything that was even remotely appealing to the ear using the sounds at my disposition. I am a fairly creative person and definitely open minded to more abstract sounding audio tracks, but even then, whatever I made sounded like my computer was breaking.

Overall, I would say that Audacity is far from being user friendly. Perhaps I am just a Garage Band snob, or simply not smart enough to understand Audacity’s more complicated system, but I cannot help but prefer the original program I learned to edit and make music with. In addition, the program itself looks hideous, the instructions on Audacity are non-existent, and nothing is placed intuitively for a beginner like me. At 10 years old I was able to teach myself to use Garage Band, at 21 years old, I should be able to figure out Audacity, alas, I cannot.




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