Best Guitar Software Programs – Audacity
Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. It’s main features are:
- Record live audio.
- Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
- Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
- Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
- Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
As a guitar player, you will probably use Audacity most to record live audio but you will find being able to change the speed or pitch of recordings useful too.
Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidiscs. With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio.
- Record from microphone, line input, or other sources.
- Dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings.
- Record up to 16 channels at once (requires multi-channel hardware).
- Level meters can monitor volume levels before, during, and after recording.
To record your guitar playing, you can either use a microphone or use a line input.
I use a DigiTech RP155 Modeling Guitar Processor. This is just another name for a multi effects guitar pedal. This box has the advantage of having a USB socket so you can connect it directly to your computer. It then becomes a MIDI device that you can use to record directly to your computer, cutting out any background noise you might get using a microphone.
This is what the DigiTech RP155 looks like:
This is how I connect my guitar to the RP155 and the RP155 to the computer, except I use headphones plugged into the back of the RP155:
Another useful feature of Audacity is that you can dub over existing tracks to create multi-track recordings. It’s easy to record one guitar part and play it back and at the same time record another guitar part.
You will need the Lame MP3 Encoder to export your recordings to MP3. Like Audacity, it’s free and is a plugin that works from within Audacity itself.
Another free plugin is available for importing MP3 files. This is libmad.
The effects you get with Audacity include:
- Change the pitch without altering the tempo, or vice-versa.
- Remove static, hiss, hum, or other constant background noises.
- Alter frequencies with Equalization, FFT Filter, and Bass Boost effects.
- Adjust volumes with Compressor, Amplify, and Normalize effects.
- Other built-in effects include:
For a guitar player, being able to change the tempo is very useful for learning new songs, or parts of songs that are tricky.
This is one of the best programs I’ve used for recording my guitar playing. It’s probably the best software for recording any type of audio. It’s also one of best pieces of free guitar software you will find.