Choosing an Audio Software Option for BitTorrent

If you're just starting to create audio for the wonderful world of BitTorrent, try out the open-source audio software packages first. After you're comfortable with those, research the higher-end, more powerful tools for editing your sound. Be sure to take advantage of any software package that you can download and try without paying first, even if the program is limited during the trial. Until you actually use some of this software you won't know what works for you and what doesn't. Plus, using open-source options is in the spirit of the BitTorrent way.

Some audio-editing software packages are free; others require you to purchase them. If you're serious about recording on a regular basis, the investment may be worth it. The following sections give you an overview of just two good packages you can try out.

Audacity

The program of choice for many home audio recorders is a free, open-source program called Audacity. Audacity is a multitrack recording program that allows anyone with a microphone (properly set up, of course) to record audio and mix it all together. It is a small download and is simple to install and use.

Audacity is one of the best open-source recording packages out there. Audacity is available for Windows, Mac OS 9 or X, and Linux/Unix. It has many powerful features, including audio filters and free mixing of multiple sound tracks. You can export files in a variety of audio formats: MP3, Windows media audio, WAV files, or RAW audio. With a little experimentation and close attention to the instructions, you should be able to record your first radio program in less than a day.

Recording and importing with Audacity

Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from cassette tapes, vinyl records, or minidisks. With some sound cards, it can also capture streaming audio. Some of the other great features are

  • Recording from microphone, line input, or other sources
  • Dubbing over existing tracks to create multitrack recordings
  • Recording up to 16 channels at once (requires multichannel hardware)
  • Monitoring volume levels before, during, and after recording

Editing sound files with Audacity

Audacity features some powerful tools to make changes to your recorded audio. All of the editing tools are easily accessible. You can quickly edit with cut, copy, paste, and delete functions. You'll especially love the unlimited undo that makes editing easy.

Audacity puts no limit on the number of tracks that you can record and edit — a wonderful trait in a free package.

Saving and exporting with Audacity

Audacity can export Windows Media audio, MP3s, WAV, AIFF, and RAW audio files. Each export is easy to do, and offers options for changing the sound quality in order to end up with a reasonable file size.

Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer

Don't let the name fool you. The MP3 Audio Mixer from Acoustica doesn't just make MP3 files (although that is its most common use). It can also produce and mix Windows Media files, among several others.

The Acoustica mixer may be the easiest one to use right out of the box. Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer is directed at non-professional hobbyists, and it is definitely a good package for beginners to start with. The time elapsed from installation to your first generated MP3 can be as little as a few minutes.

Acoustica has a series of complementary software packages that work with MP3 Audio Mixer and are worth evaluating if you wish to stick with this line of software. This package is currently available only for Windows, and costs about $25. There is a seven-day evaluation version available for download.

Recording and importing files with Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer

You can import WAV files, MP3s, or Windows Media files, and then edit them easily using drag-and-drop functionality. Mixing the tracks, fading volumes, and track characteristics are all accessible with a single mouse click. Recording is as simple as clicking a track to record and clicking the Record button. Sound is recorded and saved instantly into the selected tracks.

Editing files with Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer

By simply dragging tracks and audio selections, you can make changes to each of the audio tracks. This process can be fun — and even addictive!

You can fade sounds in and out, and mix audio with Acoustica's easy-to-use interface. A fade is the transition from silence to sound, or vice versa; it's a fairly common audio-editing technique you should definitely look for in your software. You can also control playback for each track individually.

Saving and exporting files with Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer

Acoustica is made for the MP3 market but can export MP3, WAV, and WMA files. It also has an optional Real Media plug-in that can be used to create Real Media files. Each file type can be exported by this software and can be saved in a variety of qualities, from CD quality to radio quality.

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