Other Specific Tasks

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Peter 4May14: ToDo I would suggest breaking this into three separate pages, one per specific task.
This is a small collection of tips about specific tasks for which it could sometimes be useful to use software other than Audacity (even though you might use Audacity for most of your audio creation and editing).
For more general lists of other Windows, Mac or Linux/Unix audio software, see Other Programs.


Audio Restoration

The following are standalone programs which can remove steady noise and clicks and pops, as an alternative to using Audacity's Click Removal and Noise Reduction. These are mostly specialised programs targeted to restoration of gramophone records, but can be used to restore other noisy sources. They are free, open source unless stated otherwise. Export the sound file you want to restore as a WAV or AIFF file from Audacity so that these programs have a lossless copy of the audio to work with.

There is a good article here concerning the whole subject of transferring records to CD, including useful tips regarding the preparation of LPs for transfer and cleaning up of the recorded audio.


Windows, OS X and Linux*

Shareware program for removal of click, crackle and localised noise. Although automatic, every single click removal can be individually customised. Frequently recommended by Audacity users. Can be set up for batch processing of files for repair.

Note that the program requires Java to be installed in order to run.

Gnome Wave Cleaner

Linux only

GUI application including noise reduction, click/pop reduction and interpolation, very easy to use but beware overwrites source wav file!


Windows only

Although nominally shareware, in effect this is a top class, free pop/click and noise remover as well as an excellent alternative audio editor. Its click and noise reduction are effects, just like in Audacity. The trial version limits you to a hundred or so commands per session, and a total number of several thousand commands before it expires, but if you export from Audacity as 32 bit WAV and just do Click Removal in it, you should be able to do several hundred records for free.


Linux/Unix and Windows

Performs click removal from audio files recorded from vinyl records. Primitive interface (only runs in a DOS window on Windows) but filters are very configurable. Windows version only accepts 44100 Hz stereo WAVs as input.

Creating Drum Tracks

Although physical drum machines for creating drum tracks can be obtained, many people these days create drum tracks in software. Many hardware input/output devices or mixers now come with drum machine software, or audio editing/MIDI sequencing software that includes a drum module. For those interested in acquiring a physical drum machine, these can often be found on eBay.

There is no shortage of standalone drum machine software. Here are some ideas that won't cost you any money.

There are a couple of Nyquist Generator plug-ins that can be run inside Audacity to create a specific drum sound. KLSTRBAS can generate a synthkick drum sound and Risset Drum (already included in current Audacity) can produce a sound similar to Risset's Drum Machine. Individual sounds can be extended and turned into patterns with this Nyquist sequencer plug-in.

To use Nyquist plug-ins in Audacity, unzip the .ny files and place them in the PlugIns folder inside the Audacity installation folder. On Windows computers, this installation folder is usually under "Program Files". On Mac OS X, it is usually under "Applications". For Linux, see this FAQ. The plug-ins will be available after restarting Audacity.

If you don't want to install a drum machine program, there are some free online drum machines where you can create short samples. This one is extremely simple but only creates MIDI files which only have limited support in Audacity. To use a short MIDI file as part of an Audacity Project, the simplest solution is to record it, either directly into Audacity on Windows or Linux, or to an AIFF file via a third-party recording program on Mac. There are other online drum machines where you can record your online creation as it plays, if your computer can record streaming audio:

You should also be able to find specialised archives of downloadable drum samples on the internet (not necessarily free), or some free general purpose sound archives that include them. Try looperman.com for an excellent collection of free drum loops. Two good free general sound archives are Simplythebest Sounds and Freesound.

Or here are three free (or free trial) standalone drum machines you can try:

  • Hammerhead for Windows, which has its own archive of downloadable drum samples in native Hammerhead format here, and exports its samples to WAV format.
  • Leafdrums for Windows (fully operational free trial version)
  • Hydrogen which offers installers for Windows, OS X and Linux, or it can be compiled from source code. It exports to WAV or MIDI.

Finally, a note on Percussion Studio for Windows which users have recommended as many samples of specific percussion instruments are included or can be downloaded. African/Caribbean instruments are strongly represented. Amongst those available are Conga, Tumba, Quinto, Conga2, Agogos, Bell, Bongos, Cascara, Clave, CowBellHi, CowBellLow, Guiro, Maracas, Patschhanditsam, Shaker, Shekere, Sourdo and Triangle. The program requires purchase for full functionality including saving and network functions, but it would be possible to play the samples and record them into Audacity or some other recording program.

Instrument tuners

You can easily tune an instrument with a computer, a sound input such as microphone or line-in and the following software:

  • GTune - Windows
    Free VST Tuner.
  • Audio Tuner v0.7 - Windows
    Free (only supports microphone input). Can tune acoustic guitar, bass guitar, ukulele, violin, piano, banjo, mandolin, autoharp, 'cello.
  • GuiTuner - Linux
    Free, guitar tuner for Linux.
  • KGuitune - Linux
    Free tuner for guitar and other instruments.

There are many online guides to guitar tuning, for example this one.

Also see this tutorial on how to use Audacity's Plot Spectrum feature for instrument tuning!
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