A Fun, Free Guide to Mastering the Audacity Sound Production Application
On a regular basis, we at OStatic compile documentation and guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications. For example, you can find our collection of free, online books on open source tools here, including guides that can get you started with Blender, GIMP and more great open source applications.
One of the best ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. A while back, the site added an interesting new type of guide to its mix: workbooks. These are a cross between manuals and task-focused guided tours, and FLOSS Manuals has a newly updated one out for the powerful open souce Audacity sound editing and production program. If you're into sound, this is worth a look.
We've covered Audacity on a number of occasions. Audacity is an audio production platform that compares very well with software used in professional environments, including tools for silencing ambient noise, combining, cutting, moving, and mixing tracks. Its mixboard and equalization features are awesome, and it's also a great podcasting platform.
The Audacity community has produced a fairly exhaustive manual, although it is not as easy to follow as the FLOSS Manuals workbook, which is available for free online here.
The FLOSS Manuals Audacity workbook helps you learn about Audacity by providing you with information on how to complete specific tasks and it also provides links to sample audio files to make it easier for learners to complete tasks. The workbook is structured into three sections; basic use, proficient use and advanced use. Each section gives you one or two tasks to complete to allow you to test yourself and show your understanding and ability to use the software.
It's well worth digging into the Audacity workbook, especially if you enjoy music or podcasts.
And, while we're on the topic of applications for audio, Sonicvisualiser, seen at left, has become a very popular tool for studying what's actually inside digital audio recordings. It was developed at the Centre for Digital Music, Queen Mary, University of London. It's available for Linux, OS/X, and Windows, and lets you see visualizations of your music recordings including synthesized annotations and more. This is a fun tool to tinker with for musicians.