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Audacity 3.0.0 is here with support for a brand-new project format

18 March 2021, Sofia Wyciślik-Wilson

While Audacity has been in receipt of pretty regular updates, it is quite a while since there were any major changes to the free audio editing software. All of this changes with the release of Audacity 3.0.0, however.

To kick things off, there are bug fixes – lots of bug fixes. In fact, there are more than 160 that have been addressed, ranging from minor problems to "really juicy high priority bugs". But Audacity 3.0.0 is about much more than just fixing bugs. There are improvements across the software as well as a completely new project format.

Rather than introducing support for a new audio format to edit or export to, Audacity 3.0.0 heralds the arrival of a completely new format for storing projects. Let's take a look at some of the other key changes first, though.

There is a new Label Sounds analyzer which can be used to add labels to both sounds and silence in a project. On top of this, the Noise Gate effect has undergone improvements.

Audacity 3.0.0 is the first major update to the software in a while, and it has been worth the wait.

But perhaps the biggest change in Audacity 3.0.0 is the arrival of the new .aup3 project format. Based on the open source SQLite 3 database format, the new method of saving projects keep all elements together. Having found that many users experienced problems when "data files and .aup file parted ways", the developers of Audacity decided it was time to take action. The results is .aup3.

As well as treating all of the components of a projects as a single unit, the new format also performs better. That said, the developers warn that closing a project might take longer due to the fact that there is now more for the program to do.

Audacity's new file format treat all project elements as a single file.

Although it is fair to say that the release of Audacity 3.0.0 is "almost entirely about this big format change" the sheer number of bug foxes and improvements mean that this is an essential upgrade anyway. There is the notable new ability to import and export macros, for instance. This may not be something that appeals to everyone, for a lot of people it will revolutionize things.

Audacity 3.0.0 is available to download for Windows, macOS and Linux.

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