Cut down and simplified version of Audacity

I am interested in a cut down version of Audacity for very young children -something where there are very few icons on the screen, and changing sounds can be done in a simple click.

I used to use Windows Sound Recorder as it was so simple - and could be used as a precursor to Audacity - or in conjunction with Audacity. However - the more recent versions on Vista and Windows 7 only allow recording and not editing…and Microsoft wouldn’t respond to my requests to discuss making the old version available.

Has anyone developed anything like this -and/or is interested in developing something? I know what is required - but have no technical know how to adapt Audacity. It would be of enormous educational benefit. It needs to be really simple - this appears to be difficult for technical people to understand - many of whom think Audacity is already very simple. I’m talking about using with 3 year olds, who aren’t quite ready for nyquist prompts. Come to that - nor am I.

How might it look?
I imagine the current screen with the record/play buttons as they look now - the time shift button and multi-track options, and then just a few editing buttons to make sounds higher/lower/longer/shorter/echoey/fuzzy and reverse.

The buttons would say something like, “Make me higher” - and would automatically make the sound higher (eg 6 semitones), but would not ask the user to set any parameters.

I hope that makes sense

David Wheway

See for a solution we developed where the number of menu items could be reduced. This isn’t available at the moment unless you compile Audacity.

If you want the Windows XP Sound Recorder (sndrec32.exe) on Windows Vista or 7, just copy sndrec32.exe across from Windows/System 32 in XP to wherever you like on Vista or 7. It’s a completely self-contained standalone.


Thank you so much for rsponding Gale,

I’ve actually been advising others to copy and paste Sound Recorder (although had some problems with Vista accepting sndrec32). I also use a reduced version of Audacity as you suggest to introduce teachers who are either techno-phobes or music-phobes (or of course both) - but still think its worth someone developing something as simple (and simpler/better looking than) Sound Recorder

Thanks again

It’s possible a future Audacity might have different “modes” like “Beginner”, “Intermediate” and “Advanced” which would be switchable in Preferences and with a button on the interface. No doubt the “simpler” modes would have fewer menu items (and a higher proportion of them as buttons) than the most “advanced” modes (which might also have fewer “warnings”).

Possibly simpler modes would have less geeky menu wording. Some really “advanced” users might like fewer menu items too (learn the shortcuts instead).Personally I have a few reservations about the work involved in doing this and possible confusion supporting users without knowing which “mode” they are using.

In your childrens’ version, I think a button for “make me louder/softer” would be important.

The developers have shown no interest in a separate, stripped down Audacity application which it sounds to me you are really asking for. There is nothing to stop someone else starting their own “Audacity-for-the-Young” project if it is GPL-licensed.

Meantime, there are other “simple” recording/editing apps on the web with limited functionality. Vaughan (one of the Audacity developers) designed one such called “Audacity Voice” as an editing/MP3 conversion add-on to a third party “simple recorder” called “Audiotouch”. See However “Audacity Voice” isn’t an “official” Audacity version in any sense. We neither advertise it or provide any support for it.