I’m running win7, 64bit, and Audacity 2.1.1.
I was cleaning out old installed programs and came across LAME v3.99.3 (for Windows). Install date was 3/23/2019.
I have no recollection of installing this, although it’s possible that I did.
Online explanations of the program include “LAME is an educational tool to be used for learning about MP3 encoding” (Audacity) but also “LAME is a library that allows some programs to encode MP3 files.”
So my question is: Do I need this program to get full range of use from Audacity?
Thanks in advance for any answers.
The current version of Audacity is 2.3.2 and is available via the Audacity website: https://www.audacityteam.org/download/windows/
The current version of Audacity for Windows has LAME built in (no need to install it separately).
With Audacity 2.2.1, yes. You need to install LAME if you want to export-to (create) MP3s. You can open MP3s without it, and you can export to WAV or several other formats without it.
But if you install the latest version of Audacity (2.3.2) it’s already built-in.
If you want to import/export a wide variety of other formats you still need to install FFmpeg separately.
Online explanations of the program include “LAME is an educational tool to be used for learning about MP3 encoding”
The official LAME website distributes the source code (raw computer code). It has to be compiled to get a usable EXE or DLL file. When LAME was created there were patents covering MP3 and it WAS illegal to distribute a complete-working MP3 encoder/decoder without paying royalties. So, you had to compile it yourself or download from 3rd-party sites who were willing to take the risk (both still illegal and you could theoretically be sued if you distributed MP3s made this way), or you could buy an application (such as dBpowerAmp) that included a licensed copy. As an individual you couldn’t buy a single license or buy a licensed copy of LAME… You had to buy an application that included a licensed copy.
The patents expired a couple of years ago so now it’s legal to give-away LAME, and legal to include it in Audacity. And, it’s legal to distribute MP3s without any license (as long as you are the copyright owner of the song/program).
Some of the CODECS in FFmpeg are still covered by patents.
Thanks to both for the informative answers.
Just to clarify: if I install the latest version of Audacity, can I go ahead and uninstall the separate LAME program?
If you wish to uninstall LAME, do that before installing Audacity 2.3.2.
When Audacity 2.3.2 is installed, it will install its own version of LAME.