Effects Pannel and Audio Bus

I recently started trying to mix songs on Audacity 3.3.2 and realized that this amazing software is probably not for music mixing. Why so? bbecause I was told there are two basic things you need to do when mixing songs:

  1. Use audio bus to apply effects of several tracks together;
  2. Use an effects pannel to control all the changes applied to the music.
    Now, I’m sure there’s more to do when mixing music, but the audio bus is basic and the effects pannel is crucial for following the steps of the mixing.

So, my question is - when will it be done?

I believe Audacity aims to be as good as all the great ones and it is already an amazing software. However, as of now, it only aims for narrators and podcasters. I know Audacity is getting better by the day, and I believe it will keep on improving. But in order to reach the wide market where people are craving for a good free open source software for music editing and mixing, I think Audacity should dive into making it a worthy competitor.

See also Github Enhancement request: Create effects channel with the ability for instrument channels to send signal to the effect channel, such as a reverb channel · Issue #4679 · audacity/audacity · GitHub

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I’d love to have a master bus. For example to apply final limiting/compression and EQ to the mix.

I have no inside information but I don’t think there are any plans to make Audacity into a full DAW. And if there are plans, you might be waiting a long time. :frowning:

You CAN mix with Audacity but it’s missing some common features. If you are a solo performer recording yourself playing guitar and singing, and maybe playing drums, etc., Audacity might be adequate. But if you want to multi-track record and mix a whole band with effects, etc., Audacity probably isn’t the right tool. (A simple mix will be easier on a DAW too… assuming you already know how to use the software.)

A DAW is a lot more complicated with a bigger learning curve and I suspect most Audacity users don’t want to deal with that.

Cakewalk has been around for a long time and it’s been free for a couple of years now (not open source).

REAPER is “the bargain” at $60 USD, as long as you are a hobbyist or small business. They also have a generous upgrade policy. It’s powerful but probably not the easiest to use and it doesn’t come with any free virtual instruments. (There is a “pro license” but it’s the same version).

During 3.x releases there’s a 3-way split in dev efforts between new features, refactoring and replatforming.

The new features you can read about in the changelog; goal is to tackle high-impact features first. What exactly is high-impact depends on a variety of factors, but generally it’s about unlocking new workflows. Non-destructive editing was a focus of 3.1 and 3.2, and 3.3 and 3.4 are for music-related features (tempo and time signature). 3.5 and onward still are up in the air, but a master track, multi-input recording (so mic + system audio) and such are absolutely on the short-list for it.

The refactoring is about making parts of Audacity more independent of each other, making functionality independent of visual appearance and making the code base easier to work with in general.

Or, as a map, here’s what’s done (as @Paul_L calls it: “The City”):
city map
(green is ready for replatforming, red is UI dependent)

and here’s what’s still needs doing ( “The Jungle”):
jungle map
(I have no clue what any of the colors mean here)

Lastly, replatforming refers to porting Audacity from wxwidgets to Qt/QML. In its most basic understanding it allows Audacity to get a new UI by borrowing parts of Musescore 4.

The first production ready version using Qt will be called Audacity 4 and from there, things can go full-steam ahead towards making Audacity a DAW (or a better audio editor, or a better analyser), all while maintaining a relatively easy learning curve.

I hope I’m posting in the right place. Apologies if not. Anyhoo, I like the improvements, but how can I save the FX and their settings in the FX Rack for subsequent projects? And why can’t I use ANY, or whatever FX in the rack?

Anyhoo, I like the improvements, but how can I save the FX and their settings in the FX Rack for subsequent projects?

this is not yet possible

And why can’t I use ANY, or whatever FX in the rack?

Because most effects haven’t been converted to work as realtime effects yet. You can download third party plugins instead.