Tech

Audacity's cool audio AI tools are now free for you to try

Audacity AI pluginsImage: Audacity

As AI PCs debut, one question you’ll be asking yourself is: What can I do with them? Audacity has an early answer, with the release of its on-chip audio AI tools for music generation, transcription, and more.

Intel used Audacity as a demo partner while describing the Meteor Lake (now rebranded as Core Ultra) architecture in Malaysia, showing off some of the tools that it formally released on Monday. The tools use OpenVINO, an open-source toolkit, but one developed by Intel and that the company has separately optimized. (Unfortunately, OpenVINO has only been optimized for Intel’s 11th-gen Core chips and later, as well as Arm — not AMD or its Ryzen AI.)

Audacity’s new AI tools include:

Noise suppression, which filters out background noise from music and conversationTranscription, powered by Whisper.cpp, which can transcribe words to a label track and (separately) to an external fileMusic generation, which uses Stable Diffusion and Riffusion to generate music from a prompt or from existing musicMusic separation, which can split a song into separate instruments, including vocals (think karaoke!)

Audacity

The issue is that these new AI tools, in addition to the CPU limitations placed upon them, require a single older version of Audacity installed: Audacity 3.4.2. Audacity has published a list of installation instructions to add the new tools, which are otherwise fairly simple.

From the installation page, you’ll need to download Audacity 3.4.2 as well as two files: Audacity-OpenVINO-Module-3.4.2-R1.zip and openvino-models.zip. If you’re new to downloading AI models, keep in mind that they’re sizeable: the models file is 1.92GB. You’ll then need to copy the files to the folder in which Audacity has been installed, and then run Audacity.exe. Inside of Audacity, go to Edit>Preferences, and then change mod-openvino to “Enabled”. You’ll then need to close Audacity and re-open it.

When that’s completed, you’ll now have one of the early AI PC tools at your disposal! Enjoy!

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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