Effect Menu: LADSPA

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LADSPA (Linux Audio Developer's Simple Plug-in API) plug-ins were originally developed for the Linux platform, but ports of some plug-ins are available for Windows and Mac as well.
  • Most LADSPA plug-ins are effects, but they are also used to provide some of Audacity's built-in audio generators and can be used for audio analysis.
  • Additional LADSPA plug-ins can be downloaded for Windows, Mac and Linux. Please see the LADSPA section of the Download page on the Audacity Website for more details and links.
  • LADSPA effects support real-time preview. They do not support import/export of presets but do support saving presets for use in Audacity only. A few LADSPA plug-ins have an "Effect Output" section which is populated after the effect is applied.
Click, or hover, on any menu item in the image to read about that command.  Skip the image
Generate MenuEffect MenuAnalyze MenuHelp MenuExtra MenuMenu BarSelecting this option from the Effect Menu (or the Generate Menu or Analyze Menu) takes you to a dialog where you can enable or disable particular Effects, Generators and Analyzers in AudacityRepeats the last used effect at its last used settings and without displaying any dialogEffects built in to Audacity"Linux Audio Plug-in Audio" effectsEffects created using a LISP-variant called "Nyquist"This effect is a stereo compressor with a variable envelope follower for RMS (average) / peak behaviorEffect-LADSPAMenu.png
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LADSPA plug-ins shipped with Audacity

One sample LADSPA effect is included with Windows and Mac builds of Audacity:


A stereo compressor with a variable envelope follower for RMS / peak behavior.

Although shipped, SC4 is not enabled by default on Mac. To enable it for use you will need to use Add/Remove Plugins... from the top of the Effect menu. See this page for details.

Adding a LADSPA plug-in

For detailed instructions on installing LADSPA plug-ins for Audacity see: Windows, Mac or Linux

Saving LADPSA effect settings as a User Preset

To save the current effect settings as a User Preset, in the effect's dialog, click the Manage button then choose Save Preset...  menu dropdown which brings up the following dialog:

Save Preset Dialog.png

Type a name for the preset then click OK after which the saved preset will appear in the "User Presets" list in the Manage menu.

LADSPA Effect Options

In the effect's dialog, click the Manage button then choose Options...  menu dropdown to bring up the dialog illustrated below. When you change the options in this dialog, the changes apply only to the current effect that's open. All other LADSPA effects will remain at the default options shown below until you change their options.

Ladspa effect settings.png
  • Latency Compensation: This setting (enabled by default) compensates for waveform delay caused by LADSPA effects which preload audio data to a buffer. Compensation may not work in all cases, and for it to work, any compensation or latency reporting settings in the effect itself must be enabled. If compensation fails or if this Audacity setting is unchecked, effects that buffer audio will insert silence at the start of the processed selection and remove a corresponding amount of audio from the end of the selection. Enabling or disabling compensation is effective immediately.

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