Sunday, October 6, 2013

Best free audio editing software: 9 programs Free Download

Best free audio editing software: 9 programs we recommend
If you'd like to edit a few audio files then there's a vast selection of free tools which claim they can help - but the reality is often very different.
Some packages are too old, for instance, and don't work reliably (or at all) on modern PCs. Others are too basic, or horribly complex. And many just promise way more than they actually deliver.
Don't worry, though, there's no need to investigate every audio editing option, because we've done it for you. We've cut, pasted, trimmed, normalised, re-encoded and generally played around with a host of audio tools - and these are the very best free audio editing programs there are.

1. Wavosaur

Download Wavosaur
If you're tired of bloated software then Wavosaur will appeal immediately: it's a 269KB download, no adware, no installation, just unzip and go.
The program is amazingly powerful, too, despite its small size. It can open all the usual file formats; displays the usual waveform view of your file; can trim, cut, copy or paste wherever you like; and has plenty of useful effects (fade in and out, normalize, remove vocals, tweak volume, auto trim, a silence remover and more).
Elsewhere, expert users will appreciate extras like the ASIO and VST effect plugin support. And while the interface is a little dated, it's easy to use, and you'll soon feel at home.

2. Waveshop

Download Waveshop
Work on a sample in most audio editors and it'll be changed in various ways, perhaps affecting sound quality.
WaveShop, though, is different. It's bit-perfect, which means it only alters your files when absolutely necessary. And so you can trim one section of the file without affecting anything else, while copying and pasting audio won't affect its contents at all.
That's not all, though. WaveShop also supports a wide range of audio formats, has some useful effects (amplify, fade in and out, adjust sample rate and size), and includes plenty of tools for working with channels.
You can swap, insert of delete them, extract individual channels to mono files, and even work with surround sound audio, reassigning channels to another speaker.

3. Acoustica Basic Edition

Download Acoustica Basic Edition
Acoustica Basic Edition is the free version of a commercial product - but don't let that put you off, it still has plenty of features to explore.
You can open multiple files via an excellent tabbed interface, for example; standard cut, copy, paste and mix editing is easy - you can even drag and drop your selection around - and it's all non-destructive, no re-encoding required.
There's good volume control (normalize, adjust, multiple fades, freehand volume curve), and the program can record audio, too.
Effects are more limited, but support for VST and DirectX plug-ins means you can extend the program, if necessary.

4. MP3Gain

Download MP3Gain
While this list is mostly about general audio editing software, there are some more specialist tools which you might like to try - and MP3Gain is one of the best.
The program has only one purpose: to normalise MP3 files so that they all have the same loudness. Others claim to do something similar, but MP3Gain uses smart statistical analysis to produce better results.
The program works directly with the MP3 file, which means there's no re-encoding, and absolutely no loss in quality. It's extremely easy to use (although if you do have any problems, there's a local help file which explains everything), and you can even undo your last changes if you don't like the results.

5. Audacity

Download Audacity
Audacity first appeared back in 1999, and is still being developed, so it's no surprise that the program comes packed with features.
It can record live or streaming audio, imports multiple file formats, has all the usual editing options (cut, delete, copy, paste, mix). A lengthy list of effects helps you change sample pitch, adjust frequencies and volume, and you can remove many background noises, strip off vocals and more.
Support for LADSPA, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit plug-ins means you can extend the program even further.
Don't be put off if you're an editing beginner, though. You don't have to delve into the detail unless you want to, and for the most part Audacity is very simple to use.

6. Music Editor Free

Download Music Editor Free
Another free version of a commercial package, Music Editor Free comes with a significant restriction: it can only save WAV files.
If you can live with that, though (you can always use a converter to get the format you need), there are plenty of compensations, lke a modern, ribbon-based interface; CD ripping and burning; quick and easy view control, with lots of mouse and keyboard shortcuts; powerful noise reduction tools; plenty of useful effects, an ID3 tag editor and more.
Music Editor Free
We found one or two issues, too (the YouTube downloader didn't work for us), but Music Editor Free still offers more functionality than most of the competition.

7. MP3 Quality Modifier

Download MP3 Quality Modifier
If you'd like to adjust the quality of your MP3 files to save disk space, there's no need to use a full-strength audio editor - MP3 Quality Modifier is much easier to use.
At a minimum, all you have to do is add the folder containing your files, choose a quality setting and click "Process".
MP3 Quality Modifier
If you need more, it's possible to choose your preferred bitrate, sample frequency, channel settings,
MP3 Quality Modifier by default preserves your original ID3 tags and folder structure, and the program even tries to automatically repair any broken MP3s it finds.

8. Wavepad

Download Wavepad
WavePad is free for non-commercial use only, and the program will remind you of this every time it launches. After that hassle is out of the way, though, there's plenty to like here.
You get a clean, modern interface, wide file format support, straightforward editing and lots of special effects.
There are plenty of extras, too, including CD ripping and burning, a tag editor, batch processing support (transform lots of files in a single operation), even a text-to-speech module.
And it's all very configurable, so for example you could set up the program to run any sequence of commands when you press a particular key.

9. mp3DirectCut

Download mp3DirectCut
mp3DirectCut is a tiny (122KB) dedicated MP3 editor and recorder while allows you to cut, copy, paste or adjust volume without re-encoding (which means there's no loss in sound quality).
The program interface is a little basic, and it doesn't have the same range of effects you'll see in some of the competition.
mp3DirectCut can adjust gain, create simple fades or normalise audio, though, and there are auto crop and pause detection tools, as well as an ID3v1.1 tag editor. And if you're looking for a straightforward MP3 editor then it could be a very good choice.


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