There are many free audio editing applications available online, and this review of digital audio editors looks at five of them. You might think that they would all be very similar to each other but you would be wrong! In fact, some audio editing programs are very special while others are very ordinary.
Here are five of the most popular free digital audio editors available. Each has its own benefits and quirks, and which you choose will naturally depend upon your personal needs.
Audacity is likely the most popular open source free audio editing software used. Both PC and Mac versions are available, and is easy to download and get going. You can use it to make live audio recordings in mono and stereo, and to edit a wide range of sound wave formats such as WAV, MP3, AIFF, Vorbis and Ogg.
You can cut, copy and splice sections of track with Audacity, and mix or create your own mashups using multiple files. A number of editing and enhancement tools are available to reduce noise such as hiss and static. You can even add exotic VST effects – if you don’t like what you created then simply undo your changes. Audacity also enables you to create digital recordings from tape and CD originals. It is very easy to use, but none the less effective because of that.
Wavosaur is perhaps a more professional free audio editing software application than Audacity, but is still easy to use. It offers more advanced features such as removal of vocals, pitch shift and you will find it easier to edit multiple tracks than if you use Audacity. It also has a silence remover, fading, auto trim and much more.
It fundamentally does everything that Audacity can do, including record sounds. It supports multichannel wav files and VST and ASAIO plugins and also real time effect processing. You will find it amazing how powerful Wavosaur is for a program that takes up so little space. You don’t install it – you simply download the zip file, open it and you are away.
This is one of the reasons why many would put Wavosaur right at the top. They don’t need to install software on their computer. Many professionals prefer it because of its advanced features, but for simplicity of use Audacity just edges it for amateur users.
Power Sound Editor
This free program is very easy to understand due to the combination of text and icons on the menus. It carries out the usual mods such as reverb, fading and so on, and like most such applications can be used to record your own tracks, rip CDs and burn your finished products to DVDs. One useful editing facility is voice breath reduction, which comes in handy for many live recordings. It is also great for mixing.
Where Power Sound Editor is of particular advantage, however, is in uploading your masterpiece to the internet. If you compile podcasts then this is one of the best digital audio editors around. But it doesn’t stop there: you can convert text to speech, import audio tracks from videos and is very intuitive to use.
The downside of the free version of Power Sound Editor is that your files can only be saved in wav format – but there are plenty free sound file converters available such as the excellent Free Studio Manager, suitable for PCs and Macs or super if you need to convert to a relatively rare format such as AC3, TTA and WV.
Wavepad Sound Editor
Wavepad Sound Editor is a free sound editor that supports a good range of formats including includes mp3, wav, wma, wma, wav, ogg, flac, real audio, vox, gsm and more. It is included in this list because it contains all the usual tools required for general sound editing, such as cut, copy, paste, silence removal, auto-trim, sound improvement and others plus a number of effects such as reverb, echo, fade in and fade out.
There is a paid version offering VST plugins and an SFX library, but the free version is fine for general purpose audio editing and mixing. There are separate download links for Windows, Mac and mobile versions.
Music Editor Free
If you want to create, edit and enhance audio, then Music Editor Free is very easy to use. It also enables you rip and burn CDs. This free audio editing software includes the usual common editing functions such as copy, paste, cut, silence, trim and so on, and also a good selection of effects including reverb, echo, reverse, normalize, change pitch and chorus.
Music Editor Free is simple and intuitive to use, and you can record directly to the software or import audio files, but can be save only to mp3, wav, ogg and wma. This application has received a few awards from expert publications, and while it offers a paid deluxe version it is hardly necessary for the vast majority of users.
While the above comments represent our opinions on each of the five free audio editing software packages included, they will not be presented in everybody’s preferred order. Your personal preference will be influenced by your experience and the type of audio editing you carry out. Some of these free applications also offer an upgrade to the paid versions, but have been reviewed relative to the other free applications.
Be careful when downloading free digital audio editors. Our security system (Norton 360) detected no malware (such as adware and pop-ups) when checking the download files of these packages. It did with one other, however, which has not been included in this list.
Also make sure that you select the correct installation option where one is offered. Some free audio editing software downloads will change your home page and default web browser to something else unless you tick the right boxes. The Music Editor Free installation, for example, will switch these to the Toolbar browser and home page unless you choose the’ Custom Installation’ option and untick the two boxes.