5 Free Audio Tools For Editing Music And Sound Recordings

Quickly edit music and sound files with these free tools

Sound Editing Software

One of the most important tools to have when working with audio files is of course, sound editing software. If you've never used this type of program before, then it's a bit like having a text editor or word processor, only for audio. You'll know how important it is to have a program on your computer that can work with documents and text files. So, it's really just the same thing.

But, if you've only listened to digital music or audiobooks for example, then you might think that you'll never really need a tool such as this. However, having an audio editor at hand can be extremely useful.

If you’ve got a collection of digital audio files such as songs downloaded from different sources, then there’s a good chance that some songs will need a little bit of processing to make them sound better. The same goes for files such as live recordings, sound effects, etc.

An audio editor can be used to cut, copy, and paste sections of sound to enable you to manipulate the audio file anyway you like. They can also be used for:

  • Creating ringtones.
  • Removing unwanted noise such as hiss, clicks and pops.
  • Converting between audio formats.

Sound editing software can also be used to add life to your music by enhancing audio detail. This involves boosting / reducing certain frequency bands and filtering sound. Adding effects like reverb can significantly enhance lifeless audio tracks too.

Audacity (Windows / Mac / Linux)

© Audacity Logo

Audacity is probably the most popular free audio editor there is.

The reason for its popularity is the excellent editing features it comes with and the amount of downloadable plug-ins which enhance the program even further.

As well as being able to edit audio files, Audacity can be used as a multi-track recorder too. This can be useful if you want to record live audio or convert vinyl records and cassette tapes to digital audio.

It's compatible with a wide range of audio formats which includes MP3, WAV, AIFF, and OGG Vorbis. More »

Wavosaur (Windows)

Wavosaur Logo
Wavosaur audio editor. Image © Wavosaur

This compact free audio editor and recorder doesn’t need to be installed to get started. It runs as a portable app and is compatible with all versions of Windows from 98 upwards.

It has a good set of tools for editing digital audio files. There are several useful effects included in the program and it can handle audio formats such as MP3, WAV, OGG, aif, aiff, wavpack, au/snd, raw binary, Amiga 8svx & 16svx, ADPCM Dialogic vox, and Akai S1000.

If you’ve already got a set of VST plugins, then you’ll be interested to know that Wavosaur is also VST compatible. More »

Wavepad Sound Editor (Windows / Mac)

Wavepad Audio Editor
Wavepad main screen. Image © NCH Software

Wavepad Sound Editor is a feature-rich program that supports a good selection of file formats. This includes MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, OGG, real audio, and more.

You can use it for noise reduction, click/pop removal, and adding effects like echo and reverb. Finally, Wavepad Sound Editor also comes with a CD burner to make it easy to backup your files once they have been processed.

The program has all the familiar tools in order to edit audio files (cut,copy, and paste) and can also use VST plugins (Windows only) to extend its capabilities -- only available if you upgrade to the Master's version. More »

WaveShop (Windows)

WaveShop main window. Image © WaveShop

If you’re looking for a program that does bit-perfect editing then Waveshop could be the app for you. The program’s interface is clean, well laid out, and ideal for quickly editing your sounds.

It supports most formats including AAC, MP3, FLAC, Ogg/Vorbis, and comes with an array of advanced tools. More »

Power Sound Editor Free

Power Sound Editor Free
Power Sound Editor main screen. Image © PowerSE Co. Ltd.

This is a great looking audio editor that has a lot of functionality too. It can work with a large selection of different file formats and has a good set of effects.

There are some unique noise reduction tools such as, voice breath reduction which is very useful for cleaning up voice recordings.

The only downside to this program is that the free version only allows you to save your processed files as Wavs -- but it does allow you to convert afterwards. Upgrading to the deluxe version does away with this two-step process and unlocks a lot more features too.

The installer for this program also contains third-party software. So, if you don't want this installed on your system, be sure to click the decline button for each one. More »

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