Open source software is just plain great, and in the realm of audio editing, you’ll find no open source program more lauded than the popular Audacity. Truth be told, Audacity is useful for more things than simple audio editing. But the fact remains that Audacity isn’t loved by everyone. If you’re one of those people, be glad to know that there are plenty of alternatives available.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Audacity. I’ve used it on a number of occasions and it’s never given me trouble. If you’re happy with Audacity, then feel free to keep using it. If it does what you want it to do, then there’s no reason to switch away. But for those who are looking for something a little different, the following alternatives may impress you.
Officially, RecordForAll is no more than a podcast recording tool. It makes the entire process from recording to editing to processing very easy. However, just because it’s primarily meant to record podcasts doesn’t mean it isn’t useful in other ways.
RecordForAll can record microphones and import external audio clips. It can cut, copy, and paste within a track with a single click. It can overlay multiple layers of audio. There are even some built-in audio effects that you can use. Out of the box, RecordForAll can save in MP3, WAV, and WMA formats.
The free version of RecordForAll will place an audio watermark within your files. The full version costs $39.95.
Take one look at Wavosaur and you’ll notice that it’s very similar to Audacity–they even look alike! The feature set isn’t much different either. Wavosaur can do everything you’d expect from a typical audio editor: record sound, edit tracks, and process files. It has all the basics from cutting to pasting, looping, and even batch audio conversions.
Wavosaur is free, easy to use, and portable–no installation necessary. It’s available for Windows 98, XP, Vista, and 7.
At first glance, Jokosher looks like it wouldn’t be a very powerful program. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that it can give other free audio editors a run for their figurative money. The working environment is all integrated so it’s the perfect all-in-one audio editor for Windows or Linux.
Jokosher can record sound and voice for podcasts or audio for music, though it focuses primarily on making the music creation process easier for musicians. It can handle multiple tracks within one audio. The editing, splitting, and trimming are intuitive and it can handle a number of formats, including OGG, MP3, FLAC, and WAV.
Linux MultiMedia Studio [Windows, Linux]
Often abbreviated as LMMS, Linux MultiMedia Studio is actually a cross-platform audio editor that works on both Windows and Linux. But this program is more than just an audio editor. It aims to be a full-blown digital audio workstation along the lines of FL Studio and GarageBand.
In LMMS, you’ll have all the tools you need to create beats and melodies, synthesize sounds, and arrange samples. It’s more than just recording and editing audio–and on top of all that, it sports a user-friendly interface with intuitive controls. If you need a free audio editor that’s more powerful than Audacity, LMMS is what you want.
Traverso DAW [Windows, Mac, Linux]
Traverso DAW (digital audio workstation) is an audio recording and editing program that claims to be useful for recording anything from a single voice to a band to an entire orchestra. If you need sound or music to be edited, it promises to get the job done. It’s cross-platform, too–available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
This program has a lot of great features: clean interface, non-destructive editing, multiple track layers, unlimited action history, realtime audio processing, and best of all it’s free and open source under GPL. The website has a full user’s manual to help you get on your feet.
Ardour [Mac, Linux]
This fantastic program is a digital audio workstation that can handle tasks both small and large. It has a ton of features and could very well produce some high quality audio files depending on your skills. This is more than just an audio editor – it’s a full blown machine with a beautiful interface. Not available for Windows, unfortunately.
The best thing about Ardour? The pricing. It has no set price, instead allowing users to choose how much they’d like to pay for it. If you choose to pay nothing, there is a penalty, however. Mac users will receive a demo version that can’t save AudioUnit plugin settings. Linux users will receive the full version but won’t receive customer support.
So there you have it. Six fantastic resources that could replace Audacity, each one offering a unique set of features that are useful. If Audacity isn’t your cup of tea, then one of these should be able to meet your needs. Let us know what you think in the comments!
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