For multi-track audio editing on-the-cheap, nothing beats Audacity. Most of my audio recording is simple voice work, either for narrating a demo or just rambling my thoughts into a recorder. For simple voice work, or doing quick edits on stereo audio tracks, WavePad is a great lightweight alternative. This app supplies most of the features I used in most in Sound Forge (pre-Sony buyout) without the bloat. WavePad records in mono or stereo. Projects are saved as WAV, MP3, VOX, RAW, AIF, or AU formats, with the ability to open many more file types, including AAC and WMA. A batch converter lets you apply pre-configured tweaks to a mass of audio files (for instance, if you want to normalize a group of tracks to the same level). Bundled effects include high-pass filter, normalize, amplify, reverb, noise reduction, auto gain control, fade in, fade out, speed and pitch shifting, insert silence, reverse, and more. CD ripping pulls in tracks automatically. CD burning makes backing up audio easy enough. Supports audio up to 96 kHz and 32-bit. [Windows XP/7/8 $0.00]
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