MP3 files recorded directly with a voice recorder often require some editing. Many MP3s downloaded from the Internet need editing to trim unwanted sections. Both of these scenarios result in better quality audio when the MP3 is not re-compressed after editing. Enter mp3DirectCut, which provides an interface for directly editing MP3 files without first converting to a PCM audio format. mp3DirectCut speeds up the MP3 editing process in a number of areas, providing direct access to cut, copy, and remove sections of an MP3 in a non-destructive editor without ever needing to recompress. This saves time, disk space and eliminates the generational hit of decompressing and recompressing your MP3 files during editing. Note: If you install mp3DirectCut on Windows Vista you will need to run the installer as administrator. [Windows 9x/2k/XP/Vista $0.00]

How to Record Nature Sounds

Recording environmental sounds like singing birds, wild animal calls, water running through a streambed, or the chirp of baby birds is one of the more fascinating (and challenging) aspects of audio recording. Some of the same audio recording techniques apply when recording things like car noises, lawn mower engines and other man made sounds, but you don’t always get a chance to do a second take with nature like you do with machines. For a list of required gear and some great sources of tips, read on…


Wavosaur is a lightweight audio editing application with VST support. All the basics are covered here, including support for multitrack audio files, trimming, adding effects, making loops, and normalization. Most processing settings are also available for batch conversions, making Wavosaur a handy tool for applying the same settings to a bunch of files. I like are the option to remove silence in a batch, which is a convenient way to speed up spoken word audio without altering pitch. A vocal removal preset also scrubs music files of vocals, so you can make your own karaoke tracks in a batch. The vocal removal doesn’t always get chorus sections perfectly scrubbed, but it shouldn’t hurt your ability to sing over the top of the file. The application runs as a completely standalone executable, meaning you could put it on a thumb drive and use Wavosaur anywhere. The user interface is generally more intuitive than the popular freeware app Audacity, but the two make nice companions rather than being replacements for each other. While Wavosaur doesn’t bundle all the features of things like Sound Forge and Audition, it does most of the common audio tasks well at a price neither of those two apps can touch. [Windows 2k/XP/Vista $0.00]