Best free audio editing software: 9 programs we recommend

Quick and easy audio processing - without the price tag

Audacity

Support for LADSPA, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit plug-ins means you can extend the program even further.

Don't be put off if you're an editing beginner, though. You don't have to delve into the detail unless you want to, and for the most part Audacity is very simple to use.

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6. Music Editor Free

Download Music Editor Free

Another free version of a commercial package, Music Editor Free comes with a significant restriction: it can only save WAV files.

If you can live with that, though (you can always use a converter to get the format you need), there are plenty of compensations, lke a modern, ribbon-based interface; CD ripping and burning; quick and easy view control, with lots of mouse and keyboard shortcuts; powerful noise reduction tools; plenty of useful effects, an ID3 tag editor and more.

Music Editor Free

We found one or two issues, too (the YouTube downloader didn't work for us), but Music Editor Free still offers more functionality than most of the competition.

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7. MP3 Quality Modifier

Download MP3 Quality Modifier

If you'd like to adjust the quality of your MP3 files to save disk space, there's no need to use a full-strength audio editor - MP3 Quality Modifier is much easier to use.

At a minimum, all you have to do is add the folder containing your files, choose a quality setting and click "Process".

MP3 Quality Modifier

If you need more, it's possible to choose your preferred bitrate, sample frequency, channel settings,

MP3 Quality Modifier by default preserves your original ID3 tags and folder structure, and the program even tries to automatically repair any broken MP3s it finds.

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8. Wavepad

Download Wavepad

WavePad is free for non-commercial use only, and the program will remind you of this every time it launches. After that hassle is out of the way, though, there's plenty to like here.

You get a clean, modern interface, wide file format support, straightforward editing and lots of special effects.

WavePad

There are plenty of extras, too, including CD ripping and burning, a tag editor, batch processing support (transform lots of files in a single operation), even a text-to-speech module.

And it's all very configurable, so for example you could set up the program to run any sequence of commands when you press a particular key.

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9. mp3DirectCut

Download mp3DirectCut

mp3DirectCut is a tiny (122KB) dedicated MP3 editor and recorder while allows you to cut, copy, paste or adjust volume without re-encoding (which means there's no loss in sound quality).

The program interface is a little basic, and it doesn't have the same range of effects you'll see in some of the competition.

mp3DirectCut

mp3DirectCut can adjust gain, create simple fades or normalise audio, though, and there are auto crop and pause detection tools, as well as an ID3v1.1 tag editor. And if you're looking for a straightforward MP3 editor then it could be a very good choice.