The best free audio editor 2017

The very best free audio editing and mixing software

The best free audio editors

1. Audacity

2. Free Audio Editor

3. Free MP3 Cutter and Editor

4. Wavepad Audio Editor Free

5. Ocenaudio

Read on for our detailed analysis of each editor

The complexity of some audio editors might be enough to scare you away, but it's more likely to be the price tag attached to such software that sends you running. Never fear, though – there are free tools that pack professional-level audio editing tools in a user-friendly interface that you can master in minutes.

Whether you're looking for a tool to help create a soundtrack for your home movies, or you need something to help you convert your old record and cassette collection into MP3 format while removing background static, there's a free audio editor out there for you.

We update this guide frequently, so you know you're always getting the best advice based on the latest version of each program.

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Download Audacity

1. Audacity

Download Audacity

Flexible and powerful, Audacity is the very best free audio editor available

Available for any desktop platform you care to mention, Audacity is our first choice free music editor. It has a huge following, and it's one that is entirely justified. It's a powerful tool that would put some paid-for product to shame, and although the interface might initially seem slightly intimidating, it's actually surprisingly approachable even for beginners.

Audacity is equipped with an extensive suite of built-in tools, enabling you to edit pre-recorded files, capture sound through an attached microphone, or even stream music and podcasts. There's support for a wide range of audio formats for both importing and exporting, and the range of built-in effect is impressive.

There's also a great selection of third-party plug-ins to make it even more versatile (one of our favourites is autotune add-on Gsnap, for that T-Pain effect), and a comprehensive manual is available to help you to get to grips with the more complicated aspects of the program.

Its sheer power and incredible set of features make Audacity the best free audio editor you can download today.

Download here: Audacity

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Download Free Audio Editor

2. Free Audio Editor

Download Free Audio Editor

An audio editor that's ideal for recording and mastering your own songs and podcasts

Free Audio Editor's name tells you everything you need to know here. You have to deselect a few checkboxes to avoid installing unwanted software, but the tool itself is worth the effort. It can be used to record audio via line-in, work with existing music files, or to rip CDs.

One thing that makes Free Audio Editor stand out from the competition is the way the interface has been designed. Rather than hiding option deep in confusing menus, everything you need to right at your fingertips. A neat effects sidebar makes it simple to get to the tools you need, and you can even bookmark those you use most to make your life even easier.

You can get as hands-on as you like, but many of the readymade filters such as breath reduction (particularly handy for podcasts) and background noise reduction mean that you'll be able to perform many audio cleanup tasks in just a few clicks.

Download here: Free Audio Editor

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Download Free MP3 Cutter and Editor

3. Free MP3 Cutter and Editor

Download MP3 Cutter and Editor

A well designed audio editor that's well suited to simple tasks

Free MP3 Cutter and Editor is a simple audio editor designed with a very specific type of music editing in mind. Audacity would be a better choice if you want fine control of your tracks, but if you're looking for nothing more than a quick and dirty editor for trimming the fat from your MP3s, this is perfect.

Open your MP3 file and you can cut out unwanted sections, add a fade-in or fade-out, adjust the volume, and convert between stereo and mono. That's it.

It might sound limited, but this free audio editor extremely good at what it does (for example, if you have saved a live recording as one large MP3 and then want to divide it up into a number of individual tracks). It's not the sort of task you would need a professional music editor for, and Free MP3 Cutter and Editor fits the bill nicely.

Download here: Free MP3 Cutter and Editor

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Download Wavepad Audio Editor Free

4. WavePad Audio Editor Free

Download WavePad Audio Editor Free

Easy audio editing for Windows, Android and iOS, with a consistent design for ease of use

The iPad has, over the years, become recognised as a value tool for music creation, but not so much for editing tracks. WavePad Audio Editor Free is an interesting app for a couple of reasons: not only is it a free music editing app, but it's also available for iOS and Android as well as Windows.

The mobile apps (which you'll find in the Apple and Google Play Stores respectively) are surprisingly powerful - helped, perhaps, by the fact that the iOS and Android versions are designed much like the desktop software.

There are a number of filters and audio editing options available such as trimming, a high pass filter, normalization and merging files, and you can add more tools via in-app purchases. There are some nice extra touches too, including voice-activated recording, and an auto-trim editing function.

Download here: WavePad Audio Editor Free

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Download oncenaudio

5. Ocenaudio

Download ocenaudio

A great audio editor for small jobs, though for serious tasks you'll need something more powerful

Like Audacity, Ocenaudio is available for multiple platforms (Windows, Linux and Mac). While not bursting with features, it's a great tool for everyday audio editing. Real-time effect previewing should help to speed up your work as there's no need to apply a change just to try it out, and a highly precise selection tool makes it easy to apply the same effect to multiple sections of a file.

You can use Ocenaudio work with locally stored files, or even open those hosted online. The audio editor's somewhat sparse interface quickly becomes a joy to use, and if you spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the keyboard shortcuts, you should fly through common tasks in next to no time.

Ocenaudio ofers decent range of effects, and there's even the option of exporting your creations as a ringtone for your iPhone.

Download here: Ocenaudio

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Download mp3DirectCut

Enjoy advanced audio editing features with mp3DirectCut

6. mp3DirectCut

Download mp3DirectCut

Trim and normalize recordings with this free audio editor that's great for podcasts and narration

Despite its name, mp3DirectCut does more than just slicing up MP3s (although it does that very well). You can record directly into the program or work with existing audio files, and although there are no fancy options, all of the basics are covered. As well as simple track splitting, this compact audio editor also contains tools for normalising audio, increasing volume, and fading.

Automatic pause detection is available to help make it easier to decided where to split a track, and if you have created cue files to automate file processing, there's support for those in this audio editor.

mp3DirectCut also features a batching processing option that can be used to quickly apply the same settings and effects to entire folders full of files. This is handy for normalising a series of tracks, or increasing the volume of a set that were recorded at the same time.

Download here: mp3DirectCut

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Download Acoustica Basic Edition

Acoustica Basic Edition is the best choice for cleaning up old vinyl and cassette recordings

7. Acoustica Basic Edition

Download Acoustica Basic Edition

A more advanced audio editor, offering mastering with effect layering and plugin support

Acoustica Basic Edition is a superb music editor, and is particularly good at cleaning up old music recordings from vinyl or cassettes by removing unwanted noise.

Opting for the free version means missing out on options such as a multi-track editor and support for 7.1 surround sound, but you still get a lot to play with. It has a very professional look and feel, and the Effect Chain - an area where you can build up and play with a layered series of filters - is a particular highlight.

There's support for DirectX and VST plug-ins, so you can easily expand the program's repertoire. If you want to get a taste for music editing with the freedom to move beyond the basics when you feel ready, Acoustica Basic Edition is an excellent starting point.

Download here: Acoustica Basic Edition

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Download Wavosaur

Wavosaur is a great option for stripping vocals from songs to make your own karaoke tracks

8. Wavosaur

Download Wavosaur

A portable audio editor for simple editing on the move. Just run the EXE file and get to work

Wavosaur differs from the rest of the audio editors we're looking at because it's a portable app. You can therefore save it to a USB stick, ready for use on any PC without installation.

Despite its tiny size, Wavosaur packs a punch. It's designed with MP3 editing in mind, but supports other key formats as well. It also boasts features like pitch shifting and vocal removal (ideal for making DIY karaoke tracks, and as with Audacity, its feature set can be expanded with VST plug-ins.

The basic program hasn't been updated in quite some time, but don't let that put you off - it's an absolute gem of a music editor.

Download here: Wavosaur

See all the free audio editors available to download on TechRadar