If you want to get a taste for audio editing with the freedom to move beyond the basics when you feel ready, Acoustica Basic Edition is an excellent starting point.
Easy to navigate
Free version no longer in development
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Update: This review is for an older version.
For the latest release, see our Acoustica 2023 review
As the free version of a premium audio editor, it’s not surprising that Acoustica Basic Edition is a much more stylish affair than its open source and donation-supported counterparts.
Unfortunately, developer Acon Digital hasn't released a free version of its latest release, Acoustica 7, so you'll need to look under the 'Old versions and discontinued products' section of its downloads page to find Acoustica 6 Basic Edition. This is still a superb audio editor, but the fact that it's no longer receiving regular updates is a pity.
Opting for the free version means missing out on options such as a multi-track editor, support for 7.1 surround sound and advanced tools for cleaning up old vinyl or tape recordings, but you still get a lot to play with.
Overall, Acoustica Basic Edition sits comfortably between more technical audio editors like Ocenaudio and Audacity, and simple tools like MP3 Cutter and Editor. It won't be sufficient if you're a professional musician, or want to create flawless audiobooks (unless you download a lot of additional plugins), but for making simple recordings, importing and editing tracks from CDs and combining multiple files it's superb.
Best of all, all edits are non-destructive, so you can revert back to your original file at any time, and the undo and redo functions are unlimited.
Acoustica Basic Edition looks great, and is easy to navigate and customize thanks to a panel-based approach that lets you position the tools you use most frequently where they're easily accessible. The icons are clear, and the menus are well organized.
Acoustica Basic Edition lets you scrub through audio until you find the section you want – a feature missing from many free audio editors – and files can be exported in a variety of compressed and uncompressed formats.
Another of the biggest advantages Acoustica Basic Edition has over other free audio editors is its Effect Chain, which enables you to layer effects on top of one another, then add or remove them later. These include volume changes, fades and other effects like echo and reverb. There aren’t very many of these provided as standard (far fewer than in Audacity) but you can download more as DirectX and VST plugins.
Even if you've never used an audio editor before, Acoustica Basic Edition won't leave you feeling overwhelmed. It's a little limited at first, but you can easily expand it and make it much more powerful as your requirements grow.
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Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)