Despite what its name suggests, free audio editor mp3DirectCut does much more than just dissect compressed audio files – you can also use it to make a new recording, normalize volume, apply fades, detect pauses, and create cue sheets, all without re-encoding the file.
This is all particularly impressive because MP3DirectCut is the work of just one man: Martin Pesch. Despite not having a full team of developers behind him, Pesch publishes regular updates with new features and bug fixes, averaging one new release per year.
When you load a track into mp3DirectCut, you’ll be warned that the waveform shown isn’t accurate – it’s only useful for navigation and editing. If you want to see the actual audio level, you need to check the meter displayed while the audio is playing. You might find it a little frustrating, but the honesty is refreshing.
The interface is a little unusual too. It’s not immediately obvious what all the icons mean, most of them being variations on a theme of white arrows, but hovering your mouse over each one will reveal a tooltip explaning its function.
Most of the tools are geared towards trimming files, but delve into mp3DirectCut’s menus and you’ll find some very handy time-saving options, including pause detection and auto crop. There’s also an excellent batch processing tool, which you can use to add cues, crop, normalize, add fades, and append files.
It stands to reason that mp3DirectCut is only able to handle files in MP3 format, and this is its biggest drawback compared to other free audio editors, but it otherwise strikes a good balance between power and ease of use.