WavePad Sound Editor

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Worth the cost to purchase – Joe

SUMMARY: Very complete commercial sound editor – $76 for the full version (discounted if purchase early), basic version free – 14 day trial.

I’ve been doing a fair amount of sound editing using Wimamp and StreamRipper for source material and Audacity with this LAME-MP3-Encoder to edit sound files. All of this software is free and quite good; however, Audacity (for me) does not have some features that I would like (for example, when you hit Close, it closes the program, not just the file), so I looked around and tried out some other sound editors.

The one I found that best suits my needs is WavePad, developed by NCH Swift Sound, an Australian company.

Key Features:

  • Supports a number of file formats including wav (multiple codecs), mp3, vox, gsm, real audio, au, aif, flac, ogg and many more.
  • Sound editing functions include cut, copy, paste, delete, insert, silence, autotrim and more
  • Audio effects include, amplify, normalize, equalizer, envelope, reverb, echo, reverse, sample rate conversion and more
  • Tools include spectral analysis (FFT), tone generation and speech synthesis
  • Audio restoration features including noise reduction and click pop removal
  • Supports sample rates from 6000 to 96000 Hz, stereo or mono, 8, 16, 24 or 32 bits
  • Ability to work with multiple files at the same time in separate screens
  • Includes a CD ripper to load audio directly from a CD
  • CD burner function allows you to burn sound files to a CD
  • Recorder supports autotrim and voice activated recording
  • User interface very friendly

Features courtesy of Wavepad

What I also like is that there are a number of other apps that integrate easily with WavePad, such as SoundTap Streaming Audio Recorder which is more robust than StreamRipper (but expensive!).

When you open a sound file, you see its wave form:

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What I like with WavePad is that the top window shows the full file while with the larger window, you can zoom into the file to see more detail – these tools are in the red circle:

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You can also see both channels for stereo…

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And then clicking to show the closest detail you can see for the sound wave (mono/stereo tools circled in red):

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The tool menu is pretty robust:

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Pic courtesy of WavePad

Here’s the file’s frequency analysis displayed along with its wave form:

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The effects menu also has some very nice features:

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Pic courtesy of WavePad

I typically use Fade In/Out, Normalize and sometimes Noise Reduction (the files I work with are usually from the 1930-50’s and as such quality can vary greatly). This is the wave form after Normalize:

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If you compare it to the pics above, you can see the difference. Deleting pieces of the file is a snap – just click and drag what you want to delete and it will highlight, then click on Delete and it’s gone:

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You use the same procedure to implement Effects on a piece of the file:

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Once selected, you go into Effects and pick what you need for that sound bite.

One of the more interesting effects is the ability to write text and then have Wavepad convert the text into sound:

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Just type whatever you want to synthesize into the box and it converts it into speech – this is the output using the “text to speech” option for “Who’s on first?”:

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To get an idea of how this sounds, click on this wav file: “Who’s on first?”

Finally, this is what sold me – the Batch Converter:

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You can load individual files or a folder of files, select among the effects and apply them to each file (for example, I normalize all files and limit front/end pauses to one second); once started, each sound file will be automatically converted per the effects chosen and saved to the format you select – for me, an incredible time saver when ripping/normalizing audio tracks from ripped mp3’s and converting them to wav files. This feature was a BIG time saver for me and well worth the expense.

CONCLUSIONS

I could get along with the freeware apps indicated above, but the convenience, extra features and time savings that WavePad features pushed me to buy this program. Other apps developed by NCH Swift Sound integrate nicely into WavePad and can make life easier for anyone doing a wide range of sound editing functions.

This is obviously not a comprehensive roundup of sound editors – if anyone wishes to review another app, drop me a line.

Email Joe

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