Audio editor workhorse

Version 5.5 of GoldWave is just as powerful as ever with an interface only traditionalists could love.

Amidst the slew of digital audio editing programs available for download, GoldWave manages to stand out thanks to its robust feature set, stable performance, and user-friendly interface. Despite the fact that the main window looks like a throwback to early software days, it packs in just about every function you could want. Two tool bars line the top of the window: one for the main features of the program (such as copy, zoom, and trim), and another for the various effects that you can add to the audio, such as reverb, pitch, and echo. Hovering the mouse over any button reveals its function.

Rather than a standard control bar, GoldWave includes a separate Control window that houses the main recording and playback controls. This window also features three faders for adjusting playback volume, balance, and speed, as well as an area for displaying visual effects. There are about a dozen included with the program, and others can be added as plug-ins. Other notable features include a seven-band, fully customizable EQ; a noise reduction tool for cleaning up hiss and hum in audio files; a pop/click filter; a CD ripper; a multiformat audio converter; and an expressions evaluator, which turns equations into sound. (Most of these features are viewable in our gallery.) Supported formats include iTunes Plus, M4A, WAV, WMA, MP3, OGG, AIFF, AU, VOX, FLAC, and raw binary data.

Using GoldWave may take a bit of practice for the uninitiated, but anyone who has used standard audio editors before will find that this program stays in the same vein. You can select chunks of audio files easily with your mouse and use keyboard shortcuts for many standard functions. The effects chain editor and other tools allow real-time previewing, and there are plenty of preset slots in every area for saving your favorite settings. On the whole, the app is highly configurable; you can even program your own keystrokes for the majority of the functions. The software performed very quickly during testing and had no stability issues. Finally, it's nice that you have the option to pay for a lifetime license that guarantees you free access to all future updates. All in all, this is a robust piece of audio software that should satisfy power-users.

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