Free Audio Editor 2010
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Full user review
"Perfect for my (modest) needs."
I used this to edit a number of recorded lectures. The source recordings were marginal, in that there was a mid-range ringing sound, as if from a bad mike or overloaded amp. The editor made it easy to edit out and long pauses and other dead spots, and it let me run a filter past the entire set of recordings to strip out most of the ringing noise.
The only technical issue, as others have noted, is that in the free version you can only save files as WAV. I was shooting for MP3s. Fortunately, I have another freeware product (dBpowerAMP Music Converter) which let me convert WAV to MP3 easily, and with adjustable compression.
A more general issue is that I am not trained as a sound editor. Like many editing products, this would benefit from a beginner-oriented tutorial guide.
But this is quibbling. Free Audio Editor 2010 is a very satisfactory product.