Featured Freeware: Audacity

When it comes to open source, multiplatform audio editors there's only one that hits all the right notes: Audacity.

With so many audio editors out there, finding the right tool for the job can be tricky. Available from CNET Download.com for Windows, Mac, and even in Mac and PC portable editions, open-source Audacity sits at the top of our list for its clean interface, excellent features, and support of 32-bit floating-point audio. Audacity succeeds at being both feature-rich and flexible, while keeping the toolbar and work space uncluttered. It does this by relegating most functions--such as effects, edits, and project management--to handy drop-down menus.

Audacity supports uncompressed audio standards such as WAV and AIFF in addition to OGG and MP3 files. A full complement of basic effects such as reverb, delay, and compression are included. Virtual Studio Technology, Linux Audio Developers Simple Plugin API, and Nyquist plug-ins also are available if you're looking to expand. Another eye-catching feature is the Beat Analyzer, which helps you peg the beats per minute of a phrase. Though Audacity doesn't offer advanced effects or features out of the box, its usability makes it pitch-perfect.