I’ve got some seriously heavyweight tools available to me when I want to play around with music (not least Cubase).
And when it comes to audio, there’s not much I can’t do with Acid — there’s a reason samplepacks are listed as being acidized.
But I don’t always need a heavyweight solution.
Sometimes I want to do something simple and, above all, do it quickly (not wait around for Cubsae, Acid or whatever to launch and scan all my plugins, start a new project, configure it).
For example, I might just want to record a source (be it external or the output from an application) … maybe do a bit of noise reduction … top and tail it … and save it to file.
And, for that, a standalone audio editor is what I want.
The most viable options are
Cool Edit : sadly, doesn’t exist anymore — well, it does … but it doesn’t work reliably on Win10, let alone Win11, and I’m not paying Adobe to gouge me for Audition!
Goldwave : much to my surprise, this didn’t die years ago after all (I thought it had been driven from the field by Cool Edit), but is still going strong, is up-to-date, has a pedigree of over a quarter of a century’s standing, has lots of features and has a lifetime licence, with free upgrades — VST support is only in beta (but I don’t actually need VST support from an audio editor).
WavePad : interesting — having spent a quarter of a century using Cool Edit (until the upgrade to Win10), I wasn’t really aware of this and will need to have play with it and see what I think.
Ocenaudio : despite the horrible colourschemes that make it next to impossible to see where a selection actually starts/ends (and the ‘Light’ colourscheme does kinda work), it does what I need it to (as far as I can see), has a nice feature of being able to select multiple regions and operate on them simultaneously (like trim and concatenate), also automatically and seamlessly jumps from one to the other during playback, and supports VSTs — the native fx seem a little clunky until you realise you can play back the audio from within them and audition them live (but, once you have realised that, it’s really quite effective) … and the spectral view is a nice touch.
Audacity is horrible — Yes. It. IS.
Batch processing would be nice to have as well, but all I need from any of them is
1. recording from the soundcard i/o, or from another app’s output … and, I got DDMF’s VirtualAudioStream for precisely that latter case — no, VirtualAudioRecorder is not a substitute (get VirtualAudioStream or get nothing) any more than Bridgewize is a substitute for MetaPlugin.
2. format conversion from/to at least wav and mp3 …. but ideally aif, aac (maybe flac and ogg) as well — if it can extract from video, so much the better but, if not, then there’s VLC Player.
3. maaaaayyyyyybeeeee noise reduction.
4. not to be Audacity (it is horrible) or Audition.
So, it comes down to Goldwave, Wavelab or Ocenaudio, because they
1. are available.
2. do at least as much as I need.
3. aren’t Audition … or Audacity (which is horrible).
1. have a play around with Ocenaudio a bit more … see what I think — its being extremely cross-platform would make it useful to be well acquainted with it.
2. investigate WavePad … give the free version a tryout — I can always get a licence later, if /when I decide it’s the one for me.
3. delete (the, thankfully, portable instance of) Audacity from my machine — it’s horrible and I hate it.
But I really do need to find something better than Audacity at long last — it’s horrible ¹.
[No rice was wasted during the production of this post ² ].
¹ Nor will the newly introduced telemetry endear it any further to me.