Software

5.
Sound Forge Audio Studio

6.
Blaze Media Pro

7.
NGWave Audio Editor

8.
Audio Editor Gold

9.
Magic Audio Editor Pro

10.
Audio Editor Pro


NCH WavePad

NCH WavePad
Developed by: NCH Software
Ranked: 1st - Best buy
Overall rating:
Best price: $49.99
Purchase:

Stephen
Qualtrough

Reviewer

Technology should make our lives easier

NCH WavePad is awarded best buy

Review summary

Good points NCH WavePad review good points

• Intuitive & user-friendly interface

• Supports most music file formats

• Includes mobile ringtone templates

• Useful keyboard shortcuts

Bad points NCH WavePad review bad points

• No multi-track support

Our verdict

If you are looking for a fast and simple audio editing program that can easily tackle most audio formats, then WavePad is an ideal choice. WavePad is ideal for anything from journalism to small scale studio production.

Screenshot of NCH WavePad 1 Screenshot of NCH WavePad 2 Screenshot of NCH WavePad 3



Full review

This software allows you to both make and edit music, voice and almost any other conceivable audio track. With built-in audio effects such as amplify, include, normalize, envelope, reverb, echo and reverse, WavePad makes simple work of most audio mastering tasks. It is also capable of batch processing, enabling you to speed through more tedious jobs. Compared to other audio editing software titles, WavePad represents solid value for money, making it an obvious choice for our gold award.

Setup

During set-up, you will be asked to select any additional or complementary software titles such as MixPad, Express CD burner & ripper or Switch audio converter. However, none of these are necessary to use the program.

The installation itself is a very straightforward process. Within a few clicks, you are ready to start editing. We found no issues with installation during our tests on either our Windows Vista or Mac OS X Snow Leopard machines.

Audio editing

The usual varieties of sound effects/editing tools are included with WavePad such as insert silence, fade, cross-fade, crop, copy and echo. What’s different about WavePad is the ease with which you can execute these functions. Complicated dialog boxes that are a hallmark of most professional audio editing suites have been replaced with simple, automatic adjustment settings. During our testing, we found the learning curve much gentler than other audio editing software titles such as Sony Sound Forge.

If you are a would-be sound engineer or more advanced user, it is well worth exploring beyond the software presets. There are plenty of advanced settings built in that justify its usefulness for more complex audio editing as well.

Audio recording

WavePad has an excellent built-in wave recorder with features such as voice activation. The program can also record directly off the internet through your sound card and NCH is constantly increasing supported file formats through regular updates.

If you are a ringtone enthusiast, then WavePad’s built in ringtone creator formats will be of particular interest, making it possible to use your favorite song or sound file as a personalized mobile ringtone.

Features

WavePad includes the standard features set such as cut, copy and paste parts of a recording as well as insert silence, fade in/out and auto-trim. It also supports stereo or mono, sample rates from 6000 to 96000Hz and includes a convenient CD ripper.

It allows you to create computer generated speech from any text you enter into the editor, known as text-to-speech. Your computer must have a speech engine installed to access this feature (already installed on most Windows and Mac OSX machines). We found the text-to-speech function highly entertaining during testing.

Ease of use

NCH has managed to create an audio editor that any Mac or Windows user will feel instantly comfortable with. With its easy to find editing options and familiar layout, WavePad is fast, efficient and - more importantly – the most user friendly audio editor that we’ve tested.

Help & support

NCH provides an extensive FAQ section on their website, help files and there are several user forums which can answer most questions. The help files cover everything from general audio concepts through to frequency and sample rates.

However, full technical support is pretty pricey. NCH uses a pre-pay, tiered technical support model that starts with a Silver package (this includes up to 3 emails, 10 minutes each and must be used within 30 days), to Gold and Platinum support levels with matching price tags.

Overall

Despite the pricey technical support packages, we think WavePad represents excellent value for money. Since there are quite a few active user forums, help files and a FAQ section available on their website, it seems unlikely that you would need to pay for additional support anyway. NCH has managed to create an audio editor that will appeal to both the novice and expert alike - making WavePad our top choice.



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Ratings breakdown

Overall
 received a rating of 5 for Overall
Setup
 received a rating of 5 for Setup
Audio editing
 received a rating of 4 for Audio editing
Audio recording
 received a rating of 5 for Audio recording
Features
 received a rating of 4 for Features
Ease of use
 received a rating of 5 for Ease of use
Help & support
 received a rating of 5 for Help & support