FlexiMusic Wave Editor ($20) and FlexiMusic Composer ($20), www.fleximusic.com.
FlexiMusic's wave editing program is a nice audio editing tool for little money. Very easy to use, it'll handle many audio projects in a pinch.
This program allows you to record and edit both wav and mp3 files, and save as either wav, mp3, wma, raw, snd and au formats.
For mp3s, the program uses a third-party encoder rather than including it
on-board, but links to the lame encoder are available on the website
and in the program's help menu. Lame is free to download and use, and
(contrary to its name) is industry standard and a solid encoder.
FlexiMusic also provides for download a free application that will rip audio from
CDs for editing and converting to mp3, so you can use the Wave Editor
to edit or remix your favorite songs.
Along with basic trimming and volume control, the program includes compression, EQ, echo, reverb, stretch/shrink, reverse, and noise reduction. It is capable of 8 or 16bit formats and sampling rates from 11025 to 48000Hz, and is very good at re-sampling as needed.
Wave Editor is capable of handling large files easily. I was able to load an hour-long wav file, cut out five segments from it and save it as an mp3 in short order.
This is a good low-end program. There are some things I would like to see improved, like a cleaner visual representation of the wav form. Currently, the form is a little vague, making it somewhat difficult to visually locate changes in audio. Finding that spot in an audio file where a vocal segment ends and music comes in should be very easy to locate by eye. With the Wave Editor you can only find it by ear, which can be time consuming when editing longer files.
I would also like to see keyboard shortcuts added to make the process of editing faster. Currently the only shortcut I found is space-bar to start and stop playing. Cutting, copying, and pasting all require clicking the shortcuts or menu options. On the plus side, most of the commands have a shortcut button lined up above and below the wav form for easy access.
Try FlexiMusic Wave Editor for free for 7 days of use: www.fleximusic.com/download.htm
After giving the Wave Editor a spin, I tried out FlexiMusic Composer.
The composer gives you the ability to compose a song without needing to know how to read or write music. Complete with over 600 instrument sounds to compose with, the program allows you to create a simple song to a full synth-symphony if you have the time and motivation.
It's pretty easy to get started. Just like the Wave Editor, the Composer program lays out most of the menu options in easy-to-use shortcut icons. Start a new track, then edit the music cycle to pick your instruments, tempo, loop time, rhythm and notes. If you aren't comfortable jumping right in and experimenting, the program comes with a good help menu that will get you started.
I found this program rather useful, mostly because some song ideas require more skill to play than I have ability. Using the program I can work out how the song should sound first, then worry about how to play it later. I can work out different melodies and harmonies and play them side by side to help decide what sounds best. Then I can export the entire project as a wav, and convert to mp3 in the Wave Editor if I need to.
The instrument sounds are mostly of the quality one would expect from midi files or John Carpenter movies, but you can always record your own and import into the program.
For the price, both the Composer and the Wave Editor are great programs to get if you are just starting out in the world of audio editing and digital composing.
Try FlexiMusic Composer for free for 7 days of use: www.fleximusic.com/download.htm
Also available from FlexiMusic.com:
FlexiMusic Kids Composer,
and FlexiMusic Generator.