[Note: this review was written by my friend Ala Diab from Amman, Jordran. Ala is primarily a musician but also does website design and has an avid interest in 3D graphics. He has performed his brand of computer-driven electronic music (and contemporary experimental Arabic/electronic music) in multiple venues across the Middle East and Europe.]
Wavosaur is an audio editor with VST and ASIO support. It can edit, process and record sounds in WAV and MP3 formats. Supported features include batch audio conversion, music loops, multichannel WAV files and real time effects processing. It is released as donationware (free to use, donation suggested if found useful).
Ok, here is the thing, the free audio editors’ scene is not exactly burgeoning, which is more of a reason for celebrations and jubilations when one hears about a newcomer. Before Wavosaur, the only natural choice for people with sound editing needs was (and still is as some would argue) Audacity, reviewed earlier at Freewaregenius. In fact, you can’t mention Wavosaur without bumping into its arch competitor, so in this review I’m not going to avoid the comparison but I will try to focus on Wavosaur as much as possible.
The Philosophy: Wavosaur was developed with an eye on the commercial market as well as the free software scene, so compatibility with industry standards (eg VST plug-ins, see below) was a primary goal. At the time of this writing, it is being promoted as a donationware for a testing period. If that fails to generate income, its developers are going to turn it into a paid product without abandoning the free version. Audacity, on the other hand, has been developed under the GNU/GPL license for a wider audience, truly focusing on open standards for effects and plug-ins, moving away from a standard with a long history, which undermines its appeal IMHO.
General Features: This is a general list of features to expect with the current version:
- Classical editing functions: cut, copy, paste, paste mix, paste replace/insert, paste to new file, trim/crop, delete, undo.
- Many processing options: mute, channel convert (stereo->mono, mono->stereo), insert silence, change volume, normalize level, fade in/out, invert/flip, undo.
- Accurate waveform representation, fast zoom in/out.
- Clean and easy-to-use interface.
- Skinnable editor interface.
- For an exhaustive list of features for both novices and audiophiles you can visit the features page on their website.
The VST Advantage: VST stand for Virtual Studio Technology and it was developed by Steinberg sometime in the 90’s as a development environment for audio, that was licensed to programmers/companies to extend the functionality of audio software by creating plug-ins both as effects and as software synthesizers. Ever since, it has become an industry standard and enjoys support from both the commercial and the free software developers. This is why Wavosaur did the right thing by supporting it. Say you have to remove hiss or background noise from a recording, and you are not satisfied with the results you’re getting from the bundled functions, you can search for a VST effect out there using Google and copy it into the computer and viola! Your audio editor has a new tool! (Note: I actually haven’t tried looking for a free noise removal plug-in for this review!) This is a clear advantage for Wavosaur over Audacity, since the later has support through a third-party plug-in that’s utterly unusable.
MP3 Export: Another feature that is better implemented here is the mp3 export. Before you try doing that, though, you need some encoder present in the same folder as Wavosaur’s.
You can find Lame Enc by searching Google.
Far From Perfect: I’ve been following discussions at audio fora about Wavosaur, and the reception has been mixed: there’s a general consensus about the great potential for a small, streamlined, free audio editor and Wavosaur could be that.
But there’s still quite a bit of ironing out of glitches to do. For example: issues with stability (Mr. crash-a-lot), latency on some ASIO-capable sound cards, and adoption of newer plug-in architectures like VST 2.0.
I certainly wish for the guys behind this to continue even if it meant turning it to a commercial product. As long as they keep breathing life into its little free brother.
Version tested: 126.96.36.19900