Free and Open Source Digital Audio Editors

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A digital audio editor is a computer application for audio editing or digital audio manipulation. Usually, a digital audio editor allows the user to record and edit audio, mix multiple sound sources or tracks, apply simple to advanced effects or filters, playback sound, and convert different audio file formats and different sound quality levels.

Sound engineers, audio producers, and those involved in sound recording and reproduction are mostly using digital audio editors nowadays. I have here a list of well-known free and open source digital audio editors for the music enthusiasts, professionals and non-professionals alike. I hope some of these applications will somehow help increase your productivity.

Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMS)
*Linux MultiMedia Studio, or LMMS, aims to be a free (licensed under GPL), Linux-based alternative to popular (but commercial and closed-source) programs like FL Studio, Cubase and Logic Pro. Music can be produced by creating/synthesizing sounds, arranging samples, and playing live with a MIDI keyboard.

It combines the features of a tracker/sequencer program (pattern/ channel/ sample/ song/ effect management) and those of powerful synthesizers and samplers. In addition, almost all controls including instrument can be automated in the same way that modern mixing desks can automate fader movements. Integration with the LADSPA effects system provides a large quantity of high-quality sound processing.

LMMS transparently also supports VST plugins, both instruments and effects, through Wine.

Ardour is a hard disk recorder and digital audio workstation application. It runs on Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris and Mac OS X. Its primary author is Paul Davis, who is also responsible for the JACK Audio Connection Kit. Ardour's intention is to provide digital audio workstation software suitable for professional use.

*Sweep is a digital audio editor and live playback tool for Linux, BSD and compatible systems. It is able to handle many sound formats, including MP3, WAV and Vorbis. The most notable feature of Sweep is its stylus-like cursor tool called Scrubby.

Sweep is included in most modern Linux distributions. Released under the GNU General Public License, Sweep is free software.

*Audacity is a free digital audio editor application. Audacity is cross-platform, using the wxWidgets software library to provide a similar graphical user interface on several different operating systems.

Audacity was created by Dominic Mazzoni of Google, while he was a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University. Dominic Mazzoni is still the main developer and maintainer of Audacity, with help from many others around the world.

The latest stable release of Audacity is 1.2.6, released on 15 November 2006. As of August 10, 2007, it was the 11th most popular download from, with over 24 million downloads. Audacity won the 2007 Community Choice Award for Best Project for Multimedia. Audacity is free software and is licensed under the GNU General Public License, but may upgrade to GPLv3 after version 1.4.0.

*Jokosher is a free, non-linear multi-track audio editor, the source code of which is released under the GNU GPL. It is being developed in Python, using the GTK+ interface and GStreamer as an audio back-end, for the Linux operating system; although future versions may have ports to other operating systems.

It was released to the public on July 21, 2006. Version 0.2 was publicly released on November 20, 2006 and it included support for LADSPA effects, and extensions. It also addressed many bugs present that made version 0.1 unusable.

Pure Data
*Pure Data (or Pd) is a real-time graphical programming environment for audio, video, and graphical processing. It is the third major branch of the family of patcher programming languages known as Max (Max/FTS, ISPW Max, Max/MSP, jMax, etc.) originally developed by Miller Puckette and company at IRCAM. The core of Pd is written and maintained by Miller Puckette and includes the work of many developers, making the whole package very much a community effort.

*MusE is a MIDI/Audio sequencer with recording and editing capabilities written by Werner Schweer. MusE aims to be a complete multitrack virtual studio for Linux: it currently has no support under other platforms, due to its reliance on JACK and ALSA.

*Rosegarden is a free software digital audio workstation program developed for Linux with ALSA and KDE. It acts as an audio and MIDI sequencer, scorewriter and musical composition and editing tool. It is intended to be a free replacement for such applications as Cubase.

If I fail to include other free and open source digital audio editors that you may know of, please share them with us via comment.

1 comment

  1. Just what I needed thanks a lot. I'm downloading Ardour right now. Hope it works on Ubuntu hardy.