Smart Audio Editor

Smart Audio Editor

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on 74 votes
License: Shareware $29.95
Total downloads:73
Operating system:Windows XP/7/8/10/11
Latest version:8.8.1
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Putting a price tag on itself, Smart Audio Editor lays claim to being something more that just another audio editing toy. Whether it actually is something more, however, is quite another cup of tea.

It works with a number of audio formats (wav, mp3, ogg, wma, vox, raw, and even obscure G.72x) as well as claims to be able to work with AVI audio streams (which it failed to in my case), offering you the basic editing tools and some more advanced filters and effects. So in addition to cropping, mixing, and resampling files, you also get to normalise them, apply noise reduction, reverb, chorus, compression, and some EQ- and volume-related tricks. However, the actual number of features is in fact less than in many similar free (or even open-source) programs; and the features themselves are often quite limited in terms of their application. They do offer some parameters for you to customise most of the time, but you're still usually left struggling to get the result you need: for instance, reverb is combined with multi-tap echo, there's no way to change the curve type of a volume envelope, you cannot change the pitch of a recording affecting its speed at the same time (you can only change the pitch and the speed independently), and the steepness of the Band-pass filter is specified in per cent, as well as the peak volume in Normalisation and most of the other important values.

However, it's the general interface that takes the biscuit: with this plethora of tools, it's a complete mess. All the instruments are presented on a single panel, vaguely combined into categories - so you're left with a bar of tiny nondescriptive icons separated by thin grey lines, without any captions whatsoever. The tooltips take about a second to appear, and they don't tell you what tool you are pointing at, oh no, a tooltip gives you a description of that tool - and it is a bit far from concise. The panel does look a little bit better (and almost useable) when you drag it off the toolbar and place in floating mode somewhere in the working area of the screen, but then it unavoidably obstructs part of the waveform you're working with. Removing some buttons from the panel isn't a solution to the problem, either: you never know which one you're going to need the next moment.

The bottom line is, for its price tag of almost $30, the program is surprisingly inept and can't even hold a candle to the heap of freebies available nowadays.

Oh yes, in case you're wondering, that 'Key' icon with the sharp sign has got nothing to do with musical pitch; instead, it brings up a menu for customising in-program hotkeys. My word, it must be the most counter-intuitive icon ever used in a music-related program.

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