There are few Mac audio editors that embody the type of editing power and flexibility that WavePad from NCH Software has. WavePad contains a plethora of editing tools and effects, and it supports a large number of file formats. Outside of general audio editing tools, WavePad also has the ability to get old and noisy recordings back into shape. These are only a few of the reasons why WavePad earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Interface & Workflow
Upon opening WavePad, you are greeted by a blank audio editing template with the toolbar atop the blank canvas. The toolbar and playback controls are not fixed to the window. They are floating toolbars so you can move them wherever you want. This would seem like an advantage, but it actually mucks up how you navigate the program. Since the toolbar floats, it actually blocks some of the area where you edit your audio. Unless you are editing audio with dual-monitor support, navigating this program without frustration takes some time.
Editing Tools & Effects
One of the most important features found in a Mac audio editor is its ability to restore old or noisy audio to higher quality. WavePad can do just that. We took a single voice recording that had noticeable hum from a running air duct and ran it through the noise reduction tools in WavePad. We were pleased with the results. By using the default settings on the Auto Spectral Subtraction tool, we removed the undesirable hum from the recording, making the vocals prominent and clear without any interference.
This audio software for Mac is loaded with audio effects. You will find the typical effects, such as normalize, amplify and compress, as you would with just about any Mac audio editor. However, you also get an array of special effects included within the program such as delay, phasers, chorus distortion and others.
If you want to add more than one effect to one of your audio recordings, you can do so with the multiple chained effects tool. When you open this tool, all of your effects will be listed to the left. Chaining effects together is as simple as double-clicking on an effect. This action adds it to the chain. Within this tool you can adjust the parameters of each effect as well, making it so you can manage of all the effects within one window.
There are also tools to reduce vocals from an audio track. Keep in mind that this will only work with an original track from a CD. WavePad does its best to separate the channel the vocals were recorded on from the music. If vocals were recorded on the same channel as the music, you will not find success in removing the vocals.
To record more than one audio track at a time, WavePad has a program called MixPad. This is used to record and edit multiple audio tracks at once. Within MixPad you can split audio files and merge two separate audio files together, among many other options.
You can import a large variation of file formats using this audio editor for Mac. You can import and edit MP3, WAV, VOX, WMA and many more. One of the only file restrictions you will run into is M4A. Apples encodes these files in a special way that sometimes doesn't work with WavePad. Some M4A files will open and some will not.
WavePad will successfully extract audio data from video files without any hassle. We ran seven different video file formats into WavePad, and the software extracted the audio from each file format without any problems. Audio extraction from video files is an essential part of any audio editor, especially if you are working on movie scores and other movie audio.
Most audio editors have some form of file conversion. When you save an audio file, you can generally convert it to a number of different file formats. WavePad allows you to convert your files to many popular file formats including MP3, AU, FLAC, MOV and RSS. The RSS file conversion can be helpful if you are using this audio editor to record and edit podcasts.
Help & Support
The help tab within WavePad links you to video tutorials to help you get acclimated to the program. When you visit the NCH Software website you will find user forums and email support if you have any additional questions.
WavePad is a comprehensive audio editor for Mac that is easy to use, and it's powerful. Navigating the floating toolbars takes some time to get used to, but this design flaw is miniscule compared to the audio editing power this software provides.