Software We Use

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This page lists software used or recommended by our volunteers. Here you will find programs to record, edit, or playback audio. There are also encoders, ID3 tag editors, and more. Many of these programs do more than one of these tasks. If you know of related software that would be useful, please let us know.

Contents

Comparison Chart

Please notice this table is based on what LibriVox volunteers know about these programs, so it is certainly incomplete and, in part, based on opinion.

Chart Legend

Feature list
Mac = Apple Macintosh.
Win = MS Windows.
Lin = Linux
Rec. = program can record
Playbk = program can play back
MP3 = program can encode to MP3 format.
ID3 = program is or has an ID3 tag editor.
rip = program can extract, or rip, tracks from audio CDs.
burn = program can write, or burn, audio CDs.

Feature indicators
Y = feature is available.
- = feature not available.
Under cost, the number of dollar signs ('$') indicates the relative price, 0 = free, and 0$ = comes in both free and pay versions (pay versions have more features).

Under playback, most letters indicate formats:
W = Wave, A = AAIF, M = MP3, C = audio CDs, Y = too many to list.

Under MP3, E = with user-installed encoder (straightforward to do).

A letter in bold face indicates the program excels at or is primarily designed to do that task (but that doesn't mean other programs with the same feature which are not bold are bad at that task).

A blank cell generally means "we don't know".

Recording

Mac Win Lin Cost Rec. Edit Playbk MP3 ID3 rip burn Notes
Audacity Y Y Y 0 Y Y WA E Y free - Pretty good software. Built-in free plugins, enhancements available. Audacity FAQ.
Adobe Audition 3 - Y - $$ Y Y Y Y Y Y Y pay - Adobe purchased and enhanced Cool Edit Pro. Many effects & plugins included.
Very good, multitrack editing/recording, lot of great features.
Bias Peak Y - - $$ Y Y W pay - Professional sound/editing package. Limited to single stereo track.
Cool Edit - Y - 0 Y Y WC Y - (not available commercially) - Very good program, noise reduction filter works especially well.
GarageBand Y - - 0$ Y Y A Autosends AAIF
output to iTunes
pay - Included with new Mac computer, or available when you buy Apple iLife. Difficult to export an MP3 that is both mono AND 128 kbps; w do not yet know the exact settings to use to do this.
Librivox's GarageBand FAQ .
MOTU Y - - $$$ Y Y W pay - Very expensive, professional sound editing/recording software.
Sound Forge - Y - $ Y Y W pay - Good Windows application. Single stereo track, usually enough for LibriVox recording.
Sound Studio Y - - $ Y Y WAM Y Y pay - Costs around $80. Extremely intuitive and easy-to-use interface for recording and editing.
Total Recorder - Y - $ Y Y WM E - - - pay - Inexpensive. Standard or Pro. Plugins, including for speech recording.
Split and splice files of various formats. Evaluation copies of both versions available; pro would be better for LibriVox because of superior editing capabilities.
WavePad Sound Editor Y Y Y 0/$ Y Y WAM Y - free/pay - Free demo edition that does most things. Update to full Masters edition costs around $40.

Playback

Mac Win Lin Cost Rec. Edit Playbk MP3 ID3 rip burn Notes
iTunes Y Y 0 Y Y Y Y Y free - Playback and convert files to mp3.
SongBird Y Y Y 0 Y free - Now available for both Mac and Linux.
Winamp - Y - 0$ - - Y Y Y Y both free and pay - Plays many audio and video formats; has media library manager, playlist editor, and ID3 tag editor; rip, burn, and convert between formats. Supports skins and third-party plugins.
Windows Media Player - Y - (0) - Y Y free

Others

Mac Win Lin Cost Rec. Edit Playbk MP3 ID3 rip burn Notes
Checker Y Y Y 0 - - - - Y - - free - Checks tech specs, volume, background noise, ID tags on an MP3. Uses LibriVox's standards. Ability to change ID tags.
Exact Audio Copy - Y - 0 Y Y WC E Y Y Y free - Best CD ripper. Record & edit Wave files. Convert Wave to MP3 (with LAME).
(located here because we have no experience using it to record/edit)
LAME Y Y Y 0 - - - Y - - - free - One of the two best MP3 encoders. Windows version is command-line, but mostly used with other programs.
MP3 Splt Y Y Y 0 - - - - - - - free - Splits MP3 and Ogg Vorbis files without decoding. Set split points by fixed-time length, with option to adjust split points to occur in silent gaps. Use the command-line version for batch processing of multiple files. Very fast.
MP3Gain - Y Y 0 - - - - - - - free - Measure the volume of multiple MP3 files. Do NOT use it to adjust the volume. Mac version does not measure the volume but only adjusts it.
RazorLame - Y - 0 - - - E - - - free - Graphical user interface for the LAME encoder.
Encodes one or more Wave files at a time to MP3 format. Also decodes MP3 to Wave.
Inserts same information into the ID3 tag of every MP3 file in the batch.
ReplayGain Y Y Y 0 - - - - - - - free - Audacity plug-in used to measure and adjust volume. To install, download and place within the Audacity Plug-Ins folder on your computer. (On Windows, it'll be somewhere like C:\Program Files (x86)\Audacity\Plug-Ins.) To use, highlight the recording and go to Analyze/ReplayGain.

Other software to edit ID3 (Windows only):

  • AudioShell - free - Integrates into Windows Explorer, you just pull up Properties and it gives you tabs for viewing and editing ID3 tags.
  • ID3 renamer - free - Rename a large number of files based on a formula. Can be used to mass rename ID3 tags as well

Misc:

  • CDex - free - A great tool for ripping CDs but also changing the sample rate for MP3s

Gord's list of freeware audio tools (including a bunch of tag editors)

These applications were recommended on Slashdot as being free of spyware/adware ... but, of course, you have to be the final judge.

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