The 3 best Audio Editors at a glance

This comparison charts shows you the most important features of the most popular audio editors and tells you instantly what they can do for you.

  1. Sony's Sound Forge 7 and 8

  2. Steinberg's Wavelab 5

  3. Adobe's Audition 1.5 and 2.0

But this is not the only benefit of this page. It can help you in many ways if you use it the right way. I will give you some ideas of how else you could use it:

  • It saves time as a tutorial. You might be new to the subject of recording and editing audio on a PC. Here you can easily find out the basic essence of what an audio editor can do without having to wade through tons of information.

  • It saves time as a dictionary. There are lots of abbreviations and hard to find expressions in comparing such a kind of software. You can get their definitions just by clicking on them.

  • It delivers reliable buying decisions. You can be so impressed by one or two features of a software that you might forget about the rest and buy it. This chart brings you back to the floor and lets you decide on a more realistic basis.

  • It gives you a comparison basis you can start from. Even if you're flirting with another editor that is not listed on this chart you can easily compare them by printing this chart and making your own marks and remarks beside the listed features.

  • Additional information for software users. It might be interesting even for some longtime owners of the software to see all the features at a glance and compare them to similar software.

  • It even helps software developers. They can see at a glance what their products should be able to deliver and what the competition does.

How to navigate and get most out of this chart:

  • Look for the features that interest you most and find out which program can deliver it.

  • Click at the words and abbreviations you don't fully understand and a page will pop up instantly with the right definitions. You just close this page to continue.

  • You will see a few numbers (1) instead of a button () . If you click on this number you come to an explanation at the bottom of the page. To go back just click on back to 1.

When you are familiar with the chart and the audio editors I would be happy if  you'd come back here and answer me that question (Of course you don't have to. It just would be nice) :-)

You can also do that more often, whenever you find something's missing that you want to see implemented in the future.

"What are the most wanted and still missing features of audio editors?"





Audio Editors Feature Chart
Technical Specifications
Minimum System requirements
Computer platform PC PC PC PC PC
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows 2000  
Windows XP Home or Professional
Mac OS 9x
Mac OS 10
Processor speed (MHz) 400 500 500 400 1000
Hard-disk space for program installation (Mbyte) 60 150 10000 75 700
Recommended RAM (Mbyte) 128 128 256 64 512
Recommended color depth of display (bit) 24 24 24 24 24
Microsoft DirectX® 8 or later
Microsoft DirectX® 9 or later 9
Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1
Supported sound driver
Standard Windows Drivers (MME, WDM, etc...)
Asio  - Steinberg's low latency driver
GSIF  - Tascam's low latency driver for Gigasampler
ReWire - Steinberg's internal audio routing
General file handling
Maximum bit-depth/samplerate 64/192 64/192 32/192 32/192 32/192
Direct use of compressed formats without conversion
Recording into temporary file (choose format later)
Recording into final file (better for big files)
Audio Database for file preview and sorting media
CD audio extraction
XMP metadata support        
Nondestructive editing / Undo functions
Undo past saving the file
Real-time nondestructive audio editing
Crash recovery tools 1
Unlimited undo/redo
Undo/redo history window
Saving paths in rendered media
Supported audio file formats/extensions (r=read, w=write)
64 bit doubles (RAW) / dbl r/w r/w
Amiga IFF-8SVX / iff svx r/w r/w
Creative Sound Blaster / voc r/w r/w
Diamond Ware Digitized / dwd r/w r/w
DVI/IMA ADPCM / wav r/w r/w
Microsoft ADPCM / wav r/w r/w
Audition Loop / cel r/w r/w
Sample Vision / smp r/w r/w
Sonic Foundry audio / sfa r r
Scott Studios Wave / wav r/w r/w r/w r r
Audi Interchange File Format (AIFF) / aif aiff snd r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
NeXT/Sun (Java), PCM, u-Law / au snd r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
Sound Designer 1 / dig sd r/w r/w
Sound Designer 2 / sd2 r/w
Ensoniq Paris / paf r/w
Intervoice (ADPCM) / ivc r/w r/w
8-bit signed / sam r/w
U-Law (US telephony format) / ivc r/w r/w r/w
A-Law (EU telephony format) / ivc r/w r/w r/w
A-Law, U-Law Wave / wav r/w r/w
MPEG-1 Layer 2 (Audio) / mp2 mpampg mus r/w
MPEG-1 Layer 3 (Audio) / mp3 r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
MPEG-1 Layer 3 PRO(Audio)  / mp3         r/w
Original Sound Quality / osq r/w
Ogg Vorbis / ogg r/w r/w r/w r/w
Sony Pictures Digital Perfect Clarity™ Audio / pca r/w r/w
Raw PCM files / raw pcm bin r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
RealNetworks RealAudio® 8 / rm w w
RealNetworks RealAudio® 9 / rm w w
ADPCM Microsoft / vox adpcm r/w
Dialogic VOX (ADPCM) / vox r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
Sony Pictures Digital Wave 64™ / w64 r/w r/w
ACM waveform / wav r/w r/w
Microsoft Wave / wav r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
Microsoft Wave 6-channel / wav         r/w
Microsoft Windows Media® V8 Audio / wma r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
Microsoft Windows Media® V9 Audio / wma r/w r/w r/w r/w r/w
Microsoft Windows Media® V9 Pro Audio / wmp         r/w
CD Audio / cda r r r r r
DVD Audio r
Macromedia Flash / swf r
Special audio file import ignoring header r
Text file with numbers representing sample values / txt r/w r/w
Supported video file formats/extensions (r=read, w=write)
24fps DV video files r r
MainConcept MPEG-1 / mpg mpeg mmv m1p m1a mp1 mp2 mpa r/w r/w r r r
MainConcept MPEG-2 / mpg mpeg mmv m2p m2a mp1 mp2 mpa m2t r/w r/w r r r/w10
RealNetworks RealVideo® 8 / rm r/w r/w
RealNetworks RealVideo® 9 / rm r/w r/w
Microsoft Video für Windows / avi r/w r/w r r/w r/w10
Quicktime 5 / mov qt dv gif tif r/w r/w r r r/w10
Microsoft Windows Media® V8 Video / wma asf r/w r/w r r r/w10
Microsoft Windows Media® V9 Video / wma asf r/w r/w r r r/w10
Additional file types besides audio and video/extensions
Sound Forge project files / frg r/w r/w
Sonic Foundry impulse files / sfi r r
Sonic Foundry Playlist files / sfl r/w r/w
Session 8 file / prm r/w r/w
Windows Media Script file / txt r/w r/w
Wavelab Audio Montage / mon r/w
Wavelab Basic Audio CD / cd r/w
Wavelab DVD Audio Project / dvda r/w
Wavelab Data CD/DVD / cdp r/w
Wavelab CD/DVD Label Set / lab r/w
Wavelab Audio Cd Report / rtf r/w
Wavelab Audio Database / dba r/w
Wavelab Workspace / prj r/w
Wavelab Backup Plan / bkp r/w
Wavelab Backup Archive / zip r/w
CD Cue sheets / cue txt r/w
Import AES 31 project / adl r/w
Adobe multitrack session / ses r/w r/w
Adobe FFT files / fft r/w r/w
CD List (Playlist of audio CD) / cdl   r/w
MIDI file / rmi mid   r/w
User interface
Look and feel, Orientation
Styles for Audio Windows
Support of Windows Themes
Tabbed docking windows
Drag-and-drop operations
Effects previewing
Snapshots of scenes with exact zoom factor and position
Separate graphical waveform overview
Customizable toolbars
Customizable keyboard shortcuts
Midi remote control
Application scripts
Preset colors
Preset workspaces (window layout)
Preset zoom factors 2
Effect presets
Metering, Sound Analysis
User selectable characteristics
Phase Meter
Bit Meter
Spectrum analyzer
Analyze input in real-time
Clipped peak detection and marking
Click/Pop detection and marking
Glitch detection and marking
Audio file comparer
Amplitude statistics  
Spectral Pan display  
Spectral Phase display  
External controller hardware supported
Hardware controller, fader-box
Midi controller
General functions and tools
Transport functions
Play from cursor
Play from user selectable point
Play entire file (from beginning to end)
Stop at end of file
Stop at user selectable point
Loop selection
Loop between user selectable points  
Go to start
Go to end
Remote control per definable key commands
Remote control per MIDI commands
Setting pre- and post-roll
Audio Scrubbing (Jog/Shuttle functions)
Midi time code master 3 3
Midi time code slave 3 3
Sample accurate synchronization 4 4
SMPTE start offset possible
Per MIDI-clock and song position pointer
Defining Regions
Define regions (cues) by cursor selection tool
Setting start and end markers with labels
Defining regions (cues) by clicking between markers
Automatic creation of regions (cues) by user definable parameters
Setting markers
Drop markers while recording
Automatic creation of markers (defined by user)
Manual labeling
Automatic labeling
CD track start/end markers
CD index markers
Sample-loop start/end markers
Beat markers within Loops      
Mute start/end markers
Region (cue) start/end markers
Start play markers
Supports broadcast wave format (BWF)  
Basic edit functions
Auto trimming/cropping by user selectable parameters
Silence, mute
Bit Depth converter
Channel converter (stereo to mono, swapping, etc…) 5 5
DC offset remover
Insert silence
Delete silence by user selectable parameters
Phase reverse
Adjust sample rate
Convert sample rate (resample)
Nondestructive Playlist
Nondestructive multiple tracks montage
Trigger Playlist with MIDI events
Trigger Playlist with time code
Setting crossfades
Multiple tracks mixing
Timing basis
Measures and Beats
Timecode / frames
Timecode / drop-frames
Compact Disc (75 fps)  
Auto start if sound is present
Recording with timer
Auto stop at silence
Auto stop after given duration
Auto pause at silence
Prerecord buffer (records audio before hitting record)
Auto calibration for DC Offset 6 6
Punch-In/Out (record a specific length)
Quick Punch-In/Out (on the fly)        
Real-time record meters
Remote record function
Multitrack recording        
Sound Generation
White, pink, and brown noise generators
Customizable frequency sweeps
FM synthesis
Dial Tone (DTMF / MF) Generation
Batch conversion
Application scripting
Dynamic effect and plug-in automation by envelopes 7
Tempo envelopes
Recording with timer
Automated threshold based recording
Midi timecode triggered recording
Automated file format encoding
Full track automation (read, write, off, latch, touch)      
MIDI timecode synchronization
MIDI timecode trigger of recording
MIDI timecode trigger of playback
MIDI timecode generator
MIDI SDS (Sample Dump Standard)
MIDI file playback
Click or glitch prevention
Auto zero-cross when pasting sound files
Auto crossfade when pasting sound files
Auto crossfade start and end of processed selection
CD burning
Track at once CD burning
Disc at once CD burning
Red Book compatible master CDs
Track ID setting
Index points setting
Copy protection (SCMS)
ISRC support
UPC/EAN Code support
Audio in Pauses
"Hidden tracks" before track 1
CD-Extra support
CD-Text support
Test writing of CD
Comparing Audio CD images
Professional Playlist printing
Label printing
Embed metadata commands within audio and video stream
Sound Processing
Basic computing
Max. audio processing quality (bit/kHz) f=floating point 64f/192 64f/193 32f/192 32f/193 32f/193
Multitask Background Rendering
Multiple Computer Network processing
Sound restoration
Click removal
Pop removal
Hum removal
Vinyl restoration
Noise reduction
Restoration of clipped audio
DC offset removal
Amplitude functions
Fade in/out
Amplitude envelope modulation by rubber band curves
Gater, Hacker, Snipper
Loudness maximizer
Multiband compressor
Noise Gate
Pitch modulation
Pitch bender
Pitch shifter
Pitch correction
Doppler Shifter    
Filter functions
Graphic EQ
Semi-parametric EQ
Parametric EQ
FFT filter
Dynamic EQ
Notch filter
Wah-Wah effect
Center Channel Extractor (vocal removal)      
Graphics Phase Shifter      
Scientific Filter (Bessel, Butterworth, Chebychev)      
Time stretching
Time stretch by percentage of original time
Time stretch by tempo
Time stretch by input of end time
Time stretch by dragging
Conventional digital reverb
Convolution Reverb
Simple Delay
Multi-tap delay
Dynamic Delay
Time modulation effects
Amp modeling
Tape saturation emulation
Tube emulation
Simple distortion
Spatial and surround effects
Auto panning
Overtone generator
Loop editing
Loop properties with root notes, number of beats, and tempo
Beat markers to define beats manually
Sample editing
Pop-up MIDI keyboard to test samples
Sustaining Loop editing
Release loop editing
Real-time loop tuning window
SCSI / SMDI sample transfer
MIDI/SDS sample transfer
Video preview window
External monitor support
Display exact video frame animation above waveform
Frame-accurate audio/video synchronization
Importing audio together with video clip
Importing AVI sequence markers      
Plug Ins
Plug-In standards
DirectX® plug-in effects automation 8
VST plug-in effects automation 8
ReWire support
Plug In Handling
User definable Plug-In chains
Customizable hierarchic plug-in menus
Plug In automation by envelope lines in audio data window 8
Plug In delay compensation        
Supported external devices
Akai S-1000
Akai S-2000
EMU Esi-32
EMU E-64
Kurzweil K2000
Kurzweil K2500
Peavey SP
Roland S 760
Yamaha A 3000
SMDI capable sampler
SDS capable sampler
CD Recorder
PDA, Handheld computer
DVD Recorder (Audio DVD)

1…By manually searching for temporary files - back to 1
2…By using snapshots - back to 2
3…In multitrack mode only - back to 3
4…Only if supported by the Midi-interface - back to 4
5…No channel swapping - back to 5
6…Meters only - back to 6
7…Only volume, (surround) pan and effect send is automated - back to 7
8…Only effect send levels are automated - back to 8

9…Direct Sound or ASIO Drivers are supported - back to 9
10...No format conversion, Export must be same format as Import - back to 10