What is Sound Editing Software?

G. Wiesen

Sound editing software is a type of computer program that allows a user to access, edit, save, and otherwise manipulate audio files. These programs are often used both by amateur computer users and professionals working in various music or audio recording professions. They will usually allow a user to combine separate audio files into a single file, break up longer pieces of audio into shorter clips, and make noticeable changes to audio that is recorded. Sound editing software is also sometimes used in different types of investigative journalism and law enforcement, especially for examining and understanding audio information that may be pertinent to a criminal case or other type of investigation.

Sound editing software might replicate functions of a physical mixing board.
Sound editing software might replicate functions of a physical mixing board.

The use of sound editing software is certainly not limited to audio professionals, but it is quite often used by those working in such industries. These types of computer programs are often used in recording and editing music, voice recordings, and sound effects used in making television programs, movies, and video games. This is especially useful when dealing with multiple audio clips that need to be combined, either by compositing different musical takes into a single song or combining separate voice recordings into one conversation. The opposite effect can also be achieved using sound editing software, by taking a single long piece of audio information and breaking it down into shorter pieces.

Sound editing software can also be used to perform extensive editing on recorded audio, from changing the tone and pitch of a sound, to creating gaps or layers of audio. Most programs will display the audio information in a graphical wave pattern that an editor can see and more easily manipulate. An editor will often be able to hear the audio at any point in the sound file, so changes can be heard in real time as they are made. Sound editing software is often used in the music industry to clean up recordings and make singers sound a bit more polished than they sometimes actually are.

The changes that can be made to a piece of audio can also be used to clean up audio that may be of low quality or to reveal aspects of a recording not immediately recognizable. By using sound editing software, a journalist, detective, or audio engineer can take a piece of sound and make voices more distinguishable or isolate background noise to hear it more clearly. While this type of work is often exaggerated and glamorized in television crime investigation programs, it is used with some success in the real world.

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