True confession. I’m old. And audio is in my blood. I cut my audio editing teeth the old fashioned way. With a razor, audio tape, an aluminum editing bar, and Scotch tape. That’s right. Back in the day, editing audio required actually cutting audio tape and splicing it back together again.
Here in the 21st century we have access to digital tools which are far more capable, flexible, and offer far higher quality that just a few decades ago. For Mac users on a budget who need to record and edit audio, the cross-platform OcenAudio is a good choice.
OcenAudio runs on Mac, Linux PCs, and Windows PCs. It works well, it’s free, and it has a few features and capabilities you won’t find in Apple’s Garageband, especially useful if you want to edit audio files.
First, it will edit stereo audio files from an attractive multi-channel waveform interface. OcenAudio records audio in multiple sample rates, mono and stereo and 8-bit to 32-bit. Audio sources are accessed from the extensive Preferences.
Also built in is a full featured audio spectrogram to analyze the content of an audio file. And, yes, spectrogram settings are rendered in OcenAudio in real time as you make adjustments. It comes with multiple presets and settings.
There’s access to an 11-band or 31-band audio equalizer, a number of built-in filters and effects, and an option to handle VST audio plugins. Unlike Garageband and some commercial audio editors for the Mac, OcenAudio features a nifty multi-selection option. Select multiple audio sections at the same time, then edit or apply a filter or effect.
Also unlike other audio apps, OcenAudio can handle very large audio files, even up to several hours in length, which makes it great for editing podcasts, concerts, interviews, or sports events.
Transport controls run across the top Toolbar area, and include audio volume, details about each audio file, and the standard Play, Stop, Pause and Fast Forward and Backup. Recent files in the playlist can be toggled into and out of view with a click.
A number of processing options are built-in, too, including compression, filters, expander, limiter, and much more. The few VST plugins I have for Logic Pro X worked perfectly in OcenAudio.
OcenAudio has another leg up on Garageband when it comes to exporting audio files. You get options for RAW, WAV, CAF, MP3 (now added back to Garageband), MP4, OGG, and others, including Sun AU, AIFF, Flac, WavePack and NSP.
This app is a true value for anyone on a budget who needs quick and clean audio editing capability. And it’s free. But don’t let anyone tell you that GarageBand is an amateur audio recording app, hence the free price tag. When it comes to quality, GarageBand is far better than standard broadcast radio or TV, and with a good microphone can handle just about any audio recording setup.