What Is a Digital Audio Editor?

Jacob Queen

A digital audio editor is a piece of computer software designed to modify audio files that have been digitized. Sometimes the programs are also set up to record audio and digitize it, but in other cases, they may be primarily made simply for the modification of audio files that have already been converted to computer form. A digital audio editor is used to perform a variety of changes on recorded audio, including the addition of effects along with adjustments to volume and tone. Sometimes a digital audio editor is a standalone piece of software, but it may also be included as part of a more full-featured audio or video suite.

Many software packages offer extensive sound editing for musical enthusiasts.
Many software packages offer extensive sound editing for musical enthusiasts.

When an audio file is recorded in digital form, it is possible to make changes to it that aren’t necessarily possible from an analog perspective, and having audio in digital form can also potentially lead to a more user-friendly interface. Usually, a digital audio editor offers a graphical interface, allowing the user to see the audio file as a waveform. This generally makes it possible for the user to see visual reference points on the file, making it easier to find the right areas to make cuts and splices so that everything will mix together smoothly. A graphics-based waveform is also useful because it gives a visual representation of the audio levels in the file, which can be useful for mixing purposes.

In addition to allowing for basic editing and changing of levels, a digital audio editor also allows for many more complex modifications to audio files. Many of them come with a wide range of audio tools, allowing the user to drastically change the textural qualities of a file with things like reverbs, distortions, choruses, and other more exotic effects. Sometimes these effects may be used to clean up a file and hide imperfections, but they might also simply be necessary from a practical perspective in the creation of the exact sound the user desires.

Sometimes digital audio editors are standalone pieces of software, but it is also very common for them to be sold as part of a larger package of audio tools. For example, a digital audio workstation, which will generally include a wide range of tools for putting together music, will almost always have a fully functional digital audio editor as one of its primary components. These audio editing functions will normally be seamlessly incorporated into the software, along with all the other functions like midi editing and recording options.

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