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Wavosaur: an amazingly lightweight, full-featured audio editor

04 January 2012, Mike Williams

With even some budget computers now arriving with 1TB of storage, and perhaps more, drive space isn’t generally much of an issue these days. But we still get annoyed when we see software become unnecessarily bloated, grabbing vast amounts of hard drive real estate for no good reason. It’s lazy, and even if you have plenty of hard drive space left, will still slow down your searches, virus scans, defrags, and any other whole-drive operations.

Fortunately there are still plenty of projects which treat your hard drive with a little more respect, however. And there are few better examples of this than Wavosaur, a surprisingly full-featured audio editor which crams a vast array of functionality into a tiny 560KB executable, while refusing to clutter your system with anything else (no codecs, no DLLs, nothing dumped in your Windows folders at all).

Don’t be fooled by the name, for instance. Yes, the program can open the relatively easy WAV format, but it’s also able to import and work with MP3, OGG, AIFF, IFF, AU, SND, VOX, VOC and WVV files. As well as providing the option to record audio from scratch.

It looks and works just like any other audio editor - but it's much, much smaller

Once you’ve opened a file then you’ll see its wave form, and if you’ve ever used another audio editor then you’ll feel immediately at home. You can play the track, or select a particular area with the mouse to zoom in, for instance. You might then select an unwanted area of the file to delete it; there’s the option to copy and paste sections of the file from one area to another; and you can even paste sections from one audio file into another, mixing them together to produce something new.

A stack of audio processing options include the ability to adjust or normalise your file’s volume, fade your sound in or out, shift your audio’s pitch, resample it, convert it to stereo or mono, and more. There’s even a tool which attempts to remove vocals from a track, to produce your own custom acapella version. This uses a fairly brutal method which can fail horribly (when we tried it on a Beyonce track if just left her sounding as if she were singing in the bathroom next door). But on other occasions the algorithm worked just fine: it all depends on the source material.

And the list goes on, with Wavosaur also providing various audio effects and filters, analysis tools, even advanced features like ASIO and VST plugin support.

Sure, the interface looks a little dated, with a host of tiny icons packing its toolbars. But we can live with that, especially for a program which is otherwise fast, lightweight, portable, and generally easy to use. So if you need an audio editor (or are just tired of bloated software and would like to be reminded that it doesn’t have to be that way), then take a look at Wavosaur: it’s one of the best tiny programs we know.

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