The Linux Soundfile Editor Roundup

Whether you're making nifty sounds for desktop events or recording a whole album, you'll need one of these featureful sound apps.
KWave 0.7.0-1

KWave has been in development since 1999, so perhaps I should have included it along with the venerable stalwarts. However, its development team has kept pace with its intended target environment, KDE, thus giving KWave a more modern look and feel along with some interesting improvements.

The new KWave has also retained the original's emphasis on graphical tools for processing your files. Figure 15 shows off KWave's low-pass filter editor, complete with a processing preview function. The Listen button loop plays your file or selection while you adjust the filter in real time, a handy feature for testing effect parameters.

Some of my favorite tools, such as the additive synthesis generator, from the original KWave have not yet been reimplemented. Those tools currently are grayed-out in the menus, but the developers plan to restore those functions and add new features. Like GNUsound, KWave's file size is limited to available memory, but it otherwise is a fine editor and is well suited for casual use on the KDE desktop.

Figure 15. KWave

Final Remarks

I hope this article has stimulated interest in checking out some of these applications. Believe it or not, other soundfile editors are available, though I have tried here to focus on the most popular ones. The Soundfile Editors section of the Linux Sound & MIDI Applications site has a full listing of the available Linux soundfile editors (see the on-line Resources section).

So which one is right for you? It's hard to say. I'm partial to Snd for its vast programmability and to ReZound for its GUI and organization, but you have to try some and see which fit your needs best. Above all, don't be intimidated by the apparent complexity of some of these editors. Approach them as you would The GIMP, testing their features at random until you have a sense of what they can do—don't be shy about clicking on the Undo button. Playing around with this kind of software can be fun and open some interesting creative avenues. And if you come up with some sounds to share, feel free to let me know about it. Now, go forth and edit those joyful noises.

Resources for this article: /article/7506.

Dave Phillips is a musician, teacher and writer living in Findlay, Ohio. He has been an active member of the Linux audio community since his first contact with Linux in 1995. He is the author of The Book of Linux Music & Sound, as well as numerous articles in Linux Journal.


Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.


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wave editor for Acer Aspire One on Linux OS

Driggs's picture

I have an Acer Aspire One running on Linux. How can install a wave editor in it?

Thank you.

Re: The Linux Soundfile Editor Roundup

kevinc's picture

Would you be willing to make your Snd customization file(s),
or part of that at least? It's very intriguing, and would
make my introduction to Snd much more pleasant. Thanks...

Re: The Linux Soundfile Editor Roundup

kevinc's picture

Would you be willing to make your Snd customization file(s)
available, or part of that at least? It's
very intriguing, and would make my introduction to Snd much
more pleasant. Thanks...

(next time maybe I'll proofread a bit better, sigh)

Re: The Linux Soundfile Editor Roundup

Anonymous's picture

Realy nice article, but I hoped you will Ardour, which I use for multitrack recording.

Re: The Linux Soundfile Editor Roundup

Anonymous's picture

Cool article, which even presented some editors not so widly known. I had never heard of LAoE, for example. Ah, well, Java.

One correction: KWave does load files that are bigger than RAM, but does so very slowly and you need to play with the memory settings inside its menus.

OTOH my Sweep does not load files larger than memory, but I'm using 0.8.1 still. Great to hear, that Sweep now lifts its limits.

Frank Barknecht

Re: Nice Article

Anonymous's picture

Very nice article, this kind of topic should be appearing more on linux journal. Linux audio scene is a little behind the win but it is very good !!
Congrats for the article and nice presentation of each program.
I really liked the screenshots !!


MIDI Sequence

Anonymous's picture


Are there any linux midi sequencer packages for linux that support Motu Midi USB interfaces... like fastlane... midi express.. etc..

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