©Copyright 2008. Karen Mossey/Mike Sullivan. All rights reserved.
Website designed by: Man Behind the Curtain
By Mike Sullivan
Note: Some portions of this tutorial were excerpted from the product literature
Price - Free - No expiration date
WavePad audio editing software is a sound editor program for Windows. This audio editing software lets you make and edit voice and other audio recordings.
Mac OS X 10.2 or later
There are two trial downloads on the WavePad site. They are labeled "Download WavePad" & "Download Masters". To choose the free version, be sure to choose "Download WavePad".
This version is free and does not expire but you will receive a message after 14 days warning that the advanced features of the Master's addition will be turned off unless you upgrade. This is because the free version of WavePad also has some of the additional features of WavePad Master's Edition enabled for a 14-day free trial. The message can be ignored because the advanced features will be disabled but the standard WavePad features will continue to work. The disabled features are useful for other tasks, such as working with music files, but they're not necessary for performing basic editing and filtering of EVP recordings.
Using WavePad - Basic Editing Instructions
Like most audio editing programs WavePad is geared to working with music files and because of this there's a lot of effects that we'll never have a reason to use such as Reverb and Echo. In this tutorial I'll be focusing on the effects and procedures that I've found to be effective in editing, isolating and filtering EVP's. There are various ways to accomplish the same task in WavePad but for this tutorial I will mention only one method per each task. Once you become familiar with the program you'll quickly discover additional and sometimes quicker methods to perform the functions contained below.
To open an existing file in WavePad: Click File in the upper left hand of the program and choose "Open File" from the drop down menu.
To open a new file do the same but choose "New". A box will appear in the center of the program giving you the option of choosing the sample rate and whether you want the file to be recorded in Stereo or Mono. The default sample rate is 44100 and this is what you'll want to use and you'll want to choose Mono unless you are using a stereo recorder. You can disable this prompt and set the default rate using WavePad Options.
To save the current audio file with the current name: Click File in the upper left hand of the program and choose "Save File".
To save the file with a different name or in a different format: Click File in the upper left hand of the program and choose "Save File As"
You'll want to choose "Save File As" if you've made changes to the original file and want to save the original along with the new edited version.
Once you've chosen "Save File As" a box will appear prompting you to give it a name different from the original file.
Editing & Filtering Files
The first set of editing tools and effects we're going to go through are: Amplify, High-Pass Filter, Equalizer, Reverse, Noise Reduction and the Change Pitch/Speed adjustments. You'll find these under the "Effects" tab which is located on the very top category listings, third from the left.
You can make changes to the entire file or you can select a section of the file to edit. To edit just a portion, you need to highlight a section of the file that you want to edit. This is done by left clicking the mouse at one end of the portion of the file and while holding it down, dragging it to the right (or left) until you cover the portion of the file you want to edit. You'll see that it is now highlighted in blue and until you release it (by left clicking anywhere in the file area) the highlighted portion will be affected by whatever action you take. You can play it, loop it (In WavePad loop is called Play Repeat and it's located under "Control" which is to the right of "Effects") or do any of the other functions I listed above.
Note: Any effect applied to the file can be undone (before the file is saved) by clicking "Undo" which is located under "Edit" just to the left of "Effects.
To 'amplify' is to increase the loudness or volume of the selected region. To make a part of the recording softer or louder, select it and then use the menu Effects -> Amplify. The volume is entered in percent (100 being no change, 50 being -6dB softer or 200 being +6dB louder).
A high-pass filter (sometimes called a low cut filter) removes all low frequencies below a specified Hz. This is useful if you want to make your recording sound 'clearer' or less 'muddy'. It is very usual to use a high-pass filter of about 300Hz on all voice recordings to improve intelligibility.
An equalizer changes the frequency response of a signal so it has different tonal qualities. See General Audio Concepts (Samples, Channels etc..) for some explanation about what this means.
After you select Effects menu -> Equalizer you will see a graph of amplitude against frequencies. Left click on any point to create a new band point. To remove a band point right click on it. You can also change the View Mode to "Linear" or "Logarithmic" based on your preferences.
To assist you with shaping the Equalizer graph in the way you want, there is a preset list that displays the most common sorts of filters used in the Equalizer graph. You can choose any preset filter from the list and then manipulate the filter to achieve the effect you desire.
This effect reverses the selection in the same way playing a record or tape backwards would.
WavePad can remove background noise (e.g.. background hiss or hums). To do this WavePad uses multi-band noise gates to turn off bands that are below a preset volume level. If you set the noise gate level too high the voice will be chopped off. If the noise gates are too low the noise reduction will not work.
Speed and Pitch Change
This plays the recording faster or slower which in turn increases or decreases the pitch too. This function is useful to correct slow or fast tapes.
Normal speed changes (i.e. "Simple Speed and Pitch Change" above) changes the pitch in proportion to the speed. If you want to change the speed but keep the pitch the same use this function.
This changes the pitch of the recording without changing the speed (i.e. the converse of the above).
Cutting & Trimming Files
There will be times when you will want to edit a clip that you have opened in WavePad. For instance, if the clip is too long to send via email or it is a long clip containing only a small segment of usable material. The two editing features I will cover are Cut and Trim. "Cut" is useful when you have listened to a section of the clip and determined it contains nothing useful and "Trim" is used to remove a section that you want to keep and work with or save.
Using The Cut Feature:
To begin, highlight a section of the file that you want to remove, click Edit and choose "Cut" The highlighted section will be removed and will no longer be heard during playback. This also reduces file size.
Using The Trim Feature:
To begin, highlight a section of the file that you want to keep, click Edit and choose "Trim". Notice that the editing window now contains only the highlighted section and that the form is now expanded allowing for more precise editing. Be sure to save the new file under a different name then the original using the "Save As File" function. If you have other sections you want to edit within the same clip simply reopen the original file again and repeat this procedure remembering to rename each new segment.
To undo a change after you have clicked Cut or Trim (but before you have saved the file), click Edit, Undo, Cut or Trim
Converting a *.wav File To (*.mp3) Format
Open the .wav file you want to convert (File, Open,). Once it comes up on the WavePad main screen, Click, File, then Save As File, and look at the window just below File Name. It will be titled (Save As Type) and in the box it should read "Wave (*.wav)". Click on the down arrow and from the list of file types select MPEG Layer-3 (*.mp3). Then click Save. WavePad will convert the file and you will now have two files with the same name but the designation at the end of each file will be different because one file will end in "*.wav" and the other in "*.mp3". However, the extension .mp3 or .wav may not be viewable so it's a good idea to change the name of the file (before saving it as an .mp3) by adding something to the original file name (such as mp3 version) to make it known that this is the ,mp3 version of the original file.