Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Record Audio with WavePad

What is WavePad?

  • A free, open source audio recording and editing application.
  • Available for Windows and Mac.

Features and Highlights

  • Record, edit and convert audio.
  • Sound editing functions include cut, copy, paste, delete, insert, silence, auto-trim and more.
  • Audio effects include amplify, normalize, equalizer, envelope, reverb, echo, reverse and many more.
  • Supports almost all audio and music file formats including mp3, wav, vox, gsm, wma, au, aif, flac, real audio, ogg, aac, m4a, mid, amr, and many more.
  • Create bookmarks and regions to easily find, recall and assemble segments of long audio files.

Download WavePad

  • WavePad free
  • WavePad free audio editing software does not expire and includes many of the features of the master’s version.

Navigating the WavePad interface

  • WavePad’s layout gives you quick access to the features you use most often. 
  • Along the top of the screen, you will see the tab tool-bar. 
  • Along the bottom of the screen, you will see the play controls, file information, the play clock, and the volume level meter

wavepad interface with no project open

How do I start a new project?

  1. Create a new file by clicking the New icon on the home tab toolbar at the top of your screen. A new project window will open.

Red box around new file button in the top left corner of screen

  1. In the new project window, click the maximize icon in the top right-hand corner to expand your project to full-screen. 

New file window open

  1. To work on multiple files at one time, click the + icon next to your project tab to open a new file. You can switch between files by clicking on your project tabs. 

new tab button next to the open file tab

How do I open or import an existing file in WavePad?

  1. To open or import an existing audio file, click the Open tab in the home tab toolbar at the top of your screen. 
  2. Browse your files and select the one you would like, and click Open. 

Open button with open file option in menu

file selected from browser to open

How do I record audio with WavePad?

  1. To begin recording, open a new project by clicking the New icon on the home tab toolbar at the top of your screen.
  2. Click the red record button at the bottom of your screen, then begin speaking or playing.

arrow pointing to red record button in bottom left corner of screen

  1. When you feel you are finished recording, click the gray, square 'stop' button located to the right of the play button.

arrow pointing to stop button in bottom left corner of screen

If you have multiple microphones, you will need to select the one you would like to record from.

  1. Click on the Options tab in the home tab toolbar at the top of your screen.
  2. In the Options window, click on the Recording tab.
  3. Select the correct microphone from the device list.

microphone options in the drop down menu

  1. Open the windows record mixer to make adjustments to your microphone settings.

recording mixer options open

  1. Select the microphone from the list and click the Properties button. From here you can adjust the levels and more. 
  2. When you are finished, click OK to save your changes. 

microphone array levels adjusted

Best Practices for Recording Audio

  • Practice rehearsing your script out loud on your own and with a colleague to make the appropriate edits before you record.
  • Always leave a 10 second silence buffer before recording to ensure you are able to collect the noise profile and edit out the background noise.
  • Watch the volume level meter in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen to make sure your levels are in the right range. When recording, try to aim for a maximum peak of around –6 dB.
  • Record all of your audio at once. If you make a mistake in your recording, stop and take a breath and then try saying the sentence again. This can be tweaked in the editing phase.
  • Be aware of the pace of your speech. Intentionally speak slower than you normally would, so your voiceover can be understood.
  • Smile when you're recording the audio.

How do I zoom in and out of my waveform?

Zooming in on your waveform makes precision editing easier when working with an audio file.

  • If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, you can zoom up to zoom into your waveform, and down to zoom out of your waveform.
  • You can also use the zoom slider or zoom buttons underneath your project window to zoom in and out of your waveform.

Zoom bar located on the bottom right corner of screen

  • WavePad also has a vertical zoom feature which will zoom only the height of the audio waves. These buttons are located just under the vertical scroll bar in the project window.

Vertical zoom bar located on the right side of the screen

How do I select sections of my audio file?

To select part of your wave form:

  • Use your mouse to click at the start of your selection, and drag it to where you want to end your selection.

Portion of audio waveform selected

There are also selection options that can be accessed by right clicking on the waveform.

  • Click Select All to select your entire waveform (or use the keyboard shortcut CTL + A)
  • Click Select None to remove a selection.
  • Click Select to Start to select everything from the start of your recording to the location of your cursor.
  • Click Select to End to select everything from the location of your cursor to the end of your recording.

selection options window open

How do I delete a portion of my audio?

  1. Click and drag to select a section of your audio you would like to delete.
  2. Right click on the selected audio.
  3. Click Delete.

portion of audio selected with the menu open showing the delete option

How do I undo and redo actions?

The undo and redo buttons can be found in the home tab toolbar at the top of your screen.

  • Click Undo to remove your past actions.
  • Click Redo to reinstate the erased action.

undo and redo buttons in the toolbar

How do I remove background noise from my audio file?

There are many ways to remove background noise from your file in WavePad.

To remove background noise based on a noise sample:

  1. Click and drag your mouse to select a portion of dead air from your clip (a section that captures the background noise of your file).
  2. In the edit tab toolbar at the top of your screen, click Cleanup.
  3. Select Noise reduction from the menu, then select Spectral Subtraction based on Noise Sample

spectral subtraction based on noise sample

  1. Click on your file to deselect the highlighted portion of your clip.
  2. Repeat the previous steps by clicking Cleanup > Noise Reduction > Spectral Subtraction based on Noise Sample
  3. WavePad will then remove background noise from your file.

Make adjustments based on previous noise sample

To remove background noise based on type of noise:

  1. Click Cleanup > Noise Reduction > Noise Removal Wizard

Noise removal wizard

  1. In the Wizard menu, select the type of background noise you would like to remove.
  2. Click Next to preview the file, then click Next again to apply the changes.

Wizard menu open with options

To remove background noise based on threshold:

  1. Click Cleanup > Noise Reduction > Noise Gate

Select noise gate from cleanup

  1. In the Noise Gate menu, adjust the threshold slider to your desired level, or select an option from the preset menu.
  2. Click the Play button in the Noise Gate menu to preview the changes before clicking Apply.

Noise gate menu open

How do I move sections of my audio file?

Move your audio selections around within a file, or move selections to a new project window, using Cut, Copy and Paste.

  • Click and highlight to select a section of audio.
  • Cut or Copy the selection using the Cut and Copy buttons (Or use Keyboard shortcuts CTRL + X to Cut, and CTRL + C to Copy).

Cut and Copy buttons in toolbar

  • Place your cursor where you would like to paste your copied selection, then click Paste (or CTRL + V).

paste button in toolbar

How do I silence a section of my audio file?

  • To silence a section of audio, highlight the portion of the clip and click the Silence button.
  • You can also use the Silence button to insert a silence for a duration of your choice at the location of the cursor, the beginning of the audio file, or the end of the audio file.

Silence current selection

insert silence window

How do I add a fade to my audio file?

To fade in:

  1. Click and drag your mouse to select the region at the beginning of your file you would like to apply the fade to.
  2. In the Levels tab toolbar at the top of your screen, click Fade > Fade In.

highlighted section of beginning audio with mouse on fade in button

  1. Select fade type, then click OK.

Fade type options

  1. You can also select Fade In and Trim to remove the beginning of the file before your selected region.

fade in and trim option selected

To fade out:

  1. Click and drag your mouse to select the region at the end of your file you would like to apply the fade to.
  2. In the Levels tab toolbar at the top of your screen, click Fade > Fade Out.
  3. Select fade type, then click OK.

highlighted end section of audio with fade out button selected

  1. You can also select Fade Out and Trim to remove the end of the file after your selected region.

fade out and trim

How do I edit the levels of my audio file?

To make your audio quieter or louder, use the amplify tool. 

  1. In the Levels tab toolbar at the top of your screen, click Amplify
  2. The Amplify menu will open where you can adjust the gain percentage, or select a preset from the drop down menu.
  • A gain of 50% will decrease the volume in half.
  • A gain of 200% will double the volume.
  1. Click the Play button in the Amplify menu to preview the changes before clicking Apply.
  2. Your amplify effects will be applied to your entire file.
  • To apply amplify effects to just a portion of your file, click and drag your mouse to select a section of your file you would like to amplify, then repeat the steps above. 

amplify menu with gain settings

Use the Normalize effect to maximize the volume of your recording.

  1. In the Levels tab toolbar at the top of your screen, click Normalize.
  2. In the Normalize manu, click Auto Normalize for WavePad to maximize the volume automatically, or click Normalize to open your options menu.

normalize options open from toolbar

  1. In the Normalize menu, enter your own values or select a preset from the dropdown list.
  2. Click Apply.

normalize menu

How do I add special effects to my audio?

To access special effects, click on the Effects toolbar at the top of your screen. This opens a menu of effects that you can apply to your file, or a selected region within your file.

effects tab toolabar

  • Echo repeats a sound after a short time. You can use the presets to select the type of echo you want to use, or use the sliders if you know which levels to enter.

echo in toolbar

  • Reverb is similar to echo, but instead of repeating a sound once, it reflects a sound several times. You can use the presets to select the type of reverb you want to use, or use the sliders if you know which levels to enter.

reverb window open

  • Use the Reverse effect to make a selection or entire audio file play backwards.

highlighted section of audio with reverse button in toolbar

How do I adjust the speed of my audio file?

The Speed button in the effects tab gives you the option to adjust the speed, pitch, or the speed and the pitch.

speed button in toolbar

  • Click Speed and Pitch Change to adjust the speed and pitch of your audio at the same time.
    • 200% will double the speed and pitch.
    • 50% will decrease the speed and pitch by half.

speed and pitch menu

  • Click Speed Change to just make adjustments to the speed of your audio.
  • Click Pitch Change to just make adjustments to the pitch of your audio.
  • Your Speed and Pitch adjustments will be applied to your entire file.
    • To apply changes to just a portion of your file, click and drag your mouse to select a section of your file you would like to adjust, then repeat the steps above.

How do I split my audio?

Split your audio file into shorter segments using the split tool.

  1. Place your cursor at the point in your file you would like to split.
  2. Click the Split button in the Edit tab at the top of your screen.
  3. In the Split menu, select Split at cursor.

split at cursor

  1. Two new files will be created and added to your tabs. Your original file will remain unchanged.

new files as tabs

Selecting any of the other Split options will split your file into multiple parts of dialogue. When you select one of these options, a window will appear where you can adjust your split options.

  • Use the dropdown list to select the split type.
  • Select Save to Folder to choose a location on your device to save the split files, and choose the output of your files.
  • Select Open in Editor to open the split files as tabs in WavePad.

split into multiple parts window

How do I compress my file?

The Compressor tool allows you to limit the volume levels of a sound recording so that it stays within a certain loudness range.

  1. Click on the Compressor button in the Levels tab menu at the top of your page. The compressor menu will open, showing you a graph indicating the volume levels of your file.

Compressor window open showing graph

  1. In the Graphic tab of the compressor menu, you can select a preset from the dropdown menu. When you select a preset, the graph will change to show the settings.
  2. You can also click anywhere on the graph to move the curve and change the compressor levels manually.

graphic tab of compressor menu

  1. In the Simple tab of the compressor menu, you can set a maximum volume with a limiter.

simple tab of compressor menu

  1. Click the Play button in the compressor window to listen to your recording with the compression applied.
  2. When you are happy with your changes, click Apply.

How do I save my audio file?

  1. Click the Save button in the Home tab toolbar at the top of your page.
  2. Click Save File As from the menu options.

Save button in home tab toolbar

  1. Enter a name for the file, select the desired file type, then click Save.

save window open with save as type menu open

  • To preserve your original file, always use the Save File As option in the file menu, or from the Save button drop down menu.

save from file menu

To convert a file into a new file type:

  1. Click the Save File As option in the Save dropdown menu, of the file menu.
  2. Select the file type you want to convert the file to from the Save As Type drop down list, then click Save.

How do I add music to my audio file?

Note: This feature is a premium feature and is only available for 14 days with your free trial and is not available in the free version. If your trial has expired please contact the media studio for recommendations for other tools to add music to your project.

To add background music to your audio file, use the Paste Mix feature in your edit tab.

  1. Open your audio file.
  2. Import your music file into a new tab by clicking the Open tab in the home tab toolbar at the top of your screen. Browse your files and select the one you would like, and click Open.
  • Your two audio files should appear next to each other as separate tabs. 

opening music file

two audio tabs next to each other

  1. Click and drag your mouse to select the portion of your audio file you would like to copy on top of your music file.
  • Select your entire file by using the shortcut CTRL + A for Windows, and Command + A for Mac.
  1. Click Copy in the toolbar.

Copy voiceover audio

  1. In your music file, select the portion of audio that you would like to overlay with your voiceover.
  2. Click the Paste Mix button in the toolbar to combine the files.

paste mix button in toolbar

Suggest an edit to this guide

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.