MP3 Audio Mixer 2.02
Mix me another
You can download either program from Acoustica's Web site. To start off mixing sound, get Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer, which opens with button controls on the top of screen and in rows below. The buttons offer basic start, stop, and rewind controls; the rows below control audio files. To start mixing, just import an MP3 or WAV file, which Mixer automatically places on a graphical timeline. To add another clip to the timeline, just click a new track and import the new audio file. Our only complaint: The interface shows one graphical waveform, even if the audio clip is in stereo. This means that a glitch or an outside sound could occur in one sound channel and not the other; since you can't see both clips, you may not be able to pinpoint the problem.
The mixer offers some limited editing tools once you've imported your clips. For example, you can adjust the volume of a clip by adding a control point or node, then raising or lowering the volume by adjusting the node height. This lets you perform basic fades and lower a loud sound within a clip. When you are finished editing, you can export the whole file as a WAV, RealAudio, or MP3 audio file.
Acoustica MP3 To Wave Converter Plus is less a standalone program than a plug-in for your PC. It's simply an extremely fast, easy way to turn any WAV file into an MP3 file (so that you can export it to an MP3 player, for example) or vice versa. Once you've installed the program, access it by right-clicking any audio clip you want to convert. You'll see an option to Convert To MP3. Select this option, and the MP3 To Wave Converter Plus window opens.
Inside the dialog box, you'll find simple controls; you can select a preset quality mode, from Phone (16Kbps) to Studio (256Kbps) quality, or you can make finer adjustments using the Specify Settings option. This feature lets you adjust the quality and size of your new MP3 file by adjusting the bit rate mode (whether the file is stereo or mono) and another quality slider. We wish the converter offered a few other features that are standard on other audio conversion programs, such as a normalizer (which boosts an audio file's overall loudness) or equalization. However, adding these features would significantly up the price, so we're happy with the trade-off.
Nice and easy
Acoustica MP3 Mixer and Converter programs adhere to this philosophy: Do one thing, and do it well. They're ideal for basic audio mixing and conversions. While you won't find the sophisticated feature sets that exist in more complex audio editing and conversion programs--turn to Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0 or Bias Peak for the Mac for those--these solid, cheap audio utilities are fine for simpler needs.