The below article and beginner guide should assist any visually impaired users of the GoldWave 5 sound editor and recorder in its use and may prove to be useful information for any would-be purchasers of the software when deciding if this program is likely to be suitable for their needs. It is not a recommendation and any purchaser of the software does so on their own initiative solely.

A Beginner's Guide for Keyboard Users

By John Wilson


Earlier this year I was looking for a good keyboard-friendly audio sound recorder to form part of a new audio sounds tutorial I was planning to write on the subject of audio playing, copying and sound editing. I came across GoldWave 5 and was simultaneously impressed by its low price and good range of audio editing features, which included effective noise reduction facilities. A GoldWave demo can be downloaded from:
and if you decide to buy it the total purchase cost would only be about 25 pounds. You can save sound files to many formats such as OGG, WAV, WMA, ACC, etc, and also MP3 if you have the Lame MP3 encoder on your PC, which is downloadable from:
The space available for this article does not permit for the explanation of the installation of GoldWave and all of its possible customisation for keyboard and screenreader users, so I'll give basic configuration details only and simply say that the program's installation is screenreader-friendly and typical of Windows installations.

Launching GoldWave and Basic Configuration

Having installed GoldWave, I'd recommend that you set it up as follows initially. Start GoldWave from the link which will have automatically been placed on your Desktop during the installation (press Windows key M and then G) and if you've not yet registered GoldWave, you'll come onto the GoldWave help and registration information screen. You can press ALT F4 to close this and move to the main GoldWave window. Now maximise this window by pressing ALT SPACEBAR and then X. Next enter GoldWave's configuration control preferences dialogue box by pressing F11 and:

1. Right ARROW or CONTROL TAB to the "Record" sheet. In here TAB to "Bounded to Selection" and then ARROW from this to "Unbounded and then TAB to and press ENTER on "OK". This has the effect of Changing the way Goldwave records, permitting you to record without a recording time restriction.

2. In these same control preferences, you should change the default way which one of GoldWave's two methods of playing files works. By default what is known as the "Green" button or means of playing files and the "Yellow" button or means of playing files are the same; they simply duplicate one another. However, you can elect to make both or just one of them work differently. The default way they work is for them to play selected sections of files (if you've done any selecting) when you press such as F4 or SHIFT F4 to play a file rather than playing the whole file. To get the green playing method to keep this play selection only as its future way to work but change the yellow means of playing to playing the unselected portion of the file for you, what you do is CONTROL TAB to the "Play" sheet, where the green options come before the yellow options and just TAB down to the second "Selection" option and change this to "Unselected" by ARROWING down once, then TAB to "OK" and press ENTER. Note also that in here there are two figures editfields set at "10". These are to specify how many times a selection will play repeatedly when you press the play button. Change these figures to 1. In future, when you press the play shortcut key of F4 (green play method), you will hear only any selected portion of your file (or the whole file if you've not yet done any selecting in it), whereas when you press SHIFT F4 (yellow playing method), you'll hear the unselected portion only of the file played. Then TAB to "OK" and press ENTer. Note that in the other four of the property sheets in the control preferences, you can make playback, recording and video changes and selections and that the "Volume" sheet has the main options you would find in the Windows Volume Control for making volume changes and selecting if you are to be using line in, microphone, etc, devices.

A Few Essential GoldWave shortcut Keystrokes to Get you Started

Try to learn and memorise as many as you can of the below often- used shortcuts in GoldWave so that you know them as we start to create, edit and save sound files in the forthcoming paragraphs. I'll remind you of some of these as we progress.

Useful shortcuts:

Press CONTROL N: To open a new Sound window to create a new sound file.

Press CONTROL O: to open an already created sound file.

Press SPACEBAR or F4: To start playback of a just created or open file in green mode.

Press SHIFT SPACEBAR or SHIFT F4: To start playback of a just created or open file in yellow mode.

Press F5: To rewind a file.

Press F6: To fast forward a file.

Press F7: To pause a playing file.

Press F8: To stop a playing file. It goes back to the start.

Press CONTROL F9: To Start recording a sound file, after firstly pressing CONTROL N.

Press CONTROL F8: To Stop recording.

Press CONTROL F7: To Pause and unpause whilst recording.

Press HOME: to move to the start marker's position.

Press END: To move to the finish marker's position.

Press SHIFT Right ARROW: To move the start marker right.

Press SHIFT Left ARROW: To move the start marker left.

Press CONTROL SHIFt Right ARROW: To move the finish marker right.

Press Control SHIFT Left ARROW: To move the finish marker left.

Press CONTROL V: to paste the contents of the Clipboard into the sound at the start marker's position.

Press CONTROL B: To paste the contents of the Clipboard into the sound file at the beginning of the file.

Press CONTROL F: to paste the contents of the Clipboard into the file at the finish marker's position.

Press CONTROL E: To paste the contents of the Clipboard into the file at the end of the file.

Press CONTROL P: to paste the contents of the Clipboard into a new open Sound window.

Press CONTROL M: to mix the contents of the Clipboard with the file in the current open window at the start marker's position.

Press CONTROL Q: To drop a new queue point at the current playback or recording position.

Press CONTROL J: To jump forward to the next que point.

Press CONTROL A: To select a whole file.

Press CONTROL Z: To undo your last change.

Press [ (left square bracket): To move the start marker to the current playback position.

Press ] (right square bracket): to move the finish marker to the current playback position.

How to Make a Recording

Plug your tape recorder, vinyl LP record deck (with amplifier, mixer or preamp) or other external sounds source into either the "Mic" jack plug or the "Line In" plug on your sound card using a standard stereo lead if necessary. Then:

1. Launch GoldWave from the icon on your Desktop.

2. Press CONTROL n to open a new Sound window.

3. You will fall in a dialogue box which you can TAB through and make four settings adjustments in:

A. The first is to "Channels": Here you simply ARROW up or down to select whether you want a mono or stereo recording.

B. The second is to the "Sampling Rate": This is related to the quality of the sound you need to produce. It is, by default, set to 44,100 Hertz and this is fine for many situations but you may be able to reduce it as far as 6,000 Hz and make it as high as 192,000 Hz by ARROWING up and down the list.

C. The third is to "Sampling Rate": This again affects the quality of your recording and you should ARROW up or down to the selection which reflects what you want to record, e.g voice, Cd audio, DVD, etc.

D. The fourth is to "Initial File Length": This is where you can ARROW up or down to specify the time the recording will go on for in terms of hours, minutes and seconds or you can just type your required time factor in here. For example, type in 2:00 for 2 minutes, 5:00:10 for 5 minutes and 10 seconds or 1:10:05 for 1 hour 10 minutes and 5 seconds.

E. After making your choices, you TAB to and press ENTER on "OK" to save these.

4. Now press CONTROL F9 to immediately commence the recording.

5. After a couple of seconds, Either start speaking into your microphone or start the other sound source playing, e.g. a HI-FI turn table, tape recorder, mini Disk, radio, sucker connection on your telephone handset, etc, plugged into the Mic or line in jack plug of your sound card.

6. At any time you can pause the recording by pressing CONTROL F7 and start it again from where you paused it with CONTROL F7 again.

7. When finished, press CONTROL F8 to stop the recording.

8. To hear what you have recorded immediately, just press the SPACEBAR or F4 once or twice at your current position and playback will commence.

9. To pause playback, press F7 at any time and press F7 to recommence playing from where you paused it.

10. to stop playback and return to the beginning of the file, press the F8 key.

11. If you would like to save this sound file, press CONTROL S and type a filename into the editfield provided and press ENTER.

Note: You'll have to have the correct sound card socket enabled for the microphone or line in jack, depending on the one you wish to record from. You can do this via the Windows Volume Control as usual or via GoldWave's own "Volume" property sheet in its Control Preferences after pressing F11.

Editing Sound Files and Applying Special Effects

To edit a whole file on screen in order to apply certain effects to the whole of it and not just to a small selected section of it:

1. Create a sound file as outlined above but make it short for these practising purposes.

2. By default, when a sound file is first created or opened, the whole file is treated as selected and so any changes to it will affect the whole file and be resaved with the file if you save or resave the file by pressing CONTROL S. A start marker is inserted at the beginning of the file and a finish marker at its end. To reselect a whole file at any time if it is not all already currently selected, press CONTROL A.

4. Remember that the effects defaults in many of the Effects menu options are likely to be set at a quite good default level and that in many situations you will not want to change them but rather just apply them as they are. Additionally, all effect dialogues have a list of preset files to apply other, sometimes quite outstanding and sometimes very amusing, effects to music and spoken files.

5. To apply an effect to the whole file, press ALT C (for Effect) and then ARROW down the many different effects you could apply to that whole file, e.g. echo, pitch, Reverb, Volume, etc. Note that the "Filter" effect has several sub-effects within it of particular importance, e.g. for bas and treble changes with the "Equaliser", for reducing the length of silence gaps between spoken words or music tracks with "Silence reduction", for reducing hiss with "Smoother", and there are pop and click and background noise removal features as well, etc. A more detailed explanation of many of these filters would be very worthwhile but would take up much more space than is available in this article, so experiment and, hopefully, you'll at least be surprised by some of them if not impressed by them.

6. Use the usual shortcut keys to check the results of your effects changes with such as F4 to play the file and, if you want to save these changes, use CONTROL S. If you want to remove the changes and return to your original file, press CONTROL Z as many times as necessary before saving.

If you wish to make editing changes to a smaller selected portion of a file only, you can do this in several ways but there is only space here to exemplify one of these. When you first create or open a file, a start marker is automatically placed at the very beginning of it and a finish marker is inserted at its end, and everything in-between is highlighted or selected automatically. When you play through the file, pause the playing and then press the left [ (left bracket) key to indicate the beginning of a portion of a file you want to select, the left start marker moves from its current position to that position. you'd then have to play your file and mark the end of the selection you are making by pausing the playing with the F7 key and then by pressing the ] (right bracket) key and this has the effect of moving the finish marker to this point, so that the area you wish to select to carry out some form of editing command on is now sandwiched between the start and finish markers and the rest of the file is to the left and right of the markers and selected area. If you now press F4 twice (green mode with it set to work for playing selected areas only), you'll hear only the data in the area between the markers which you have just selected. If you press SHIFT F4 (yellow mode with it set to play only unselected areas), you'll hear only the unselected part of the file. So you can think of start and finish markers as being similar to the margin stops at the back of an old-fashioned typewriter, namely the left start marker can slide from the left side of the file to the right and the right marker can slide from the right to the left until they meet anywhere in the middle. Anything between them is enclosed and selected for you to carry out editing changes on.

To select and then make edits with the square bracket keys:

1. Play the file you wish to edit until you reach the point at which you wish to start the editing, then press the F7 key to pause the playback.

2. If you have over-shot where you want your start marker to be inserted, use the F5 key to rewind and then press F4 to start play until you reach your desired spot.

3. Press the left square bracket key (to the right of the P key) to indicate the start of where the selecting/highlighting should take place and get the start marker move to here.

4. Press the F7 key to continue the playing of the file to the place just after the portion you wish to select and press the F7 key to pause the play. Now press the right square bracket (just to the right of the left square bracket) to move the finish marker to this point. Remember, if you have some distance to go before the spot where you need to drop your Finish marker, you can use F6 to fast forward.

5. To ensure that you have enclosed the desired portion of the speech or music file accurately, press the F4 key or SPACEBAR once to hear a small amount of the file just after your selected portion and then press F4 or SPACEBAR again to get the selection itself between the markers play to you. If GoldWave is set up as recommended previously, you will now also be able to press SHIFT F4 to also hear the unselected part of the file as a second means of verifying the accuracy of your selecting if you wish and if your file is not too large to make this practicable.

6. Give the command to carry out whatever change you wish to have done on the enclosed selected section of the file, e.g. press the DELETE key to delete it, Press CONTROL C to copy it to the Clipboard, Press ALT C followed by ENTER on any of the features in the Effect Menu.

7. Pressing F4 and SHIFT F4 as already stated, will, of course, let you listen to the selected portion of the file and then the unselected portion of the file respectively; but, depending on the type of edit you've carried out, you will not know what the edit sounds like in relation to the rest of your file without listening to the whole file or at least the edit and its immediate surrounding music or speech. If the file is small, you may wish to simply press CONTROL A to change the selection to the whole file and then pressing F4 will play the whole file for you. Alternatively, if the file is of any length at all, you won't want to listen to the whole thing over and over again each time you make a small editing amendment to it. So, if the file is not small, check the accuracy of your edit each side of the actual edited and still selected portion by pressing SHIFT left ARROW once or twice to move the left-hand start marker a little to the left and then press CONTROL SHIFT right ARROW once or twice to move the right-hand finish marker a small distance to the right. Now press F4 to hear the small region of the sound file where you just made your editing change and determine if the edit sounds good within the file where the two halves of your file now join. The amount of distance you move with SHIFT left ARROW and CONTROL SHIFT right ARROW will depend on the level of zoom you have currently set and can vary greatly. The zoom level can be made finer by pressing SHIFT up ARROW and larger with SHIFT down ARROW. After making an edit, you can continue from where you are by pressing CONTROL SHIFT right ARROW a few times and then F4 to start playing the file followed by CONTROL A immediately to re- locate the markers to the beginning and end of the file.

Remastering Old Tapes and Records

You may discover that a given order of routines to effect remastering on your vinyl LPs or tapes works best for you and your equipment but try this procedure for starters:

1. Follow the steps outlined earlier for recording music from vinyl albums or tapes, ensuring that you save your recording to WAV format.

2. If at all possible, to be able to do a good job with the noise reduction feature, first find and select a second or two of noise in your file which does not have music or vocals on it and copy it to the Clipboard with CONTROL c. Note that it is not usually advisable to take a sample of a vinyl album's crackle between tracks and use this as your Clipboard noise sample.

3. Press Alt C, F and then press ENTER on the "Noise Reduction" feature. ARROW down in the presets list you are now in to "Clipboard Noise Print" and press ENTER to apply this. Now listen to your file and if it displays any kind of tinkling or warbling, press CONTROL Z to undo your last change. Now carry out this step again but this time reduce the "Time" scale setting from 100 to somewhere between 100 and 50.

4. Press ALT C (for Effect) and then F (for Filter) and press ENTER ON the "Pop/Click" feature, and change the tolerance setting to 1500 if your album is not too scratchy or clicky, otherwise use the default preset of 1000. This step may not be required if your album is in perfect condition and should not be necessary if restoring an album from pre-recorded tape.

5. Particularly with recordings taken from tapes, press ALT C, then F and this time press ENTER on the "Smoother" feature. ARROW down to the "Reduce Hiss" preset and press ENTER to run it.

6. If you are dealing with a single music track or an album of tracks which will already have the same average volume, press ALT C (for Effect) and then U (for Volume) and press ENTER on the "Maximise" feature. After the preliminary scan of the file has finished, ARROW down the presets to the "Full Dynamic Range" option and press ENTER to apply it to obtain the highest level of recording you can without causing distortion. Alternatively, if you are working on several tracks or files from different sources, such as a file with 10 separately recorded singles on it, you might instead wish to use the "Match" option instead of the maximise facility, as this can scan the whole file of tracks and find an average volume for them all and change the recording level to this to make all files a similar volume level.

7. If you are dealing with music tracks with silence gaps between them (but this may not be advisable on speech files or music tracks with very quiet parts in them), press ALT C (for Effect) and then X(for Compressor/Expander) and ARROW down to the "Noise Gate 3" preset and press ENTER. This should eliminate any remaining noise in the silences between songs.

8. If you wish, use the "Equaliser", which is a seven-band graphic equaliser, in the Filter sub-menu of the Effect menu (press ALT C, F and then E) to alter the bass and treble balance to suit your own ear. For example, if the bas on your recording is too high, run the "Reduce Bas" preset to reduce its level without affecting the rest of the track.

9. Listen to the file again and if it meets with your satisfaction, save or resave your file by pressing CONTROL S.

Remember, you can use many of the other features of GoldWave in this remastering process as well if you like, e.g. if the end of a music track, as it fades out, is scratchy and/or crackly, you can create a different, slightly shorter and earlier, fade out to replace the original one and thereby eliminate the crackling at the end of the track by selecting, say, the last five seconds of the end of a track and deleting it, then by selecting the last 10 seconds of the end of the remaining track and then applying the "Full Volume to Silence" preset of the fade out feature (ALT C, U and O).

10. To separate the tracks and copy them to hard disk as individual files:

A. press ALT T (for Tool) and then P (for Que Points).

B. SHIFT TAB to and press ENTER on the "Auto Que" button.

C. In the "Mark Silence" sheet press ENTER on "OK" to get que points automatically placed between tracks in the silent gaps. This is only possible if the album you are working on actually has silent gaps between tracks; otherwise you will have to set these que points manually by pausing the track exactly where you want the que point inserting and pressing CONTROL Q.

D. Now TAB to the "Split File" button and press ENTER and in this dialogue ensure that "Use CD Compatible Wave Format and Alignment" is selected and then press ENTER on "OK" to create a set of individual track files for each song in your originally recorded album.

11. If you want to put the tracks on CD, use a program capable of burning tracks to a CD like Nero-Burning ROM, Easy CD Creator, Winamp or the burning ability of Windows XP to burn the tracks to CD. Ensure that you select the option to burn the tracks as separate audio tracks. If you want to play your tracks on your home HI-FI CD player, save them as .wav files, at 44,100 Hz sampling rate, 16 bit and in stereo and make sure that you have selected to finalise or close the CD.

Tidying up and Improving Voice Recordings

To tidy up and get a voice recording in top condition in respect of fluency and removal of clicks and/or background noise, you wouldn't necessarily use all of the same facilities as with remastering of a music track. Additionally, when you do use some of the same facilities, you would usually use them in a less aggressive way.

A general guide for what to consider in this process would be:

1. Using a good computer microphone, record your voice file directly onto your hard disk (recommended) or onto a tape or midi-CD and then transfer it to your hard disk, either in stereo or mono, as suits you.

2. Bring it up to full volume by pressing ALT C, U and pressing ENTER on the "Maximise" option.

3. If your recording is not as evenly read onto the file as you would like, remove any unduly long gaps between words by pressing ALT C, F and then I (for Silence Reduction) and ARROWING to and pressing ENTER on the "Reduce Silences to Half a Second" preset.

4. Next listen to your file more closely to identify and manually edit out any unwanted sounds and/or words/sentences you no longer want and to paste any new sentences in you now decide you omitted.

5. If you have any clicks on your file, such as those you may have caused when editing, you may be able to get rid of most of these by pressing ALT C, F and then C (for Pop/Click" removal and press ENTER on the "Passive" preset.

6. Having placed a second or two of background sound onto the Clipboard first, now run the noise reduction feature with ALT C, N and then R and use the "Clipboard print" preset. You may also wish to try a time setting of 50 instead of 100.

7. Listen to the final results and, if you are happy with them, make your final save as usual with CONTROL S.


GoldWave is a well-featured, screenreader-friendly sound editor and worth every penny of its purchase price. There is, of course, much more to GoldWave than can be covered here but you should now have a reasonable foundation to how this sound editor works. 

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