Music Editor Free is a powerful audio editor with a huge array of effective and unusual features.
The program can import audio in many different ways, for instance. It can record from anything you're able to connect to your sound card. It's able to import all the audio file formats that matter, and many that really don't (MP3, WMA, OGG, CDA, WAV, VOX, RAW, G.72x and more). An Import From Video option should be able to extract the audio from any video that you can play in Media Player, and there's even a Get From YouTube feature which can fetch the audio from any YouTube clip.
Once your file is loaded then you can manipulate it in many different ways. This starts by trimming parts you don't need, which works in much the same way as any audio editor: click and drag across a part of the audio wave form, and you can remove that section in a couple of clicks. It's all very straightforward and you'll feel at home right away.
Of course Music Editor Free also provides many special effects. Most competitors hide these away in complex menus, but Music Editor takes a better approach, grouping them sensibly into a tree on the left-hand side. Amplitude and Compression, Delay and Echo, Filters and EQ, Modulation, Restoration and more, every section has useful editing options on hand. Noise reduction is particularly good, with a configurable noise reduction filter and custom options for reducing cassette noise and voice breath, but whatever you're trying to do there should be something here that can help.
There is a catch here, though, and it comes in the licence restriction for this free version. First, it's only free for personal, non-commercial use. And second, it will only save your audio to bulky, uncompressed WAV files. If either issue poses a problem then you'll need to upgrade to the Pro version. Follow the Buy link for details.
Music Editor Free provides everything you'll need to import and manipulate your audio source of choice, but the WAV-only export is a significant limitation