This.Legally free? Would be audacity. Reaper would be the best out there period and while it's a uncrippled program, they still ask for a $60 buy fee after 30 days. They work on a honor system so if a user wanted to never pay they wouldn't hound you or cripple the program. After 30 days you'll be so floored with how awesome it is you'll wanna pay anyways.
seriously, unless you really spent some time with it you may wanna give it another shot. I've been using cool edit for years and once you know what it can do and how easily you will sing a very different tune ! I have yet to find anything that my imagination can dream up that i couldn't pull off with CEP. I'm just trying to help you.....give it another shot if you have the time to learn it. It's quite easy to learn even the advanced stuff if you take the time, but like anything it does take some time. And if you only spend a few hours with it you can't possibly know how good or bad it is. If you need help with it just email or PM me and i'll help you out.I just dowloaded cool edit.. im gonna see how that works for me
edit: okey cool edit sucked!..period!