Sound recorders, unlike audio editors or DAWs, are very simple applications. These apps are in the same class as Windows Sound Recorder. They'll cut it when all you need to do is record, cut, and paste small audio clips. There are typically no advanced features like plug-in support, conversion options, multi-track editing, or effects.
MHWaveEdit (v. 1.4.20)
MHWaveEdit is a GTK+-based sound recorder and simple editor. Selecting a portion of a file highlights the background so as to not obscure the waveform. It is also possible to create selection start and end points separately for more precise control when zooming. The zoom level of the waveform can be adjusted via the menu bar, and the detail is quite good.
MHWaveEdit opens both WAV and MP3 files without hassle. The user interface is definitely dated, suffering mostly from seriously old icons in the toolbar. Ugly UI aside, MHWaveEdit does provide a little more control than most simple sound editors.
KWave is a sound editor for KDE with a focus on WAV files. While the Web site mentions support for OGG, FLAC, and MP3 files, we only had luck with WAV. KWave also supports multiple tracks, though the implementation is clunky at best. With no clear way to add samples to the multi-track editor, it's pretty much only good for recording over an already-finished file.
The interface is clean, with the standard KDE icons in the main toolbar, though the layout cannot be rearranged like in newer KDE apps. Most major functions can be accessed via the toolbar. Absent essentials include the record button and track controls. The biggest plus here is zoom control. Realistically, KWave offers nothing more than simple sound recording and very basic WAV file editing.
QARecord (v. 0.5.0)
QARecord is a flexible audio recorder application that saves sound to WAV. Though, on its own, QARecord is a simple recorder like Windows Sound Recorder, optional JACK support (covered later in Audio Production) allows this application to be chained to other audio production apps for more complex projects.
The user interface is very simple. A menu bar on top houses only the New and Quit options. Below the menu bar, a Capture checkbox enables or disables sound capture. There are two decibel meters, one for the left channel and another for the right. Near the bottom of the window are the only controls needed: record, pause, and stop.
GNOME Sound Recorder (v. 2.31.6)
GNOME Sound Recorder is just that: a sound recorder for GNOME. This application has six functions: new, open, save, record, stop, and play. There is absolutely no editing functionality whatsoever, or even a waveform view. The length of the current file is displayed, along with the file name, in the information section right below a progress slider. Simple. GNOME Sound Recorder records sound just fine.