What audio editing software is best

In the audio editing world, there are 3 types of software. Which one’s the best? You’ve searched google high and low and you’re still unsure if pro tools or audacity is right for you. Before you give up trying to choose, keep reading this article. I’ll guide you further:

When you’re creating an audio recording, you want to make sure that it is of high quality. You want your listeners to fully comprehend your message, get a positive feeling from the recording, and connect with it on a personal level. But not everyone has access to professional recording studios, top quality equipment, or the software needed to turn their recordings into polished works of art. Thankfully, there are several free audio editing programs available online that will meet the needs of most users and help anyone produce high-quality sound files for audio journals and other projects.

The best audio editing software depends on what you want to do with it.

If you’re looking for a simple solution that will allow you to cut out segments of audio and rearrange them, then GarageBand is a good place to start. It’s easy to use, and the learning curve is pretty low.

If you’re looking for something more advanced, like the ability to add reverb or other effects, then Audacity is a great option. It’s free and open source, so you can use it as much as you want without paying anything at all.

If you’re looking for something that can help you make professional-quality podcasts or other recordings, then Adobe Audition will do the job nicely. It’s also free if you’re using it for noncommercial purposes!

BEST OVERALLAudacity


Audacity
  • Price: Free
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • System Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

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Why We Chose It

We picked Audacity for best overall because it comes loaded with professional-level editing options and is available for free.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy-to-use multi-track editing
  • Works on all popular desktop operating systems
  • Free to download and use

Cons

  • The visual interface isn’t as polished as some paid competitors
  • Some features may be challenging for beginners

Overview

Audacity is our pick for best overall audio editing software because it is a full-featured software with multi-track editing features and cross-platform support for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s great for a variety of audio editing projects, including podcasts.

Best of all, it’s completely free. That makes it great for beginners and at-home users, even if it may be complicated from them. But don’t let the price tag fool you. It works very well for professional needs, particularly if you customize your interface with plugins suited to your specific projects.

Audacity is developed as open-source software. Any volunteer developers can contribute to the Audacity project. That means you may not get quite as much visual polish as with paid software, but all essential tools work very well. You can also download plugins to add more features, effects, import and export options, and other goodies.

BEST FREEGarageBand


GarageBand
  • Price: Free
  • Experience Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • System Compatibility: Mac

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Why We Chose It

We like GarageBand because it is beginner-friendly and free for Mac users. If you own a Mac, it may already be installed and ready to go.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy-to-use audio editor
  • Free for use on Mac computers
  • Good for vocal and instrument recordings

Cons

  • May not be suitable for professional-level needs
  • No Windows version available

Overview

GarageBand is a free audio editing program for macOS laptop and desktop computers. It is the best free audio editor because, among free editors, it is one of the best-looking choices, comes with a solid list of effects and instruments for creating new music, and integrates deeply with the Mac ecosystem, which makes sense because it’s made by Apple. It may be preinstalled on your Mac computer, or you can get it for free from the Apple App Store.

GarageBand includes features to record, edit, and create music and other audio. Podcasters may find it to be an easy option to start recording right away. At the same time, musicians can build more complex, multi-layer audio projects with plenty of useful effects and instrument generators.

It should handle many professional projects, but some pros may find the features a bit light. If you have a Mac, it’s worth starting with GarageBand first to see if it works for your project before shelling out money for a paid audio editor.

BEST FOR LIVE MUSICAdobe Audition


Adobe Audition
  • Price: $20.99 per month
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • System Compatibility: Windows, Mac

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Why We Chose It

Adobe Audition is a powerful audio editor for Windows and Mac that’s great for improving audio quality, mixing, and mastering.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Powerful tools for noise reduction and mixing
  • Professional-quality editing and effects
  • Well-supported if you need help

Cons

  • Subscription required after free trial
  • Harder to use for beginner audio editors

Overview

Adobe Audition is a professional-grade audio editing software from a well-known name in media production. Available on its own or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, Audition is regularly used by professionals in the radio, television, and movie industries. It is our pick as best for live music because it does an excellent job recording multiple channels simultaneously from multiple inputs with excellent post-recording production tools.

While it’s not cheap, it includes tools to reduce background noise, mix and master recordings, and add effects to make your sound pop. It’s good for a wide range of uses, including live music recordings, where the noise reduction and mastering tools come in extremely handy.

You can try Audition for free for seven days before paying for a subscription. Standard pricing is $20.99 per month on its own or $54.99 per month when bundled with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps. Students and teachers can get Creative Cloud for $19.99 per month.

BEST FOR PODCASTSHindenburg Journalist Pro


Hindenburg Journalist
  • Price: $399 or subscription
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • System Compatibility: Windows, Mac

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Why We Chose It

We picked Hindenburg Journalist Pro because it includes tools to improve vocal audio and interviews for radio and podcasting.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Custom-built tools for vocal audio editing
  • Auto-leveling and fixing options
  • Multi-track editing and normalization

Cons

  • More expensive than some competing programs
  • Not ideal for music editing and production

Overview

Hindenburg Journalist Pro wins as best for podcasts because it includes tools to quickly cut and re-arrange recordings into a narrative format. If you want to create journalistic shows like those from NPR, Gimlet, and Serial, you should know about Hindenburg Journalist Pro. This app has too many features to list everything here, but it is made just for this type of show, with advanced tools to normalize and clean up spoken word interviews, multi-track editing, chapters, and more. That makes it perfect for any podcaster or audio journalist.

Some standout features include the automatic leveling and “Magic Levels” tools that auto-fix mixing problems and balance your audio for a great listening experience. In addition, you can record multiple tracks at once or import and merge files at will.

You can buy Hindenburg Journalist Pro for a one-time $399 payment or one of three subscription plans. If you are on a budget, consider the lower-cost (and lower-featured) Hindenburg Journalist Lite for $99. You can try it free for one month before committing.

BEST FOR MUSIC PRODUCTIONAbleton Live


Ableton Live 10
  • Price: $99 to $749
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • System Compatibility: Windows, Mac

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Why We Chose It

Ableton Live is a good choice for DJs, electronic dance music (EDM) producers, bands, singers, and songwriters who want to record or create music with a plethora of editing tools and effects.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Record live or create your own music
  • Dozens of sounds, effects, and instruments
  • Optimized to work with multiple tracks at once

Cons

  • High cost for Standard and Suite versions

Overview

Ableton Live is a standard for music creators and producers. We picked it as best for music production because it includes customized tools for creating new instrument sounds and loops and it works for live performance recording and studio creations. Whether you’re a singer-songwriter looking for a warm-sounding finish or a DJ looking to create a thumper to blow away the dance floor, Ableton’s audio production tools have your needs covered.

The Standard version supports up to 256 input and output channels, MIDI production and editing, and other advanced features. Depending on the version you choose, you can tap into up to 5,000+ sounds, 17 software instruments, 60 audio effects, and 16 MIDI effects. That’s a lot of power to alter, edit, and refine your music project.

The biggest downside is cost. The lightweight Intro version costs $99, the Standard version costs $449, and the Suite version costs $749. However, if you’re a professional, that’s a small price to pay for a top-level suite of pro audio editing features.

BEST FOR PROFESSIONALSPro Tools


Pro Tools 12
  • Price: $9.99 or $99.99 per month
  • Experience Level: Expert
  • System Compatibility: Windows, Mac

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Why We Chose It

We chose Pro Tools because it features leading technologies to create, edit, produce, mix, master, and deliver professional-quality music recordings.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Professional audio production software suite
  • Integrated hardware options
  • Robust editing and mastering features

Cons

  • Subscription pricing required
  • Lower-end version may not have what you need

Overview

Pro Tools is a longtime leader in audio production for serious pros. We chose it as best for professionals because it includes extensive editing and production tools to help you create, edit, produce, mix, master, and export high-quality audio suitable for a Hollywood movie or professional studio album.

Beginner and intermediate users may enjoy trying the lower and mid-tier versions Pro Tools Artist and Pro Tools Studio, but there’s little surprise that the best Pro Tools has to offer comes from the high-end Pro Tools Flex version. That comes with the highest limits, most functions, and native integrations with Pro Tools hardware.

Pro Tools Artist comes in at an affordable $9.99 per month. Pro Tools Studio jumps to $31.99 per month. The top of the line Pro Tools Flex costs $99.99 per month.

BEST FOR APPLE DEVICESLogic Pro X


Logic Pro X
  • Price: $199.99
  • Experience Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • System Compatibility: Mac

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Why We Chose It

We picked Logic Pro X because it delivers one of the highest-quality audio editing experiences for Mac, with powerful editing tools and seamless macOS integration.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality audio editing designed exclusively for Mac
  • Straightforward editing and composition experience
  • Massive library of plug-ins, effects, and sounds

Cons

  • No Windows version available
  • Relatively high price tag

Overview

For die-hard Mac users, Logic Pro X may be the best audio editor available. This DAW includes powerful features and is extendable to support a huge list of plug-ins, effects, and sounds. Whether you’re a DJ working on a remix or want to create a high-quality recording from scratch, Logic Pro X has the tools you need.

The low-latency app allows you to edit audio on the fly. Once installed, you have access to dozens of plug-ins, including a wide array of effects and 1,200 sampled instruments. It also includes more than 14,000 loops. There is so much in Logic Pro X that it’s unlikely one person would use everything, but just about any audio editing and mixing need is covered.

Logic Pro X costs $199.99 from the Apple App Store. You can download and try it with a 90-day free trial before paying.

BEST FOR ANDROID DEVICESAudioLab


AudioLab
  • Price: Free to $12.99
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • System Compatibility: Android

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Why We Chose It

We like AudioLab as best for Android because it includes high-end tools to trim and mix audio for your Android smartphone or tablet.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Tools to edit, mix, merge, and compress audio from your phone
  • Mobile-optimized interface
  • Many features are free to use

Cons

  • Paid upgrade required for more features
  • Only basic audio editing features

Overview

If you want to cut or mix audio away from home quickly, the freemium AudioLab app for Android is a solid option. We picked it as best for Android devices because it enables you to trim, mix, merge, tag, convert, normalize, change speed, remove silence, and use many other features without paying.

It’s not nearly as powerful as many of the desktop apps discussed above, but it’s pretty good for a smartphone-based editor. You likely won’t want to use this for professional use, but it’s great for things like ringtones, social media, and basic edits.

You can download AudioLab and start for free. The upgraded features will cost between $1.99 and $12.99. AudioLab is also available at no extra charge as part of the Google Play Pass subscription.

Final Verdict

Thanks to advanced audio editing features and an unbeatable price (free), Audacity is our top choice overall. It’s great for a wide range of use cases, including podcast editing, music mixing, and more. It isn’t the most advanced software out there, but it’s free and, after you get up the learning curve, you could find it does a very good job at meeting your digital audio workstation needs.

If you have more basic needs or need a full professional suite, there are plenty of good options available at any price level. But for our money, Audacity is a good place to start.

Compare the Best Audio Editing Software

SoftwarePrice Experience Level System Compatibility Good For 
Audacity Best OverallFreeIntermediate to ExpertWindows, Mac, LinusPodcast editing, music editing
GarageBand  Best FreeFree Beginner to Intermediate Mac Podcast editing, music production, music editing 
Adobe Audition Best for Live Music $20.99 per month Intermediate to Expert Windows, MacLive music, studio recording, radio, podcast editing 
Hindenburg Journalist Pro Best for Podcasts$399Intermediate to Expert Windows, Mac Podcasting, vocal audio 
Ableton Live  Best for Music Production$99 to $749 ExpertWindows, Mac Music production, music editing, electronic dance music 
Pro Tools  Best for Professionals$9.99 to $99.99 per month Expert Windows, Mac Music production, music editing, audio editing for video 
Logic Pro X  Best for Apple Devices$199.99 Intermediate to ExpertMac Music production, music editing, podcast editing 
AudioLab  Best for Android DevicesFree to $12.99 Beginner Android Basic audio file editing 

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