If you’re ready to start recording your own podcast, or if you are into recording and editing live music, then an audio editing software package is a must for optimizing the quality of your content. Even if you’re just designing a short YouTube video, you will discover that a seemingly quiet recording environment is often rife with annoying “background” noise that you’ll want to strip out. Audio editing software is used to achieve this by providing tools to enhance and clean up the sounds in your video productions.
No matter what your project, it’s wise to gain an understanding of the different audio editing packages that are available because they will go miles in enhancing your content quality. However, wandering into the dark, unknown woods of audio software can be intimidating if you don’t have a guide.
We’re here to be that guide. From no-cost, open-source audio editors to supercharged software packages used by music professionals, we’ve done all the legwork for you and are pleased to present the best market options for achieving superior audio quality below.
Audacity is an open-source, and wildly popular audio editing program with a 20-year history of remarkable success with musicians, podcaster and pretty much anyone interested in editing their own audio. Audacity can run on Windows, Mac OS, and even Linux machines and the requirements are so minimal that if you bought your computer at any point in the previous 15 years, you’ll be just fine.
Audacity offers a slick, multi-track editing timeline making it easy to quickly learn how to edit, record, and mix audio. It can generate output in a variety of audio formats that include MP3, WAV, and more. Plus, if you’re interested in editing an existing audio file, the many supported formats should make this process quite simple. All in all, this is a powerful program that you can download free of charge.
In terms of pure simplicity and straightforwardness, Ocenaudio is the fast, free audio editor of choice. Oftentimes compared to its rival, Audacity, Ocenaudio is considered the simplest editor to use, and that is what seems to be its competitive advantage. It’s also entirely compatible with Windows, Mac, and Free BSD operating systems.
Along with its inherent simplicity, key features of Ocenaudio include a large library of instruments along with mastering tools to accommodate all types of music needs. It also allows for the conversion of digital audio files into WAV files that can be processed by most computers and sound cards. Additional features include a huge database of sounds and instrumentation that you can integrate into your projects to make them more engaging. Where Ocenaudio also seems to edge out Audacity is with its user-friendly interface, and its ability to handle larger audio files.
A lightweight, portable audio editor recognized and appreciated by the market for doing exactly what it is intended to do – function as a free sound editor. Wavosaur is capable of processing and recording sounds and it has all the required features to edit popular audio files like .wav and .mp3 files. It’s important to keep in mind that it only runs on Windows, but it does come with a wide array of processing options, such as conversion from stereo to mono, and advanced features that includes resampling, pitch shifts, vocal removals, or silence removals.
Wavosaur is a great pick if you primarily work with .mp3 and .wav audio files and want to do the basics, such as splicing audio clips to create music loops, and batch convert files. One big advantage of Wavosaur is that it doesn’t have an installer, so you can just download and run the app.
Originally designed to combine music production together with live performances, Ableton Live is arguably the most preferred digital audio software by producers worldwide, and it’s as much about creativity as it is about serious audio editing. Make no mistake about it, this program is fitted primarily to DJs, electronic dance music, producers, bands, and singers that are serious about creating music and editing with a swath of editing tools and effects.
The functionality and user-friendly features make it a top-of-the-line choice not only for veteran producers, but also for those just entering the music production scene with a big appetite for robust software. Ableton Live comes absolutely loaded with a wide array of customized tools that allow musicians to create new instrument sounds and it works remarkably well for live performance recordings.
While it can run in both a Windows and Mac environment, users will find that robustness and quality come at a bit of a price. The lightweight Intro version currently runs $99, the Standard version costs $449, and the Suite version costs $749. If you’ve got the budget, the top-level suite of pro audio editing features in Ableton Live make it a very compelling option.
If you’re pegging your sound editing software with promotional language like “power your sound with the tools that power the industry" or "from the comfort of your own home”, you’re making quite a claim. But when you’re also earning PCMag’s “Editor’s Choice” awards, that’s called credibility for offering an astonishing product. Whether producing an album, mixing a film or even a video game soundtrack, Pro Tools has a reputation for offering the very best technologies for audio editing. And it’s available for Windows or Mac.
A major advantage of Pro Tools is its ability to provide users with a useful way of seamlessly working with other musicians, including forwarding projects to producers, or sharing detailed track data with mixing engineers. In other words, Pro Tools is an audio editing software package suitable for a Hollywood movie or professional studio album.
Pro Tools offers many flexible options, including a free intro version. For the serious player, you can pay $299 up front for one year of access, plus a complimentary two months. For those who want to take it slower, the $29.99-per-month plan is offered. And, if you want to cancel at any time there is a $34.99 monthly plan.
While it largely depends on your project needs and how “deep” into the technology you want to go, it’s so difficult to argue against a free trial and that’s why we feel Avid: Pro Tools offers the best deal for quality. You can start without paying anything and easily upgrade to another subscription. However, there’s always a learning curve when you try using software from the industry heavyweights. If you want to try one of the simpler interfaces that come with the cost-free audio editors, those options have been mentioned in this list as well.
In any circumstance, we encourage you to explore these packages considerably and find the right one to suit your needs before breaking your budget. You may find the cost- free options quite appealing for your project.