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Gone are the days when making quality audio and music recordings required a professional studio. Today, with the right audio recording software, you can record audio right from your garage or home office. So how do you choose the best audio recording software, given the many available out there? That’s exactly what we’ll discuss in this article.
Specifically, we’ll take a look at,
- What to look for in the best audio recording software
- Best free audio recording software
- Best paid audio recording software
- What is audio recording software?
- Audio software recording FAQ
What to Look for in the Best Audio Recording Software
When searching for the best audio recording software, you always need to consider a few different factors. This is because audio recording programs are all different, and what works for one user might not be the best option for your needs.
For this reason, you may want to consider the following factors:
- Is the audio recording software beginner-friendly, or is it designed for experts?
- What kind of project do you intend to use the software for?
- What specific instruments are you looking for in your audio recording software?
- What’s your budget?
- What specific features will you need?
- Do you intend to use this tool individually, with a team, or for commercial reasons?
Once you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for, consider my recommendations for the best audio recording software on the market, both free and paid.
Best FREE Audio Recording Software
Let’s start with my recommendations for the best free audio recording software:
1. Apple GarageBand
Apple GarageBand is a great audio recording tool for beginners and pros. It comes free with every Mac, allowing users to mix up to 255 tracks.
Apple GarageBand Key Features
- Provides precise editing tools
- Easily retrieves snipped audio
- Enables audio monitoring
- Allows for sharing projects between iOS users
- Has an intuitive user interface
- Allows live recording onto tracks
- Provides vocals correction capabilities
- Is compatible with third-party plugins
Apple GarageBand Cons
- Only available on iOS devices
Who’s Apple GarageBand Best For?
You’ll love Apple GarageBand if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, beginner-friendly free audio recording tool for iOS.
Audacity is one of the best free audio recording software tools for beginners. Here’s a quick look at some of its best features.
Audacity Key Features
- Allows for live recording with a mixer or mic
- Comes with audio monitoring
- Supports up to 32-Abit sound quality
- Allows audio file importing
- Offers essential audio mixing and editing effects
- Has a simple yet powerful user interface
- Is completely open-source
- Supports multiple platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Mac
- Supports external plugins, such as LV2, Nyquist, and LADSPA
- Offers a wide range of keyboard shortcuts
- Works well with older computers
- The only major downside of this tool is that its user interface looks a bit outdated.
Who’s Audacity Audio Recording Software Best For?
You’ll love this tool if you’re looking for a simple, straightforward audio recording software.
Ardour describes itself as a digital audio workstation. This software is compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows, allowing you to record, edit and mix audio from multiple devices.
Ardour Key Features
- Flexible recording options without prior setup
- Unlimited multichannel tracks
- Non-destructive and non-linear editing with unlimited undo/redo
- Hundreds of free, built-in plugins
- Multiple file export options, such as WAV, CAF, AIFF, BWF, MP3, and Ogg/Vorbis
- Unlimited number of channels, plugins per track, latency, sample rate, and sends
- You need to have a recording device to use Ardour.
- Not as beginner-friendly as other options.
Who’s Ardour Best For?
Ardour’s audio recording program is best for musicians on a budget who have some experience with using recording software.
Ocenaudio is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a free, cross-platform, easy-to-use functional audio editing tool. It has powerful features for a free audio recorder.
Ocenaudio Key Features
- Offers cross-platform compatibility. It’s available on all major operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac.
- Supports background running, enabling you to work on other files at the same time
- Comes with real-time preview of effects such as EQ, filtering and gain
- Allows users to select different sections of an audio file and edit them simultaneously to save time
- Has no length limit for audio files
- Saves on device memory
- Offers a full-featured spectrogram view
Cleanfeed makes this list of the best free audio recording software due to its unique properties. It’s a browser-based audio recorder, meaning you don’t need to download anything to use it. All you need to do is log in to your online account to begin recording your audio.
This tool is also best known for its auto-pilot capabilities. Once you press the Record button, it mixes the audio and edits it. If you’re working on a team project, other users don’t need a separate account to contribute. You can simply share the web link with them and let the collaboration begin.
Cleanfeed Key Features
- Built-in recording on your browser
- Simple sharing through web links
- Lets you collaborate with team members
- High-quality audio
- User friendly
- Compatible with Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android
- Audio repair capabilities
- Compatible with multiple audio sources, including mixers and USB mics
- Hosts need to create and send separate links to each guest
- Lacks dial-in features for recording with guests
Who’s Cleanfeed Best For?
Cleanfeed is best for beginners and users working on collaborative projects who want to avoid downloading software.
Other free audio recording programs worth checking out
Other notable mentions in the list of free audio recording software tools include:
- Pro Tools First: Also comes with a paid version if you need to upgrade.
- Cakewalk: Has one of the best UI’s in the world of audio recording tools.
- Pro Tools: Great for students, podcasters, and musicians. It also has a pro version, ideal for music producers, songwriters, and audio engineers.
- Audio Highjack: A powerful audio editing tool, but only compatible with Mac OS.
- Spek: Requires 64-bit processing power and supports multiple audio formats, including vox, gsm, WMA, Wav, WMA, real audio, au, aif, FLAC, and Ogg.
Best PAID Audio Recording Software
If you’re ready to invest in premium features, check out these options for the best paid audio recording software tools:
WavePad is a great editing tool for Windows and Mac OS. Here’s what to expect from this audio recording software:
WavePad Key Features
- Offers multiple audio-editing capabilities
- Comes with numerous audio and music effects such as normalize, amplify, and equalize
- Supports more than 50 audio formats
- Allows for batch processing, saving you time and energy
- Allows for audio restoration through noise reduction and click pop removal
- Comes with advanced editing and recording tools such as spectral analysis, TFFT, FFT, and more.
- You’ll need a software extension for multitrack recording.
WavePad costs $250 for a commercial license. However, the developers frequently run promotions and limited offers for new users.
Who’s WavePad Audio Recording Tool Best For?
You’ll love this tool if you’re looking for an audio recorder with lots of special effects and filters.
7. Avid Pro Tools
Although this tool comes with a free version, the premium one offers more features. Here’s what to expect from Avid Pro Tools.
Avid Pro Tools Key Features
- Includes automated playlist tracking
- Allows you to create up to 768 audio and 1024 MIDI tracks
- Comes with hundreds of audio plugins
- Hosts a wide range of virtual instruments
- Has a database of over 5GB of high-quality sounds
- Supports over 120 audio plugins
- Exports your music to streaming platforms like Apple Music, TIDAL, Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, TikTok, iHeart Radio, and Amazon Music
- Supports multi-user collaboration for team projects
- Comes with a free app for Android and IOS devices for faster and easier mixing
- Comes with 1 GB, scalable collaboration cloud storage
Avid Pro Tools Cons
- Some users feel that Avid Pro Tools isn’t beginner-friendly.
Avid Pro Tools Pricing
Avid Pro Tools costs $299 for a one-year subscription.
Who’s Avid Pro Tools Audio Recording Software Best For?
This tool is ideal for music producers and songwriters.
8. Logic Pro
Logic Pro is one of the best and most advanced audio recording programs for iOS users. It comes with lots of sophisticated features built around a modern user interface.
Logic Pro Key Features
- Comes with Quick Swipe Comping to keep takes organized and build comps quickly
- Comes with Smart Tempo to import audio and seamlessly blend it with your project
- Offers a Drum Machine Designer consisting of over 33 distinct drummers
- Has over 4,300 musical instruments, 1,800 samples and 10,000 multi-genre Apple Loops
- Fixes out-of-tune vocals
- Changes melodies with the Flex Pitch feature
Logic Pro Cons
- Logic Pro is only available for Mac OS users
- Not so beginner-friendly
Logic Pro Pricing
Logic Pro costs $199.99.
Who’s Logic Pro Audio Recording Tool Best For?
Logic Pro is great for music production, including podcast and music editing.
9. Ableton Live
Like most premium audio editing software, Ableton Live comes with many features to get the most out of your audio production needs. Here’s what you’ll love about it:
Ableton Live Key Features
- Comes with dozens of sounds, instruments and effects
- Allows you to work on multiple tracks simultaneously
- Supports live performances and audio remixing
- Offers stage lighting control and visual effects
- Includes live audio tempo following and adjustments
- Comes with a Live Core Library, which is updated regularly
Ableton Live Cons
- Not beginner-friendly
- Somewhat costly
Ableton Live Pricing
Ableton Live has three main plans: Live 11 Intro for $99, Live 11 Standard for $499 ,and Live 11 Suite for $749.
Who’s Ableton Live Audio Recording Tool Best For?
Ableton Live Key is best for songwriters and commercial music producers.
VEED Key Features
- No watermarks
- Automatically adds subtitles
- Caters to social media templates such as IG stories and TikTok posts
- Has a green screen editor
- Offers a new teleprompter tool that allow you to read your script
- Some users have complained about the software crashing while they were editing
- Video/audio exports are limited to 2 hours
VEED offers several pricing plans, including a free plan that lets you export up to 10 minutes of audio and video. Its other plans include,
- Basic plan: $12/month when paid annually. You can export video/audio that’s a maximum of 25 minutes long.
- Pro plan: $24/month when paid annually. You can export video/audio that’s a maximum of 2 hours long.
- Enterprise: Contact customer support for a customized pricing plan.
Who’s VEED Best For?
VEED is best for beginners and Chrome users who are looking for a tool that lets you edit both audio and video.
What Is Audio Recording Software?
Audio recording software captures, edits, and reproduces audio. It helps you easily record sound and edit it for your specific needs. You might separate audio, layer different recordings on top of each other, or repair broken or out-of-tune sound after you’ve recorded.
Audio recording software is useful for musicians or any content creators who need to record audio, whether to create a training, online course, song or other project. The best audio recording software lets you record sound in different formats, such as WAV, MP3s, AIFF, Vorbis, and BWF.
As you read above, there are a number of options for free audio recording software. If you have more advanced needs, you could opt for a premium audio recording tool.
Best Audio Recording Software FAQ
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about audio recording software.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Audio Format Types That a Recorder Must Be Compatible With?
While there are plenty of audio formats in the world of audio production, the most popular ones include MP3, M4A, FLAC, WAV, WMA, and AAC.
What’s the Best Audio Recording Software for Beginners?
Apple GarageBand is one of the best audio recording software for beginners. Others include Cockos Reaper 6 (Mac/PC), Image Line FL Studio 20 Fruity Edition (Mac/PC), Ableton Live 11 Intro (Mac/PC), and Universal Audio LUNA (Mac).
What’s the Best Audio Recording Software for Windows?
Audacity, WavePad, and Ocenaudio are some of the best audio recording software for Windows.
What’s the Best Audio Recording Software for Mac?
Logic Pro X is up there with the best audio recording software for Mac. Others include Audio Hijack, Audacity, GarageBand, Piezo, and Macsome Audio Recorder.
What’s the Best Free Audio Recording Software for Windows 10?
Audacity is one of the most popular free audio recording software for Windows 10. Others include WavePad, Windows Voice Recorder, Ardour, GoldWave, Zynewave Podium Free, Recorder Ones, and Lucky Recorder.
Is Audacity Still Free?
Given that Audacity is open source, it’s still 100% free as of September 2021.
What’s the Best Free Audio Recording Software for Linux?
Once again, Ardour stands out as one of the best audio recording software on this list, this time for Linux users. Other free alternatives include LLMS and Audacity.
What’s the Best Free Audio Recording Software for Beginners?
Apple GarageBand is the best free audio recording software for beginners. Unfortunately, as the name suggests, this tool is only available for iOS users. If you use Windows, check out Audacity.
What’s the Best Audio Recording Software for Podcasts?
You’ll love recording podcasts with Logic Pro, Audacity, and GarageBand.
Is There Any Other Equipment You Need to Go With Your Audio Recording Software?
The bare minimum equipment you’ll need is a laptop or desktop computer with an internal microphone. If you want a better quality of sound, it makes sense to invest in an external microphone to record yourself.
Depending on your needs, you might also opt for a mixing board, DJ/mixing headphones, studio speakers, and instruments.
Some audio recording tools come with built-in instruments, such as drums, but you can use your own if you don’t like the software’s version.
In the end, the exact list of equipment you need will depend on your software’s specific features and your preferences.