Find the best Audio Editing Software
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Audio editors and engineers in radio, music, or podcast production often struggle to achieve the perfect sound for their audience. Even the thought of spending hours editing and fine-tuning audio tracks can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are several audio editing software solutions to make these tasks easy.
Audio editing software enables users to edit, mix, and manipulate audio tracks while balancing both technical skills and artistic creativity. Moreover, businesses that produce video content can use these audio editing functions to ensure their content sounds as professional as it looks. However, with so many software options available, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for your needs.
This guide provides all the information you need to choose the right audio editing software for your business.
What is audio editing software?
Audio editing software helps audio editors and engineers record, edit, and mix audio files. The software solution allows users to add effects such as reverb, equalizer (EQ) adjustments, and compression to enhance the quality of recordings or create entirely new sounds from scratch using synthesizers. It has a media library that offers access to sound effects, music, and audio filters, among others.
Audio editing software also enables users to cut, copy, and paste sections of recordings and export the edited audio in different formats. Furthermore, most audio editors come bundled with plugins (for example, equalizers) that work alongside other features such as automation envelopes, allowing multitrack manipulation within one project file.
What are some common features of audio editing software?
Audio capture: Captures sound from multiple sources, including microphones, instruments, and other audio-input devices. Audio capture allows users to create original recordings or import existing audio for editing with various tools, including volume control and noise reduction. It lets users export the edited tracks in the desired file format, including MP3s and WAV files.
Audio editor: Manages audio tracks, instruments, filters, and other audio editing elements using a graphic user interface (GUI) console. The audio editor feature provides tools such as trimming, slicing, and cropping audio clips and sound effects, including a normalizer, fade-in/out, or equalizer for adjusting sound properties. It also allows users to insert silence into an existing track, adjust volume levels, reverse sounds to create unique tracks, and amplify frequencies of a track’s range.
Audio manipulation: Enables users to modify audio recordings by applying effects, adjusting the pitch and tempo of sound clips, or manipulating samples. Audio manipulation helps producers add sound effects, such as reverb or delay, and offers other features, such as equalization adjustments, to adjust frequency levels.
What are the benefits of using audio editing software?
Enhances audio quality: An audio editing solution enhances audio production using an equalizer, mixer, and other sound-mastering tools. It allows users to manipulate audio and refine sound recordings with features including noise reduction, dynamic range compression, and more. Audio engineers can use this tool to mix, edit, and optimize sound files with precision control over frequency levels, panning options, equalization settings, and more.
Improves audio normalization: Using audio normalization, audio engineers can balance soft and loud sounds to create a uniform listening experience for audiences. Audio editing software gives users complete creative control of the audio normalization process. The software normalizes the volume across audio file types, including, but not limited to, WAV and MP3. This helps produce standardized, professional-sounding audio files that can be easily shared with stakeholders.
Reduces background noise: The software helps identify unwanted noises (such as reverb, hissing, and buzzing) in your audio track and removes them to make recordings sound clear and professional. Audio editing software also provides tools to fine-tune other elements, such as volume control, equalization settings, pitch shifting, etc., and adjust the frequency levels to suit your requirements.
Eliminates manual audio adjustments: Audio editing software eliminates time-consuming manual trial-and-error adjustments with the help of sound-mastering tools. These tools help make precise adjustments and enable users to edit specific parts of an audio file while maintaining the quality, pitch, and tone.
What are the potential issues with audio editing software?
Software complexity for beginners: Audio editing software can present a significant challenge to beginners. The learning curve can be steep, requiring time and effort to become proficient in using the software's tools and effects. If adjustments to audio elements such as equalizers and filters are not made accurately, it can result in quality loss, pitch shifts, or changes to tone. This can be especially challenging for professionals in the audio industry, who require the highest standards of quality. In some cases, additional training or resources may be necessary to fully utilize the capabilities of complex audio editing software.
Limitations on audio file formats: Some audio editing applications may be compatible with limited audio file formats. This can restrict users to specific types of files, preventing them from using certain sounds or recordings in their projects. Additionally, it may limit compatibility with other programs and devices for playback purposes.
Incompatibility with existing hardware or software: Some audio editing software may not be compatible with your existing hardware (such as microphones or interfaces) or software programs. This can limit the software's usefulness and prevent users from accessing certain features or plugins. Moreover, this may cause the inability to transfer files from one program to another and ultimately lead to data loss—especially when edits are made in one program and not saved elsewhere due to incompatibility.
How much does audio editing software cost?
Most audio editing software products on the market are priced on a “per month” basis, and their entry-level pricing plan ranges from $4.99 to $20* per month. An enterprise product that’s priced higher may include additional features such as visualizing mode, real-time preview effects, additional plugins, and shortcuts.
*The pricing included is for the entry-level/lowest-priced offerings found on vendor websites as of Mar. 20, 2023.
Key considerations when purchasing audio editing software
Assess software compatibility with existing devices. Your shortlisted software solution should be compatible with all your existing hardware and software devices. The software's ability to recognize and record sound input from different sources, such as microphones or line-in connections, significantly impacts the output quality. Besides that, compatibility issues lead to delays in production and the inability to perform various tasks, affecting workflow negatively.
Evaluate sound-processing capacity. Audio editing can be an intensive task, particularly when working with large or complex files. Users may need a powerful computer with a fast processor and plenty of RAM to run the software smoothly. Before shortlisting a tool, check whether the processor can handle large audio files without causing latency or glitches in playback. Also, you should assess all the features, including noise reduction, reverb effects, or frequency equalization capabilities to achieve high-quality output.
Check the availability of media libraries. Most audio editing tools comprise an extensive library of audio effects and sounds. Before purchasing an audio editor, assess what types of sounds are available or if they must be purchased separately to produce desired mixes and recordings.
Consider the cost of additional plugins and upgrades. Many audio editing software solutions levy an extra charge for plugins or upgrades. Before making a choice, make sure any extra costs or hidden charges (such as training and customer support costs) are factored into the overall budget so that there are no surprises down the line.
Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice's audio editing forms software directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice’s directory that offer them.
This audio editing software buyers guide was authored by Software Advice’s content team. We develop our guides using the author’s expertise, insights from 2M+ unique user reviews, and our proprietary data science algorithms to identify trends in user sentiment, preferences, and priorities. Some text was generated with assistance from AI tools.