When it comes to producing your own music or editing a podcast, you don’t need the most expensive options out there. Sometimes all you need is a couple free tools and some creativity.
If you’re trying to learn audio and want a professional feel without the professional price, take a look at our top picks for the best free audio editing software now.
- What to Look for in a Free Audio Editing Software
- The Best Free Audio Editing Software
- Start Editing Audio Today
What to Look for in a Free Audio Editing Software
Audio editing software takes a little bit of learning and experimentation to understand how it works. Here are some factors to consider as you look into the best free audio editing software or digital audio workstation (DAW).
If you are working with a free version of a DAW, there are going to be limitations in one way or another. For example, Pro Tools First is limited to only 16 tracks but Pro Tools Standard can offer up to 128 tracks depending on the sample rate.
Each DAW should come with a basic set of plugins that cover the basic mixing needs for any project, including options like online autotune software. There are a few that excel in the plugin selection such as Cakewalk and Waveform.
You also won’t be able to use 3rd-party plugins from companies such as iZotope and Waves.
Sample rate has to do with the detail with which you record and listen back to the audio in the DAW. The higher the sample rate you have, the higher the quality and detail you will get.
It’s helpful to have an interface to playback the audio through for most higher sample rates. This will help you manage the audio more easily if you playback through an interface since it is designed specifically for this function.
This may seem like a simple concept, but make sure your computer has the ability to run the audio editing software you want to use. Whether this is the processing capabilities or the operating system, it’s best to make sure your computer is running efficiently
Every one of the audio editing software options is great for a beginner or a quick project. Some do require more learning than others to figure out quite how the layout works, but there are fantastic tutorials available on YouTube to help you out with the basics.
The Best Free Audio Editing Software
You can’t go wrong with any of the choices in this list. Each free audio editing software has the tools you need for basic projects and can even help you learn the basics before graduating to the full version of the software.
1. Best for a Full Free DAW: Cakewalk by Bnadlab
Cakewalk has actually won awards for its user interface. It’s a great way for beginners to learn the professional layout of DAWs at no cost.
This is also one of the only free audio editing software options to work with erd-party plugins. The only drawback is that it’s only compatible with Windows.
2. Best for Training: Waveform Free
Compared to the paid version of Waveform Pro, Waveform Free is pretty watered down.
While it does not have near what the standard version offers, this DAW is impressive in what it does offer. The creators of Waveform even offer training on the website that’s helpful no matter your experience.
3. Best for Professional Grade Tools: Pro Tools First
When it comes to industry standard, Pro Tools is the obvious frontrunner. Pro Tools First is a great way to start learning what you need to navigate Pro Tools Standard and Ultimate.
It’s one of the most limited when it comes to how many tracks you are allowed, but 16 tracks is still a good amount especially for beginners.
4. Best for Basic Recording: Audacity
Audacity is among the best options for recording audio easily and quickly. While it’s not an amazing choice when it comes to mixing and editing, it does allow you to work with most 3rd-party plugins, excluding midi instruments.
5. Best for MAC Users: Garageband
Garageband is an obvious choice when it comes to picking a free audio editing software if you have a Mac. It’s also great if you are wanting to eventually move on to working with Logic Pro.
Garageband also has a large library of royalty free sound effects and music loops for you to use on your own original content.
6. Best for Built in Plugins: Studio One Prime
Presonus created Studio One Prime as a way for people to try out the basics of Studio One, its version of a professional DAW. Studio One Prime also offers some of the plugins that make Studio One shine as well as a library of samples for you to use.
Start Editing Audio Today
Recording and mixing audio can be a rewarding project. If you know what you are doing, you can get a great sound out of any equipment and software. You do not have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get a professional sound. The biggest factor in the quality of the final product is you.