Audio editing software has allowed editors to rearrange, rework, amend, mix, delete and clip audio files with ease. In today's fast-growing world of digital technology, software programs have taken once tedious and time-consuming tasks and simplified them for users. Whether you're in the market as a first-time buyer or you're looking to upgrade, audio editing software leaders have made it easier for you to determine and choose the platform that works best for you.
Things to Consider
If you've ever considered using audio editing software for a project you created, then you're probably aware of all the various capabilities each software program offers. Many audio editors have used audio editing software to tweak analog recordings and enhance their quality, while consumers have applied the tools to digitize everything from old tape cassettes to antiquated vinyl records. Even contemporary podcasters have discovered the benefits that come with audio editing software, which has allowed them to log one or two tracks of audio at once.
Consumer Editing or Pro Editing
With audio editing software, you'll need a minimum number of tools to get started–namely an audio editor and some audio to edit. A Digital audio workstation (DAW) can come as a single software program you can use on a laptop or as several components configured from a central computer. DAWs are widely used by professional engineer editors for large multimedia, podcast or television productions because they have the ability to record a number of audio sources at the same time. FL Studio 12.1.2 is a complete DAW that allows you to mix and generate sound to record music and create your own tracks. There are three versions available with the basic edition retailing at $100.
Avid Pro Tools is one of the most effective DAWs on the market. Pro Tools is the industry standard for audio post-production. Pro Tools allows you to record and edit audio on up to 128 tracks from up to 32 inputs, plus a vast array of audio plug-ins and instrument samples. Like FL Studio, you have different versions of Pro Tools, including Pro Tools | First, available for free with 16 tracks and four inputs, and Pro Tool | HD, which boosts the number audio tracks up to 256 and starts at $1,000 for an annual subscription. The standard version of Pro Tools starts at $25 dollars per month or $600 dollars for a perpetual license.
Cubase Pro9 is another complete DAW used by professional film composers and engineers. It offers some of today's most advanced and in-demand audio tools in a vast inclusive package. The software offers unlimited audio, instrument and MIDI tracks and up to 256 physical inputs and outputs. The price for this popular audio editing system is around $580.
PreSonus Studio One 3.5 is an easy-to-use digital audio workstation. PreSonus Studio One is best known for its different uses, such as recording and mastering. The interface will seem difficult for beginners, but when you get the hang of digital audio production, you will find yourself navigating around its features and creating tracks in no time. You can buy the Artist’s version for about $100 or the Professional version for $400. There is also a free, feature-limited version called Studio One Prime available if you just want a taste of the software’s capabilities.
The choice of consumer audio editing software or professional workstations depends on your individual use.
The choice of consumer audio editing software or professional workstations depends on your individual use. Audio engineers who edit audio for TV shows, films or radio may require additional equipment, but if you're simply a hobbyist or a freelancer, then you don't need the overkill.
Simple software like the Windows-only Sound Forge Audio Studio 10 gives you an impressive array of features for your money, including plenty of built-in effects and support for VST plugins. If you're new to complex audio software then Sound Forge would be an excellent way to learn the basics. Sound Forge Pro 11 version retails at $400, while the basic Sound Forge Audio Studio 10 is priced more affordably at $60. Both versions offer the consumer built-in interactive tutorials.
Windows or Mac OS
Some audio editing software programs are made exclusively for Windows or for Mac computers. Apple Logic Pro X offers consumers and pros alike powerful features like Track Alternatives and Selection-based processing. Made exclusively for Mac, Logic Pro X is a robust tool in the recording studio and for audio production. Support for the Touch Bar of the new MacBook Pro speeds up your workflow, and a modern design makes it easier to work no matter where you like to create music. Retailing online at $200, Logic Pro X is a complete end to end solution for audio editors.
Unlike the Mac operating system, Windows does not come with a free audio editor. That said, they do support some free audio editing software titles. However, the downside to free audio editing software is that their resources are limited compared to software with an asking price. Audacity is a free, open-source audio editor for Windows, Mac OS or Linux. It allows you to record, edit and mix audio on a large number of tracks with multiple clips per track. The program also offers a sampling of effects, plug-ins and analysis tools — all at no cost.
Cakewalk Sonar is a powerful DAW software that provides you with the professional studio fundamentals that you need to produce high-quality tracks specifically for your PC. It works with Windows 8 or later and comes with a customizable Skylight user interface. There are four versions to choose from: Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio at $50, Cakewalk Sonar Artist priced at $100, Cakewalk Sonar Professional priced at $200 and Cakewalk Sonar Platinum priced at $500.
The Adobe Creative Cloud Adobe Audition comes with the tools necessary to help you create enhanced audio recordings, such as filters and effects and support for almost every popular audio format. If you use Premiere Pro, Adobe’s Dynamic Link will certainly come in handy when bouncing between video and audio editing. Audition offers multitrack recording and editing capabilities that are associated with digital audio workstations. Adobe Audition is powerful, user-friendly and inexpensive. It sells as both a single app and as part of the Creative Cloud. The single app is priced at just $20 per month, while the complete Creative Cloud can be had for $50 per month.
WavePad is another easy-to-use productivity tool and solution when you need professional-level audio editing on your PC. It lets you record and edit music, voice and other audio recordings. When editing audio files, you can cut, copy and paste parts of recordings, and then add effects like echo, amplification and noise reduction. WavePad works as a wav or mp3 editor, but it also supports a number of other file formats including vox, gsm, wma, real audio, au, aif, flac, ogg, and more. WavePad offers free and premium versions starting from $60.
Before purchasing the perfect audio editing software program that's the right fit for your creation, take into consideration the system requirements.
MAGIX Music Maker Premium for Windows requires at least a two gigahertz processor and two gigabytes of RAM. It lets you edit, optimize and play recordings in top quality with Audio & Music Lab Premium. You can buy this software at the retail price of $95.
Another example is the MOTU Digital Performer 9, a 64-bit DAW software with audio recording, MIDI sequencing and scoring, with plug-in processors and software instruments. Mac OS is required to run this powerful tool that retails at $500.
Basically, whether you're running Windows or Mac OS, each audio editing software produces quality sound according to the limitations of your computer and your operating system, so make certain you know the specs before you buy.
When it comes to audio editing software, you have professional and standard features. For example, most free audio editing software offers functions like auto-trim, clipping, copy, silence and blending different tracks. Many of the free programs support popular audio formats such as MP3 and WAV. However, additional plug-ins are required for quality and productivity. To get the most out of an audio editor, look for software that can manipulate the sound of audio files in a variety of ways, offers a variety of effects and can save and export completed files in one or more file types. Don't just think price, think user-friendly, quality and innovation. Sometimes buying more than what you need gives you the room to learn, grow and improve on a skill set that may just lead to bigger and better things.
Stephen Mandel Joseph is a published writer and journalist from NYC. He also writes screenplays and comic book scripts when he’s not freelancing. He has a passion for filmmaking and directing.