Awards programs. Resource Library. Check out the latest Insider stories here. From Our Partners. More from the IDG Network. Which Mac should you buy? Related: Software Video Audio. Get the best of CIO One overarching rule to decide faster is to look at what your colleagues or friends are using, and then choose the same package. That makes it easier to share tips or even projects between each other, rather than being the lone person using a particular product and then introducing session import issues. Another is to look at what's bundled with each program.
Would you prefer a DAW that comes with a ton of virtual instrument sounds, such as synthesizers, sampled violins, guitars, and electric basses? You may want to look at something like Logic Pro X, Cubase Pro, or Studio One, all of which include many gigabytes of sounds and loops. Do you have or plan to buy your own instrument plug-ins you want to use? It's also great if you're recording a band full of live instruments and don't need much in the way of virtual ones.
Do your tastes lean toward the electronic and synthesized realm? FL Studio, Reason, and Ableton Live are inspired choices with plenty of built-in synths, though you can produce electronic music with just about any of these programs. Often, it comes down to the details and the editing philosophies. Do you prefer pattern-based recording for electronic music? FL Studio is going to have plenty to offer. Would you rather have a "do-it-all" DAW with a large built-in sound library at a low price?
PreSonus Studio One beckons. Do you want to not just be able to bring projects into major studios, but collaborate online and also open sessions directly as you work on them with others? It's impossible to top Avid's Pro Tools for this. Is the music already done, and you work in post-production and want to produce more professional podcasts or videos? Adobe Audition is a prime contender for these tasks. And if you've got a Mac, it's worth giving the free GarageBand a spin, if only because it's more powerful than it ever was and you already own it.
Closely correlated to the bundled instruments and effects is price, and that's a factor that can cloud the issue a bit.
The Best Audio Editing Software: 11 Audio Editors for Any Situation
Many of the top-tier packages also have less expensive or even free , feature-limited editions available. What do you lose? What do you gain? We try and touch on this as much as possible within each review. In short, read our reviews linked below and try some demos where you can. But otherwise, don't sweat it too much. We spent countless hours testing these products and putting together both the reviews and this guide.
Despite the complexity of the software here, we've found it's honestly tough to go wrong.
A Recording Studio for Your PC
It's not like computers or cameras, where you can clearly see that of the latest crop of products, a few perform well and a few don't perform as well as the leaders. These are all mature, well-established products, each with thousands of fans. As a result, more than half of the packages in this roundup score at least four out of five stars. You can get professional-level results with all of them. Each has some specific workflows that work really, really well for some people—hence the endless "X is the best and Y is garbage" arguments on the internet—but they all can work for just about anyone.
Even so, we single out two DAWs, one on the Mac and one on the PC, for Editors' Choice awards: Apple Logic Pro X, for its absolutely unbeatable value with its built-in instruments and effects plug-ins, and Avid Pro Tools, for its seamless audio editing and suitability up and down the pro studio chain. But we'd happily use any of the programs listed below for new projects. Choose one, learn its secrets, and get to work creating and editing amazing music and audio projects. Pros: Still the cleanest audio editing workflow on the planet. Fast bit recording and mixing engine.
New cloud-based project collaboration tools. Robust, useful track freeze and commit options. High-end hardware and support policies are tops in the industry. Cons: Lacks built-in pitch correction. No VST plug-in support or instrument track presets. USB dongle-based copy protection.
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Monthly fee required for new software patches past 12 months. Pros: Vector-based interface is attractively animated, and supports 4K, multi-monitor, and multitouch configurations.
Brilliant loop and pattern-based MIDI composition tools. Visible automation clips are easy to manipulate. Light memory footprint. Free lifetime updates. Cons: Convoluted, inflexible audio recording in higher-priced versions. Must manually assign instrument tracks to mixer channels. Built-in sound library could use some updating. Lacks notation editor. Pros: Strong audio-restoration, sound-removal, and noise-reduction tools. Excellent stereo waveform editor. Useful visualization tools. Adheres to film and television broadcast standards for audio. Only available via an expensive monthly subscription.
Good article. I've been looking for a replacement for Cool Edit Pro 2. CoolEdit Pro makes me feel all nostalgic, as if you couldn't tell from the many mentions in the article. Does WavePad Lite do the trick for you? OcenAudio is free and runs on Mac. It's very slick for a free offering and meets all my needs managing my sample collection when i don't want to open Ableton up. Has the added bonus of metadata handling too. Worth a look!
This has now been added to the article, thanks. I've had to credit you as an "anonymous MakeUseOf reader" though :. Don't forget Ardour. Inexpensive and arguably the most powerful editor in the no- to low-cost category. I tried Ardour but for the life of me I couldn't work out how to perform simple wave edits. I can see it being good as a budget DAW if you know what you're doing, but it's probably one of the least user-friendly bits of software I've ever downloaded!
If you're not coming from a DAW background or something like Pro Tools or Logic, Audacity is much more accessible, but they're definitely in two different classes. To Tim B: you are wrong about this for GarageBand 11, which is pretty new.
Professional Quality Music Editors for Mac
A new Real Instrument track is created, and the audio file appears as an orange region in the track. Doesn't Apple's native Garageband come for free? It used to. I'm pretty sure that you can edit sounds and do a lot more with it. Also, there's QuickTime, which I believe comes free on all Macs. It can do basic sound file editing. Alas, no longer can you do so.
15 great video and audio editing apps for the Mac | CIO
It's strange that Apple actually removed this functionality, but according to Google it's been gone for a few years now :. You're right that QuickTime can perform simple edits, though this essentially amounts to trim. Nice to know though! What I want is an audio editor that can splice out certain segments. An analogous example would be to cut oot commercials from a TV show. Do any of these do this? So you just want to select, delete the segment and save? Audacity or WavePad will do the job just fine in this instance :. Rob Nightingale.
Logic Pro X
Honestly, OcenAudio may be the one. I learned about it from the comments section.
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If you come across any more quality freeware audio tools on your travels, do let us know! Cheers, Tim. Thanks for the recommendation, never heard of it nor did it appear in my searches. Good to know! For the effort involved, Audacity is the better choice. It's strange that Apple actually removed this functionality, but according to Google it's been gone for a few years now : You're right that QuickTime can perform simple edits, though this essentially amounts to trim.