BEST BASIC AUDIO EDITOR Audacity Windows/macOS/Linux, Free
BEST VALUE CROSS-PLATFORM DAW Cockos REAPER Windows/macOS, $60
BEST MAC DAW Apple Logic Pro X macOS, $199.99
Do you need to work with audio files? More and more people do. Whether you’re creating podcasts, videos for YouTube, voiceovers for presentations, or music and special effects for games, you’ll need a decent audio editor. In this review we’ll take you through the options — from simple, free apps all the way to expensive digital audio workstations — and make some recommendations to help you come up with the right tool for your needs.
People need audio software for all types of reasons. Being clear about your needs and expectations is an important first step. Do you just want to make a ringtone out of your favorite song? Are you editing speech, music, or special effects? Do you need a quick tool for an occasional fix, or a powerful workstation for serious work? Are you looking for an inexpensive solution, or an investment towards your career?
If you own an Apple computer, GarageBand is a great place to start. It’s versatile, allowing you to produce music and edit audio, and comes preinstalled with macOS. It will meet the basic needs of many people, but lacks the power of other options we cover in this review.
A free audio editing tool like Audacity is easier to work with, especially if you’re working with speech rather than music. Because it has fewer features, you’ll find it easier to do basic editing. If you already subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, have a look at Audition, which is more powerful and may already be installed on your computer.
If you work with music, a digital audio workstation (DAW) like Apple’s Logic Pro X or the industry standard Pro Tools will be a better fit. Cockos’ Reaper will give you similar power at a more affordable price.