The best things in life are free, like audio editors. These enable users to edit their music and podcasts, teaching them the basics in audio production. With enough practice, you can transition to more complicated software with ease.
Having an audio editor is essential because of the pandemic. Everything from work to social gatherings is transitioning to virtual, which requires you to have the appropriate tools.
Luckily, you don’t need to spend anything to edit your audio. It may even widen your career opportunities once you’ve mastered them.
Audacity is the best free audio editing software. It can record multiple tracks, then de-noise, cut, and combine tracks. It has large, easy-to-understand shortcut keys, and can add instruments and special effects.
The program can record up to 192,000 Hz sample rate at 24-bit depth and identify clipping even before the record ends. It can import numerous files in different file formats, then adjust them for multi-track editing, fades, labels, and synchronization.
Once tracks have been arranged, Audacity has a built-in equalizer that can adjust their volume level, gain, bass, treble, and high/low pass. You can also add compression, amplification, and more effects thanks to plug-in support.
Audacity can save files as a project or export it in various formats with different bitrates. It has a crash recovery feature should it fail or close while you’re using it.
The only problem with Audacity is its outdated and intimidating look — it’s turning 20 years old by mid-2020. But once you’ve figured it out, you’ll begin to question why paid audio editing programs exist.
Audiotool is the best browser-based audio editor. It doesn’t need to be installed on a device. You can use it straight from your browser without downloading anything to your Windows, macOS, and Linux device. This may make it sound limited, but it’s more than capable of handling multiple tracks.
Unlike other program-based audio editors, Audiotool can record 30 seconds of a track, then mix it with its built-in digital instruments. You can add effects, filters to the tracks, reduce and modify wavelengths with a splitter, and use a MIDI controller without opening other third-party applications.
Audiotool can export MP3 files, integrate virtual instruments, and publish music tracks on Google Chrome. This is its greatest strength, the ability to create music instantly, as well as its weakness.
Though Audiotool is limited to Chrome, its wide selection of synths, drum machines, samples, and effects make it one of the most powerful online digital audio workstations (DAW). Sky is the limit with the number of devices and instruments you can connect using virtual cables and complex signal chains.
GarageBand is the best audio editing program for mobile devices. It is exclusive to the Apple iPhone and iPad, giving you a full recording studio and an array of instruments with low latency. This is superior to any Android counterpart because Apple’s hardware and software integrate so well.
The app has a feature called “Live Loops,” which is great for mixing music like a DJ. While you’re at it, you can record stringed instruments, keyboards, and beats for up to 32 tracks. You can incorporate effects pedals and amps into the instruments as if they were analog.
If you ever run out of instruments, GarageBand has a Sound Library where you can download more instruments, loops, and other relevant sounds. But if you don’t feel the need to record, you can use your device like a musical instrument. It has a multi-touch keyboard, “Alchemy Touch” synthesizer, Drummer, and an orchestra with “Smart Strings.”
Unlike other free apps, GarageBand integrates well with one of the best professional audio editing apps in the world: Logic Pro X. Simply share it over iCloud Drive, which can be viewed by cloud members, and to social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Soundcloud. Sharing requires iMovie, but that’s also a free app from Apple.