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So, you’ve thought of a brilliant idea for your podcast. You’ve got yourself a podcasting microphone and learned how to use it. Now, it’s time to think about what software you’re going to use to record and edit your podcast. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your chosen program, so this choice will have a big impact on your workflow.
If you don’t have much (or any) experience with audio programs, the choice ahead of you may seem daunting at first. With so many podcast software options available, it can be tough to understand the differences between them all—let alone choose one.
While you can absolutely make a podcast with any of the options on this list, they each offer a slightly different interface and feature set that may or may not suit your style. Some prioritize simplicity, while others offer deep functionality. Some may even surprise you with a novel approach to audio editing!
Our roundup includes ten popular podcast software options, including traditional software, mobile apps and browser-based platforms. We’ll look at each individually and compare the features, workflow and price, starting with everyone’s favorite—the free options.
Free audio editing software is probably the best choice for those just starting out in podcasting. The only investment you need to make is a little time to learn how it works, and most of the free options are fairly streamlined anyway. You can always upgrade to premium software later, but many successful podcasters find that free software does everything they need.
Descript’s free plan lets you record, edit and mix both audio and video, as well as transcribe up to three hours of audio. The Creator plan adds ten hours of transcription per month, plus additional exporting capabilities. The Pro plan gives you access to more advanced features like Overdub, which allows you to create a virtual “voice double” of yourself to easily fix errors just by typing.
The super-simple interface lets you get started in no time, and the included processing tools like equalization and compression are easy to use. For most Mac users, GarageBand is the best free audio editing software option. And, to sweeten the deal, you can even open GarageBand sessions in Logic Pro if you decide to upgrade later on!
However, it’s a fully functional podcast recording application and a great option for PC or Linux users on a budget. Since the user interface takes some getting used to, Audacity may not be the best option for everyone. But, if you’re willing to learn, it can certainly do everything you need it to.
Many audio and music professionals swear by Reaper, lauding its advanced features, extensive customization options and frequent updates. If you’re not afraid to dig in and take some time to learn the ins and outs of Reaper, it can be an amazingly powerful podcasting tool.
With several great options available for free, you might be wondering why podcast software would be worth paying for. But don’t discount the premium options—they often offer the best balance of features, flexibility, usability and support. And, with a range of price points and subscription levels available, you’re sure to find a paid option that fits your needs and budget.
Best of all, Logic is capable of opening GarageBand files. So, if you’re upgrading from GarageBand, you’ll be able to easily revisit past episodes if necessary. There’s even a whole webpage on transitioning from GarageBand to Logic Pro.
Pro Tools comes in Standard and Ultimate versions, but Standard should suffice for almost any podcast. A stripped-down version called Pro Tools | First is available for free, but it only allows you to save three projects at a time, making it impractical for most podcasters.
Journalist even lets you upload finished podcasts directly to LibSyn, PodBean, SoundCloud and other platforms for easy distribution. And, best of all, you can save on Journalist with the Yeti Podcaster bundle. Check out our article about Hindenburg Journalist for more information.
While it doesn’t get as much attention as Logic or Pro Tools, Audition’s clean interface and robust feature set are a winning combination. Part of the Adobe Creative Cloud software suite, Audition also integrates seamlessly with other Adobe apps.
Some podcasters prefer an all-in-one solution for podcast editing and distribution. Platforms like Alitu and Spreaker offer a super-simplified workflow with built-in publishing functionality, which is ideal for casual podcasters. While they don’t feature in-depth editing tools like the other software on this list, these options are great for getting podcasts out quickly and easily.
Here’s how it works: first, you upload a recording and Alitu applies some automatic processing. Then, you can trim the beginning and end of the file, remove sections if desired, and add intro and outro music with custom cross-fades. Finally, you can publish your episode right from Alitu. This speed and simplicity come with limitations, however, as you can’t balance two different voices or do any of your own processing like EQ, compression, or noise reduction.
One unique feature of Spreaker Studio is the ability to trigger sound effects during your podcast or livestream, which can be useful for transitions between segments. You can also create music playlists for easy access to your theme song and background music. Finally, Spreaker Studio makes it easy to upload your finished podcast to the Spreaker platform for distribution.