Podcast Editing Software
If you are just starting to learn how to start a podcast then you may be confused by all the choices when it comes to audio editing software for podcasters.
There are free podcast editing software options and there are some powerful and expensive audio editing tools.
Which sound editing software is the best? It depends on your budget and your preferences.
There are two distinct types of Podcast Editing Software.
- Destructive Audio Editors
- Non Destructive Audio Editors
Destructive Audio Editing involves changing the source file when saving your work. When using destructive editing the changes you make are permanent.
Non-Destructive Audio Editing does not affect the source file when saving changes made to your project. A Non-Destructive editor will create a project file that is essentially a map of the original. You don’t change the actual land (source file), just the map.
Most Digital Audio Workstations are designed for music
Most audio editing software is designed for music editing. Some audio editing software, like Hindenburg Journalist, is designed for voice over / spoken word recording. And some, like Reaper, is very customizable and can be personalized to reflect a podcaster’s audio editing needs.
VST Plugin Support
Most Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) support VST Plugins that you can add for additional processing and effects. The DAWs that don’t support VST Plugins usually have their own plugins that can accomplish what you want to do. However, if you are going to buy plugins it would be nice to be able to move them over to your new DAW.
I’ll start with the two most popular Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) which also happen to be free and then I’ll move up the price ladder and briefly touch on the some other more expensive audio editing packages.
Free Podcast Editing Software
Audacity is available on both PC and MAC and is free, open source software. It has everything you need out of the box for podcast editing. The only thing it can’t do without an add-on is to export to MP3. To export to Mp3 you have to download and install the LAME codec and then you will be able to export directly to MP3 format if that is what you would like to do.
I prefer to export my audio to WAV and then convert it to MP3 using another software package which has a better MP3 encoder for voice-only recordings. The LAME encoder is not the best when it comes to spoken word recordings.
Audacity is a destructive audio editor so when you save your edits it is overwriting your original file. So be careful and make sure you have a backup copy.
Garage Band is included on MAC computers but is not available for PC. It offers an easy to use interface and also has everything you need for podcast audio editing. Garage Band is a non-destructive podcast editing tool. It is the essentially the free version of Logic Pro. It is a decent podcast audio editing tool and a lot of well-known podcasters use it.
I briefly used Garage Band to edit my shows when I was a MAC user but I preferred Audacity at the time so I stopped using it. Now my DAW of choice is Reaper.
Pro Tools First
A free version of one of the top DAW software on the market. Pro Tools is one of the top digital audio workstation software. It is an expensive audio editor but the free version (Pro Tools First) has everything you need to edit your podcast.
Of course, Pro Tools and Pro Tools First are nondestructive audio editors and support VST Plugins.
CakeWalk by Bandlab
CakeWalk is the old Sonar DAW. Sonar used to be a very pricey audio editing software package. But when Bandlab purchased them a couple of years ago they made the software FREE. Very cool.
I installed it and played with it a little and it is a great DAW. I prefer Reaper for now but Cakewalk is a solid option.
Cakewalk is a non destructive DAW and supports VST Plugins.
Bandlab online is an online audio editor that offers you some basic audio editing and processing.
I haven’t tried to use it for podcasting yet but when I do I will update this post with my thoughts.
Speaking of online editing tools there is a new one called Alitu. Alitu Podcast Maker is a tool that allows you to upload your recorded episode and automatically process (make it sound nice) and add your intro and outro clips. Then you can edit your show by trimming the front and end of the waveform and by making cuts throughout the file. Then you hit publish and it will process your file and you can download the completed podcast episode or publish directly to Libsyn or Blubrry. Pretty cool. I haven’t used it yet but it looks compelling if you don’t have a complicated post-production workflow.
Inexpensive Audio Editing Software
Reaper is another great audio editing software package. It has a free trial option that is good for 60 days. It is around $100 but it has some advantages over the free DAW’s mentioned earlier. Reaper is completely customizable.
Reaper is a non-destructive audio editor and podcasters can remove the music related features from the Reaper layout which will simplify the user interface for podcasting.
Reaper also has a marketplace of user-created themes, layouts, and templates which allows you to dramatically change the look and feel of the DAW to your preference. Be careful though… you may waste a lot of time playing with different themes.
I used to edit podcasts with Audacity but I switched to Reaper and I am happy with the decision.
At first, there were some changes I had to make to my workflow but once I discovered that you can create custom actions made of chained commands I was sold on Reaper.
There is a forked version of Reaper called UltraShcall. UltraShcall is designed to optimize Reaper for podcasting. It looks great but all the supporting documentation is in German so it is difficult to figure out… unless you understand German.
Hindenberg Journalist is a DAW that was designed specifically for radio/podcast editing. It is a non-destructive audio editing tool and is affordable. All the features focus only on voice recording and it doesn’t have all the music features that we don’t need as podcasters.
Hindenberg Journalist comes in different versions at varying price points. Hindenberg Journalist is a non destructive editor and supports some VST plugins.
I haven’t used Hindenberg Journalist myself but I have heard great things about it.
Adobe Audition is one of the best on the market. It is on the higher end of the price range for podcast audio editing software. There are a lot of resources available to learn how to use Adobe Audition for podcasting. It is more powerful than Audacity and is a good choice.
Adobe Audition is a non-destructive digital audio workstation and supports VST Plugins.
If you have Adobe Creative Cloud then you may have access to it Audition already depending on your package.
So which DAW is for me?
As you can see there are a lot of choices when it comes to Audio Editing Software or Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs).
And this is far from a complete list. There are dozens of more options to choose from.
For me, I prefer Reaper as my DAW of choice but maybe you will prefer Hindenberg Journalist or another podcast editing solution not mentioned here. Some people start with Audacity or Garage Band and never feel the need to upgrade because they know the software well and it works.
I switched to Reaper because it is a non-destructive editor and because it is customizable to my needs. And it is similar to the other non-destructive DAW’s which is great because my skills can transfer over if I have to use another editor for some reason. It also supports VST plugins which are transferable across DAW’s.
I hope you enjoyed this post and please comment with your favorite audio editing software for your podcast.