Podcasts are quickly becoming one of the most beloved long-form content mediums in the digital age with around 700,000 active podcasts at the present day. Polished and expertly produced by the time they reach their audience, podcasts seem to be a simple, albeit thorough, method of communication. The finished products as we know them to be, however, are results of a creative process which is much more than meets the eye. Factually speaking, aside from branding and marketing, a podcast consists of primarily audio content. Thus, in order to run a successful and enjoyable podcast, the creator must be extra conscious of the production process and finding the right podcast recording software can be harder than you think. One small mishap could result in an unusable recording, or cause unnecessary friction on the audience’s listening experience. In other words, special attention should be given to the parts of the podcast which make up the majority, and ultimately, the quality.
With that in mind, one of the podcasters’ first steps should be to seek out the best resources available to them, at their price point and within their capabilities, to most effectively create with. Conveying a message through audio may seem to be a simple task, as natural as speaking, yet there are some technicalities to cover which aid the process in necessary ways. The very basis of a podcast is recorded audio content. This means that physical equipment aside, the best audio comes from the best recording software. In the most basic terms, if you don’t have a proper recording, you don’t have a podcast.
We will focus on the top 10 best recording software on the market, and identify what it is exactly that makes them so great. In the process, we hope to support you in assessing your own recording needs and choosing the right software for you.
Compatibility: macOS, iOS
Though Garageband is only available to users of Apple products, many creators of all preferences are already familiar with the platform. Over time, this DAW (digital audio workstation) has become known as a beginner staple for many interested in music production, however, it’s capabilities do not end there. This platform has a simple and straightforward approach to audio editing of all kinds, and while it may not be able to compete with some of its podcast specific competition, it is a top contender in the free recording software range. The platform itself is far from complex to navigate and offers up to 250 free recording tracks. Beyond that, Garageband has several additional recording capabilities, in addition to its built-in editing tools. Lastly, because it originated as a music-centric workspace, it’s complete with FX and many instrumental capabilities.
Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux
It was nearly 20 years ago now that Audacity was released to the public, yet this platform continues to claim space as one of the top recording software on the market. Throughout the years, Audacity has remained a go-to of many creators, and with good reason. While its user interface is to this day reminiscent of the early 2000s and yields a small learning curve, its capabilities are nothing but modern.
This software enables creators to both record fresh audio content and edits preexisting audio from various mixed media sources. It goes above and beyond by endowing creators with the required tools to process audio, a benefit you might not expect from a free program. And though audio files cannot be uploaded directly to a hosting site, there are several exporting possibilities. In short, Audacity, a free software, comes complete with much of a podcasters necessities, and as such, has been able to sustain itself in a competitive industry.
Price: Free, or pricing plans start at $20 monthly
Compatibility: Based Online
Zencastr is a platform that shines for its audio recording capabilities, especially for podcasters with a rotating roster of guests. Because the software is based online, it adds a location-free edge to hosting podcasts guests, whereas some competing software only allows recordings from “in-studio” voices. To make this strength even greater, Zencastr records each guest on an individual track to prevent common issues and automatically edits the audio during recording. Additionally, this software comes complete with a simple soundboard, making the addition of intros and outros an easy task. The biggest setback this platform comes with is its relatively limited free version. Free users are capped at 2 guests per recording and are allowed only 8 hours of recording content each month.
Price: Pricing plans start at 7.99 monthly
Compatibility: iOS, Android, Based Online
Yet another great platform for hosting guests, Ringr’s online nature eases the communal recording process through a calling system. With a click through the provided link, a guest is transported to a call wherein the recording starts immediately. Once a call is completed, Ringr sends the recorded audio to its platform where it automatically merges the audio files. All-in-all, this recording process is simplified and no-nonsense. This software does not come with any audio editing tools, existing merely as a recording platform, and provides guest slots only to users on higher price plans. On top of that, the quality of the audio recorded is solely dependent on the pricing plan the podcaster chooses.
5. Adobe Audition
Price: $20.99 monthly on an annual plan, with an initial 7-day free trial. Additionally available for purchase through the Adobe Suite.
Compatibility: Windows, macOS
As is true for most Adobe products, Audition is an excellent representation of professional-grade software of its kind. This DAW is incredibly thorough in its capabilities for the price, and may even contain more tools than the average podcaster can manage. The platform specializes in audio restoration, with a focus on producing quality audio, and offers recording presets for specific kinds of audio. As far as music goes, Audition comes complete with thousands of predesigned FX tracks, in addition to music and other remixing tools. And if all of that weren’t enough, this Adobe product can even be integrated with other Adobe Suite products.
Price: $28 monthly or $280 annually
Compatibility: Based Online
Incorporating Alitu into your recording and editing process is a great way to operate a streamlined podcast. This software has limited capabilities compared to its price peers, however, its the preferable option for many podcasters with little editing knowledge or care to learn. A user can simply upload preexisting files to the platform, or record new audio, and sit back as Alitu automatically improves the quality. Once the recording itself is set in place, a podcaster can begin to assemble the layers of their podcast, including soundtracks, and piece together their preferred audio clips. To complete the process, Alitu audios can be downloaded or even automatically uploaded to several podcast hosting sites.
7. Avid Pro Tools
Price: Pricing plans start at $29.99 monthly.
Compatibility: Windows, macOS
One of the most established recordings and editing tools on the market, Avid Pro Tools is a DAW designed for professional editors already familiar with the creative experience. The extensive range of recording and editing tools available through this software gives way to incredibly dynamic capabilities, something you may never guess from its sleek display design. And with real-time audio adjustments available, edits can be made during and after recording. Additionally, the tool doubles as a thorough workspace for musicians with its mixing capacities. Creators can remotely collaborate on projects together via the Cloud, or even through the software’s own app, Avid Link. The software as a whole is available at several different levels, depending on the needs of the user. The most cost-effective plans are more limited in capabilities and space than the higher value plans, as you might imagine.
8.. Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype
Price: $39.95 monthly
While this software is not even slightly considered an editing tool, it is a viable option for audio recording alone. This tool is best used as one part of a more substantial creative process, as its primary function is Skype call recording. Podcasters conducting regular conversations through the Skype platform may consider this program for their collaborative calls. Audios can be downloaded as MP3’s or even video files after the recording session.
9. Hindenburg Journalist
Price: Plans start at $95, with an initial 30-day free trial
Compatibility: Windows, macOS
Whereas some of the other software in this list is valuable for their hands-on editing capabilities, Hindenburg has a different set of impressive qualities. This program is focused on podcasters needing to dial in on the quality of the content itself and consider their in-the-moment audio quality less. This DAW automatically balances audio during both joint and solo recording sessions and offers the same function for uploaded preexisting audios. Hindenburg’s non-destructive editing tools even enable a podcaster to splice together audios on multiple tracks. One of the highlights of this software is it’s direct upload capabilities. Audios created and completed through this program can be sent directly to your podcasts hosting site, along with optional RSS and podcast details.
10. Logic Pro X
Price: $199.99 one-time payment
A seasoned veteran in the audio recording and editing field, Logic Pro X is a program designed for sound engineers working on professional-grade projects. Because this software is geared towards experts with previous editing experience, it can be known to be too complex for a beginner podcaster. However, it is an obvious and esteemed option for high-production podcasts.
In the end, there are many aspects to recording software that make them great, and an equal amount that set them back. Because each software is so unique, what matters most, is that the software program you choose speaks to your personal needs and values. With the help of this article, you should be further equipped to research the potential software for you, and ultimately, make a more educated decision for the creation of your podcast.