8 Best Audio Editing Software for 2023
Updated: February 02,2023
What does it take to make good music?
Simple – talent, skill, and the best audio editing software.
You’ve probably got the first two covered, so we’ll take care of the rest.
Below are eight of the best sound editing programs, along with:
- Detailed reviews based on key features, pricing, and performance.
- Points to consider when choosing a digital audio workstation.
- A brief explainer on how this tool works.
Let’s get to it!
The Best Audio Editing Software for 2023
- •Adobe Audition – The best music editing software.
- •FL Studio – The best for electronic music production.
- •Sound Forge – The best music editing software for Windows users.
- •Avid Pro Tools – The best professional audio editing software.
- •Logic Pro X – The best music editing app for Mac.
- •WavePad – The best simple audio editor.
- •Ashampoo Music Studio – The best for making mixtapes.
- •Audacity – The best free audio editing software.
1. Adobe Audition
Sharp noise reduction
In the world of graphic design, Adobe is king. But can we say the same in the audio realm? Absolutely.
Just look at Adobe Audition – the premier digital audio workstation designed for creating, editing, mixing, and restoring audio content. Starting as Cool Edit Pro, the software was launched in 2003. Since then, it has emerged as the best music software for all sorts of audio work.
It’s an industry favorite, too. Big media companies like iHeartMedia, Entercom, and Cox Media Group use this program for their entertainment content.
With that many credentials, let’s have a look at its abilities.
These are Adobe Audition’s key features for music-making:
If you’re a singer, musician, or podcaster, finding an excellent interface for sound recording is your top priority. Luckily, Adobe audio editor lets you record multiple tracks at once. Your audio input can come from separate microphones. If you’re simultaneously tracking vocals with instruments or a group discussion for your podcasts, you can take advantage of this feature.
The timeline gives you 128 audio tracks for playback or 32 tracks for recording with low latency. While recording, you can calibrate the gain levels of each channel for proper volume control. You can even adjust the equalization and other sound elements in the post-processing stage.
Speaking of post-processing, the audio mixing controls set this audio editor app above the competition. While the wide variety of sliders can be slightly overwhelming for newcomers, the flexibility you get with refining your tracks is endless.
With multichannel audio workflows, you can automatically separate your audio channels into unique clips. Then, you’re free to customize each channel assigned to a clip and make individual adjustments with Specific Channel Routing.
Effects & Presets
Adobe makes sound editing a breeze with numerous clip and track effects available. It offers a total of 50 audio effects that let you experiment with your tracks’ equalization, reverb, compression, telephone filters, and more. Like editing videos, you can apply an effect to individual clips or add a preset to an entire track. Don’t worry – Audition uses non-destructive editing.
Adaptive Noise Reduction
Background noise is everyone’s worst enemy when recording songs or voiceovers. When you encounter this problem in the middle of music editing, the easiest remedy is to use the all-new DeReverb and DeNoise effect. With these settings, you’ll be able to magically remove background noise without manually handling noise prints or complex parameters.
The keyword here is adaptive. Even with changing gain levels during recording, the noise reduction setting adapts to the variations to maintain consistency.
Contrary to popular belief, Adobe Audition is a simple audio editor. That is, if you use the Essential Sound feature – a panel designed for beginners. In this section, you can easily tweak each clip’s volume, reverb, and panning. There are also tailored categories, including Dialogue, Music, SFX (Sound Effects), and Ambience. These filters apply an instant effect to your track to make it sound like a specific entertainment format.
While Adobe Audition isn’t free audio software, you can still try it with the 7-day free trial. You get access to all the features and updates on Audition’s latest version.
When you’re ready to commit, the monthly subscription costs $20.99. It’s Adobe, so steep pricing is expected. But with the range of features you get with this sound editing software, it’s an investment you won’t regret.
2. FL Studio
Free updates forever
FL Studio is a cross-platform digital audio workstation and music sequencer developed by Image-Line. It’s the best music edit app for artists and producers on the go, offering great functionality for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. If you’re using another DAW, this software works as a virtual studio technology (VST) instrument as well.
A single purchase of this software grants users free updates forever. Pretty neat!
Now let’s have a look at its features.
Famous artists like Avicii, Martin Garrix, and Southside have used this software for their music productions. Here’s why:
One of the main tools you’ll work within this music editing software is the Step Sequencer. It’s similar to Logic Pro X; you get a grid-style interface with cells that you can fill with sounds or samples.
If you’re using the software sampler, you can double-click on a sample to pop up the ASDR window, which lets you tweak the attack, decay, sustain, and release. This is also where you can deal with pitch-shifting, time-stretching, reversing, and more.
Speaking of samples, the FL Studio has its own Sound Library. Here, you can access a massive collection of samples and sound packs from thousands of artists all over the world.
You can use the DirectWave Sampler on this audio software to get inspired. The selection is diverse – there’s one that fits every music genre. However, each sample will come at an additional cost.
Do you need virtual instruments? Synthesizers? Factory sounds? Editing presets? This program's got you covered. When browsing through the Stock Plugins library, you’ll find a wide variety of audio packs that are tailored to your style. There’s NeuroVision, WiseLabs Bass Music, Toxic Biohazard Add-on, Controlled Substances, and more.
The Instrument Pack is particularly impressive – it gives you 400+ multi-sampled instruments for playing, composing, and producing soundtracks in the DirectWave Sampler.
The best audio software needs to have a robust mixer. Luckily, FL Studio meets the audio mixing standards on a professional grade. The essential tools are all present: advanced automation, sidechain control, effects chains, audio sends, plugin delay compensation, and many more. You can even use this section to master your tracks. Although it isn’t as rich as dedicated mastering software, it can get the job done.
As we’ve mentioned, one of the standout features of this app is the lifetime updates. When you buy any edition of FL Studio, you’ll receive all future updates without paying extra. It’s a great deal, considering most other professional audio editing software charges a chunky fee for updates.
However, it’s worth noting that not everything comes free. Just like the samples, loops, and plugins, you’ll have to pay a separate fee for new software synthesizers and effects.
FL Studio has four pricing tiers, each of which can be purchased through a one-off payment. For comparison, check out what each plan costs and offers:
- Fruity - $99 (82 instruments & effects)
- Producer - $199 (86 instruments & effects)
- Signature - $299 (92 instruments & effects)
- All Plugins - $499 (102 instruments & effects)
All plans come with a MIDI Sequencer, Sound Libraries, and Lifetime Free Updates. The difference lies in the number of virtual instruments, effects, and audio editors. The Producer package is the most popular among the four. It’s suitable for both newbie and professionals users – the best sound editing choice for growing artists and producers.
3. Sound Forge
Powerful VST engine
Sound Forge is a semi-professional sound editing software by MAGIX – a Berlin-based company specializing in audio, video, and photo editing applications. The program offers production tools like recording, editing, audio mixing, mastering, and processing.
There are two versions to this digital audio suite – Sound Forge Pro and Sound Forge Audio Studio. For this review, we explored the latter, which comes with a lite version that lets you use the sound editor for free.
Here’s a rundown of Audio Studio’s features:
A multitracker completes the best audio editing software. It’s what you need to pull off a complete music production. It’s a good thing this digital studio comes with exactly that! You can plug in multiple channels or input sources for recording your tracks in high-resolution and ultra high-fidelity.
Plus, it’s even easier to do this with the new Remote Recording option. Let’s say you’re recording a podcast or voiceover. You can place the mini recording window next to your text to start recording anywhere on the screen.
Repetitive tasks can be a drag, especially for long tracks. Wouldn’t it be more convenient if you could save frequently-used commands as one-click actions? That’s what the Instant Action windows do. While working on the audio file editor, these sections make it easier for you to access tools and actions like Fade In/Out, Normalize, Trim Silence, and more.
When it comes down to post-processing your tracks, Audio Studio offers a mix of filters, effects, and presets in the wizardFX Suite. You can play with 11 unique plugins like the Tape Machine, Limiter, Gate, and Modern Reverb, just to name a few. It isn’t hard to manipulate them either – all it takes is a practical slide controller to transform your tracks.
There are fewer options than other programs, but the available sounds still work well with any type of music.
Even the best music editing apps lack great virtual studio technology (VST) support. But this program has it. Sound Forge even improved its VST engine on the latest version. When you’re scanning or using VST plugins, you can expect solid speed and stability. It also features a newly-designed digital volume display, which comes as a fresh update alongside the bug fixes.
AI Edits and Exports
As mentioned, Sound Forge uses AI to execute simple commands quickly. Here’s one example: the Truncate Silence feature can automatically take out long pauses and silent passages from your voice recordings. The ACX Export Wizard also bounces your track to be ready for streaming platforms like iTunes and Audible.
Sound Forge has a lite version - this music editing software is free. Although you don’t get all the features above, the essentials are still there – high-res recording, audio effects, and post-production. To access the entire suite, here are the paid packages:
- Sound Forge Audio Studio - $49.99
- Sound Forge Audio Studio 365 - $4.99/month
Keep in mind that Audio Studio only runs on Windows. If you’re a Mac user, you can consider Sound Forge Pro Mac 3.
4. Avid Pro Tools
Free version available
Avid Pro Tools is a professional digital audio workstation for songs, films, games, and other media types. It features a lite version – Pro Tool First, a free audio editor that caters to rookie artists and producers. You can find more advanced features in its premium versions, which are the standard tools in most recording studios today.
Max Martin, Kanye West, and Dr. Dre are some of the big names who use this software for their music.
We revealed the app’s entire suite of features in our full Pro Tools review, but these are all the essentials:
Just like Adobe Audition, Pro Tools lets you perform multitrack sound recording. You can set up an input source, plug in an audio interface, or use the app’s virtual instruments to start making music. There are free and paid audio plugins in Pro Tools for Windows and Mac versions that give you more audio resources.
The workspace arranges your tracks in layers, making it easier to add retouches to your audio files.
Cutting, inserting, and refining your tracks with this program offers a lot of flexibility – even on the free audio editing mode. You have tools like the Trim, Pencil, and Grabber to do your cuts, note adjustments, and track sequences. The new Audio-to-MIDI feature also converts your audio files to editable MIDI clips. If you're working with a handful of digital instruments, this tool comes in very handy.
No physical instruments? No problem. The audio editing software lets you play with virtual instruments, including:
- Drum machine
- Organ emulator
- Mini grand piano
- Tube synthesizer
- Multitimbral synth
The new UVI Falcon 2 also elevates your virtual recording experience by giving you access to 1000+ Factory Sounds. When you’re post-processing, you can play with 80+ effects like reverb, equalizer, compression, dynamics, etc. However, this feature isn’t available in Avid’s free music editor.
Did you know you can edit simple videos using the same interface too? You can import, play, edit, and export your clips using your music timeline. While its tools lack the depth of dedicated video editing software, it can still support basic editing tasks.
When it’s time to mix your tracks, the workstation provides enough tools to complete your post-production. There’s the Track Freeze and Track Commit switch in the mixing console, which speeds up your digital signal processing. Even the best music editing apps suffer from too much CPU usage. So, the ability to freeze or print multiple soundtracks is a blessing for your computer. You can even bounce your final mixes offline.
As we’ve mentioned, you can use this sound editing software for free. It’s not time-limited, too, so you can use it for as long as you want. The premium versions offer a 30-day free trial, giving you access to all the features. You can choose from these plans:
- Pro Tools First - Free
- Pro Tools - $29.99/month
- Pro Tools Ultimate - $79.99/month
But heads up! These monthly paid plans are locked in for a one-year subscription. If you prefer no lock-ins, the prices are a little higher.
5. Logic Pro X
Live Loops workflow
Logic Pro X is a sound editing software and music sequencer designed exclusively for Mac users. It goes back to the early 90s when it was called Notator Logic. Years passed, and it has now evolved into a complete digital audio workstation used by Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, Alesso, and other prominent artists.
You’ll have access to editing workflows, virtual instruments, clip effects, and recording facilities in this music workstation. In that process, these are the tools the best music software provides:
Logic presents a new and creative way to perform multitracking – Live Loops. It’s a different kind of interface that lets you compose and arrange your sequence in real-time. In this mode, you work with a grid of cells instead of a linear timeline. You can add loops, samples, or recording media by triggering the cells instead of trimming, pasting, or looping track regions.
And when you’re done, you can just move your work to the main interface and continue your production.
If you open up the Step Sequence workstation, you find a beautiful audio editor that’ll remind you of hardware drum machines and synthesizers. Here, you can quickly whip up drum beats, bass lines, and melodic sequences. You can build from scratch or get a headstart by using the 150 built-in rhythm and melody patterns. It’s even possible to automate your instrument plugins and controller data!
Logic’s software sampler opens up a dedicated window where you can create and edit your tunes. You can play with piano rolls, guitars, percussions, and lots of other instruments. The Quick Sampler option makes it even easier! You can drag-and-drop existing samples, and the program will convert them into playable instruments. Be it a computer file, voice memo, or whatnot – this audio file editor can process it.
Then there’s AutoSampler - a feature taken straight from Apple’s MainStage. This tool lets you generate your own sampler instrument from music hardware, like an electronic drum set.
If you know Garageband, Apple’s free sound editor, then this feature is no stranger to you. This tool was made for DJs in particular. You can add transitions, record scratches, stutters, echoes, gates, and other production effects. It’s excellent for producing electronic music!
The tool comes with Apple’s Multi-Touch music technology. That means you can control the sliders, buttons, and touchpads using your mouse or your fingers. Just use Logic Remote to access the filters, trigger the stutters, or customize the pads when you’re away from your computer.
You can maximize the Multi-Touch by setting up your Logic Remote. If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you can integrate these gadgets with your Mac to control the Logic Pro workstation. With it, you can play instruments, edit and mix tracks, or access the Live Loops and Remix FX editors.
Logic Pro X is available as a one-off purchase for $199. While some may think this is expensive, it’s much better value than a subscription model, especially for the quality of this DAW. You’ll get lifetime access to the software and any updates. Apple also offers a 90-day free trial, which is more than enough time to get yourself warmed up to all the features and tools in the program.
It’s most definitely worth it. For Mac users, Logic Pro X is the best music editing software we can recommend.
WavePad is one of the best free music software designed by NCH software for home use. Commercial studios can use it just the same; the Standard and Master Editions offer a richer set of features.
It’s the ideal tool for music editors on the go. The app is accessible in major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. In this music workstation, you can easily record or import audio files and use its wide range of production tools for creating soundtracks.
This program is all about simplifying the music-making process. Here’s how:
To start recording your tracks, head on to the built-in Wave Recorder. You can use multiple microphones for vocals. And if you’re using the Master’s Edition, you’re free to use virtual studio technology (VST) plugins for extra functionality. By using a sound card, you can even record tracks off the Internet.
The wave recorder works as a ringtone audio editor for iPhone or Android, too. The program’s Ringtone Creator has formats you can use to create tunes based on songs or audio files.
Audio Editing & Effects
If you’re not a fan of complex commands and dialog boxes in pro-level programs, you’ll love WavePad’s basic editing tools.
Simple actions like cutting, cropping, copying, pasting, and splitting can be executed in one-click actions. Additionally, clip effects like fade, amplify, normalize, reverb, echo, and pitch shifts are easy to add. These essential tools are present in the mobile versions, making it one of the best music editing apps for Android or iPhone.
Have you got CDs, cassette tapes, or vinyl records you want to add to your current playlist? You can use noise reduction and pop removal tools to restore old tracks. The program can process audio in mono and stereo, with sample rates from 6kHz up to 192kHz.
If you’re working with multiple soundtracks, you can maximize the app’s ability to execute actions in bulk. Within a single function, you can apply filters and effects or convert audio files at once.
Most of the tools featured on this software are pretty basic, but the advanced section will elevate your audio editing experience to the next level. You can open up a Spectral Analysis window, giving you a more detailed view of your audio frequencies.
There’s a Text-to-Speech feature that creates an auto-generated recording of any text you enter. Your device must have a speech engine for it to work, though.
The Wavepad audio editor is free to download on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. If you want more functionality, here are the paid versions:
- Standard Edition - $29.99 - includes all the basic features.
- Master’s Edition - $49.99 - includes VST plugin support and SFX Library.
If you’re working on personal projects, the tools on the lite version will make do. But if you’re using them for commercial purposes, you’ll need to buy the software to secure a license.
7. Ashampoo Music Studio
Easy to use
Ashampoo Music Studio 2020 is among the best free music-making software loaded with unique audio tools. Besides recording and editing tracks, you can use this program for many other purposes, such as remixing, ripping, burning, extracting, and organizing songs.
With over 20 million users and 21 years in business, let’s see what the fuss is about:
In this Windows-only application, you’ll find a giant suite of features for various audio projects.
Recording & Editing
Making music from scratch is relatively easy on the software. You can start with a sound recording. Once connected, you can hit “Start,” and the program will start recording onto the timeline.
Moving on, you can work on your recordings on the song editor for free. The built-in editor comes with essential tools like cut, crop, and volume adjustment. If you wish to edit in more detail, you can normalize and analyze your audio files and edit the metadata.
Mixing tracks for parties is usually tough, but not when you use this software’s mixtape maker. If your playlist consists of audio files on your computer, you can import them to the Music Studio and apply transitions, fades, and effects. It’s even possible to set the mood by calibrating the sound quality to fit a specific ambience.
The free sound editing software lets you capture soundtracks from video files. Heard a track you like from a film or video clip? You can use the audio extractor to save the song as an audio file. Whether it’s a single song or a full soundtrack from a television show, this tool works perfectly.
If you like making multiple playlists for parties, you can use the software to group your tracks and play them on any device. You can organize your song collection by filling in track gaps with the Smart Auto-Naming feature to name tracks and folders.
Looking for the right visuals for your tracks? Music Studio has a built-in cover editor. Not many editors offer this, which is why it’s a huge benefit. Aside from editing and burning your tracks, you can also design your own cover art.
If you own a CD player and you like to keep things old-fashioned, Music Studio offers a music burner that lets you load your tracks to discs. Additionally, there are tools available that allow you to rip files to save space.
Ashampoo Music Studio can be downloaded from the website free of charge. It’s the best free audio editor for casual audio editors. For professionals, however, this might be a little too simple.
The full version, Music Studio 8, offers more features and functionality. It’s the complete Sound Center with a collection of 8 audio editing modules from Ashampoo. The price for the perpetual software license is $9.99.
Very easy to use
If you’re looking for the best free audio editor, Audacity is an obvious choice. It’s one of the most famous MP3 editing software because accessible and easy to use. You can even use it as free audio mixing software! That explains why FossHub has recorded over 110 million downloads of this program since 2015.
It has become the standard audio application software for anyone using Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems.
Now let’s see what it has got to offer.
If you want to record, edit, or produce tracks without too much hassle, this app’s got you covered. These are the tools you can work with:
Audacity music editing software features a multitracking timeline that lets you record live audio through numerous sources. It can be from a microphone, line input, USB, or Firewire devices. It can even capture audio from streaming platforms. During or after recording, the level meters display your audio gain to help calibrate your volume levels.
Trimming, inserting, and looping your tracks are super easy; just use the cut, copy, paste, and delete tools. Don’t worry about making mistakes – the Audacity free audio editor offers unlimited undo and redo actions. To keep your editing process organized, you can label your clips with the Sync-Lock feature.
Applying filters and effects to your tracks only takes a simple one-click or slider control. Volume effects include a basic compressor, phaser, amplifier, normalizer, fade-in/out, noise reduction, and more. You can also do pitch shifting without affecting the tempo. The built-in equalizer lets you perform tuning by dragging the curve. Or, you can use one of the presets.
If you wish to integrate plugins into the Audacity music editing tools, you can do so! The program’s Plugin Manager takes care of the plug-in installation. Audacity supports Audio Unit and virtual studio technology (VST) plugins for extra playability. However, it doesn’t work with VST instruments yet.
As we’ve said, Audacity is one of the best free sound editing software. The easy-to-use tools and the fact that you can use this for short or full-length songs free of charge make it an excellent beginner option.
What Is Audio Editing Software?
Audio editing software is a computer or mobile application that lets you record, edit, mix, master, or restore audio projects. You use it to produce soundtracks for songs, albums, films, or games – any form of media that involves sound.
This type of software is usually called a digital audio workstation (DAW). It features a graphical user interface that resembles a recording studio and includes a wide variety of music production tools. You can play virtual instruments, add filters and effects, mix multiple tracks, or facilitate audio playback to music hardware such as a monitor speaker.
How To Choose the Best Audio Editing Software for You?
It’s hard to spot the best audio software in such a crowded space.
To make it easier, here are some factors to consider:
The best music editing software needs to have multitracking ability. This feature allows you to record audio from multiple microphones, sound cards, line-level sources, and any other input you may have.
Editing tools are also necessary since they perform all the manipulations and enhancements needed after you finish recording. Basic actions like cutting, splitting, looping, pitch shifting, time-stretching, and reversing are needed.
Mixing and mastering tracks are also essential features since they cover the last phase of your music production.
Digital recordings are always prone to background noises. A noise reduction tool is also useful when you’re editing or restoring audio files. Audio software like Adobe Audition, Avid Pro Tools, Sound Forge, and Audacity have automatic noise reduction settings. They separate unwanted frequencies and resonances from your audio tracks, so they sound clean.
The best audio editing software should be able to export industry-standard audio formats. Some of the most commonly used audio file formats include MP3, WAV, AC-3, AIF, AIFF, AIFC, AAC, HE-AAC, CAF, FLAC, PCM, OGG, and WMA. All programs on our list can read, process, and bounce these formats.
If you’re planning to use audio software alongside video editing software, you need to check the supported video formats. For example, Adobe Audition and Avid Pro Tools can support video formats like AVI, MP4, MOV, and FLV.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) enables computers, instruments, and other music equipment to work on a DAW seamlessly. One of its most significant benefits is that you can edit an instrument’s performance note by note on a digital interface. You can even replace or modify its sound output by using plugins.
The best music editing software needs to be equipped with MIDI compatibility. While all programs on our list have this, Avid Pro Tools and FL Studio have the most robust MIDI sequencer.
There are good audio editing tools you can use free of charge. If you’re a beginner and want to feel how DAWs work, the best free music editing software are Avid Pro Tools First, Audacity, Sound Forge, and WavePad.
If you plan to use it for work or some serious projects, you should consider investing in Adobe Audition, Avid Pro Tools, or Logic Pro X. Buying this pro-grade software will cost you anywhere between $20 to $200. We recommend checking whether the price is a subscription or a lifetime license. While subscriptions may look cheaper, the costs will add up quickly if you plan to use the software for a longer time.
The best audio editing software offers rich, seamless, and stunning tools for music production.
For artists, producers, and others in the audio circle, it’s an essential key to creating great soundtracks.
The apps we found have more than enough tools to get it done.
So go ahead and pick one – we guarantee it’ll make your music pop!
What’s the best audio editor?
Adobe Audition is the best audio software. Overall, it has all the tools you need for music-making. From recording and editing to mixing and restoring, this program has got you covered. This pro-grade software is used by millions of professionals in the music industry.
What is the easiest audio editing software?
Audacity’s audio editing tools are the easiest to use, making it a top choice for beginners. WavePad also offers basic features that do away with complex functions involved in professional audio programs. Both are free audio editing software.
What audio software do professionals use?
The best audio editing software for professionals are Adobe Audition, Avid Pro Tools, and Logic Pro X. These applications have rich toolboxes and advanced functions.
Nero is an all-around wordsmith with a degree in Communication Arts— not the vicious emperor you might know in history books. He's an avid reader. A frisky writer. A tech enthusiast and occasional binge-watcher. He likes long walks on the beach. Enjoys deep thinking and shallow conversations. Hates ketchup. Panic! At The Disco.
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