It doesn’t matter if you’re a reality TV star, a comedian, or a nine-to-five employee with a passion for gardening tips: People from all walks of life are launching podcasts at an incredible rate.
As the podcasting wave continues, developers are stepping up their game to keep up by creating tons of editing tools designed to make you sound like a podcasting pro. Choosing the right podcast editing software is crucial if you're looking to get into the podcasting game and grow your audience.
This guide will walk you through the ten best podcast editing software options available in 2023, and help you decide what editing software works best for your podcasting needs.
One of Descript's standout features is its transcription-based editing. Unlike traditional editors that rely on waveforms, Descript allows you to edit the transcribed text, and the corresponding video or audio file gets updated automatically. Descript also offers non-destructive editing, allowing you to make changes without altering the original audio file.
With Descript, you also get access to two incredibly popular AI features: Overdub and Studio Sound.
Overdub lets you make new voice recordings from text using a synthetic version of your own voice (or, alternatively, a stock voice). That means you can fix small errors in a podcast or voiceover without having to re-record it.
Studio Sound boosts audio recording quality, especially in noisy or non-ideal environments. You can make your recordings sound like they were recorded in a professional studio with a single click.
Together, these two features empower creators to produce studio-quality audio content more efficiently. But it doesn’t only stop at basic podcast editing. Descript also offers a range of tools designed to make your workflow more efficient:
Eliminate pauses and repeats. Using the Word Gaps function, Descript identifies all the pauses in your podcast, allowing you to easily shorten them. This feature is a lifesaver for creating a smooth-flowing podcast.
Add effects to videos. Want to add text overlays or effects? Descript lets you insert these directly into the transcription, which gets perfectly timed as you edit your video.
Team collaboration. Descript's collaborative features are invaluable if you're working with a team or recording a podcast with a guest across the pond. You can share files, add comments, and work on the same project simultaneously, eliminating the need to send large files back and forth while ensuring sound quality.
As an added bonus, Descript also acts as remote podcast recording software. Now that Descript has joined forces with SquadCast, you can now record remotely, edit, and publish a new podcast with the same subscription.
Compatibility: Desktop Mac and Windows.
Key features: Transcription-based editing, multitrack audio editing, word gap identification, remote recording for crystal clear podcasts.
Who it's best for: Ideal for podcasters, video creators, and professionals who need efficient and straightforward editing tools in one dashboard.
Pros: User-friendly, feature-rich, collaborative, text and timeline-style editing.
Cons: May not offer some of the advanced features found in professional-grade software.
Price: Offers a free trial and several pricing plans starting at $12 per user per month. Getting started with Descript is easy. Open a free account and start editing.
Audacity simplifies the podcast editing process with its straightforward interface and versatile features. Its unlimited audio tracks make it easy to layer multiple recordings, interviews, and sound effects in one project.
The software's 41 built-in effects enable you to enhance audio quality, remove background noise, and add creative touches without needing extra tools. This is particularly useful for podcasters who want to focus on content rather than technicalities.
Audacity also supports a wide range of audio formats, making it hassle-free to import guest interviews or export episodes to various platforms.
Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Key Features: Unlimited audio tracks, 41 built-in effects, supports up to 32-bit/384kHz audio.
Who it's best for: Audacity is ideal for beginners and those on a budget, as well as anyone who needs basic to moderately complex audio editing tasks.
Pros: Supports a wide range of audio formats, customizable with unlimited audio tracks.
Cons: Lacks some editing features, no bundled offers, not suitable for advanced audio production.
Price: Audacity is free-to-use, open-source software.
3. Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition enhances podcast editing by offering specialized audio restoration and noise reduction tools. These features are invaluable for podcasters who record in less-than-ideal environments and need to clean up their audio.
Adobe Audition's 50 built-in effects and 8GB of bundled content also provide a rich palette for creative audio editing. Audition may be for you if you're a hardcore audiophile who must have complete control over crisp, high-quality audio and doesn't mind getting technical.
Compatibility: Windows and MacOS.
Key features: 128 audio tracks, 50 built-in effects, 8GB of bundled content, new Loudness Meter, audio restoration, and noise-reduction tools.
Who it’s best for: Adobe Audition is best suited for professional podcasters and those involved in commercial video and music production who require advanced audio editing capabilities.
Pros: Strong audio-restoration, sound-removal, and noise-reduction tools.
Cons: Steep learning curve, lacks MIDI support, only available via an expensive monthly subscription.
Price: Adobe Audition does not offer a free version; subscriptions cost $20.99/month for Audition only and $54.99/month for a bundle of all Adobe Creative Cloud apps.
GarageBand offers a straightforward and intuitive dashboard that makes podcast editing a breeze, even for beginners. Its ability to incorporate up to 255 audio tracks provides ample space for layering interviews, background music, and sound effects, allowing you to create a rich auditory experience.
The software has 48 built-in effects and 15GB of bundled content, giving you a wide range of options to enhance your podcast's audio quality. The support for 24-bit recording and third-party plug-ins means you can extend its capabilities even further if you need to.
While GarageBand doesn’t offer a mixing console view, its user-friendly interface and robust features make it a strong choice for podcasters who prioritize ease of use while still wanting quality. It's especially beneficial for those already in the Apple ecosystem, since it comes free with every Mac.
Pros: Streamlined, professional dashboard, enjoyable instrument lessons.
Cons: No mixing console view.
5. Logic Pro
Logic Pro offers a comprehensive suite of advanced features that significantly elevate the quality of your podcast. Its new Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio tools help you create an immersive sound experience, setting your podcast apart from the competition.
With unlimited audio tracks and a vast array of 58 built-in effects, Logic Pro offers endless possibilities for layering and enhancing audio. The software also comes with 72GB of bundled content, giving you a rich library of sounds to incorporate into your episodes.
Keep in mind Logic Pro may have a steeper learning curve compared to other options. But its advanced capabilities make it a worthwhile investment for those serious about podcasting. The one time payment model adds to its appeal, making it an excellent value for what it offers.
Compatibility: Mac-only, requires MacOS 11.0 or later.
Who it's best for: Professional podcasters and audio producers requiring advanced features like Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio.
Pros: Large array of bundled instruments and effects, no copy protection, solid value for what you pay.
Cons: Can't lock tempo events to SMPTE, mixer could use larger meters and faders.
Price: Free, $199.99 for new customers who want to upgrade
6. Avid Pro Tools
Avid Pro Tools stands out for its seamless audio editing workflow, which makes it a top choice for professionals in the podcasting arena. Its fast 64-bit recording and mixing engine enables you to easily handle even the most demanding projects.
The software comes packed with 120 built-in effects, offering a wide range of options to enhance your podcast's audio quality. Coupled with 256 audio tracks, this opens up a world of extensive layering and mixing possibilities, from simple dialogue editing to complex soundscapes.
While the subscription-only pricing may be a drawback for some, the value it offers in terms of features and industry-standard quality makes it a good investment for podcasters.
Compatibility: Windows and MacOS.
Key features: 256 audio tracks, 6 instruments, 120 effects, fast 64-bit recording and mixing.
Who it’s best for: Professional podcasters, music producers, and recording engineers who require a reliable and industry-standard audio editing solution.
Pros: Clean audio editing workflow.
Cons: Subscription-only pricing, weak instrument bundle despite two new additions.
Price: No free version, subscription-only pricing starting at $29.99 per month.
Alitu is a good fit for anyone new to the world of podcasting. In contrast to other digital audio workstations like Adobe Audition or Logic Pro, Alitu is designed to be intuitive and automated.
It's web-based, so you can easily access it from just about any computer. It offers perks like royalty-free music, templates, and automated sound engineering. The software even includes a built-in transcription tool to make your podcast episodes more accessible.
The call recording feature is handy. For solo recording, you're just a few clicks away from starting. Alitu provides a shareable link and a chat box for group calls to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Once finished, your audio files are stored directly within your library for easy access.
Its free podcast tutorials can be useful if you're at a loss for where to start. You're also able to join like-minded podcasters through its free PodCraft community.
Compatibility: Web-based, accessible from any computer Mac or Windows.
Who it’s best for: Beginner podcasters looking for a streamlined, user-friendly solution.
Pros: Extremely easy to use, accessible from any computer, full podcast production software.
Cons: Limited in terms of advanced editing tools, lacks complex recording features.
Price: $32 per month or $320 per year
REAPER offers a highly customizable platform that excels in multi-channel audio recording and mixing, making it a strong choice for podcasters who want control over every aspect of their audio. Its light memory footprint makes it run smoothly, even on less powerful computers.
REAPER’s unlimited audio tracks offer extensive layering and mixing possibilities, allowing you to create complex auditory experiences for your listeners. While it may lack built-in instruments and loops, its 34 built-in effects provide plenty of options for enhancing audio quality.
Take note that the initial learning curve may be steep due to its complex dashboard, but once you’ve mastered it, REAPER offers a level of customization and control that rivals even the most expensive DAWs. Its affordable pricing and consumer-friendly policies, including a 60-day free trial and free updates, make it an attractive option if you don’t mind the uninviting interface.
Compatibility: Windows, MacOS, and Linux (currently in beta).
Key features: Unlimited audio tracks, 34 effects, very customizable.
Who it’s best for: Best for those who want a highly customizable and affordable DAW with a focus on audio recording, mixing, and mastering.
Cons: No built-in instruments or loops; uninviting, unintuitive interface.
Price: $60 discounted license, $225 for commercial use
WavePad offers an intuitive user dashboard that makes it easy for podcasters to jump right into editing. Its wide array of audio effects and podcast editing tools, from pitch shift to noise reduction, allows you to enhance your podcast's audio quality without too much hassle.
The software's batch-processing feature is a time-saver. It lets you convert or apply effects to multiple audio files simultaneously. This is especially useful for podcasters who produce episodes in bulk or have recurring audio elements like intros and outros.
WavePad also offers audio restoration features, which can be extremely useful for cleaning up recordings with background noise or clicks. Its versatility in supporting multiple file formats means you can work seamlessly across different audio types. Overall, WavePad provides a comprehensive and efficient editing experience for podcasters looking for simplicity.
Compatibility Available for Windows and Mac
Key Features: Supports multiple file formats, text-to-speech, spectral analysis, and voice changer tools, wide selection of sound editing tools and audio effects, bookmarking and region creation.
Who it's best for: Best for podcasters who want a flexible and intuitive audio editor with a focus on efficiency and customization.
Cons: Limited built-in instruments and loops, requires a minimum of 4 GB RAM and 100 MB storage space.
Price: $39.95 for the Standard Edition
Podcastle makes podcasting accessible for everyone, from novices to those with some experience in audio editing. Its AI-powered tools simplify the recording and editing process, which is probably one of its biggest differentiators. It allows you to focus more on content and less on technical details.
The software also offers solid transcription services, converting your audio to text or your text to an AI-generated voice—which can be a huge time-saver. While it may not offer the in-depth customization that seasoned podcasters might seek, its ease of use and quick workflow make it a strong choice for those looking to produce podcasts quickly.
Compatibility: Available for both Windows and Mac.
Who it's best for: Ideal for beginners and those looking for a streamlined, AI-assisted podcast creation experience.
Pros: User-friendly interface, quick audio recording, good support, and fast response time.
Cons: Monthly subscription needed for full feature access, may lack depth for experienced podcasters.
Price: Free for basic use, also offers monthly subscriptions for advanced features
How to choose podcast editing software
Choosing the right podcast editing software is a crucial step in making sure your content is polished and professional. Here are some key factors to consider, with specific examples of how editing tools like Descript meet these requirements:
An intuitive dashboard is essential for a smooth editing process—especially for a beginner who may not be technically inclined. Descript offers user-friendly editing tools that resemble familiar text documents and slides, making it easy to get started quickly and keep your podcast projects on track.
Audio editing features
Effective audio editing capabilities are non-negotiable when it comes to podcasting. Descript shines in this category because of its unique text-based editing feature. You can literally delete the transcribed words "um" or "ah" from a text document, and the corresponding audio gets cut out automatically.
The ability to preview your edits in real time is a significant time-saver. Descript offers real-time audio monitoring, letting you instantly hear the impact of your edits.
If your podcast features multiple speakers or layers of audio, you'll need multitrack recording and editing. Descript makes this as easy as editing a text document, allowing you to manage and blend multiple audio tracks effortlessly.
Accurate and fast transcription can be a game-changer, especially for podcasts that also offer text versions or need searchable content. Descript offers industry-leading near-instant transcription with accuracy and speed. Its robust correction tools speed up the process even more in case of errors.
Screen and webcam recording
Sometimes, you may need to capture screen or webcam footage for your podcast—especially if you want to publish content on platforms like YouTube. Descript allows you to instantly capture, edit, and share screen and webcam recordings, making it easy to get the most out of your content.
Cost and budget
Budget is always a consideration. If you’re just starting out, you may not want to sink too much of your budget into high-end tools if you’ll only use a few key features.
For that, Descript offers a free trial and multiple pricing options, accommodating podcasters from hobbyists to professionals and anything in between.
Bottom line: The best podcast editing software and app
When it comes to audio editing software, Descript reigns supreme for beginners and pros alike. Unlike traditional DAWs, Descript offers an all-in-one, user-friendly platform for high-quality audio recording and editing in a ton of different formats.
Automatic transcription, noise reduction, and advanced AI tools make it ideal for podcast production on Windows and macOS. Whether you're looking to clean up vocals, add sound effects, or even integrate with podcast hosting platforms like Castos, Descript has you covered.
In the new version of Descript we’re introducing Studio Sound, a powerful new feature that enhances speakers’ voices while reducing and removing background noise, room echo and other sound you don’t want.
This post was written by James Shield, senior producer for Stories of Our Times, a daily news podcast from The Times and The Sunday Times of London. It was originally published on his blog and is republished here with permission.