It’s perhaps nearly impossible to create your own without the best podcast software at your fingertips. Being able to have some flexibility when it comes to editing levels, blending in tracks with different voices and music, adding some FX, or other types of mixing and mastering you’d like to complete before allowing the world to hear what you have to offer is critical. As always with podcasting gear, or really any type of equipment in general, what the “best” is will depend on few factors (which we list below). We did choose quite a few software to check out, and made sure to keep a broad range in case one of these stood out as a “must” for you. Let’s get into the best podcasting software factors first.
Podcast software notes
We have a few factors we want you to keep in mind before reading our picks for the best podcast software.
- First and foremost: There aren’t many ‘strictly for podcasting’ software solutions out there; however, as our research lead us into the world of audio editing, that really isn’t too big of deal. Keep in mind that many of these picks below are technically ‘digital audio workstations‘, ‘music software’ or even labeled as ‘for music production’; however, that doesn’t really matter, considering all of that will cover the broad ‘audio editing’ realm we need to be in. With that being said, the ‘music software’ route may be perfect for you, giving us the essentials of recording basics, editing our tracks together for podcasts and giving us some more wiggle room when it comes to extra features we may not know we needed, or may need down the line. This can include adding some FX (such as reverb to vocals for a clearer or more natural sound), panning certain statements from left to right for fun, or even changing the pitch (you never know). At the same time, some of these ‘paid’ versions of music software may be a bit too overboard for you, and perhaps not worth investing money in if you aren’t going to use them for their full capabilities. That’s why we recommend first trying a free software, or perhaps the trial versions of some of the more popular music DAWs.
- Budget: With the above kept in mind, and if you do prefer to purchase a powerful software with tons of features, do you have a few bucks available to invest in a paid version of one of these software we recommend? Or are you only able to grab a some free audio software? Again, keep in mind that many offer trial versions to see if you like the feel of it before going all in with your cash.
- Video? Are you filming video alongside your podcasts? This will be a whole different ball game when it comes to editing; however, we always recommend first mixing, mastering and finalizing your podcast before laying it over video. So choose one of these podcasting software first, then go grab some video editing software to dub it over your video clips.
- Do you need other podcast gear? We included one at the end of this guide, however we want to finally remind you that there are some decent podcasting gear bundles out there in the market that may catch your eye. Although, not many will come with their own software, a few do, such as the last pick we provide below. These bundles also come with various types of podcast gear, such as microphones, headphones, mixers, and more. It may be something that attracts you if you need your other podcast equipment, as well as to save some money on top of it all.
The best podcasting software
As someone who is always looking for the best deal available, I can tell you that seeing that one of the best podcasting software available was a variable that made a great impression on me. Frequently used as the software of choice and popular among podcasters and mixers alike, Audacity is the free online software that can be used on a variety of platforms. Once installed, the configuration of features are easy to navigate, included with the basics of play, pause, record, and skip. The input levels for the microphone and volume are easily viewed at the top of the page, and can be adjusted before beginning your podcast. After recording, all it takes is a click to highlight the entire recording before previewing it back to you, thus letting you go in and edit your recording before posting for your audience. An award-winning option meant for podcasters of all experience, Audacity is a reliable option for those looking to enter the world of podcasting without costing a dime — it’s been around for many years and will always have a name for itself.
Designed specifically for Mac users, the Apple GarageBand software can look intimidating with its modern design, but actually offers a straightforward option to creating your podcasts. After choosing from the various options of recording projects, the microphone option is the feature typically used for podcasting. This tracks your vocal performance, lets you talk into the microphone you have input to your computer, and lets you hear what you are saying when listening in on your headphones. The necessary features (play,pause, record, skip) are available at the top of the page, right next to the timer of your recording and the visual of your vocal recording. In addition, the editing options are just as available, giving you freedom to edit, cut, or add in any effects you would like (and with Apple products, there are always a multitude of effects to choose from). Free for Mac users, Apple GarageBand is one of the best podcasting software to use among podcasters.
With the option to pay as a monthly subscription or to buy the entire software, Adobe Audition is a streamlined and customizable software that is a standard option for podcasters. With the ability to choose the interface of your liking, one of the benefits of Audition is the ability to record more than one audio at a time, which is great if you happen to have a partner or are having a guest on your podcast. Available tools allow you to make sure your audio is clear and precise, even allowing you to remove unwanted sounds that may take away from your content. Plus, with so many effects included within the program, you can add, loop, or even delay various parts of your recording. Well reviewed as a great audio editing tool in general, Adobe Audition is a solid option of software for podcasts to consider.
For the Type A personalities who feel their best when their work is in organized peak condition (no judgement by the way, as I myself am one), this Hindenburg software might be the best podcasting software for you. Virtual clipboards allow you to drag and drop the various clips that you want to use in your podcast to make sure you have all the information you need. Containing the standard effects that are included in most audio recording software, one of the benefits of Hindenburg is that there is an auto-adjust volume on your clips to make sure that your recording delivers a clear sound. This is further supported by the noise reduction features that aims to take away any external noise that would interrupt your audio. Hindenburg has a 30 trial period that is free of charge if you are interested in trying it out, allowing for some wiggle room in seeing if this is the best software for your creative junctures.
Apple Logic X
I will admit that when I first started looking into the Apple Logic X software that I was immediately intimidated. It’s sleek, flashy, and modern, and definitely something that looks far too hard for someone who still panics when the rainbow wheel of doom appears on her screen (anyone else with me on that one?). However, once I started doing my research and looking at the features of the software rather than the design, I realized that, like most Apple products, the Logic X is actually fairly easy to comprehend. The amount of plug-ins and additional sounds appear to be almost endless, and with over 7,000 loops to choose from there is definitely a feature for everyone. For podcasters, the Flex Pitch component makes it easy to tweak the pitch of your recording to ensure that you have the smoothest audio to present to your audience. However, what I enjoyed the most is being able to use your other iOS products (phone, iPad, etc.) as a remote control that works in conjunction with the software. It literally takes the meaning “on-the-go” to a whole new level with its flexibility allowing you to work wherever, whenever. If you’re willing to step outside the comfort zone and play with your creative side, the Apple Logic X is one of the best software programs for podcasters.
A podcast isn’t really an effective podcast if all you have are vocals. In today’s world many podcasters we’ve spoken to state you need some pizzazz, or hook, that really makes your audience listen in to what you are projecting. Ableton Live is designed for that purpose, with the software winning numerous awards for its musical production and incorporation of sound effects. You can either record your podcast directly to the program or upload it from a previous recording, but from there it is all about the editing process. Features like dragging, dropping, and looping are easy to visualize with the musical set up. The screen breaks everything down into individual tracks, so all you have to do is click and move to get the sound or audio you want. A solid-quality software program with interesting features, the Ableton Live is one of the best podcasting software to consider. You can even use their Ableton Live Lite free version which doesn’t cost money but does create some limits inside of the software, such as on how many tracks you can add.
Avid Pro Tools
Although put at the end of this guide and is considered to be the ‘industry standard’ for music software (we may be argued with for that one), it may be pretty overboard for a lot of podcasters out there. Focusing on enhancing the editing and recording option of MIDI and many other advanced music editing, mixing and mastering functionality, the Pro Tools software also comes with some cool podcasting features, such as a variety of looping options, sound effects, and virtual instrumentals. Plus, with so many options, the ability to give a person identification to each sound is a positive in helping you locate your favorite audio options faster. Additionally, being able to track your input monitoring makes it easy to not only see the length of your recording, but also gives you a clear option of where to insert cues, loops, or where you need to go back and edit. Designed for those with a professional view of podcasting, the Avid Pro Tools is a stable option that is high regarded. It costs hundreds of dollars and isn’t for many, but those who are into the best of the best and most expensive (and perhaps want to music on the side), this may be suitable for some of you out there in the world. You never know.
The first thing you need to know at the Tracktion software is that there are multiple different versions of the software (waveform, essentials, waverazor, T7, T6, and Biotek), each with certain features that make them stand out. The biggest thing to understand about these programs is, in all versions, the focus is the editing process and how to produce the best audio imaginable. Modifiers, synthesizers, layering audio clips, and a variety of plug-ins are available specifically with the intent to give the user full creative control to express themselves however they choose. While designed for those in the musical industry, the message is still the same to those who are recording their podcast — the emphasis is on quality sound across all platforms. With options to purchase or use a free trial to decide which version works best for your needs, the well-reviewed and highly regarded Tracktion is a stable option when looking at software for podcasting.
Nearing the end of our guide, we look at the option from Reaper, a customizable software that is deemed to be one of the best podcasting software alternatives if you’re slightly technologically sound. Similar to Audacity, Reaper boasts a wide range of editing and processing tools to produce original audio. One significant difference is that Reaper allows you to include your own personal music (provided it is approved by copyright laws) along with all of the sound samples already installed. Reaper offers a multitude of online tutorials to give the user an exact idea of how to make and produce their audio, making it a great option for those just beginning in the field. It allows you to record directly to the software, adjust your pitch, drag and drop tracks or cues, and customize the layout and design in a way that works best for you. User (and budget) friendly, Reaper is the best podcast software that is both accessible and simplistic.
Last but not least, many of the other options on this list are great options for creating your podcast, however they also split their time as being designed for music editing as well. With the Behringer Podcastudio, you are looking at a software that is specifically designed for ‘the purpose of podcasting’, which makes this an intriguing option for those who are just in the beginning phases of their interest. Behringer is sold as a kit, which means that you are getting more than just the software (audio interface, microphone, headphones, etc). The upside to an option like this is that all the equipment included is designed to specifically work harmoniously with the software, which should allow for an even, more smooth recording and a clear projections of the vocals. Many who reviewed this product agreed that it was a great platform to begin podcasting on, and that the software was simplistic in its step-by-step plan to give you a proper idea of what you are working towards. In other words, if podcasting is something that you would like to begin but are a tad overwhelmed with how to get started, the Behringer Podcastudio is our last recommendation to cap off our list here today.