If you feel like everyone around you is starting a podcast, well, you’re not alone. Podcasts have been around for a long time, but only in the last three years did they become as popular as they are now. There was a massive increase in new podcasts during the early stages of the pandemic as people found more time and space to create, and so we got more podcasts and more listeners.
Anyone with a device with an internet connection can find any podcast they want on any subject they want with next to zero effort. In addition, phones and tablets come with free podcasting apps now, so all you have to do is click a button. This easy, free access makes podcasting a popular option for entertainment or knowledge.
Unlike with radios, you don’t need a specific time free or have to sit through hours of unwanted content to get what you want. Instead, you can get your news, stock market information, or gossip with an easy click.
I like to listen to podcasts while I do something else like cook, jog, or drive, and I find that most people do the same thing. If you like to multitask or just fill the gaps in your attention span, then an entertaining and informative medium seems to be the logical choice.
Starting your own podcast is easier than it seems, and that’s why there are around 4.5 million total podcasts registered worldwide. All you need is a recording device, Internet access, and the information you wish to put out there. There’s no shortage of listeners either; 57% of people in the US have listened to a podcast at some point.
But the volume of available podcasts also makes it a highly competitive industry in a generation famous for their impatience. So to push your own podcast to the top of the list, you need to stand out among your competitors or at least keep up with them. There are many ways to do this. One of the easiest and most obvious ways is to improve your audio quality.
Podcasts are a purely auditory medium, so bad audio is going to stick out like a sore thumb. Great content and interesting guests are nice and all but won’t compensate for bad audio.
Podcasts can be really long too. No one wants to listen to hours of bad audio, and it reflects poorly on you and your brand.
When audio sounds bad, they’ll find something else to listen to. If your pitch is too high, they might find it grating to listen to. If there are bad clips and distortion, they’ll probably dip once they’ve had enough. To find an audience and keep them, your audio has to be pristine.
Improving your audio is more complicated than it sounds. People attempt all sorts of ways to do this, including getting new podcast microphones or even trying to change their voice. While those are valid, there’s a much easier way.
Podcast recording software has been proven to be particularly useful in production and editing. But, you may be wondering, how are they different from regular audio or music software? For one, they focus more on spoken audio than overall sound. They’re also easier to use and don’t demand expertise or courses like most audio recording software.
There are a LOT of these podcast software applications. The podcast industry is a large one, so understandably there are lots of software companies trying to get their piece of the pie.
The many podcast recording software options are good. Still, too many options can be as crippling, especially when each digital audio workstation claims to be the one for you and your podcast. So how do you choose the best podcast recording software? There are a few things to look out for.
In this roundup, we will help you choose the ideal podcast recording software for your own unique needs, budget, and set up by discussing some of the best podcast software in the market and highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.
Compatibility: Windows, macOS
Adobe Audition is a digital audio workstation that can be used for podcast editing. The software giants Adobe are popular for their compelling and complex apps, but Audition stands out for its gentle but business-like UI. It is compatible with multiple platforms, including both iOS and Windows like the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud package.
It offers pro-level audio editing tools and a wide array of audio manipulation features. Adobe Audition is thorough, offering an arsenal of tools that other software does not possess. Its multitrack recording feature allows you to record audio in different channels, making it easier to isolate unwanted sounds and edit them.
It also has a Match Loudness feature that lets you open multiple audio files, analyze their loudness individually, and match them to make sure they’re at the same level. So, if you record in batches, you can merge them all together without manually adjusting the loudness of each.
Adobe Audition grants you access to several plugins for flexible, fast editing. In addition, it features an almost excessive amount of sound effects that let you tinker with your sound in creative ways.
Also worth mentioning is its spectral analysis tool that allows you to silence unwanted surrounding background noise and focus on the people talking into the microphone. Its audio restoration is smooth and reliable, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally deleting hours of work.
On the flip side, it can be pretty difficult to master. Although the UI is friendly, navigating its features is not, especially for beginners.
It looks and feels like a proper, grown-up tool. Unfortunately, it’s also rather pricey. Unlike most podcast recording software clients that charge a single license sum, you have to pay $20.99 every month whether you use it or not. This may be appealing to professionals or music producers but can be off-putting to that podcasting as a hobby. Also, it does not offer a cloud feature where you can save your file in a cloud, so you don’t have that extra layer of protection if your local recordings fail.
That said, the Adobe Audition is an excellent audio product that should answer any questions you have.
One look at Apple’s GarageBand tells you that it was crafted more for music production than any other form of audio. It is a professionally designed audio workstation with authentic-sounding instruments and valuable audio tools.
Users like GarageBand for the same reasons they may dislike Adobe Audition. GarageBand is less complex to master than using Audition, although beginners may still find it challenging to navigate. Another reason it gets heavy fandom is that it is a free audio editor. All you have to do is get the app from the app store.
It has an easy-to-understand interface that fits appropriately with the Apple ecosystem. You can also use it on your iPhone, making it a great tool should a podcast idea hit you while you’re on the go. One fantastic feature of GarageBand is that you can easily link it to your other Apple devices, giving you access to your saved files across all your devices.
GarageBand for podcasting is a perfect match because it has a comprehensive set of plugins that you can use in editing your recorded podcast. With the newly adopted Audiobus, you can combine other music apps and record them in your GarageBand.
The project files can be large, with a 30-minute podcast episode featuring four separate tracks typically ending up around 1 GB. It offers a cloud backup, making it easy to save and load your files with ease. One limitation is that it can only be used on iOS. It doesn’t have the same range of sound effects that Audition does, but it is far less cumbersome.
Learn more about Pitch Correction in GarageBand in our article.
Price: One-time fee of $200
Apple Logic Pro is some of the best recording and editing software on the market. It’s a great audio recording software option for professional and beginner podcasters, although it’d help if you already have some prior experience with sound editing. However, with some practice, just about anyone can get the hang of it.
It has a lot of plugins and sound effects. There are over 1000 audio sounds you can add to your recording if you desire. It also lets you record audio with quality as high as 24-bit/192kHZ.
With its editing tools, you can manipulate your recordings at will. You can easily lay music tracks atop your podcast and blend them perfectly. You can also change the timbre and inflection of your voice if you don’t like how it sounds.
While Apple Logic Pro is one of the best, it is also one of the most expensive. It costs about $200, but it offers you a wide array of editing features and a UI that’s easy on the eyes. Logic Pro is also only available for Mac computers.
Also worth noting, it is unable to run VST plugins.
Not sure what VST is? Head over to our VST vs VST3 article, and in 5 minutes you will learn everything you need to know!
Compatibility: Windows, Linux, macOS
Audacity is one of the more popular editing apps for podcasts because of its ease of use, adaptability to any OS, and its open-source nature. It’s also easy to use once you have mastered some of the editing and recording tools.
The vast library of editing tools provides you with an array of options. You can easily overlay audio files in the software, mixing as many sounds as you like. Its noise reduction is one of the best in the industry.
You can record in 16-bit, 24-bit, or 32-bit, depending on what you want. You can also export your edited file in any audio file format you like.
It can run on any operating system, making it a good fit for beginners and those who switch between different devices with different OSes.
Its features are easier to master than the others mentioned above, and there are tutorials online that can help you do that in no time.
The user interface is slightly old and not as flashy as the others. Yet that’s one of the reasons why it’s so simple to use.
There is less flexibility when importing audio to edit (MP3 and Wav formats only).
Compatibility: Windows, macOS, iOS
Hindenburg Journalist Pro is a favorite for podcasters that want to do as little editing as possible. Hindenburg is a podcast recording software that allows you to automate your editing process. Podcasters and radio stations use it to record live shows. Hindenburg combines the quality of good recording and automated editing.
With other podcast recording software, you have to take steps to make sure you get high-quality audio from your end before editing. But with this, all you have to do is plug in your microphone and start recording while it fine-tunes the sound for you.
Also, Hindenburg is available for different operating systems and mobile phones, ensuring that you keep your creativity even on the move.
One cool feature with the Hindenburg is that you can record calls you have on other software such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facebook (with permission, of course.) The recording software records the voices of the different guests separately, saves them as uncompressed files, and merges them later for you as soon as you finish recording.
It has a multitrack recording feature and can automatically upload your edited podcast to your preferred platform. You can export your edited file in multiple audio file formats with guaranteed high-quality audio. It is an excellent option for journalists who are always on the move and for podcasters who are conducting interviews remotely.
It’s relatively expensive, however, costing $375. Whether that’s a reasonable price for automation depends on the user. The vast editing features are only available in the pro version.
Price: $60 per month
Compatibility: Windows, Linux, and macOS
Reaper is one of the more common budget DAWs to use for podcasts. However, like most of the other podcast recording software options, it can have a steep learning curve. It is a very lightweight software that doesn’t put demands on your RAM.
Reaper also comes with some UI customization features, letting you design how you want your app to look like. It also allows you to use third-party applications.
It supports a wide range of audio formats and comes with a 60-day free trial period.
Another popular and accessible feature of Reaper is the ability to render audio quickly. This takes a lot of work off of your processor and lets it breathe. This means you can use all the plugins you need to without burdening your system.
It doesn’t have a mobile version, but it is compatible with all operating systems.
While it does allow you to use third-party apps, it’s not a fully fleshed-out feature yet and can be a bit clunky to integrate.
Price: $28 per month
Alitu is a true beginner podcast recording software, as you only need a little knowledge of audio editing to work with it. Alitu lets you record and edits with little effort on your part. It is web-based, meaning you don’t have to worry about your computer’s RAM or operating system.
Alitu makes interviewing your podcast guests fast and smooth. It offers a few features tailored toward remote interviews and co-podcasting. You can create a schedule on the Alitu app and send it to your interview guest or partner. This generates a unique URL your guest will use to join the interview.
The app automatically saves the audio files of the interview differently, ensuring that each person’s voice is clear when editing.
Its audio editing capabilities are just as convenient, with drag-and-drop editing tools you can use to manipulate your audio. It cleans up your audio after recording and reduces the amount of post-editing you have to do. Your edited podcast can be published hot off Alitu if you want. Being web-based, it is easy to use and navigate.
The audio quality isn’t as good as other products in this guide, but it’s still enough for most of your needs.
Also, due to having a focus on remote podcasting, there’s sometimes a time lag between the voices during an interview.
Compatibility: web-based, Android and iOS
In the last three years, Anchor has become the go-to podcast platform for many podcasters. Anchor is web-based but has mobile applications for Android and iOS. You can record, edit, and directly publish your podcast on multiple podcast platforms with Anchor.
Anchor has the Record with Friends feature that allows you to record your podcast episodes with up to five friends wherever they are. This feature was used heavily during the lockdowns that followed the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anchor is also a podcast hosting platform. Anchor can host your podcast on its site or push your edited podcast to different podcast hosting platforms, such as Spotify or Google Podcasts. There is a monetization feature where listeners can give you donations.
The software itself is free and easy to use. The hosting is also free and unlimited. In addition, it has a wide variety of background sounds you can underlay in your podcast episodes.
In addition, there are a lot of the things that both new and experienced podcasters actually want, and editing is very straightforward. It is an all-in-one tool for podcasters.
While being web-based can be convenient, being able to record a podcast anywhere with or without an internet connection can be a significant advantage.
Price: Free, $20 per month
Like Alitu, Zencastr has a record scheduling feature but with high-quality recording during interviews. You can schedule interview time and date with your guests and have them send in their voice recordings in clear 16-bit 44.1k quality.
The split-tracking feature of Zencastr makes it easy for you to capture the voices of your guests and yourself in clear sounds. Each audio track is then merged automatically.
In the editing process, which is automatic, the app sets the loudness level so that every person’s voice is uniform.
The free version comes with 10 hours of post-production every month, which may be enough for most.
However, it comes with a lot of editing limitations. For example, free version or not, you can’t share audio files directly with podcast hosting platforms such as Spotify.
Price: $7.99 per month
Compatibility: iOS, Android, web-based
Most podcasters want to be able to record with others remotely with no break in connection. Ringr is the most popular co-podcasting software in the industry.
Ringr automates your process from scheduling your interviews to automatically recording with guests when they come on to saving your unedited podcast to its cloud system. It, of course, offers split-tracking, so the voices of each guest are saved as a separate audio file.
Ringr offers nothing in terms of editing. It is common for users to edit outside of the Ringr app. You can easily download the audio files in different formats and edit podcasts with a different app. It is excellent for conducting remote interviews and co-podcasting from a distance.
Starting a podcast or maintaining one can be fun, but bad sound manipulation can ruin the experience for you and your audience. When choosing the best podcast recording software, you need to make sure its features are an excellent fit for you and your device.
With the sheer amount of competing products out there, figuring out the right one can give you a small headache. The guide above should help you determine which application would best suit your needs.
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