10 Best Audio Recording Software

Last Updated: December 30, 2015

Whether it’s creating videos, recording podcasts, digitizing music from musical instruments, or advanced sound production tasks, having a well rounded and robust audio recording/editing application at your disposal is pretty much essential. But there are numerous such sound recording programs out there, ranging from lightweight applications having essential editing functionalities, to professional grade audio production suites. And that kind of makes finding the one that suits your needs best, a bit cumbersome.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way, as that’s the confusion this article is intended to clear, discussing applications that are perfect for both basic and advanced usage scenarios. Stoked? Let’s strap in, as we take a granular look at the 10 best audio recording software.

Advanced Editors & Digital Audio Workstations

1. Audacity


Undoubtedly one of the most popular and well known audio editing software out there, Audacity includes a truckload of impressive features, with robust audio recording functionality being one of them.

Audacity lets you record audio from a multitude of audio input sources, such as external and built-in microphones, and even streaming audio. And that’s just the start. It can be used to convert audio from sources such as tapes and records, to digital recordings in a multitude of formats. Audacity also lets you apply numerous filters and post processing effects (e.g. amplification, noise reduction, silence removal) to the audio files, and supports multi-track mixing with granular audio spectrum analysis. Other features include advanced editing functionality, vocal reduction, and support for numerous Virtual Studio Technology (VST) plug-ins. Audacity supports all popular audio formats, such as MP3, WAV, FLAC, and OGG.

In a nutshell, if you’re looking for the best audio recording and editing program that doesn’t cost a dime, go for Audacity with closed eyes. And the fact that it’s cross-platform and open-source, just makes things better.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP; Mac OS X 10.5 and above; Linux.

Price: Free


2. MixCraft


Looking for a beastly audio recording and production suite, stuffed with every feature you could think of? Take MixCraft for a spin, as it just might be what you need.

Aside from being a professional grade audio recording application, MixCraft is also a powerful digital audio workstation, MIDI sequencer, and then some more. From built-in microphones to external devices like MIDI keyboards, MixCraft can record from a vast array of sources, and even record simultaneously from multiple devices. It includes digital simulations of a bag-load of musical instruments, ranging from classic synthesizers to electric guitars, and comes with huge collection of royalty free loops, sound effects etc. that you can use to create and mix your own music. Other features include Tempo matching (to sync current track’s tempo to that of a pre-recorded audio file), and support for numerous plug-ins and audio effects like distortion and reverb. From MP3 and WAV, to OGG and FLAC, MixCraft supports all audio formats for both input and output.

MixCraft is perfect if you’re a sound engineer/producer looking for something feature-laden for your mixing and production needs. However, it’s only available for the Windows platform, so that’s a bit of a bummer.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Price: Paid versions start from $89.95, 14 day trial available.


3. Sonar


Sonar bills itself as the “most advanced music production environment” available. And given the truckload of features it comes loaded with, it’s hard to argue with that claim.

One of the most powerful Digital Audio Workstation applications out there, Sonar includes just about everything you’d expect from a software of this caliber. You can record audio from numerous sources, and also interface it with a diverse array of external devices such as mixers and MIDI keyboards. And that’s not all. Other features include support for unlimited MIDI and sound tracks, and quick A/B comparison. Then you have a huge collection of special effects (e.g. reverb, delay), and support for virtual instruments such as samplers, drum machines, and synthesizers. Applying and editing effects is as simple as drag-and-drop, and nearly all popular audio formats, such as WAV, ASF, WMA, and AIFF are supported.

All in all, Sonar is an extremely powerful audio mixing and production software, and its 64 bit sound mixing engine ensures maximum performance. So if that’s something you need, go for Sonar without a hitch. However, a downside to using/trying out Sonar is it’s clunky installation method, which requires you to download a “command center” application and then use your free account to install the Sonar version you want to try out.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Price: Paid versions start from $49, 30 day trial available.


4. Reaper


For a lightweight application that’s also (comparatively) easy to use, Reaper sure as heck packs in a lot of punch, and then some more.

Reaper makes recording audio from internal devices or connected external ones like MIDI keyboards a breeze. You can record from multiple devices simultaneously (limited only by hardware), and overdub audio and MIDI. The audio recording config (e.g. stereo, surround sound) can be set-up either in advance, or during post-processing. Most of the editing is a drag and drop affair, and you can apply a ton of effects, such as pitch shift, cross-fade, and snap to grid. Recording and editing can be automated a well, and multiple audio regions can be freely copied and moved for quick comparisons. Reaper includes supports for nearly all VST plug-ins, and there are more that can be created via JavaScript. Support for video decoding is there as well, and a huge variety of formats, ranging from FLAC and MOV, to W64 and AIFF are supported for both input and output. Finally, Reaper’s nested folder structure allows for a much more efficient group audio editing environment.

Want a fast and fully loaded digital audio recording and editing suite that’s super easy to use and offers powerhouse features for a fraction of a price? Reaper is all you need. Then there’s the fact that it’s cross-platform, and has the creator of the legendary Winamp behind it.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP; Mac OS X 10.5 and up; Linux (via Wine).

Price: Paid versions start from $60, 60 day free trial available.


5. Muse


The digital audio recording and production applications discussed so far are no doubt incredibly powerful. However, they are all Windows specific, so if you’re using something like Linux, you’re out of luck.

Not really, as Muse is here to the rescue. A robust and feature heavy MIDI and audio sequencer built specifically for Linux, Muse comes with impressive audio recording and editing capabilities baked in it. It lets you record (and playback) from multiple internal and external audio sources, with both stereo/mono inputs and outputs, and includes real-time recording as well. Other than that, you can directly import/export MIDI files for quick editing using a variety of tools, such as piano roll, drum editor, and score editor. Muse is compatible with standard VST plug-ins (among others), and supports drag and drop arranging of audio tracks and plug-ins in projects. From MP3 and WAV, to WMA and OGG, Muse supports all formats for both audio import and export.

In a nutshell, if you’re looking forward for a free and capable audio recording software, with some very good editing and sequencing functionalities, specifically for Linux, it’s hard to go wrong with Muse.

Platform Availability: Linux.

Price: Free


Basic Audio Recorders And Editors

6. Ocenaudio


Looking for an audio editing application that packs in a healthy number of advanced features, while being amazingly comfortable to use? Do take Ocenaudio for a spin.

Being an exceptionally responsive and fast audio editing and recording software, Ocenaudio works surprisingly well. And its clean interface makes getting started a walk in the park. Whether it’s basic audio recording or a bit more advanced audio analysis, Ocenaudio excels. It features a wide array of effects, including a 31 band equalizer, flanger, chorus, multiple filters, and noise gate, all of which can be applied and previewed in real-time. There’s support for detailed audio spectrum analysis, and you can granularly select multiple portions of audio to preview and apply effects to them. Finally, in addition to its native effects, Ocenaudio fully supports VST based plug-ins, again with real-time previews. It is fully compatible with all major audio formats, such as MP3, WAV, and AIFF.

Whether you need just basic editing features, or advanced audio editing with plug-ins and effects too, Ocenaudio will work just fine. And did I mention it’s cross platform as well?

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP; Mac OS X 10.6 and later; Linux.

Price: Free


7. AudioDope


It may not have a whole barrage of powerhouse features, but AudioDope still packs in enough features to hold on its own.

As a feature rich audio recording and editing software, AudioDope works surprisingly well. You can record either from external/internal sources for editing, or load up audio files you already have saved on your computer. AudioDope features full audio waveform analysis, and editing all or some parts of the audio stream is an extremely simple affair. There is a large variety of audio effects available, such as high/low pass filters, pitch scale, normalization, chorus, and reverb. Other than that, advanced sound analysis can be done via tools like noise generator, and frequency analyzer. AudioDope fully supports numerous VST plug-ins, ranging from Compressors to Phasers, which can be downloaded here. AudioDope is compatible with a diverse range of audio formats, including ADPCM, MPC, and WMA.

If you want a lean audio recording and editing application that doesn’t bog down the system, AudioDope is just the thing you need. However, it’s Windows specific only, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Price: Free


8. Wavosaur


Feature laden audio recording and editing software don’t have to be monstrous in sizes, and Wavosaur is the perfect example of that, being unbelievably tiny, at just about 1.5 MB in size.

Yep, you read that right. This ultra lightweight and portable application makes quick work of recording, editing and processing audio tracks and sound loops, both from internal devices as well as external ones like MIDI keyboards. And despite its minimal footprint, Wavosaur supports everything from basic editing and recording functionalities to batch conversion and real-time effect processing. It fully supports VST plug-ins, and its multi document interface makes it easy to work with numerous tracks on one go. You can apply numerous effects like volume normalization, audio inversion, and silence insertion, both during editing and post-processing. Other features include full audio spectrum analysis, and ASIO (audio stream input/output) support. Wavosaur supports all general audio formats, like MP3, WAV, and OGG.

If you’re on the hunt for a robust yet lightweight audio recording software that can also handle a bit of editing, Wavosaur is definitely worth checking out. However, at times it’s unstable when handling specific audio files, so bear that in mind.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Price: Free


9. RecordPad


We’ve discussed super advanced audio production suites and powerhouse recording applications that are loaded with all sorts of pro features, plug-ins, and whatnot, but there are users out there who just want an efficient way of recording voice (e.g. for audio notes), and don’t care for all that fancy stuff.

If that’s what you’re looking for, RecordPad is going to suit you just fine. A featherweight and utterly simple recording application, RecordPad takes all the hassle out of audio recording, and supports both internal and external input devices. It’s super easy to use, and lets you get started with your recordings in seconds. Simply select the audio input device, and hit the Record button. The recordings can be saved in a variety of popular audio formats, such as MP3, WAV, and AIFF. What’s more, the nifty voice activation feature only triggers the recording when you’re speaking, and you can sort the recordings on the basis of parameters like format, size, and duration. You can also directly send your recordings via email, or upload them to an FTP server. Pretty slick if you ask me!

If all you want is a cross platform audio recording software, with a few extras thrown into the mix, RecordPad is perfect for you.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP; Mac OS X 10.4 and later.

Price: Paid version consts $50, Unregistered software can be used for unspecified number of days.


10. RecordForAll


What makes RecordForAll stick out from the crowd is that it just focuses on doing one thing, and does it exceptionally well. And that’s to help you make better podcasts.

Having a lean and easy to understand UI, RecordForAll makes recording podcasts a child’s play. From built-in microphones to external mics, it supports a whole range of input devices. You can record your own voice, general music, or just about any other kind of audio. The recordings are immediately loaded up for editing, and the track timeline view makes it super easy to extend, trim, and selectively remove portions of the recording. Other than that, you can overlay the recordings with background music, and even add special effects. Once everything is done, the created podcasts can be published in numerous formats, such as MP3, WAV, and WMA. How cool is that?

If you’re an emerging pod-caster and want a no-frills audio recording application that’s both easy and has a few nice extras, things can’t get any better than RecordFor All.

Platform Availability: Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Price: Paid versions start from $39.95, 120 days free trial available.


SEE ALSO: 10 Best Audio Editing Software

Ready to record and edit your audio projects better?

Whether your audio recording and editing needs are as basic as simple videos and podcasts, or as big as big musical productions, having an efficient and well rounded audio recorder software is a must. And the above discussed applications are perfect for that. Looking for the best commercial digital audio workstations and mixing suites? Try MixCraft, Reaper, or Sonar. Want something that’s a little toned down but still powerful enough to handle advance editing and recording needs? Audacity and Ocenaudio will serve you fine. And if you need something specific, there’s always RecordForAll and RecordPad. Take them for a spin, and let us know how they work out for you. Know of any other audio recording applications that could’ve made the cut above? Do mention in the comments below.


From Automotive Design to Cosmology, and from World Music/Movies to Psychoanalysis, Rajat has a lot to call his avocations. A self-professed grammar Nazi, he's an atheist who believes science has/will ultimately have answers to everything, and that everyone should question their very existence, if they don't know their purpose in life. Oh, and he's also quite an aficionado of gadgets and tech, but you already know that, don't you?