Best Audio Editing Software for Mac (Free and Paid)
If you are reading this article it means that you are looking for the perfect audio editing software for you. However, before you blindly follow the list and start downloading all the audio editing software mentioned here, one thing that you should keep in mind is your personal requirements. Before you even begin reading this article, you should know what you are looking for. For example, whether you are looking for audio editing software to edit podcasts or something complex enough to help you score a movie. You should also keep your budget in mind, as no matter how good a piece of software is, the one that you can afford will always serve you better. Finally, you should also keep your skillset in mind and ask yourself whether you are ready to invest time in learning a piece of audio editing software or not. Once you have answered all these questions for yourself, you will be able to find and focus on the software that will help you the most and will not waste time chasing the shiniest audio editing software in the market.
I have tried to structure this article, by keeping all these things in mind. So, you will find the best free audio editing software, the best audio editing software for editing podcasts, best professional audio editing software, and so on and so forth. However, note that all these classifications are not entirely exclusive as most of the audio softwares have features that overlap a lot with each other. At the end of the day, the best audio editing software for you will depend on what you need and feel comfortable working with. With all that said, here is our list of the best audio editing software for Mac that you should use:
Note: While I am focusing this article on macOS operating system, most of these apps work on Windows PC too. The only app that doesn’t work on Windows is the Logic Pro X.
Best Audio Editing Software
1. Adobe Audition: Best Overall Audio Editing Software
I want to start this list by using the most obvious but also the best overall audio editing software that the market has to offer us. Whether you want to record and edit audio or want to create a background score for your upcoming movie, Adobe Audition can handle all your needs. Not only the software has all the features that you require from an audio editing program but it also has multi-track recording and editing capabilities which is something that we associate with digital audio workstations. Adobe Audition is also one of the best audio clean-up and restoration tools on the market. It supports a ton of plugins which add even more power to the software. Whether you want to remove noise with precision or add audio effects, you can find plugins for everything here.
My favorite feature of the Adobe Audition is its waveform editing environment which allows you to pinpoint the problems and apply necessary adjustments. Adobe also brings AI enhanced tools which can make your audio editing life easier. For example, there’s an “Auto Ducking” feature which uses Adobe’s AI-based ‘Adobe Sensei’ technology to automatically lower the volume of background track to make the vocals more pronounced. Other features of the app include batch processing of audio files, automatic speech alignment, iXML metadata support, synthesized speech, and more. You will also appreciate the clean and user-friendly UI.
Note that Adobe Audition is a pro audio editing tool so users who have never used an audio editing software before might find it a little difficult at the start. That said, Adobe does provide free tutorials for both beginners and experienced users which should get you started.
Good User interface
Extensive Editing Tools
Huge plug-in support
Great audio clean-up and restoration tools
Subscription-based pricing makes it expensive for long-term use
Hard for beginners
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS
2. Logic Pro X: Best DAW Software for Mac
I love Apple's software products just for the fact that they integrate so well with the hardware. Final Cut Pro X is my favorite video editing tool as it allows me to edit a 4K video on my 2016 MacBook Pro. The experience is the same for Logic Pro X. Despite being one of the best overall audio editing software on the market, it works without any hiccup even on the older generation of MacBook Pros. That said, let's move away from the obvious advantage that Logic Pro X has over other music editing software and talk about its features, starting with its UI. In my opinion, the user interface of Logic Pro X is probably the best among all the software listed on this list. It is clean and every tool that you want to access is accessible with just a few clicks.
Note that while you can use Logic Pro X for just editing audio files for your podcast or any other similar project, you will be under-utilizing the software and it will be hard to justify its cost. Logic Pro X is a proper DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) which is aimed at music producers. It features a varied instrument library covering almost all music genres. What surprises me the most is how close the virtual instruments sound to their real counterpart. Even people with the most discerning ears will be able to tell them apart. What few instruments or music genres it doesn't support can easily be added thanks to its support for plugins and extensive plugins library that is available for anyone to use.
My favorite music kit is the "Drummer Kit" plugin which when enabled gives you an AI-enabled drum track (electronic or acoustic) while you add your music on top. Logic Pro X also comes with more than 7000 royalty-free music loops that can automatically conform to the tempo and key of your project. There's also support for patches which allow you to quickly load complex multichannel sounds. There are features like "Smart Tempo" which automatically manages tempo across all the content in your project, Flex Time and Flex Pitch, Track Alternatives, automation, audio effects, music notation, and more.
The only problem with Logic Pro X is it cost. I think for people who are even going to use 10% of the features of Logic Pro X, the cost is justifiable. It's a onetime fee, after which the software is yours. There's no hidden charges and no subscription. That said, if you just want to use it for normal audio editing this will be an overkill, especially when there are a ton of good options out there.
Flawless integration with Mac hardware and operating system
A complete DAW
Over 7000 royalty-free track loops
Beautiful user interface
High upfront costs make it inaccessible to many prospective users
Supported Platforms: macOS
3. Avid Pro Tools First: Best Free Audio Editing Software
Avid Pro Tools First is the free version of "Avid Pro Tools", a professional grade audio editing software, costing upwards of $500 and used by filmmakers and TV professionals to produce and score music for movies and TV shows. While the "Avid Pro Tools First" is a toned down version of its paid counterpart, it is more than enough for most of the users. It brings a fast 64-bit audio recording and mixing engine along with a variety of session templates with preloaded instrumental tracks covering most genres so that you can start creating your music as soon as you get familiar with the software.
It brings professional grade editing tools. From editing the MIDI tracks to adjusting tempo to fixing pitch and time, Avid Pro Tools First can handle everything. The software also comes with Avid's Xpand!2 virtual instruments and UVI Workstation 3 sample player, thus giving you access to royalty free loops and beats. This free version even comes with 23 utility plugins allowing you to shape your music just the way you want to. Recording your own music or audio is as simple as connecting your mic or instrument and hitting the record button.
When recording audio, you can take advantage of the loop recording feature which allows you to record multiple takes and then use the one that you like the most. The software is also great for people who like to collaborate with others. If you buy Avid's cloud subscription ($4.99/month), your work will be saved on the cloud. You can then share it with your colleagues to work together. In fact, even the free version which we are discussing here allows you to share up to three projects with other users. So, as you can see, you are getting a ton of professional grade features inside an app made for professionals which are used by the industry leaders and you don't have to pay a penny. That's a deal that I cannot refuse and neither should you.
Professional grade editing tool for free
Free online sync for up to three projects
Royalty free track loops
Steep learning curve
Costs a lot to upgrade to the pro version
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS
4. Audacity: Best Audio Editing Software for Podcasters
Not everyone needs a complete digital audio workstation. In fact, 90% of people who are looking for an audio editing software are looking for a simple program which can help them carry out basic audio editing such as trimming, noise reduction, voice modulation, background score addition, and so on. Whether you are a YouTube or a podcaster or someone who just needs to edit audio for home videos, all of the above-mentioned audio editing software will be a bit of overkill. you need a piece of software which not only enables you to perform these essential editing actions but also which is easy to learn use. For that use case scenario, Audacity is the best tool on the market.
Don't get me wrong, you can use Audacity as a DAW (especially now that it supports MIDI import) but in my views, it's not meant for that. It's simple and approachable UI makes it best for users who don't want to spend months learning an audio editing software. It is an open-source and free audio editing tool which brings a simple and interactive user interface with all the essential tools that you will need. From recording your audio clips to editing it using cut, trim, copy, and paste tools, to using audio effects, generators, and analyzers, Audacity can handle everything. Since Audacity is popular, it is also supported by a host of plugin developers allowing you to find plugins for almost anything that you might need for your project.
Despite being open-source and free, Audacity sees new updates on a fairly regular basis so you are not left using a software of the past. Just recently, Audacity was updated to support the dark mode on macOS Mojave and it looks great. There's also the new spectrogram view which allows you to pinpoint the problems and edit them accordingly. My favorite thing about Audacity is that it will take you just a couple of hours on YouTube to learn the basics and start your editing journey. That alone makes Audacity far more approachable than any other audio editing software.
Free and open-source
Approachable and simple user interface
Doesn't require you to do a Ph.D. to start editing
Large and helping online community
If you are the right target audience, I don't think there are any cons
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, and Linux
5. ocenaudio: Best Audio Editing Software for Beginners
Just like Audacity, ocenaudio is a free and open-source audio editing software that brings a simple to understand user interface. If for some reason Audacity is doesn't feel right to you or you just want to check out other audio editing software before settling on one, ocenaudio should be next on your list. Just like Audacity, ocenaudio features a clean editing environment which makes it easy for beginners to get started. In fact, as far as looks are concerned, ocenaudio looks more modern than Audacity.
Coming to the features, ocenaudio brings all the basic audio recording and editing features. You can just connect a microphone and press the record button and start recording. When you are editing, you can access all the tools including track selection, track cutting and splitting, copy and paste, multi-track editing and more. Just like Audacity, ocenaudio supports real-time preview for applied effects. Users can not only apply native effects but also use VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins to import effects which are not included with the software. Like Audacity, ocenaudio also supports the spectrogram view. You can use it to analyze the spectral content of your audio signal for getting a better understanding of all the problems.ocenaudio is also good at handling big files. Even after uploading files which were multiple GB in size, the software didn't hiccup. I have a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro, so it's not even that I was using it on a powerful machine like an iMac.
While ocenaudio is a good audio editing program, there is one big problem with the software that will turn many users off. The app doesn’t support multi-track editing which makes it useless for many users including me. I have so much fun when using this program and I prefer it over audacity both for its UI and speed. However, the missing support for multi-track editing means that I cannot use this app for my work. Another drawback of this app is that it lacks is a thriving online community. You won’t find many online video tutorials on this one. If your work involves multi-track editing, you won’t be using ocenaudio. That said, for users who are just getting started with audio editing and doesn’t require a multi-track editing program, this is the best free audio editing software on the market right now.
Free and open-source
Modern looking UI
Easy for beginners
Support for VST Plugins
Can easily handle large audio files
Multi-track editing not supported
Not many quality video tutorials available
Supported Platforms: Windows, macOS, and Linux
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Best Audio Editing Software: Final Thoughts
There are many other pro-level DAW software on the market which have not made the list as I have no experience using them. I am not a musician and I don’t know how to use them. In fact, I haven’t used half of the features that Adobe Audition and Logic Pro X bring to the table. That said, I have used them and I know that whether you are a beginner or a pro user, you will find that these apps can satisfy most of your needs.
If you are just working with spoken audio and want a free editing app, very few apps can beat Audacity and hence it's own the list. But I love the user interface and speediness of ocenaudio and hence it made the list too. I guess what I am trying to say is that every person has their own specific requirements and the software you choose will depend on that. I have chosen the five apps that will meet the needs of 90% of users reading this article. If you want something more specific and don’t know where to look, drop requirements in the comments section below and at the least, I will guide you in the right direction.
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