Best Audio Recording Software 2023 (Voice & Computer Capture)
If you’re a podcaster, vlogger, DJ, composer, musician, or maybe a music hobbyist you’d definitely need a top-notch audio recording software that you can rely on at all times to constantly produce high-quality audio files. Hence, in this article, we’ll be taking a look at the best audio recording software on the market right now, what makes them unique, their pros, cons, and their prices.
Audio recording software comparison chart (top 10 highest rated)
Windows, Mac, Linux
Best audio recording software overall
Mac, iOS, iPadOS
Best audio recording software for Mac, iOS, and iPadOS
Top cross-platform voice recording software
$20.99 per month
Avid Pro Tools
Best audio recording software for studio professionals
$29.99 per month, or $299.00(16% saved) billed annually
PreSonus Studio One
Best paid audio recording software
$99.95 per lifetime license per user
Image-Line FL Studio
Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Top audio recording software for musicians
$199 per lifetime license per user
Best audio recording software for live performances
$99 per lifetime license per user
Windows, Mac, Linux
Best budget audio recording software for professionals
$60 per lifetime license per user
Windows, Mac, Linus, FreeBSD
Top Open-Source audio recording software for professionals
$1 per month
Best audio recording software for MIDI composition
$99.99 per lifetime license per user
What is voice recording software & what does it do?
Voice recording software, also referred to as audio recording software or sound recording software; in its simplest form, is basically any program that allows you to record sound to your device—computer, smartphone or tablet. It works by taking the sound that’s coming from an external source(analog data), and converting it to a format(digital signal) that’s easy to work with on your PC or any other machine. The program also converts the sound from its digital form, back to the analog form that you can then listen to.
Some people might argue that voice recording software is specifically designed to process voice better and should be used solely for voiceovers, while audio recording software is the umbrella term for all recording software. But in this article, we’ll be referring to both programs as one and the same.
Audio recording software has evolved over the years to do more than just “record” sound. Now, we have DAW! Digital audio workstations or DAW for short, is any device, or in this case software that goes beyond audio capture by allowing its users to edit, add special effects, mix, and produce audio files. Albeit while doing its primary task; audio capture—converting audio files from their analog to digital form and vice versa.
Companies, musicians, composers, DJs, and creative individuals have all turned to one or more audio recording software to help with composing and producing different sounds in the form of music, voiceovers, podcasts, jingles, sound effects, or even movie scores!
That great party tune that you like, that awesome movie score that invokes different feelings of euphoria in you, or the top-charting song on the billboard 100 would probably not be possible without good audio recording software.
What are the different types of audio recorder software?
Image-Line FL studio
PreSonus Studio One
Avid Pro Tools
Leawo Music Recorder
What is the best sound recording software? Here’s our top 10 list:
Now that we know what audio recording software or sound recording software is, and we know what it does, we’ll be taking a closer look at the top 10 audio recording software on the market right now. We’ll examine what makes each audio recorder software unique, its availability on different devices, its pros and cons, and pricing.
1. Audacity (best audio recording software overall)
Audacity is a free and open-source audio recorder software that’s licensed under GPL 2 and is available for Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux.
This audio software not only does audio capture, but also has a wide array of effects, precise audio editing capabilities, Noise reduction capabilities, sound effects, multiple supports for different plug-ins including VST, voice isolation for karaoke tracks, crash and error reporting, and it’s available in 38 different languages!
Audacity has earned a reputation as the most powerful free audio recording software on the market right now that’s useful for both absolute beginners and professionals. It's definitely our best overall.
Audacity is best for:
Individuals or businesses that want a close to premium experience at no cost
Audacity is Open-sourced, meaning it has a lot of developers that are constantly trying to improve it. It has a simple interface for beginners to understand, it’s lightweight and has very minimal requirements. Meaning it can function on low-end devices. It also has online community support that constantly provides continuous improvements and updates.
Although Audacity has a simple interface for beginners, as you start to use it, its seemingly endless features and capabilities can start to feel overwhelming. Also, some of its specific functionality requires paid third-party plugins that are quite expensive; when you consider that the app itself is free.
2. Garageband(Best audio recording software for Apple devices)
Garageband is audio recording software that is developed by Apple for Mac, iOS, and iPadOS users. It has great audio capture features, multitrack recording, software-modelled synthesizers, and an industry-leading audio production filter that enhances sounds with different effects. Aside from audio capture, it is also a great tool for composing music with a selection of virtual software instruments like keyboard, guitar, and drums. However, With the Mainstage 2 application by Apple, the virtual instruments increase to 40!
Garageband comes with free and paid pre-recorded music lessons for the guitar and piano. The paid lessons are taught by actual artists like John Legend, Nora Jones, Ben Folds, and Ryan Tedder.
Garageband has an iPadOS, and an iOS version that has the same capabilities as its Mac variant, albeit with a few limitations like no pre-recorded music lessons, and a sound library with free downloadable content.
Garage band is best for:
Individuals or people that use Apple devices
Beginner-level Music Composers
Garageband is easy to use, very intuitive and has a simple user interface. It comes built-in with Mac devices, and its virtual instruments make it a great tool for composing music.
Project files are quite large, it’s not very suitable for top-level professionals, and it samples only at a fixed rate of 44.1KHZ.
3. Adobe Audition(Top cross-platform voice recording software for professionals)
Adobe Audition is not just a voice recording software, but also to an extent, a digital audio workstation! Developed by Adobe inc, Adobe Audition stands out as a top audio recorder software. It’s available for both Windows and Mac, and it has a plethora of features, sound effects and capabilities that are quite reminiscent of Audacity. However, Adobe Audition takes the already surplus features of Audacity up a notch but at a cost; it is quite expensive. It’s also one of the rare voice recording software that can handle both linear and non-linear approaches to audio editing.
Due to its powerful audio restoration capabilities that allow you to restore old or damaged recordings, and its multitrack recording that allows you to record sound simultaneously from multiple microphones, Adobe Audition is the go-to voice recording software for podcasts, vloggers, and voice over artists.
Adobe Audition is Best for
Podcasters and vloggers
Top-notch audio restoration
Adobe Audition allows you to edit waveforms in very tiny granules, making it possible to edit very precise moments in the recording. Its audio restoration abilities are definitely worth mentioning again.
Being a popular audio editing software, there are a lot of readily available tutorials online, and you can customize its layout however you want to fit your style of work.
It is expensive and still lacks functions like virtual instruments that are needed to produce music. This makes it less ideal for musicians and music producers.
The individual plan starts at $20.99 per month, billed monthly
4. Avid Pro tools (Best audio recording software for studio professionals)
Avid Pro Tools is not only an absolute beast of audio recording software, but it’s also a full-blown digital audio workstation! Avid Pro Tools is the recommended go-to for industry professionals and musicians, and it strongly delivers. Available on both Windows and Mac, this paid audio recording software blows its competitions out of the water with its excellent 64-bit mixing, music recording and audio editing capabilities, inbuilt virtual instruments, fast and clean audio editing workflow, its ability to support sample rates up to 192KHZ, Dolby Atmos editing, and over 1000 MIDI Tracks. Avid Pro Tools is widely regarded as the best audio recording software for studio professionals.
Avid Pro Tools also works very well with external physical controls, preamplifiers, and amplifiers.
Avid Pro Tools is best for:
Musicians, Veteran users of audio recorder software, and professional creatives
Avid Pro Tools has a modernized and clean UI that’s relatively easy to understand for experienced audio professionals, great integration with external hardware, a host of useful plugins, and an inbuilt metronome!
It has a rather steep learning curve, and it's definitely not for beginners. The software has also been known to crash a couple of times, and the initial setup process can be tedious and quite confusing; even for experts.
There’s a free limited version of Avid pro tools for students
The full version is $34.99 paid monthly, or $299.00 billed annually.
Ultimate version is $89.99 paid monthly, or $799.00 billed annually.
5. PreSonus Studio One(Best paid audio recording software)
Developed by PreSonus, the PreSonus Studio one is also a paid audio recording software, and a full-blown DAW. Formerly known as K2 in its early stages, the PreSonus Studio One comes with all the basic functionality you’d expect from an industry-leading audio recording software and then some.
On their official website, they claim to be “the only DAW that links songs and stems with finished, mastered Projects.” The latest paid version comes in-built with support for multiple screens and HDPI displays, a distinct show-level interface designed solely for coordinating live performances, MIDI note-level effects like a chord generator, a music score editor, support for users to import keyboard shortcuts from other audio editors programs, support for third-party plug-ins, virtual instruments, and a whole lot more!
Available on Windows and Mac, the PreSonus Studio One also takes everything that makes the Avid Pro Tools a great DAW, simplifies it, and improves on it! This makes it not only ideal for studio professionals but also intuitive enough for beginners.
PreSonus has also released a support app: PreSonus Studio one Remote, that allows you to control your PreSonus Studio one from your other PC, iPad, or Android device.
PreSonus Studio One is best for:
Beginners and professionals that want a simplified and cheaper, but equally powerful alternative to Avid Pro Tools
PreSonus Studio One has a fast workflow for mixing and audio editing, it is very intuitive, and its free version is quite powerful. Its chord, arranger, and marker track are in a class of their own.
It comes with only 5 virtual instruments built-in. Although, that can be sorted with a plug-in.
There’s a free version of the PreSonus Studio One
PreSonus Studio One Artist is $99.95 per lifetime license per user
PreSonus Studio One Professional is $399.95 per lifetime license per user
6. Image-Line FL-Studio(Top audio recording software for musicians)
Formerly known as Fruity loops, Image Line FL-Studio started out as a four-channel MIDI drum machine in the late 90s, before developing into the popular DAW and audio recording software it is today. Developed by Image line, Image Line FL-Studio has perhaps one of the most unique and recognizable user interfaces among musicians and music enthusiasts with its pattern-based music-sequencer.
Image Line FL-Studio comes with a digital piano roll, VST plugin support, 32 inbuilt plugin generators and can record up to 125 audio files simultaneously. It also supports WAV, OGG, MP3, FLAC, and MIDI formats. Available on both Windows and Mac, It comes in one free version, and three paid versions. All four versions are eligible for lifetime updates, and there’s a mobile version for Android, and iOS devices.
At its core, Image Line FL-Studio is geared towards music production for professionals. and has been used by popular artists like Alan Walker, Soulja Boy, Mike Will Made It, and the late Avicii to name a few.
Image Line FL Studio is best for
There’s support for free lifetime updates; regardless of the version you get, it is relatively easy to use, and its workflow is optimized for music production.
It is quite expensive, and it is not as intuitive as other audio recording software and DAW on this list.
Fruity edition is free
Producer edition is $199 per lifetime license per user
Signature Bundle edition is $299 per lifetime license per user
All Plugins edition is $499 per lifetime license per user
7. Ableton Live (Best audio recording software for live performances)
Ableton Live stands on top of the list of popular DAWs for recording, mixing, and editing live performances. Ableton Live comes with virtual instruments, audio effects, and MIDI effects that are tailored for live audiences. Available on Windows and Mac, Ableton Live's user interface is quite easy to understand, and it’s tailored towards the production of hip hop music and it’s the go-to program for DJs and music recording during live performance.
Ableton Live is known for its unique two views; the arrangement view that resembles the layout of other popular DAWs and the session view. The session view is perhaps one of the main selling points of Ableton Live. This unique feature allows users to mix and edit audio files in short clips that are arranged in a grid to form a complete scene. Basically, you create audio tracks by “playing” with these grid-like clips and moving them around as you like. You can also cue up tracks like a DJ mixer.
Ableton live is best for:
DJs and live performance
Ableton Live’s session view is one of a kind, and it's definitely worth checking out. The editing software is also quite intuitive, and beginners can easily pick it up.
The app requires high-end computers to run optimally.
Crossgrade version costs $99 per lifetime license per user
Max version costs $199 per lifetime license per user
8. Cockos Reaper(Best budget audio recording software for professionals)
Cockos Reaper, or Reaper as it’s commonly known, is a full digital audio workstation that was developed by Cockos in 2006. Reaper, an acronym for “rapid environment for audio production, engineering, and recording” is available across the three major operating systems; Windows, macOS, and Linux.
What makes Reaper stand out is its low pricing amongst its competitors and its unique user interface that is fully customizable! The color scheme, toolbar, menus, and macro of the entire interface can be customized to suit your exact requirements. Of course, this customization option means you’d have to take your time to understand what is what, and where each component should be; making the Reaper less ideal for beginners, and not as intuitive as other voice recording software.
However, if you do take the time to customize the interface, the resulting experience makes it worth it. The Reaper comes with a MIDI sequencer and supports most industry-standard plug-in formats like VST and AU in both 32-bit and 64-bit. Although the Cockos Reaper is an audio recording software, it can also be used to edit, cut, and trim video files.
Reaper is best for:
Professionals or experts that want a full option DAW at a pocket-friendly price
The Cockos Reaper has a user interface that can be customized to your taste, it’s fast, and at a total size of 66MB when installed, it’s lightweight.
It doesn’t come with virtual instruments, making it less ideal for composing music, and the interface is not intuitive.
$60 per lifetime license per user for discounted license (Individuals, and businesses that earn less than $20,000 a year)
$225 per lifetime license per user for commercial license (Individuals and businesses that earn more than $20,000 a year)
9. Ardour(Top open-source audio recording software for professionals)
Ardour is an open-source audio recording software that was created by Paul Davis of Amazon and Jack, and licensed under GPL 2. Known for its amazing music recording, mixing, multitrack editing and mastering capabilities, Ardour has gained a reputation for being a free digital audio workstation, and an alternative to Audacity.
Ardour sticks to the industry standard for MIDI, BWF, and XML. It also comes built-in with virtual instruments, and composers. And support up to 30 audio formats like MP3, WAV, FLAC, and OGG to name a few. Although the interface is quite easy to use, it’s not intuitive enough for absolute beginners.
Ardour makes use of plug-ins for many of its features, and as of 2020, it now supports VST3 plug-ins on all its variants across multiple operating systems.
Ardour is best for:
Professionals and music enthusiasts, and audio engineers.
Ardour is available across multiple platforms, there are numerous how-to tutorials to help guide you, and an online community that provides constant support, and its multitrack editing tool is superb.
Although Ardour is open-source, it’s not a free recording software. And its open-sourced nature makes it hard to find plug-ins that are actually useful.
There’s a Free version
You can pay $1 upwards to a max of $50 per month.
10. Steinberg Cubase(Best audio recording software for MIDI composition)
Steinberg Cubase is a voice audio recording software that was developed by Steinberg Media Technologies in the mid-80s. At its core, Steinberg Cubase is all about MIDI. Doing anything MIDI-related on Steinberg Cubase is an absolute breeze.
Available on Windows and macOS, Steinberg Cubase also has a mobile version called Cubasis for iPads, iOS devices, and Android devices.
Its user interface is easy to use, it has great audio editor features; like its ability to generate the harmony of an audio track with one button, score editors, VST plugin support, multitrack editing, latency monitor, and it has quite a number of virtual instruments.
At $559.99 for the full pro version—Cubase Elements, the 37-year-old DAW is definitely not cheap! But it continues to be trusted by top artists and composers like Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, Simon Harris and Steve Jablonsky
Steinberg Cubase is best for
It is easy to use, has great MIDI capabilities, and has good render times.
It is expensive
Cubase Pro 11 costs $99.99 per lifetime license
Cubase Artist 11 costs $337.98 per lifetime license
Cubase Elements 11 costs $559.99 per lifetime license
Coming up with this list was definitely not easy. There are many other audio recording software that we could have included, but we had to go with this ten.
Every single software on this list lives up to expectations and more. So if you’re a beginner, expert, industry professional, DJ, creative, or composer, we’re sure this list has a program that’s perfectly suited to your needs.