14 Best Podcast Software (Free & Paid)

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Michael Zunenshine
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The rise of the podcaster

Podcasts are nothing new when it comes to content. Talk radio has been around as long as radio. But new technologies have made the medium incredibly popular. From news takes to opinion shows to true-crime narrative and self-improvement advice, we are in a golden age of podcasts.

And it's not just listening to them. More and more people are starting to become podcasters. Now, unlike the talk radio days of yore, current affordable editing software makes it easy for anyone to start a podcast.

Consider these starts. The total number of active podcasts jumped from 550,000 to 850,000 between 2018 and 2020. The number of podcast episodes went from 18.5 million to over 30 million. 

As the way people work and live changes, so does podcasting. These days there is a rise in remote work and distributed workforces. Most notable is the move for more people to work from home. In line with this trend, Spotify has counted 150,000 podcast uploads in March 2020. That rate is 69% higher than February when most people were still going into the workplace.

Are you thinking about becoming a podcaster? What do you need beyond a Mac, right? Well, audio editing is simpler now with your sleek Apple gear, though in fact, Windows will work fine as well.

In this article, we'll go over the ins and outs of podcast recording and podcast editing. Then there's a round-up of some of the best podcast software out there. We'll look at the pros and cons of each as well as the price. 

 

 

Audio recording and editing: The basics

When it comes to audio and recording software for podcasts, here's' the first thing you should know. Not all audio software is just for podcasting. You always have the option to first focus on recording your podcasts and then preparing the audio track for podcast production. Because of this, you can use music production software for the first part. 

Of course, there are apps geared specifically for podcast production. These will generally include more tools and features useful for podcasting. We'll talk about this a bit more in the next part.

And yet, there are always some things to keep in mind when recording audio that have little to do with the software. You'll want a quiet space to cut out background noise. The smaller the space, the less echo. It's even better with padded walls. Some home podcasters even go inside their clothing closets.

You'll also want a good microphone. If you talk into an open mic, like on your Mac, you get more reverb on the sound. When you're having a conversation with some in another location, use headphones. This will prevent their voice from causing echoes in a feedback loop. 

The point is, you don't need a fancy recording studio to get good audio quality. But take the time to choose the right audio editing software. It can make the difference between amateur hour and clean, professional sound.

The tools and features of podcasting software

Podcast recording software may give you added features. Everything depends on the style of your podcasting. Like the time and effort you will put into each podcast, and your budget for audio editing software.

Some podcasting software has tools for making easy intros and outros. These could be music clips or pre-recorded audio tracks which you save for reuse. Other platforms may even have a library of sound effects.

There are digital audio workstations (DAWs) that allow for multitrack recording. This is helpful when having a conversation and you want to keep separate audio files for each person speaking. Likewise, different audio production tools offer more or less complicated soundboards. Depending on how much audio mixing you care to do, this is another factor in choosing the right DAW.

Audio recording may involve knowing about compression and formats. You are probably familiar with extensions like WAV, MP3, M4A, AAC, and FLAC. While it's good to know a bit about this, it may not be something you care to waste too much time on. Different podcast production tools and other audio software may require more or less knowledge of these audio formats.

Another thing to consider is how open source your recording software is. Does it allow add-ons and plug-ins? You may want to start simple. But as your podcast recording improves, it's good to have options to expand your personal DAW setup.

These are some of the podcast recording features out there. We'll delve into some of the best podcast editing software out there. It's time to get a closer look at apps to help you become a pro podcaster. 

 

14 Podcasting editing platforms: Pros, cons, and price

 

Zencastr

Benefits 

Zencastr is a good place to start. It's a very simple platform to use. You get studio-quality audio as well as HD video recording. This is great if you want to upload your podcasts to Youtube. Zencastr also offers automatic post-production services that come in downloadable files. 

Drawbacks

Zencastr does not have the full package. There are no hosting or publishing tools. You'll have to find other apps to work with Zencastr. While the price plans keep changing, the premium plans can be expensive.

Pricing

Zencastr offers a free version. For further prices, contact the vendor.

Visit Zencastr

 

Anchor

Benefits 

Anchor has a very quick learning curve. It works great on PC, Mac, iPhone, or Android devices. Other benefits of Anchor are that it includes publishing tools. There are monetization features too. All your stored files get free podcast hosting on their serves too,

Drawbacks

While Anchor has good tools for audio recording and podcast episode building, it lacks a good text editor. This limits your ability to describe your podcasts and episodes for Google or iTunes searches. Also, there is no video.

Pricing

Anchor is free. They take a cut off your monetization.

Visit Anchor

 

Hindenburg Journalist

Benefits 

As the name implies, Hindenburg Journalist is a podcast recording software designed for journalism. It's got some pro multitrack editing tools. The recording and sound quality are good, no matter the conditions. They also offer an organizing clipboard for sound bites or music samples.

Drawbacks

The learning curve on Hindenburg Journalist is a bit steep. There are a lot of effects that can be overwhelming. Other drawbacks include the fact that some of the best features are only included in the pro version. This includes multitrack recording. 

Pricing

Hindenburg Journalist costs $95. There is also a 30-day free version.

Visit Hindenburg Journalist 

 

Audacity

Benefits 

Audacity is an open-source audio recording and editing tool. It's free and works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and more. This software has been around for over 20 years, which proves how popular it is. It's got the basic recording, editing, and effects features. But it also has extras like spectrogram analysis.

Drawbacks

The dashboard has a bit of an outdated feel. It's also said to be less intuitive to use and could use some customization. There is also some negative feedback about Audacity's support due to its being open source.

Pricing

Audacity is free.

Visit Audacity 

 

Adobe Audition

Benefits 

Adobe is a big name in multimedia, and Adobe Audition is one of the most pro DAWs out there. The platform is full of tutorials to make sure you take advantage of all their tools. While it's for all sorts of audio recording, there are specific guides for creating podcasts. There are great audio cleanup features like noise reduction.

Drawbacks

As a professional digital audio workstation, the cost can be prohibitive. Especially for newcomers to podcasting. It could also do a bit better managing cross-platform support.

Pricing

Adobe Audition is $20.99 per month. There is also a free trial for download. 

Visit Adobe Audition 

 

GarageBand

Benefits 

GarageBand is an Apple App that comes with the Mac operating system. It's downloadable for iPhones and iPads too. Its original purpose was for music, but it's quite decent for podcasting too. It's very basic and has a fast learning curve.

Drawbacks

MacOS tools feel limited when working in teams if others use Windows. GarageBand also lacks a variety of export options. This isn't a total drawback, but GarageBand is a basic beginner's tool. 

Pricing

GarageBand is free.

Visit GarageBand

 

Ableton Live

Benefits 

Ableton Live is one of the biggest names in DAWs. It's a favorite of many professional musicians and recording artists. People use it for both live performances and post-production editing. As for podcasting, there is a lot you can do with Ableton. It's great for audio quality, multitrack mixing, and sound effects.

Drawbacks

It's big, complicated, very techy, and of course, expensive. Ableton users can expect a steep learning curve. And because of its size, it can act buggy and need constant updates. Support can also be frustrating.

Pricing

The most basic Ableton Live package costs $99. There is a 90-day free trial. 

Visit Ableton Live

 

Logic Pro X

Benefits 

Logic Pro X is another MacOS DAW and editing software which most people think of for music. After Ableton, Logic is the second most popular DAW. You can use it on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. It's got solid audio mixing tools, works well with other Apple apps, and a variety of plug-ins. 

Drawbacks

Like Ableton, this is a very professional piece of music editing software. This means it may be too complicated or expensive for simpler podcasting. A lot of Logic Pro X's features are really about music and live performances.

Pricing

Logic Pro X costs $199. There is also a free 90-day trial.

Visit Logic Pro X 

 

FL Studio

Benefits 

FL Studio has been in the DAW business for over twenty years. Their latest is FL Studio 20. This recording software is mostly used by musicians. There's a great soundboard, other editing tools, and noise reduction. Working with separate tracks is great for remote conversations. Lots of plug-ins too. 

Drawbacks

FL Studio doesn't score high on ease of use. While it can produce great sound, recording audio properly takes some learning. If podcasting is all you want, the price may be a bit much.

Pricing

The entry-level FL Studio costs $99. 

Visit FL Studio

 

Pro Tools

Benefits 

Pro Tools is an Avid product, a huge name in audio, video, and media solutions. As far as being an audio editor, it's often associated with music. You can record audio with excellent clarity. Editing software is robust. And they have good tutorials that help navigate the more complicated stuff.

Drawbacks

Like many of the professional music recording apps, Pro Tools could be excessive for simple podcasting. It's easy to get lost in feature and plug-in overload. 

Pricing

Avid has a free version called Pro Tools First. Pro Tools starts at $29.99. Avid offers a free trial on their Ultimate edition.

Visit Pro Tools

 

Auphonic

Benefits 

Auphonic has the benefit of being designed for podcasters, broadcasters, and the like. It offers AI sound analysis for great post-production mixing. There's speech recognition and text transcription. You get automatic content deployment to Libsyn, SoundCloud, and more. Auphonic comes on desktop and mobile versions. 

Drawbacks

Auphonic is not a DAW. You can't use it to record audio. You upload recorded audio to their site, and they do the mixing. So this cannot be the only podcasting software you'll need. Still, if you need sound cleaned up, it's a handy side tool.

Pricing

There is a free version limited to 2 hours of audio processing per month. After that, you can get 9 hours at $11 per month. There are many more price packages from there. 

Visit Auphonic 

 

TwistedWave

Benefits 

TwistedWave's Mac version has basic recording, editing, and converting tools. It's easy to learn but still pretty robust. There are iPhone and iPad versions, which lets you zoom around the waveforms. An online editor means you can access and edit your podcasts from anywhere.

Drawbacks

For what the reviews are worth, users are pretty pleased with TwistedWave. Some have said the interface is not that eye-pleasing. Others have said it's a bit pricey for what you get.

Pricing

The online editor starts at a free version. TwistedWave for Mac is $79.90. The iOS version is $9.99. TwistedWave also offers a 30-day free trial.

Visit TwistedWave 

 

Alitu

Benefits 

As far as recording software made specific for podcasters, Alitu is a great choice. Firstly, it's fully web-based. There is automation for tools that do audio cleanup. The audio editor is very intuitive. Finally, Alitu makes publishing your podcast episodes to other sites a snap. 

Drawbacks

Alitu aims to take care of the technical details so you can focus on your content. This does mean that you have less control over some things. Most notably, audio quality and file formats.

Pricing

Alitu is $28 per month or $280 per year. There is also a 7-day free trial.

Visit Alitu

 

Ringr

Benefits 

Ringr puts the focus on recording great long-distance podcasts. You and your guests can talk on desktop or mobile, then Ringr uploads the files, cleans, and merges them. Then you download the single audio file onto any device. There are also unlimited calls and storage. 

Drawbacks

Ringr is simply a call recorder. You'll have to use another app if you want to further edit your podcasts. The sound quality is only excellent with the premium versions.

Pricing

The price plans begin at $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Ringr offers a 30-day free trial. 

Visit Ringr 

 

Conclusion: Time to speak up

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing podcast software. One way to narrow that choice down is with this question. Are you solely into creating great podcasts? Or are you also interested in audio recording and editing software? 

There's a huge commitment to learning Ableton, for example. But maybe your podcasting ambitions go beyond being a speaker, to being a producer? In that case, you might feel something like Alitu is too lightweight. 

Likewise is price a big deal. There's a reason Audacity has a large and supportive user base. Yet, if you are willing to shill out a bit, you have good options for affordable annual subscriptions, like Adobe Audition.

Then there are the heavy box softwares like Avid Pro Tools. With these, the cheaper versions might come to feel lacking after a while. So it's important to know your budget before facing unexpected upgrade costs.

Finally, what kind of podcast you plan on making might count in your decision. If it's a narrative thriller, you will look for software with good sound effects. If it's on-the-beat journalism, you might need things like great outdoor recording and noise cancellation.

Whatever your needs, one thing is clear. Podcasting has made the narrative voice popular again. The age of audio as the handmaid of video is over. 

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