Whether you’re interested in DJing or recording music, podcasts, or interviews, you need audio recording software. But recording software can get expensive. And sure, there are a lot of free audio recording programs out there, but let’s face it: some programs offer limited options for editing and mixing tracks, only allow users to record a single track instead of multiple tracks, or do not have user-friendly interfaces.
We have narrowed our list down to our top four free audio recording programs suitable for podcasters and musicians alike. All programs offer editing, mixing, and multi-track recording abilities, with relatively straightforward interfaces that work on a range of operating systems. Plus, we threw in tutorials for each program to get you started!
Audacity — Audacity is an open source audio recording program that is available for Mac OS, Windows, GNU/Linux and more. The interface includes translations in multiple languages, including Ukrainian. Plus, Audacity is easy to use, making it a great—as well as a popular—program for beginners. Simply use the built-in microphone on your computer or plug in a higher-quality option and you’ll be ready to record multiple tracks, edit audio files (like WAV, MP3, or FLAC files), convert records to digital recordings, etc. Be sure to check out David Taylor’s instructional video for a straightforward introduction to Audacity that goes over a couple of simple ways to record and edit audio tracks!
GarageBand — GarageBand is a wonderful option for Mac users out there, especially those interested in recording music. GarageBand not only offers a multi-track audio recording and extensive editing setup, but also provides users with virtual amps and instruments, audio loops and sounds, drum tracks and effects...the list goes on! For tutorials on getting started, check out this video for beginners or this comprehensive website dedicated to answering questions and providing instructions for using GarageBand!
Ardour — Ardour is open source software available on Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. This program supports an unlimited number of tracks, video importation, non-destructive editing, and third-party plugins and software that allow for customizable mixing and editing options. With its versatility, Ardour is a high-quality recording program ideal for those with experience in audio recording software, including audio engineers, musicians, and composers. Check out this video tutorial and the Ardour manual to get started!
Virtual DJ — Virtual DJ is a recording and mixing program available for Windows and Mac OS. This program was developed with DJs in mind, but is also a great option for those interested in experimenting with audio editing and mixing. This program allows users to import audio, insert their own samples into tracks, and even spin and scratch like a traditional DJ at a turntable. Don’t forget to check out their official Virtual DJ YouTube channel, including this playlist of tutorials!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Deen is a student at Washington University in St. Louis studying English Literature, American Culture Studies, and Communication Design. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, going to art museums, and eating ice cream.