Audacity has many great features and is certainly an excellent choice, particularly for those who have dabbled in the field already. It perhaps isn’t the most user-friendly piece of software though and can take some getting used to for those just starting out but worry not, there is plenty of help online, both on their own website and within forums so it’s likely if you do find yourself struggling there will be a solution out there. What’s so good about Audacity is that it can cope with recording just about anything you feed into it. Microphones, line-in jacks and even live streaming, you shouldn’t have a problem providing your own soundcard can keep up. This has made it a popular choice for podcasters, being able to easily throw in their audio and edit ready for release as soon as you’re done. It’s recording rates can handle much more than your usual free kit though, it can do so from 44.1 kHz to an astounding 192 kHz which means it would be possible to reach studio level quality. If all that isn’t enough to sway you let me tell you about Audacity’s awesome and wide array of handy effects for you to perfect your tracks with. Things like an equalizer (complete with useful presets), speed, pitch and tempo controls, reverb, delay, fade in/out effects, a compressor and a helpful noise remover too. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for Audacity also supports a huge selection of plugins so you can simply add anything it doesn’t already have. Though it may not be as immediately user friendly as GarageBand, Audacity is simple and easy to use and once you get to grips with the basics you’ll be recording with ease within no time at all, whether for your podcast or you next single this software is versatile and awesome, especially considering it costs you zilch.
Available on – Mac, Windows, Linux
Traverso is another great choice, particularly for those wanting to use it to record music. It also aims at being convenient to use. It has forgone the traditional menu’s that most of these examples have in common, instead favouring keyboard and mouse shortcuts. This may take some getting used to but once you do it will shave off plenty of time when recording and editing, a process that can often feel like you’re having to scroll through those very menu’s again and again. You’ll pick techniques and shortcuts up as you go along and if you master this software you likely won’t want to go back.
One great feature you’ll find here is the ability to burn your recordings onto a CD within the program. Often, you’d have to find a separate software to do this but with Traverso it couldn’t be easier, simply create a table of contents and burn away onto your black disc no problem. Traverso also features the ability to make edits and changed to your audio without changing the original sample. Traverso have made an innovative form of recording software that stands out as one of the best free examples on the market.