Best podcast editing software
Free DAW tools you can use on Mac, PC, or online
Before publishing a podcast recording, you'll use audio editing software (a DAW) to edit and create your episode's MP3 file. Audio editing programs help you trim unwanted pieces, adjust audio levels, add effects, and remove background noise. Once you've finished editing, you can upload the finalized MP3 file to your podcast hosting platform.
Here are some of the top options for podcast editing software (all have a free tier).
Recently, I decided to explore Soundtrap, a web-based audio editing tool recommended to me by Josh.
The interface makes recording and editing a podcast episode easy, with the option to record with other people. Once I had added a new voice and microphone track, I was pleasantly surprised at the convenience of the recording process. Like most DAWs, it features a multi-track interface to layer in music, guest tracks, and sound effects. The application also supports collaborative editing, a bonus if you work with a team or host guests on your podcast.
Apart from recording, Soundtrap also offers a royalty-free music library to add to your podcast. You can easily drag and drop different audio loops, adjust the volume of your backing track, and preview the result. The sound quality was decent, and it was easy to adjust the levels.
The export process took a bit longer than expected, around three to four minutes for a 42-second audio clip. However, the result was a clear and high-quality MP3 file. Soundtrap also offers a transcription feature, though this seemed a bit tricky to use.
GarageBand is a popular Apple-based tool often used by podcasters for recording and editing audio. There is a desktop version (for the Mac) and mobile versions for the iPad and iPhone.
You can use it to import and edit audio files, including any recordings they made elsewhere. It provides tools for trimming, cutting, and rearranging audio clips, as well as adjusting audio levels and adding effects. There are also features like noise reduction and equalization. Additionally, it offers a library of royalty-free sound effects and music loops that you can use to enhance your episodes.
Once you're done with your editing, you can export your finished podcast episode as an MP3 file, which you can then upload to your chosen hosting platform.
Audacity is a free, user-friendly software ideal for recording and editing podcasts. Compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux, it's easy for anyone to use, regardless of their tech skill level.
Emily Prokop has a good video tutorial for using Audacity as a podcast editor:
With Audacity, you can record live audio, edit sounds by cutting or mixing, and even improve audio quality with noise reduction tools. Its advanced features, like the spectrogram view mode, are there if you need them.
I’m a big fan of using Descript for podcast editing. It allows you to record and edit podcasts as if you were using a word processor by transcribing your recordings. This enables you to edit your podcast by manipulating the text, a unique feature that's super handy for podcasters.
While Descript offers a free version, it's somewhat limited, and you might want to consider their paid options for more robust features.
Descript is also the easiest way to create audiograms (short promotional video clips) for your podcast.