Now that you’ve decided you want to start podcasting; you’ll need to have the right podcast editing software to record and make it sound right. It used to be you needed a recording studio with analog equipment to record audio, but the rise of personal computers has changed the scope of audio engineering entirely. Your computer is likely powerful enough to record, edit, and export a podcast and otherwise achieve what previously took thousands of dollars of physical equipment and recording gear. All it takes is a little bit of software.
What is a Digital Audio Workstation?
A Digital Audio Workstation or DAW is the type of software used to record, edit, and generally manipulate audio on a computer. There are a range of options to suit a variety of different environments from a modest home recording set-up to a state-of-the-art professional recording studio and everything in between.
DAWs come in all different forms. Some are tailored toward recording while others are designed for producing music. Some DAWs are very expensive and will be an all-in-one solution while others are free but may have limiting features. However, if the DAW of your choice has a few basic features such as basic audio recording, editing, and exporting, you’ll be ready to start producing your podcasts.
Adobe Audition is a fantastic tool that is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Easily considered an industry standard for radio, broadcasting, and podcast production, Audition is jam-packed with every single feature you’ll need and a whole lot more you’ll probably never need to use. You can purchase either a single license or the entire creative suite which includes popular photo-editing software Photoshop and other popular tools for creative professionals. Another great benefit of Audition is their batch-processing feature which allows you to quickly edit large quantities of audio files.
Audacity is free and a great choice if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the sleek functionality of a more comprehensive audio editor such as Audition or Pro Tools. Audacity is 100% open source and volunteer-driven which means it is free, will always be free, and has a huge community of users and information. But of course, the downside is that there is not the same level of comprehensive functionality that a for-profit company with teams of developers can offer.
Pro Tools is widely considered the industry standard in the music recording industry. While newcomers have come a long way to disrupt the dominance of Pro Tools, it’s still highly likely that you’ll find Pro Tools on the computer of any major recording studio. While Pro Tools is a fantastic choice for producing a podcast, if you don’t already own a license, it’s likely overkill for your needs.
If sound design and/or music production is your thing, Reason has you covered. Built on a unique ‘rack-based’ UI design that mimics the look of real rack-mounted recording studio equipment, the possibilities for sound design and audio processing are highly modular and dynamic. If your show relies heavily on sound design or sound effects, Reason is a great and easy tool for beginners and experts alike to quickly make new sounds on-the-fly with a range of virtual instruments.
Ableton Live is another DAW popular with DJs due to the powerful looping and sequencing features offered. Though great for DJs and loop-based music production, Ableton also has everything you need to record and edit your podcast. Ableton Live is priced from $99 (Intro) to $750 (Suite) which makes it highly scalable with your needs. You can try the full Ableton Live Suite ($750 value) free for 30 days, but keep in mind that if your free trial expires and you purchase Ableton Live Intro ($99), there will be a noticeable decrease in features, such as a 16-track maximum.
If you’ve ever owned an Apple computer or visited an Apple Store, there’s a good chance you know what Garage Band is. Amazingly enough, this iconic tool you’ve probably forgotten all about can be used to record and edit your podcast! Garage Band also exists as a free mobile app on iOS if you plan on recording your podcast on the go.
While all DAWs essentially serve the same purpose, a way to record and manipulate audio files, their features can vary. The most important thing is to be comfortable with your tools. If you have any prior experience using an audio editing tool, your best bet is to stick with what you’re most familiar with. If you’ve never worked with audio before or feel like you’re outgrowing your existing tools, consider hiring a podcast production company to take care of recording, editing, and more so you can focus on what matters most to you.