Editing music and audio files comes with its peculiarities. While lucky shots are easy to make; just press random buttons till something sounds good; they’re also likely to be taken by someone, and thus possibly being unavailable due to copyright laws. It takes genuine skill and perseverance to learn how to express your creativity with a bunch of buttons on a screen. Fortunately, people developing apps for the purpose take ease into account along with other factors, and produce gems you can download free or purchase online. Let’s cover a few such audio editing apps today.
A good audio editor isn’t necessarily easy to use; there are several qualities that we think makes audio editors stand out of the crowd. For example, a software with a multitude of options, a small size or open source, or perhaps one that processes edits and additions lighting fast; all of these can be real perks to a music maker. So check out these 9 best audio editing software that we think edit your music better than any others.
1. FL Studio
I had no choice but to place FL Studio at the very top of this list because of how expansive the sound library is. There is a sound effect for basically every sound you come across, and so someone animating a movie or editing a YouTube video should find it just as useful as someone who professionally designs music. The software allows you to modify your sounds with all their parameters independent, so you will find beats that can be tweaked independent of the tempo as well as a superior pitch modulation. Apart from that, the app bears the familiar features of the genre; the MIDI, the button-based interface and the dark, matt finished layout that makes you think you’re working on an actual studio machine. There are a lot of free and paid tutorials available online by independent content creators, so that’s a plus.
Price: $99-$899 (depends upon the version)
OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10
It is important to note here that we reviewed the Premium version of Magix Music Maker. Bad reviews you might find online are mostly for the free version, which is naturally less equipped.
The reason Magix Music Maker fared inferior to FL Studio is because it requires you to download instruments after you’ve installed the core program, which can be a bit inconvenient especially if your internet connection isn’t all that speedy. But once downloaded, each instrument is quite a suite of sound, with many sounds to choose from that can be further diversified and made unique using all the tweaks the software affords you. Magix Music Maker is among the most superior options available for PC users. It is certainly better than Sony Music Maker which was incidentally acquired by the same company not long ago. The price might discourage some though. There are free options in the list thankfully. Read on to find which.
OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
Among the best options as an Audio Editor for iOS (especially iPad) is Amplify’s Groovebox. The simplicity of the app’s methodology for making music is its USP. The drumbox has some pretty cool loops that can be enjoyed independently just as much as with a synthesiser track you can get from the Poly tab. You can make your own beat arrangement using the standard keyboard interface as well, or by tapping the screen to mark the placement of a particular instrument sound at any place in a loop. Things can be hard to grasp at first because of the UI. But once you get a hang of the software, making a pretty sounding track is child’s play.
Price: Free with in-app purchases
OS: iOS 10+
In terms of number of options for editing a given audio file in any single software, I say Adobe Audition is the most exhaustive software in the market currently. The primary focus of the software is more appropriately placed on the audio modulation than on adding tracks. The voice tuning is superior yet simple. Abode software are not particularly known to be beginner friendly, so we’re glad this app breaks the mould. Adobe Audition is a good audio editing software for Mac and PC users, since the interface is largely click based. The filters could have been more detailed; many other apps offer a greater variety in that sphere. But with the degree of tweaking and adjustment afforded by the app, I don’t think it becomes particularly restrictive.
Price: $240 per year
OS: Windows 7+, Mac
5. Pro tools
Avid’s Pro Tools is certainly impressive. It is virtually like using a real studio tuning machine, but while that affords a lot of audio editing functionalities, it pushes up the learning curve. There are quite a few dials and buttons in Pro Tools that might scare off a newbie. The app is almost exclusively built for experienced music editors. The drums are well arranged, and the beats and notes are easy to follow in their respective tracks along with audio tracks. Avid’s Pro Tools is almost like an amalgamation of AutoTune and Garageband. It is among the best Digital Audio Workstations available online, and it is openly aimed for the professional audience, going by the steep price. Don’t opt for this software if you’re only looking for a tool to learn and practice your music on. However, if you’re in the music industry with some editing experience in the past, you might find the software quite sufficient to make your music sound exactly as you intend it to.
Price: $24.99 per month
OS: Mac, Windows 7+
LMMS began as Linux MultiMedia Studio, which became sort of inconvenient to say as you can imagine. From the initial release back in 2004, the app has come a long way, being now available in as many as 20 languages. The app was among the very first DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) to get this popular, and the appeal is understandable. The fact that LMMS is free just blows all competition out of the water.
Speaking of performance, the most recent release, LMMS 1.1.doesn’t disappoint. There is minimal frill. The interface is easier to get comfortable with, especially from the point of view of beginners. Editing is simple and straightforward. Not a lot to complain about, really. A little bit of customisability could have helped the software, or perhaps buttons to perform repetitive actions.
OS: Windows, Mac, Linux
7. Sound Forge
Sound Forge Audio Studio 12 came out in August 2017, so a lot of the latest features are fresh out of the oven. The buttons are thankfully larger than most other apps and softwares, and the pastel touch to the color scheme makes it a lot easier on the eyes. Everything is customisable though, including the appearance. The explorer tab helps you quickly load the file you want to add to your project, without needing to tolerate pop-ups. The Regions list tab lets you mark your tracks to quickly figure out where a music track ends, for example, so you can quickly jump to that section later. It saves a lot of time when you’re editing a long music file. You can record audio using a microphone straight through the app, and add markers right then to indicate a point to tweak later. The DAW is also comfortable to use for beginners. A good option for people looking to record and upload high quality podcasts.
OS: Windows 7, 8, 10
Everyone’s heard of Audacity I’m sure. This is perhaps the best free audio editing software across the internet, and it is not hard to see why. It is an excellent open-source audio editor and can also help you record. In fact, Audacity has been surfacing as the choice recording software for a big segment of creators. Audacity does not limit the number of undos you can perform on your project. The effects and filters are certainly pro-level. The noise reduction feature however is a bit weak in the original, and you might need to look for a good mod to find one that fits your purpose.
OS: Windows, Mac, Linux
9. Logic Pro X
Logic Pro X came out quite a few years ago, but it remains a pretty great Audio Mixer Software that works for most users. The buttons and the LCD-esque digital screen is pretty helpful. This is significant; the interface and sample library were pretty big improvements from Logic Pro 9. New tracks and interface optimisation have been introduced since, with not as much increment in ease, but I don’t want to be pedantic. The app costs a bundle, but it is still a good option given it is owned and operated by Apple; company support is always a good thing to have, especially with Apple’s superior customer care.
OS: Mac OS
Care to know my personal favorites? I love LMMS and Logic Pro X, and Audacity when I’m working on a Windows PC. I’m excited to try out Windows’ very own Groove Music Maker which Demo-ed recently. I didn’t expect it to come out in the Fall Creator’s Update, and I don’t expect it in the next, say, 2 updates, since making a truly exhaustive DAW should take a good amount of time. What are your thoughts on DAWs? Let me know in the comments.
It was tough to compile this post and judge all professional Audio Editing Software without biases. I must thank reddit’s Audio Engineering Community and the forums on MIDI Association which I cruised for a bit. If you think I got something wrong, you’re welcome to shoot me a message on the page’s contact page so I can edit the information.