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The Best Audacity Alternatives for Recording Your Podcast

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The Best Audacity Alternatives for Recording Your Podcast

In recent weeks, long-loved free audio recording and editing software Audacity has experienced a serious fall from grace. After being acquired in April 2021 by the Muse Group, recent changes to Audacity’s privacy policy have triggered claims of privacy breaches, the inclusion of spyware, and misuse of user’s data. 

Despite Audacity’s insistence that these accusations are unsubstantiated, many of its users are (understandably) abandoning ship and searching for an alternative. Luckily, there are many well-regarded alternatives to Audacity which fit the bill or even exceed expectations. In this guide, we’ll look at the best alternatives to Audacity, and why making the switch is easier than you might think. 

TL;DR 

  • Audacity is a free and open-source audio software that you can use to record and edit your podcast 
  • Podcasters like Audacity for its versatility, affordability, and its multi-track recording 
  • The best free alternatives to Audacity are Garageband and Ocenaudio 
  • The best-paid alternatives to Audacity are Riverside.fm and Hindenburg Journalist 


What is Audacity? 

Audacity is a free and open-source audio software 

Audacity is one of the most popular audio recording and editing software out there. It’s open-source software and is so popular, in part, because of its community background. It was developed by a group of volunteers, has always been available for free download, and is yours to do with it as you please. 

Audacity is a recording and editing software 

Using Audacity, you can record live audio using a microphone or mixer or your computer playback on multiple tracks. 

You can import sound files, mix and/or combine them, and edit audio. 

Why do podcasters use Audacity? 

Audacity is popular for a reason, there’s no denying that. Here are some of the advantages of recording your podcast using Audacity: 

Audacity works across Windows, macOS, Linux, and other operating systems 

Whether you have an Apple computer or a Windows laptop, Audacity will work for you. This is great if you’re collaborating with colleagues who don’t work with the same operating system as you. 

Record and edit your audio using the same software 

The ability to record and edit your audio in the same application is convenient and a huge time-saver. 

Record live audio, computer playback, or import pre-recorded audio files. Using Audacity, you can then edit your tracks, trim and normalize your audio, and add effects. 

Audacity records your audio on separate tracks 

Audacity automatically records your audio inputs on separate tracks which makes editing during post-production far easier

Small-sized software package 

Downloading Audacity won’t take up excessive storage space on your computer and won’t require too much processing power to run. 

Affordable & easy to use 

Audacity is available to download for free, which makes it a great option for those with a smaller budget. 

It’s designed with users in mind, meaning its interface is intuitive and straightforward. No specialist training or expertise is needed. 


Why shouldn’t you use Audacity? 

Unable to include remote guests in your podcast 

Although Audacity is great if you have a home studio set-up, it’s a pretty standard recording software in that remote guests are not that easily included. In a COVID-19 world, the ability to record with far-flung participants is a must. 

Limited editing capacity 

Although the ability to record and edit your podcast using the same program is attractive, it means you lose out on more extensive editing tools. If you’re in podcasting for the long run, you might find this limiting. 

Bugs in the Audacity program 

Many users complain of bugs that slow Audacity down or even render it quite unstable to run. 

Privacy Concerns 

If you’re concerned about protecting your data, it might be time to move away from Audacity. As we’ve mentioned, recent changes to their privacy policy stipulate that Audacity can collect users’ personal data to use for improving their software. Not only that, but they can also share data with local authorities and law enforcement. 

Outdated interface 

Despite being easier to use than many of its counterparts, the aesthetic design and layout of Audacity’s interface do feel a little dated. 

To maximize its functionality, you’ll need to download third-party plug-ins 

Audacity is open-source and in some senses, incomplete. If you’re looking for additional features, someone may have created a plug-in, but you’ll have to download it. 

The Best Alternatives to Audacity 

In the wake of the recent scandal, and with some of Audacity’s disadvantages in mind, many podcasters are looking for an alternative. Here are the best Audacity alternatives: 

Free alternatives to Audacity 

Ocenaudio

What: Cross-platform audio editor 

Price: Free download 

Pros
  • Free to download and use, great for those on a budget. 
  • Available for all operating systems, so whether you have a PC or Mac, you’ll be able to use Ocenaudio 
  • ‘Lightweight’ software that is quick to run 
  • Easy to use and intuitive interface 
Cons
  • Unable to do multi-track editing
  • Unable to include remote guests 

Ocenaudio vs. Audacity 

Since both Ocenaudio and Audacity are free to download and cross-platform, they are fairly similar.  

Overall, Audacity offers more features, but Ocenaudio is easier to use. 

The biggest pain point for podcasters with multiple participants is the inability to edit multi-track audio with Ocenaudio. 

Garageband

What: Apple’s music creation studio application, with desktop and phone/tablet applications

Price: Free with Apple devices 

Pros
  • Easy to use and intuitive interface. No industry or professional knowledge is needed to get started with Garageband. 
  • Large pre-loaded media library. You’ll find sound effects, riffs, and more. 
  • A plethora of virtual instruments. Garageband comes loaded with all sorts of virtual instruments 
  • Record multi-track audio. Your only limitation is your audio interface. 
  • Supports multiple file formats so you can export your recording as an MP3, WAV, or any other file format that suits you. 
Cons 
  • Not available for PC users 
  • Lack of advanced features. Garageband can feel quite basic, so may not be the best option for studio standard podcasting
  • Difficult to adjust and optimize your audio 
  • Unable to include live remote guests 

Garageband vs. Audacity 

On balance, Garageband is easier to use than Audacity because it requires less time to get comfortable with the interface. 

However, unlike Audacity, Garageband is exclusive to Mac users and is not open-source which means there’s far less scope for customization. 

If you enjoy creating your own podcast transitions and sound effects, you’ll want to use Garageband for its extensive range of virtual instruments. 

Wavepad 

What: NCH’s audio editing software Wavepad is available on  Windows, Apple, Android, and iOS devices 

Price: Free download unless using for commercial purposes - $49.99 with VST support 

Pros
  • Robust editing tool kit 
  • Easy to use and intuitive interface 
  • A wide array of audio effects like normalization, amplification, echo, and reverb 
  • Pre-loaded sound fx to amp up your podcast 
  • Speech synthesis enables you to translate text into speech 
  • Supports VST plug-ins 
  • Spectral analysis, just like Audacity, allows you to carry out detailed analysis of your audio 
  • Supports a variety of audio formats 
  • Batch processing setting that allows you to edit multiple files at the same time 
Cons
  • Cannot include remote guests 
  • To record multiple tracks, you need a software extension 

Wavepad vs.Audacity 

Wavepad is a highly competitive alternative to Audacity. It offers the same, if not more, than Audacity for free (unless you’re a commercial customer). 

If you’re looking for a free alternative to Audacity, Wavepad is probably for you. 

Wavosaur

What: Free audio editor 

Price: Free download 

Pros
  • Wavosaur is free to download and use, great for smaller budgets 
  • Available for Windows XP, Vista 7 - 10 
  • Super ‘lightweight’ software coming in at below 1 MB 
  • Advanced editing features - auto-trim, remove or insert silence
  • Batch processing saves time by allowing you to convert multiple files at once and apply VST effects in bulk 
  • Multi-document interface allows you to work on multiple projects simultaneously 
  • Supports VST plugins (Virtual Studio Technology) to integrate software synthesizers
  • Supports MIDI controllers 
Cons
  • Not very user-friendly 
  • Cannot include remote guests 

Wavosaur vs. Audacity 

Given that Wavosaur and Audacity are free to download, they are fairly similar.  

Wavosaur perhaps offers more advanced editing abilities but excludes Apple users. 

The ability to work on multiple projects at the same time may be attractive to serial multi-taskers or prolific podcasters. 

Paid alternatives to Audacity  

Riverside.fm 

What: Riverside.fm is a browser-based recording studio that allows you to record your podcasts and video interviews in full HD wherever you are.

Price:  Starting from $7.5/month 

Pros
  • Include live remote guests. Riverside allows you to record with your podcast guests wherever they are in real-time 
  • Browser-based software, so there is no need to download an application to get started. 
  • Easy to use and intuitive interface. Riverside is designed with the user in mind, so there is no barrier to entry and very little learning required. 
  • Easy to publish your podcast. If you’re happy with your recording and only want to make a few small tweaks, do so with the Magic Editor and then export your podcast for publishing. 
  • Supports video and audio recording in full HD. Ensure your podcast is studio quality from the get-go. 
  • Audio inputs are automatically recorded on separate tracks. Every individual participant (and any media that you include) is recorded on a separate track for easier editing. 
  • Mediaboard so you can include sound effects and media in your live recording. Use one of the pre-loaded media or upload your own. 
  • Automatic progressive upload. You do not have to worry about losing your precious recording if your internet cuts or your browser crashes. Riverside.fm automatically progressively uploads each participant’s recording as you’re recording, so your risk of data loss is minimized. 
  • Producer mode allows you to live-produce your show as you record without your production team forming part of the audio recording 
Cons
  • Limited editing capacity. If you’re looking to record and comprehensively edit your podcast using one software, Riverside.fm may not be for you. 
  • Not as affordable. Riverside’s subscription model may be out of some podcasters’ budgets. 
  • Requires an internet connection. Being browser-based means Riverside.fm needs an internet connection to work. 

Note: As each participant is recorded locally, a weak internet connection will not affect the quality of your or your guests’ recordings. 

REAPER

What: REAPER is a complete digital audio production application that allows you to record, edit, process, mix, and master multi-track audio. 

Price: $60 for discounted license and $225 for commercial license 

Pros
  • Efficient, fast to load, and reliable. 
  • A small program that doesn’t take up too much storage space 
  • Customizable with plugins and extensions so you can make your Reaper interface work for you. 
  • Multi-track audio recording 
  • Supports a wide range of audio formats 
Cons 
  • Limited editing capacity may not be sufficient for some podcasters  
  • The REAPER Interface is not very user-friendly 
  • Cannot include remote guests 

Reaper vs. Audacity 

The biggest difference is that Audacity is free whereas you have to pay to use Reaper. 

Both Reaper and Audacity are highly customizable to the individual, so if you know what you need, this is something to bear in mind. 

As is often the way, however, you get what you pay for. Audacity loses out to Reaper in this respect, since Reaper boasts far more advanced features and functionality. 

Adobe Audition 

What: Adobe’s professional digital audio workstation (DAW) for recording, editing, and mixing your podcast. 

Price: $20.99/month 

Pros
  • Stable and reliable to run. Even during long recording or editing sessions, Adobe Audition will run smoothly. 
  • High-quality sound engineering
  • Intuitive workflow (once you’ve got the hang of it)
  • Industry-standard editing suite with extensive editing tools  
  • Supports multiple audio formats: MP3, WAV, AC-3, AIF, AIFF, AIFC, AAC, HE-AAC, CAF, FLAC, PCM, OGG, WMA and more. 
Cons
  • Adobe Audition has a steep learning curve that may alienate beginners 
  • Expensive subscription model which may price out those with a smaller budget 
  • Cannot include remote guests

Adobe Audition vs. Audacity 

The most obvious difference here is the price. Adobe Audition is available for a steep monthly subscription compared to Audacity which is completely free. 

Adobe audition’s interface is more modern and sleek, versus Audacity’s which is comparatively dated. 

Audacity is beginner-friendly and easy to use, whilst Adobe Audition will require some getting used to. 

If you haven’t got the money to spare, Adobe Audition may not be worth it. That being said, if you’re a professional podcaster, the likelihood is you’ll be needing the more professional setup that Adobe audition offers. 

Hindenburg Journalist 

What: A multi-track audio editor specifically designed with podcasters, audio producers, and radio journalists in mind. 

Price: Basic costs $95 and Pro costs $375 

Pros
  • Designed with Podcasters in mind which means its features are tailor-made for you. 
  • Available for both Windows and macOS 
  • Intuitive interface that is easy to use 
  • Multi-track recording 
  • Easy podcast publication. Publish your podcast directly from the Hindenburg Journalist application
Cons
  • Expensive. Even the basic edition costs just under $100, which for some budgets may be a stretch too far. Ideally, you’ll be using the Pro version, which again may be beyond your budget. 
  • Unable to include remote guests easily, although the Pro version has an integrated Skype call recorder. 

Hindenburg Journalist vs. Audacity 

Hindenburg Journalist is designed specifically for podcasters, which means you’ll find its features and functionality are right up your street. 

Although Audacity wins on pricing, Hindenburg Journalist’s basic version is not badly priced for what it offers. 

MixPad

What: MixPad is a Cross-platform multitrack recording and editing software 

Price: $79.99 

Pros
  • Affordable and perfect for all budgets 
  • Easy to use for those just starting out in podcasting 
  • Unlimited multitrack recording 
  • Pre-loaded music and sound fx library. Add compression, EQ, reverb, and more. 
Cons
  • Very basic editing suite that professional podcasters may find to be too pared down 
  • Cannot include live remote guests 
  • Expensive for what it is 

MixPad vs. Audacity

Although MixPad is an affordable alternative to Audacity, its limited editing tools and basic interface aren’t worth the price. 

In this case, Audacity offers a lot more for free. 

Twisted Wave

What: Audio recorder and editor with Mac and iOS applications as well as a browser-based version 

Price: $99.90 

Pros
  • Browser-based if you need. You can run Twisted Wave online without downloading anything 
  • Available as an app for your iPhone or iPad for recording on the go. 
  • Easy to use and quick to run, though slightly dated, Twisted Wave is accessible for beginners 
  • Powerful editing tool. Using Twisted Wave you can record, master, equalize, compress, limit, and more. 
Cons
  • Dated interface, the application itself looks and feels dated 
  • Cannot include remote guests 
  • Expensive for what it is 

Twisted Wave vs Audacity 

In a toss-up between Audacity and Twisted Wave, we’d say Audacity wins. For the price, Twisted Wave doesn’t offer anything revolutionary, whilst Audacity is customizable and free! 

Audacity vs. Riverside.fm 

Riverside.fm enables you to include remote guests, record everyone in full HD, live mix, and is easy to use. When compared to Audacity, we don’t think you’ll find any better alternatives. 

The only barrier to entry, perhaps, is the price point. We may be biased, but the production quality offered by Riverside.fm is far superior to that of Audacity and makes the price worth it. 

How to record a podcast with Riverside.fm

Recording a podcast with Riverside.fm is extremely easy: 

  1. Login to your Riverside.fm account 
  2. Click ‘new studio’, give your studio a name, and select your recording type 
  3. When you’re ready to record, click ‘go to recording studio’ 
  4. Check you’re happy with how you look and that Riverside.fm is picking up the correct mic and camera, then click ‘Join Studio’ 
  5. Once you’re in the studio, if you haven’t already, invite your participants 
  6. Your guests simply have to click on the URL to enter your recording studio 
  7. When you’re ready, click the red ‘Record’ button 
  8. Once your session finishes, click ‘stop recording’ and you’ll find your recording in your dashboard. 

Watch this tutorial for a full walkthrough of how to record your podcast using Riverside.fm 

FAQs about Audacity 

Is Audacity the best free software? 

Many podcasters swear by Audacity, always have and always will. For what’s it offers, it’s pretty amazing that it is available for free. 

That being said, as we’ve seen, there are some pretty competitive free Audacity alternatives, such as Garageband and Ocenaudio, that may catch your eye. 

Is Audiotonic the same as Audacity? 

The short answer is: kind of. Audiotonic is based on Audacity, but rebuilt for Windows 10. Audiotonic offers everything that Audacity does, so there is no difference, really. 

What is Dark Audacity? 

DarkAudacity is another customized version of Audacity. The biggest difference is the aesthetic of the user interface, which as the name suggests is darker. There are also minor changes to the layout and other functionalities. 

Find out more about the differences between Dark Audacity and Audacity in this article. 

Can I use Audacity without downloading it? 

No, you need to download the Audacity application before using it. 

What is the best online, cloud-based alternative to Audacity? 

Riverside.fm is the most obvious contender for being the best online alternative to Audacity. Though its editing capabilities are minimal, Riverside.fm enables you to record with remote guests in full HD whilst integrating audio effects and media. 

What are the privacy concerns surrounding Audacity? 

Recent changes to Audacity’s privacy policy now suggest that user data can be shared with its Russia-based infrastructure company, as well as regional law enforcement.  These changes have led to concerns about data protection and privacy, prompting many users to leave Audacity. 

What are the best alternatives to Audacity? 

As we’ve seen in this guide, there are a plethora of Audacity Alternatives out there. 

Plus, we couldn’t even cover all of them: Ardour, FL Studio, and Sony’s Sound Forge Audio Studio are also competitive options. 

Is Audacity a virus? 

Following the aforementioned accusations, users are far more skeptical about how secure Audacity actually is. However, you can rest assured that Audacity is not a virus.

Final Thoughts  

Audacity has captured the hearts of nearly 100 million users around the world for some time now. It’s popular with podcasters and musicians alike for its non-existent price tag combined with a robust recording and editing suite. 

However, some might say Audacity is now past its prime. Its outdated interface and basic functionality are overshadowed by the offerings, such as including remote guests, of alternative recording software such as Riverside.fm. 

Plus, with recent events, even the most devout Audacity users may now be turning their heads in search of an alternative. There’s no better time than the present. Try Riverside.fm for free today with our free trial - you won’t look back. 

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