Audio recording is something that applies to a lot of people for a lot of different purposes. The layman may want to record something like a shopping list or capture their professor’s lecture at a University. For those people, they may want to get a well-featured app on a mobile device.
Then there are those who seek to record podcasts or music and need a desktop application that allows them to tweak and adjust their recordings until they sound as amazing as possible. There are of course many apps for that as well.
Here in this article, we’ll cover ten of the best audio recording tools, applications out there. These applications fall into both of those categories and a wide variety of price points, applying to all levels of need by professionals or amateurs.
OS: Windows, Mac, Linux
The king of free audio editing is also the king of free recording. Audacity can record from any mic attached to your PC. You can even adjust the recording so that it sounds just right, just like the professional alternatives.
OS: Windows, Mac
Audition is of course also capable of recording audio just as it is a fantastic editing program. You can choose your recording preferences, and away you go. If you’re already invested in the Adobe suite of apps, Audition would be a worthwhile addition to your arsenal.
Price: Free or $4.10 to unlock additional features
If you like to record on the go using your mobile device, RecForge II is one of the premiere, most feature-rich recording apps available on Android. It can be a bit daunting for those new to audio recording, but it’s by far much stronger than free, essential recording apps out there. The basic version includes essential recording and support for tons of different audio codecs. Premium unlocks additional goodies.
Presonus Studio One
Price: Many versions from Free up to $450
OS: Windows, Mac
Presonus Studio One will give you what you want if you know what it is that you want. Different versions from free up to professional level will be sure that you get the features you need without overpaying for stuff you won’t use. The problem is, of course, that you might not know what you need. That’s why it’s hard to recommend this one for beginners, but it’s still a solid choice. This app even supports direct exporting to SoundCloud for podcasters.
OS: Mac, Linux
Ardour is another open source free DAW suite available for Mac and Linux. This one supports the ability to import video, non-destructively edit, and more. It, however, does not have any built-in synth instruments or effects.
Those running Linux will find this impressive. Unfortunately, it’s not available on other platforms. It has some drawbacks, but this one finds its strength in people looking to work with MIDI sounds. It can also recognize musical notation, which is a huge boon for those working with music.
OS: Mac, iOS
Garageband is an excellent and cheap recording suite available for Mac and designed by Apple themselves. Garageband is more than enough for the casual recorder, and its synth and editing capabilities will even aid you in taking it all to production. Of course, it’s built around music, but it could be used for voice as well. iCloud support is also awesome for those in the Apple ecosystem.
For those running Windows 8 or 10, the included Voice Recorder Windows Store app is more than enough for simple recording. It doesn’t provide much regarding features, but for those just needing to record some quick audio, it gets the job done without the hindrance of difficult to navigate features.
Hangouts on Air
Hangouts on Air is designed for those wanting to live stream to YouTube. It can, however, be an excellent way to record a podcast remotely. Just leave your live stream unlisted, and you can record in studio quality, something not offered by Skype, and it will automatically upload to your YouTube account when you’re done. You can then download it as an MP4 and pop it into your favorite audio editor for cleaning and cutting.
Audio Memos is another mobile recorder exclusively for iOS devices. It has some great features, making it applicable to a lot of different purposes. It can be used for everything from recording a podcast to recording a lecture or recording your shopping list. You can share recordings via email, search and filter your saved recordings, write over portions of a recording, set markers, and adjust quality. Some of the features may be a bit tough to get used to for some, but once you learn them, this is easily the best choice on iOS.