Runner-Up: Mixcraft 9 Windows, $75+
Also Great: Avid Pro Tools Windows/macOS, $599+
Are you an ambitious musician or singer who wants to record a high-quality demo of their music? Do you believe that you have a future in podcasting? Would you like to capture the conversations with your friends on Skype or other apps?
These are only some of the reasons why you need a voice recording program. It is why we decided to select the top 10 best audio recording software for PC and offer a detailed review of these tools. Keep reading to find the most suitable app for your requirements!
WavePad Sound Editor is famous as the best audio recording software for PC out there. It offers a fine balance between simplicity and powerful features. The interface is user-friendly and easy to use, but the tool can do wonders with audio capturing and editing.
Another great choice for those seeking a professional tool is Mixcraft 9. This advanced audio capture software offers numerous functions and supports a wide range of formats and top sound quality. You can also edit the recordings and add various sound effects to them.
Avid Pro Tools is another famous name among musicians and in the audio recording industry. The app offers a comprehensive tool for everyone who wants to exhibit their creativity and talent. From recording and producing to editing and mixing your audios, this software is surprisingly potent.
Keep reading to find detailed reviews of these and other voice recording software solutions to pick a suitable solution for you.
Part 1. What is Audio Recording Software?
The name is quite self-explanatory since this software allows you to record audio. That audio could come from various sources – it could be your voice, a band playing instruments, streamed audio from the internet, chatting via apps, etc.
The tool will capture the audio and then allow the user to save it in different formats. You might also have the option to edit the file to add sound effects, trim audios, etc.
Part 2. Who Should Get an Audio Recording Software?
Audio recording software is suitable for both amateur and professionals. As long as you are interested in sound recording, editing, and post-production, you can benefit from these tools.
Here is a quick overview of some situations when you might need a voice recording app:
- A singer or musician who wants to record their jams with the band (or friends)
- A podcast host who wants to stream high-quality audio
- A group of friends that wants to record their conversations on Skype or other apps
- Businesspersons who want to keep recordings of their meetings
As long as you have the need to record high-quality sound, these tools become a valuable asset in your collection!
Part 3. How We Tested and Picked the Best Audio Recording Software in 2020
It is not easy to pick the best recording software for PC, especially if you are a professional and have high demands. Here are the features that our experts considered when reviewing tools:
- Supported formats – the formats for saving and recording your audios might vary from the standard MP3 and OGG to less-known formats.
- Recording quality – most tools allow mono and stereo recordings from multiple channels. Useful functions also include adding sound effects over your audio, recording over or simultaneously with existing audio, etc.
- Editing functions – you should be able to delete unwanted sections of an audio file easily, as well as cut and copy the audio as you see fit.
- Simplicity – even if the tool is the most advanced out there, it should still be fairly simple to use.
- Reliability – the apps shouldn’t be prone to crashing so that you wouldn’t lose your recordings.
- Sample rate and bit depth – professionals understand the importance of impressive bit depth and a high sample rate. Depending on the tool, these capabilities will vary, but they are crucial to delivering optimal sound quality.
Best Choice: WavePad
After extensive testing, we picked WavePad as the best audio recording software. But this is far more than a usual audio capturing app because it is actually an all-around sound editor. It supports Windows and Mac, and it comes with a wide range of available formats. Those range from OGG, M4A, and 3GP to MPGA, ASF, and AMR. It is worth noting that conversion between the formats is available, but you can only convert to a limited number of formats.
Here is an overview of the features provided by the WavePad audio editing software:
- Sound editing – from cutting and deleting sounds to compression and auto-trim, you can choose from a wide variety of functions.
- Audio restoration – click pop removal and removing noise easily are among the features available.
- Audio effects – equalizing, normalizing, amplifying, and adding other effects is possible with this sound editor.
- Sample rates – mono to stereo from 8 to 32 bits and sample rates from 6-192 kHz are all supported.
The tool can also edit audio in video files, as well as process multiple files at the same time with the Batch option. VST plugin available in the Master’s Edition unveils thousands of extra effects and tools.
Is WavePad Free?
Yes, the basic version of WavePad is free. Once you download it, it also includes a two-week trial of the Master’s Edition features. If you want to keep the advanced features in the program, you will need to purchase a license.
Here are the three subscription plans you have available:
- Standard Edition – a license costs $39.95, and it includes all premium features except SFX library and VST plugins.
- Master’s Edition – the advanced edition of the software with the SFX library and the price of $69.95.
- Quarterly subscription – you also have the option of purchasing the Master’s Edition on a quarterly subscription that costs $16.50. That equals $5.50 monthly.
Does WavePad Really Work for Audio Recording?
As you could see from the feature list, WavePad has numerous useful features. However, since we are looking for the best recording software for PC, let’s take a look at how that area works.
Once you install and run the program, here is how your main screen should look:
As you can see, the interface is quite simple. It shouldn’t be a problem to find the desired command. Now, if we want to make a new recording, we need to create a new track first. You can press the usual CTRL+N shortcut or click on the “New” icon in the ribbon bar at the top.
That will open a blank track that is available for recording. At the bottom of the screen, you have commands similar to a video player. Click the famous Rec icon to initiate a recording. Alternatively, you can also press F5, which is a shortcut for that command.
Once the recording is initiated, you can start talking, and WavePad will record the audio.
As you can see, the central part of the screen will show the waves recorded by the audio capture software. That is convenient to know everything works right, and it is also useful for editing later. The bottom part now features a timer that is moving. It indicates how long you have been recording in that particular session. At the bottom right, you will notice commands to pause and stop the recording. Press the Square button to stop the recording.
The interface is very responsive, and the tool works smoothly. We tested it for hours, and it didn’t crash a single time. That makes it trustworthy and reliable when you want to record or work with audio files.
Once you stop the recording, an option to play it will appear.
The red line that appears across the waves will indicate the current position in the video. As you listen to the file, the line will move to the right. It is quite a standard approach for this type of tool. The bottom part now allows you to return to the beginning or go to the end of the track, or rewind and fast forward the recording as it suits you. Basically, you have total control over the file.
If you take a look at the ribbon bar at the top, you will find “Options” as the icon at the right. If you click it, the Options for the entire tool will appear. Feel free to look around because WavePad offers plenty of opportunities to adjust the app to your needs. As for the recording-related options, pick the “Recording” tab to access them.
The bottom part of the screen is related to recording settings. You have the option for the tool to delete silence from the end of the recording automatically. That is convenient when you need to go to the PC to stop the recording, and the trip takes several seconds.
You can also tick Voice Activated Recording. If this is on, the noise will activate the tool’s recording feature. That could include your voice, music instruments, and any other noise. You set the silence threshold, and the tool only tapes at levels above it.
The top part of the Recording options tab allows adjusting the recording devices. If you want to record audio, you want to choose the microphone you have connected.
You can click on the Open Windows Record Mixer to check out the list of recording devices.
After picking a suitable device, click on “Properties” to adjust its sound levels.
The Levels tab will allow changing the level as you see fit. Feel free to do some testing until you find the optimal balance.
WavePad makes the recording process simple, even if you are a newbie, and you haven’t used tools like this before. The product has the standard, but also advanced editing features. It provides an easy way to capture audio and edit it. It is also safe, reliable, and comes with a responsive and user-friendly interface. All those are reasons why you can’t go wrong if you pick this audio recording software.
Runner-up: Mixcraft 9
Mixcraft 9 is a tool that aims at musicians who want a high-quality recording of their tracks. The sound engine is fast, and the support for third-party equipment is admirable.
Here are the main features of the program:
- All-around recording options – that includes recording virtual instruments and actual audio, as well as cropping, editing, and adding various effects.
- More than 7,500 loops in the library – everything you might need for various genres is included in the sound palette.
- Effects and instruments – from equalizers to filters and reverbs, the list of effects are impressive. As for sampled instruments, you can find synthesizers, rock organs, etc.
- Mixing and mastering sounds – whether you want to change tempo, add or edit lanes, this tool makes it possible.
You can download a two-week trial to test Mixcraft 9 and see if it fits your needs. After that, you can choose between a Recording Studio and Pro Studio premium versions. The features depend on the edition that you pick. The program requires at least Windows 7 and 8GBRAM, which might be a bit demanding. On the positive side, the manufacturer secured free loops that you can take from the official website.
Here is how the interface of Mixcraft 9 looks while the tool is active:
Here is the important thing to note – Mixcraft 9 comes with a learning curve. It is an advanced and professional tool that offers a wide array of options. It takes some time and effort to get to know them all. The critical thing is that this voice recording software gives you numerous editing functions. That is why it is worth to learn how things work as you will be positively surprised by the level of control over your audios.
Before you start recording, you need to prepare the hardware for it. Once you make sure recording hardware and drivers are ready, you can “arm” a track. That means getting the track ready by pressing the “Arm” button. You can also use CTRL+B shortcut.
Now, you should also select the recording device and input. Mixcraft 8 allows choosing between various inputs simultaneously. For example, using a single input for Stereo involves choosing the device and picking Stereo as the desired input.
You can also record multiple tracks at once. Pick one device as the Left Channel, and another for the Right Channel. It is a very convenient feature, but make sure that your sound device supports it.
The central part of the interface now shows the recorded file. You can see the tempo and record input levels above that section of the screen. The default tempo is 140, but feel free to change it if necessary.
You have three recording modes available:
- Takes – if you are playing with a band and you want to record multiple takes at a song, this is a convenient mode.
- Overdub – you will hear the previous recording while making a new one.
- Replace – the new recording will delete the old one automatically.
Other useful features also include Punch In/Out and Loop Recording. Mixcraft 9 also allows you to record MIDI tracks. Overall, the software is advanced and professional. The interface is a bit cluttered, but the app is reliable and a great choice for those looking for a versatile sound editing solution.
Also Great: Avid Pro Tools
Avid Pro Tools is another example of fantastic audio recording software for PC. The graphics and interface will remind of working in a studio, which is convenient for musicians and other professionals.
Starting a new track for recording is easy. All you need to do is to pick “Track” from the top menu and select new. The program will ask you if you want to record a mono or stereo audio, and it is also possible to choose MIDI tracks.
Now, take a look at the Window menu, and choose Mix.
Here is where you can find tracks and pick the desired settings. You will need to consider the sources you plugged in, which requires a bit of technical knowledge.
Once everything is ready for recording, go ahead and press the Record button. It is the red one you know from other devices and apps. Another important adjustment is to set the input gain for optimal recording.
Use the track meter to test the gain. You want it to be in the green and turn yellow only for loud noises (yelling, etc.).
The Transport section is where you will record and browse through your video as you see fit. It should be on the main interface, but you can also access it by choosing Window, and then Transport.
The options are rather standard since you can record and stop the recording, as well as return to the start and play it.
We tested Avid Pro Tools for a while, and it seemed reliable. It is a bit complex to work with until you get used to it, but it is a powerful app. The developers enable a starting editing set available for free, but Pro Tools Ultimate is the right choice if you want access to challenging post-production of audio files.
Competition and Comparison
Adobe is a world-famous brand with Photoshop, probably the company’s most popular tool. However, they also developed solutions for various purposes, and Audition focuses on sound editing.
The toolset has a wide range of features for editing, restoring, cleaning up audio recordings, and adding effects to them. You can record audio, join and edit vocal recordings, repair, and restore content to fit your needs. Adobe Audition is also integrated with Premiere Pro, which allows the editing of audios from video files.
Sound Forge Pro 14
Sound Forge is a tool that has been around for over two decades. Over time, it acquired a prestigious reputation in the world of audio recording. Sound Forge Pro 14 supports sampling rates of up to 76kHz/64-bit, which makes it easy to record top-quality audio.
The audio recording software supports up to 32 channels. You can initiate recording with a single click, and the program also offers a threshold recording option. The waveform will assist in orienting yourself and editing the audio effortlessly.
Zynewave Podium is available for Windows, and it offers to record MIDI and audio files, as well as editing them. You can record multiple audio and MIDI inputs at the same time, as well as use loop recording and fade in and out effects.
The range of editing options is impressive, and the program is fast and intuitive. The user interface is customizable, which is convenient to suit the tool to your needs. The tool doesn’t have demanding system requirements and is suitable for Windows 7 through 10.
The secret of i-Sound Recorder lies in its simplicity. Instead of searching for audio devices and drivers, the program is ready to start recording immediately. It uses speakers or another default playback device, and it supports 24-bit and 96kHz recording modes. That is not the quality as in some advanced tools, but it should more than enough for most users.
You can compress audios to save space on the device. Supported formats include FLAC, WAV, OGG, MP3, WMA, etc. The program allows scheduling a recording, as well as activating it with your voice.
Here is interesting vocal recording software that focuses on capturing audios from various sources. The interface of Audio Highjack is quite simple, and even the beginners will appreciate the clean layout. It is worth noting that this app is available for Mac systems.
The program allows you to capture audio from apps like Skype, but also to choose the desired input device. Picking the output format is also an option, and you can even immediately stream audio to the internet. Integrated effects allow you to add some oomph to your recordings.
Audacity is an open-source program that supports Linux, Windows, and Mac. It is both simple and powerful at the same time. You can record files easily, mix multiple audios, save them as various supported formats, etc. The available sound quality is 16 to 32-bit, which is more than decent for a free tool.
You can use a mixer or microphone to record with Audacity. It is also possible to capture audio streamed online, as well as dub over existing recordings. Deleting, copying, and adding effects is easier because of the waveform and spectrogram view modes provided.
Ocenaudio is another free tool available on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac. Everything you might expect from a basic audio recording software for PC is there, including a spectrogram, real-time effect preview, and editing multiple selections of a file at once.
The top menu allows you to initiate recording, as well as see the timestamp and edit volume and quality. Everything is user-friendly, and Oceanaudio is a great tool for amateurs.
The good news for all those who want to capture audio is that you have a wide variety of tools available. If you are a beginner who wants to experiment with capturing sounds, a free vocal recording software might be enough. However, if you are a musician or another professional and need the highest recording quality, you need the best audio recording software on the market. Make sure to choose accordingly, and you will find that these apps provide excellent value for money!