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Audacity is the most well-known name in free audio editing. Not only is it open source software, and not only has it been around since 2000, but it’s effective at what it does and can be used for more than just editing audio.

There’s nothing wrong with Audacity, and we recommend giving it a try if you haven’t yet. It’s popular for a reason and you should only look for an alternative if it’s buggy, crashy, or you’ve tried it and just don’t like how it feels.

Fortunately, if that’s the case, alternatives do exist. Here are some of the best ones we’ve found.

1. ocenaudio

audio-editor-ocenaudio

Available on Windows, Mac, Linux.

ocenaudio is a tiny, lightweight, and fast audio editor that’s based on the Ocen Framework, which is a powerful cross-platform library that standardizes the manipulation and analysis of audio. In short, that means ocenaudio performs well and remains stable no matter which OS you use it on.

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Because it’s so slim, you probably won’t want to use it for editing-heavy projects like music production. However, if you just want to record a monolog or an interview — as would be the case for a podcast, for example — then ocenaudio is actually quite good.

Think of it as the Microsoft Paint of audio editing: perfect for quick and easy cropping and splicing, but not so great when you need to do something more complex.

Downloadocenaudio (Free)

2. Wavosaur

audio-editor-wavosaur

Available on Windows.

One downside to Audacity is that you can’t edit multiple projects at once. I’m not talking about importing multiple audio sources and mixing them together — Audacity can certainly do that — but if you want to work on several different audios at once, you’re out of luck.

That’s one of the big draws of Wavosaur: a multiple document interface using tabs. It also comes with a handful of advanced features (e.g. auto-trim, silence remover, crossfade looping, export regions of audio, etc.) and solid support for VST plugins.

It’s a little harder to learn, but not by much. The only true downside is that Wavosaur is neither cross-platform nor open source. At least it’s 100% free.

DownloadWavosaur (Free)

3. AV Audio Editor

audio-editor-av-audio-editor

Available on Windows.

AV Audio Editor is almost like a hybrid between ocenaudio and Wavosaur, if you will. It’s like Wavosaur in its robust audio editing features, support of all common audio formats, and the ability to edit multiple files at once, but it’s like ocenaudio in its simplicity and ease of use.

One drawback is that AV Audio Editor doesn’t have a built-in recording feature, but you can just use AV Audio & Sound Recorder for that. Not only is it free, but it’s advanced enough to record from multiple microphones and audio sources at once.

DownloadAV Audio Editor (Free)

DownloadAV Audio & Sound Recorder (Free)

4. WavePad

audio-editor-wavepad

Available on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS.

WavePad is a professional-grade audio editor that feels like a suped-up version of Audacity. On top of all the basic editing features you’d expect, WavePad supports all kinds of effects, compression, batch processing, scrubbing, bookmarking, analysis, and VST plugins.

And all of this power is made easy to use with a straightforward (albeit messy) interface. Mobile versions are available, but we recommend sticking with the desktop one whenever possible. WavePad is completely free to use for personal use — you’ll only have to buy it if you intend to use it for commercial purposes.

DownloadWavePad (Free, $60/$99 editions)
DownloadWavePad for Android (Free)
DownloadWavePad for iOS (Free)

5. Adobe Audition CC

audio-editor-audition-cc

Available on Windows.

Adobe Audition CC is absolutely amazing as an audio editor, but I would only consider it under one of two conditions: one, money is of no concern whatsoever, or two, you’re a digital artist, graphic designer, or photographer who already has a full Creative Cloud subscription.

Adobe Audition CC is a precision editing app, providing a bunch of neat features and tools for cleaning up audio, restoring poor quality, implementing effects, and mixing multiple sources together. It’s perfect for podcasting, sound design, and even music sampling.

But is it worth the monthly recurring cost? Maybe… only you can decide that. The best value would be to get the full Creative Cloud plan, which costs $50 per month and comes with 20+ apps, including Audition, Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and more.

DownloadAdobe Audition CC ($20 per month)

6. Ardour

audio-editor-ardour

Available on Windows, Mac, Linux.

It’s hard to find high-quality creative apps on Linux, and the realm of audio editing is no exception. Even in this post, the only Linux-available app so far has been ocenaudio, but what’s left for you if ocenaudio is too barebones of a solution?

Ardour is a solid bet. It can record from multiple microphones and audio sources, it can edit waveforms in a broad number of ways, it can splice and mix multiple waveforms together, and can be expanded using the hundreds of plugins available to users. Perfect for composers, musicians, and sound engineers, but may be too complex for simple podcasts and quick audio fixes.

Note that Ardour has an unusual pricing structure. The free version periodically goes silent after 10 minutes, which is enough time to let you try the app but also enough of a nuisance to get you to buy the product. To buy it, you pay what you want — any amount, even as low as $1. If you pay $45 or more, you get access to all upgrades for life.

DownloadArdour (Free Demo, Pay What You Want)

What’s Your Audio Editor of Choice?

Windows users certainly have it easier than Mac and Linux users, but the good news is that options do exist for all platforms. Sticking with Audacity would be the easiest path because the user base is so big, but if you really can’t stand it, hopefully one of the apps above will work out for you.

What don’t you like about Audacity? Which alternative looks most pleasing to you? Are there any good audio editors that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

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