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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!

  1. Glenn Herrick
    December 5, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    On my Mac I've long used and recommended Sound Studio. Versatile and user-friendly, excellent support. I have tried Audacity, had no complaints, just no motivation to abandon SS.

  2. ThomasAnderson
    December 5, 2016 at 3:25 am

    I have used AV Audio Editor and can confirm that it is free but still can do some complicated editing.
    I download it to merge some files and add some effects, it has some use-able effects there (they are quiet good as for my standard).

  3. Henry
    December 5, 2016 at 3:21 am

    AV Audio Editor is actually more amazing than I thought. It's the first software I tried in this list.
    I am not a pro editor but this tool can solve my need for some advanced editing (to me at least).

    This software provides some pro editing tools even though being a free. Anyway, if you look for a simple tool and some pro audio effects with a free price then this may suite your need.

  4. Jimy
    June 8, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Thank you, I'd like to use audacity but it crashes on me all the time on Ubuntu, so this helps.

  5. Haneef Syed
    January 7, 2016 at 8:55 am

    At present i am using Audocity, I am in search of a software, which can remove vocals from the Audio, completely or atleast to the very minimum level to creat karaoke track. I want to change to such software if available.

  6. johnyb.
    December 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    That is all garbage. No one is like a Cubase-Steinberg.

  7. eah.dwyer
    September 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Um, no. It would fit the definition that something offering MORE than Audacity would be an alternative.

    Not that it's a good definition. Just be careful about what you say.

  8. steve
    March 29, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Almost a useful article, but a totally pointless premise.

    You start by stating that Audacity is a useful and popular free open source audio editor, and then go on to compare it with non-free, commercial, closed source software, most of which are DAWs (digital audio workstations) and NOT audio editors. Using a DAW when you need an audio editor is just as pointless as using an audio editor when you need a DAW.

  9. brian
    February 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

    The reason I need to switch from Audacity is that it does not support virtual audio streaming. I hope one of these does! Thanks!

  10. microbee
    November 6, 2012 at 5:25 am

    On Linux you should also try Ocenaudio and Calf.

  11. Nikhil Chandak
    October 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    seems similar to audacity ....
    but I hv Audacity so .. I don't want these

  12. Rick
    October 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Soooo...These programs are either Audacity clones or provide features not available in Audacity (DAW's, etc). Why would they be considered alternatives? If you need something to do what Audacity does, just use Audacity.

    • Joel Lee
      October 26, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Using your definition, NOTHING would be an alternative to anything.

      • eah.dwyer
        September 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm

        Um, no. It would fit the definition that something offering MORE than Audacity would be an alternative.

        Not that it’s a good definition. Just be careful about what you say.

  13. Scutaru Razvan
    October 26, 2012 at 10:51 am

    good to know!10X

  14. Anonymous
    October 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    sweet :) now I'm really digging this.

  15. Asriel Allolinggi
    October 23, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Ardour is one of the Complex Audio Editing Tool..:-)

  16. Jim
    October 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Nice list. I may try some of the Linux programs. RecordForAll has been good. No advertisements. With the audio files, FeedForAll has worked well for creating podcasts.

  17. Vivek Kumar
    October 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    nice post

  18. Boni Oloff
    October 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Great alternatives.. They are very good to edit MP3..

  19. Palle Paulsen
    October 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Sounds very interesting, download and now on with the tryout

  20. Anonymous
    October 21, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Awesome. Audacity is alright in terms of technical performance, but I always felt like it could be more...user-intuitive. It would have helped me get started with recording much more easily. Definitely going to try one/all of of these alternatives.

  21. Seasider UK
    October 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I use Audacity to transfer vinyl to CD via a USB turntable do any of these applications have a USB capability?

    • Joel Lee
      October 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Yikes! That's a little advanced for me, so I can't give you a guaranteed answer. You could try looking at the features pages on the more advanced alternatives, like LMMS, Traverso, and Ardour.

  22. Rodolfo Santillan
    October 19, 2012 at 1:50 am

    i usually use Audacity...very easy to use...fast loading...nice & simple UI.

  23. Tom Dawson
    October 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    This looks great

  24. dr john
    October 18, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I've used Total Recorder for about 10 years now.
    Very inexpensive, simple, and very reliable (it has never failed to record anything I've tried it on)
    It may not look as flashy as some of these other programs, but it works well for me.

  25. c smith
    October 18, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I like audacity. But is useful to know of other worthwhile alternatives which I will check up on asap. Besides although similiar in nature each has something to offer that may be useful in the future . I keep a file of such alternatives as a fallback. Plus other commentators often have valid and useful information.

  26. Keith Swartz
    October 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Awesome! Very awesome!

  27. RecordForAll
    October 17, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Really appreciate the mention of RecordForAll if anyone has any questions on its functionality or if we can help in any way please let us know!

  28. Nguyen Tran
    October 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Verry useful, thanks!

  29. Ben
    October 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Where's Reaper? Reaper is one of the most over looked DAW's on the market. It has a similar "you should pay for this but we're going to allow you all the features of the program" kind of like Win RAR (little message with a countdown before you start the program). Besides that, it runs VSTs like a champ, and has a very simple and intuitive UI. Plus, it's made by the guys who made WinAmp!

    Very surprised to see that Reaper did not make this list. I'm an audio engineer and could never get used to the simplicity of Audacity. It's not enough for someone like me who wants complete control of a multi-channel EQ without this terrible looking UI that looks like it was made in 1992. Audacity is good for what it is, but if you want a more professional DAW without shelling out a ton of money, Reaper is where you should look.

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      I saw Reaper in my search for Audacity alternatives, but I think I was put off by its price tag so I never checked it out. Good to know that it has an unlimited free trial, though. Being made by the guys from Winamp is a good endorsement, too. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Oron Joffe
    October 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Excellent list and very good comparison. Personally, I oscillate between using Audacity (great, but a bit slow, and project files are clumsy) and Wavosaur (smaller and faster, but I find it less intuitive).
    Also deserving mention is WavePad from NCH software. You can pay for it or download a free version which comes with what one may call harrass-ware, shortcuts to other NCH apps that exhort you to download (and pay) for them. These are very annoying, but it has to be said Wavepad is a very fine editor.

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      Harrass-ware, ha! That's a good name. I'll check out WavePad on your recommendation. Thanks.

  31. Ritwick Saikia
    October 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    How can you get bored with something that just works?? Audacity is just right for what it's meant to do and that's sound editing.

  32. Harshit Jain
    October 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Ardour looks terrific but still I am quite used to using Audacity for making some ringtones for my phone and editing some songs.

  33. Harry Barnes
    October 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    audacity is still the best though :)

  34. Mostafa
    October 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Really a good topic and good alternative topics too

    • Mostafa
      October 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      ** and good alternative programs too

  35. Ahmed Khalil
    October 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

    very nice and useful , thanks for this information

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      You're welcome!

  36. Chew Jian Yue
    October 17, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Amazing. I was looking for alternatives to it too, since I am getting bored with Audacity.

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      If you find an alternative that you really like, let us know how it goes. :)

  37. Mac Witty
    October 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

    On Mac I have been using Audacity and WireTap Studio (not free) for a long time and have not found any reason to change. When looking for a free alternative for a friend I ran into Soundflower and Soundflowerbed (http://code.google.com/p/soundflower/) together with Audacity.

    Not recording very much but next time I might take a look at Traverso DAW and Ardour - even if it might be a bit of overkill

  38. Deekshith Allamaneni
    October 17, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I did not find any compelling reason to look for an Audacity alternative. Audacity is the best for me (and most others too).
    RecordForAll costs as high as ~ $40. Whats so special about it that other free alternatives lack?

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      If you're perfectly satisfied with Audacity, then don't feel any pressure to change. Use what you like! :)

  39. Partha Sarathy
    October 17, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Iwas looking for recording software to use in Linux. thanks for the timely tip

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

      Glad we could be of help. :)

  40. Declan Lopez
    October 17, 2012 at 2:03 am

    nice, i might try lmms

  41. Brian Mok
    October 17, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Linux MultiMedia Studio seems really awesome. Might try it out sometime.

  42. Edwin Williams
    October 17, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Aye, I've always used Goldwave if I needed to trim some audio. I'll have to check out some of these other ones though!

  43. Félix S. De Jesús
    October 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    My best Alternative is Goldwave.

    • Joel Lee
      October 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      I hadn't heard of it but I'll check it out. Thanks for sharing!

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