Audacity can be a fantastic audio recording and editing tool, especially because of its cross platform and open source nature. For example, you can make your own home music recordings with Audacity or use Audacity in ten other creative uses that you may not have thought of.
However, there may be a number of reasons why you do not wish to use Audacity, such as its lackluster interface, steep learning curve, or technical issues. If this sounds like you (or if you have any other reason for not using Audacity), there are a handful of great Audacity alternatives that you can jump right into, no matter which operating system you use. If you need help weeding out some of your options, here are four recommended tools you can use that are free and completely compatible with each other.
For a great alternative audio recorder, check out Apowersoft Free Online Audio Recorder (AFOAR). This nifty application is available as a Windows program for $39.99, or as well as a free hybrid of a Java-based web application and binary files which works under Windows and Mac OS X. If you choose to use the Java-based web application, you’ll need to click on “Run” to allow the application to work after you click on “Start Recording” from the website.
Using the application is rather straightforward — you hit the Start button to begin recording, and during recordings you can hit Pause or Stop. You can then save those recordings onto your computer and continue editing them using another application. While that doesn’t sound all too exciting, this application is actually very useful because it allows you to choose between different input sources. This means that not only can you choose between multiple microphones if you happen to have multiple ones connected to your computer at the same time, but you can also choose to record your system’s sound. This gives you far more flexibility in your recording options.
AFOAR allows you to save your recordings as MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, and WAV files. Because all of these file formats are so common, you can use them with any other audio editing software without issues.
Additionally, you can schedule a recording at a certain time. I’m not totally sure how this could be useful, but it’s nice to see included.
Taken together, the Apowersoft Online Audio Recorder will allow you to:
- Record sound via a Java-based browser app
- Reccord fromdifferent input sources, including multiple microphones or system sound
- Save your recordings as MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, and WAV files
- Schedule recordings.
Great, now you have a decent alternative to use when recording, but what about editing? If you’re looking for a capable yet easy-to-learn application for audio editing, look no further than the AV Audio Editor.
The interface is very nice and uncluttered so it won’t be too hard for you to find what you’re looking for. As the application is considered mid-range by the amount of features it has, you can’t expect too much out of it. However, you can look forward to:
- Simple tasks such as recording, cutting, copying, and pasting
- Different sound effects for you to apply to portions of your audio recording
- The ability configure how the application saves your final product, including the file format, codec, sample rate, channels, bits per sample, and quality level to determine file size
- Support for AAC, MP4, MP3, FLAC, APE, MPC, OGG, SPX, WV, TTA, and WMA files, which make it very useful.
Overall, the application doesn’t offer any killer features, but it’s a modest and trustworthy alternative to Audacity that gets the job done. AV Audio Editor is freely available for Windows.
If you’re looking for a more powerful audio editor, it’s well worth to check out Wavosaur. Although it has a rather funny name, don’t underestimate it for a second. This behemoth is the complete opposite of what AV Audio Editor offers; so it’ll be very difficult to use if you don’t know what you’re doing. This statement is further intensified by the fact that its interface is far more cluttered than that of AV Audio Editor.
With Wavosaur, you can:
- Multiple Channel Recording and Multiple Input Recording
- Do usual tasks of cutting, copying, and pasting
- Looping and other automation tasks
- Synthesize sounds and run many different analytical tools, such as (3D) spectrum analysis, sonograms, and input/output oscilloscopes
The higher end analytical tools produce some very interesting output that can give experienced users a wealth of information.
Although I know far less about what all of the graphs really represent, I do enjoy looking at the 3D spectrum analysis and moving it around to see it from all angles. Besides these, there are plenty of other tools available that give you more information and control that most users probably need.
Wavosaur isn’t quite as good as Audacity, as it is not cross-platform and misses a few other features such as amplitude envelope editing, change pitch without changing tempo, change tempo without changing pitch, floating point encoding, multi-track mixing support, vinyl emulation, and virtual software instruments. However, it’s nice to know that a relatively powerful audio application is available.
Wavosaur is freely available for Windows.
If you’re a Linux user, don’t feel left out! One of the best alternatives for you to try out is Linux MultiMedia Studio, or LMMS for short, which is surprisingly available for Windows as well. After looking at its feature list, you can tell that this audio editor is made more for song creation rather than generic audio editing. Features include:
- Song-Editor for composing songs
- A Beat+Bassline-Editor for creating beats and basslines
- An easy-to-use Piano-Roll for editing patterns and melodies
- An FX mixer with 64 FX channels and arbitrary number of effects allow unlimited mixing possibilities
- Many powerful instrument and effect plugins out of the box
- Full user-defined track-based automation and computer-controlled automation sources
- Compatible with many standards such as SoundFont2, VST(i), LADSPA, GUS Patches, and MIDI
- Import of MIDI files, Hydrogen project files and FL Studio ® project files
Of course, the application also records from numerous sources and supports MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, and WAV files to maintain compatibility with virtually all other audio editors. LMMS also comes with a very intriguing interface which, although not the easiest to master, provides lots of functionality.
These three tools should provide enough alternatives to Audacity’s recording and editing features. Choosing which one is best for you is as simple as knowing how experienced you are with audio editing — the Apowersoft Online Recorder is the easiest (and most limited) solution, while Wavosaur is the most difficult solution but also the most powerful. And even if these three don’t meet your needs somehow, there are still plenty of others available such as these 6 suggested Audacity alternatives, especially if you use a Mac.
What Audacity alternatives do you use to edit audio? Why do you like it? Let us know in the comments!