The 9 Best Free and Cheap Audio Editors for Mac
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Whether you want to make music, record a podcast, or just knock together a ringtone, you’ll need a good quality Mac audio editor. There are some amazing audio editors for Mac available that won’t break the bank. In fact, many won’t cost you anything at all.

So, from quick and simple apps to professional level tools, here’s our pick of the best affordable and free audio editing software for Mac.

1. Audacity

audacity audio editor mac

Audacity is the first audio editor that most people will stumble upon through a Google search. It’s an easy recommendation. It’s free and open source, has a fairly straightforward interface, and supports a massive number of file types, including MP3 and WAV.

You can record straight into the app (though not using instruments), or edit existing files. There’s an enormous number of effects you can use, a spectrogram for analyzing frequencies, and it supports high quality 32-bit audio as well.

Audacity is a fantastic starting point for anyone who needs a simple editor, but has enough power to grow as you become more experienced. The only downside is that it doesn’t support full non-destructive editing, so make sure you’ve got a backup of your original audio before you begin.

Download: Audacity (Free)

2. WavePad

wavepad mp3 editor mac

WavePad is another highly competent Mac audio editor that’s free so long as you’re only using it non-commercially.

It supports a large number of file types. It allows you to work on multiple files at the same time, and you can even batch process thousands of files at once. WavePad supports audio bookmarking, the usual range of effects and some text-to-speech and vocal manipulation tools to boot.

The multi-window interface takes a little getting used to, but as a free WAV or MP3 editor for Mac it’s well worth a look.

Download: WavePad (Free for non-commercial use)

3. OcenAudio

ocenaudio best free audio editor mac

A completely free and feature-packed cross-platform audio recorder and editor from Brazil, OcenAudio is another option for the budget sound engineer. The app supports a huge number of file types including MP3, FLAC, and WMA. It also supports various videos formats including the MKV container.

OcenAudio is often seen as the main alternative to Audacity. It has a similar feature set, but a much more refined interface that makes it super accessible. There’s also support for VST instruments, a range of effects, a fully featured spectrogram, and the ability to edit very large files without kissing goodbye to all of your Mac’s memory.

Download: OcenAudio (Free)

4. PreSonus Studio One Prime

studio one prime free

For the best free audio mixing software look no further than Studio One Prime. It’s a free version of a professional suite that would normally set you back $399.

You can create or mix music with the built-in effects, instruments, and loops. And it’s just as good for recording and editing podcasts and voiceovers. It takes some time to find your way around the interface—let alone master. But if you’re willing to invest the time Studio One Prime has got everything you’ll need in a free package.

Download: PreSonus Studio One Prime (Free)

5. Avid Pro Tools First

pro tools free mac

Pro Tools is the industry standard for audio production. Pro Tools First is a free, stripped down taster for new users.

It’s feature rich but a daunting proposition, with a complex interface and steep learning curve. It also needs a more powerful computer than the other apps we’ve listed here. There’s a big limitation on free users—you can only save your files to the Avid cloud servers, and you can only have three projects on the go at once.

Pro Tools First is overkill if you’re only looking to edit your podcast. But if you want to try your hand at recording and mixing music you won’t find better free sound editing software.

Download: Avid Pro Tools First (Free)

6. GarageBand

garageband wav editor mac

Finally, as far as free audio editors for Mac are concerned, don’t overlook the app you’ve already got installed on your machine… GarageBand.

Although it’s designed primarily as a tool for making music, the app works as basic audio editing software. You can record directly into the app, or import and edit existing recordings. It’s a decent option for podcasters, too, with voice-optimized features built in.

For more, see our guide detailing how to use GarageBand.

Download: GarageBand (Free)

7. Reaper

reaper audio editing software

On to the paid options, and at $60 Reaper is at the upper end of what we’d class as a cheap audio editor. But it comes with a very generous 60-day free trial, so you’ll know whether or not it’s for you long before you have to stump up any cash.

And the signs look good. Reaper is loved by its userbase. It’s a small download, and much lighter than the likes of Pro Tools First. It supports all common file formats at whatever quality you need, and you can use free VST plugins 12 Free VST Plugins Every Musician Must Have 12 Free VST Plugins Every Musician Must Have Virtual Studio Technology makes music production easier than ever, and these free VST plugins are the best of the best. Read More , making thousands of instruments and effects available.

What it lacks compared to similar commercial products is a sound library. But the internet is packed with thousands of freely downloadable samples you can use to build your own.

Download: Reaper ($60)

8. Adobe Audition

adobe audition mac

I know what you’re thinking—no Adobe products are cheap! It’s true that using Audition long term will set you back hundreds of dollars. But if you’re just working on a specific project and you want the best, you can pick it up for a month for a little over $30.

Adobe Audition is a popular choice for all types of audio editing and mixing. It’s great for music and podcasts, and even integrates with Adobe Premiere Pro so you can create soundtracks for your videos. There’s very little it can’t do and very few file types it doesn’t support.

Adobe has even produced a full range of tutorials to get you up and running straight away—in terms of functionality, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Download: Adobe Audition (Subscription from $20.99/month)

9. Fission

fission audio editing software mac

Fission is an audio editor that focuses on fast, lossless editing in a neat and stylish package. The app comes with a decent free trial which provides unhindered access to all functions, except for one thing: audio files are saved at lower quality.

Fission has a long list of features including batch editing, simple waveform editing, support for FLAC and WAV (among others), and the lossless editing of already-compressed MP3 and AAC files. You can batch convert from one file format to another, while a handy Podcasts panel makes it easy to package your broadcasts to share online.

Download: Fission ($35)

More Mac Software for Creative Types

It’s surprising just how good the free or cheap audio editors for Mac are. There are apps in this list that are suitable for anything, from quick 5-minute jobs to launching your recording empire. However, if you’re planning to use one of these apps to start a podcast, make sure you invest in the best podcasting equipment first.

Apple’s macOS has always been the platform of choice for creative types. If video is more your thing, check out the best free macOS video editors The 8 Best Free Video Editors for Mac The 8 Best Free Video Editors for Mac Need to edit video on a budget? These free Mac video editors let you perform essential video editing tasks at no cost. Read More to get started.

Explore more about: Audacity, Audio Editor, GarageBand, .

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  1. Prizm
    September 29, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Check out Acon Digital's Acoustica (version 7 onwards). It has been completely redesigned and now has a Mac version. I was looking for a replacement for Audition on PC, and after trying so many wave editors, Acoustica 7 was the most promising. I have now switched to Mac, so will be taking the Mac version for a spin.
    A huge bonus is that it doesn't look like shareware from 20 years ago (Audacity).

  2. Rob B
    March 24, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Hi,
    I am looking for an app that can cut a MP3 in many MP3 automatically based on the silences between the words. Each MP3 will then gets it own id.

    IMac El Capitane, no experience in audio editing

    • Treatment
      July 31, 2016 at 4:37 am

      Rob B:
      What you are asking to do is a Two step process, and you are not going to be able to do this on the cheap.
      First, you need a proper DAW like Logic or Digital Performer. These are EXPENSIVE, but they WILL isolate the silent bits automatically without you having to do this by hand.
      Second, if you want the tagging, you need a Batch Editor, like Adobe Audition. Which will tag all of those bits for you.
      Treatment

  3. Zorglub
    January 24, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Wavepad is NOT free. You get a demo that allows you to save/export a very few file. To continue saving, you MUST by the full edition. If you don't, all your work is LOST !!!
    :=( (

    • Tim Brookes
      January 28, 2016 at 3:58 am

      That's interesting, I'm quite surprised to hear that as the software states that it is free for non-commercial use with "most" of the features of the full paid version.

      Have you tried using AppCleaner to remove and reinstall to reset any "trial" period?

      Tim

    • a
      January 1, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      Don't select the main download link. Instead use the link to the free version buried in the text.

      • Zsolt Kúti
        December 29, 2017 at 8:45 am

        I do not know what's going on there, but all the links point to the same apparent file "http://www.nch.com.au/wavepad/wavepadmaci.zip". However what is downloaded is a dmg file and the installed version finally is a version with limited capabilities after some trial.

        • Zsolt Kúti
          December 29, 2017 at 2:35 pm

          Oops! I have to correct myself. The links are different. Although the link of the file showed by the browser is misleadingly "zip" and the files downloaded have the same name, BUT the free version instance eventually works as advertised.

  4. Paul
    November 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I cant believe Adobe are trying to charge customers per month for using software? who came up with that pricing model? It wouldn't be so bad if the pricing was sensible, but $20 a month? this needs to be nipped in the bud, and Adobe need to go back to selling products not renting them out! Ridiculous!

    • David
      May 18, 2016 at 2:40 am

      I am finally able to enter the digital photography field because of the Adobe CC subscription based model. I am sure you have good reason for objecting, but I get immediate access to thousands of dollars worth of software for an extremely approachable fee.
      I believe you can still purchase all their products as always, but the CC model lets the the working class have access too.

  5. Ralph
    March 13, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    I've used Audacity in the past for simple audio conversion and slice & dice, but I've upgraded to Yosemite 6 months ago, but I see there's still no OSX 10.10 support, so I've just downloaded & installed WavePad to give that a try and I have to say it looks better then Audacity.
    Seriously the GUI, the icons and the waveform of Audacity looks like it's some crappy Windows software.

  6. Morph Mode
    January 1, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    I have been doing DSP for over 35 years. I remember back in the day before wav files even existed and it was all just raw data. These days, I mostly edit by frequency (spectral editing) instead of amplitude. David Johnston created Cool Edit, then pro before Adobe bought them out. I get free copies from SW companies all the time. I sandbox them all and I must admit that Adobe has kept their word to David that his foundational CEP program will always be the best. Because of the plugs available, Audition is way ahead of them all. I can not only transpose vocal pitch, but I can also manipulate depth, width, and length of the vocal cavity. I know and understand why Wayne Newton sounded like a girl when he was young and I give credit to Adobe for that. Other wav editors cant even come close to that, and many other intricacies that you can do like using plugs to manipulate algorithmic sets to make your edits way over the studio standard. Even if it's only me that can hear these differences. Adobe Audition might cost substantially more money, but you get what you pay for. Just because I am sponsored and get Adobe Audition cost free means nothing. I never asked them for sponsorship, and they know I could care less if they sponsor me or not. As of this 1st day of 2015, Audition IS the best wav editor for single track editing. I use it as my wav editor for Reaper, which I use as a multitrack editor. Adobe is also OK for mastering although I personally prefer doing that task with outboard hardware type gear. Happy New Year! Morph Mode

    • Tim Brookes
      January 2, 2015 at 1:47 am

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. I definitely agree – in terms of features Adobe takes the gold. It's just the way it goes when you've got a dedicated following who are happy to pay top dollar for your products! At least these days we can "rent" Creative Cloud for about $20 per app per month...

  7. Ethan W
    July 27, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Mote of a DAW than a simple wave editor, but Reaper is also a pretty amazing value: http://www.reaper.fm/

  8. Claire
    July 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Are you aware that "five-finger discount" means theft, usually shoplifting? Your use of the term to refer to "free for non-comercial use" is a bit disconcerting.

    • Tim B
      July 24, 2014 at 12:34 am

      Indeed I am, it was only meant as a play on the idea that home users really should be paying quite a sum for what WavePad offers, considering the software costs around $70 for a standard licence. It felt a bit like I was robbing the developers as I downloaded it for free, because it's quite a powerful bit of software.

      Hopefully this article was still useful to you.

    • Claire
      July 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Yes, thank you! I've used several DAWs, but having had several upgraded out from under me (wanting a re-purchase) I've been looking for lower-price alternatives. This article got me to download ocenaudio, and so far, I'm impressed!
      BTW, several DAWs have iOs versions. TwistedWave is one. There is an iOs WavePad, but apparently the integration to the desktop is not terribly good (hearsay; I haven't tried it.) Might be a topic for a future article.

  9. DJ Row row
    July 23, 2014 at 9:28 am

    That should read *for Linux :)

  10. DJ Row row
    July 23, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Hi, have you got a similar article planned or Linux?

    • Tim B
      July 24, 2014 at 12:35 am

      I do now :)

      Duly noted – we will see what we can find!

  11. DJ Sam Soul
    July 23, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Thanks for the reply. WavePad does work (and is also on the iPad), but I will be using it for commercial use and desktop suite integration makes it a bit cumbersome.

    Honestly, OcenAudio may be the one. I learned about it from the comments section.

    It's incredible because I need very little from the program, as I am only editing the timeline of .wav or .aiff files that are already premixed. I'll be putting OcenAudio to the test tonight!Thanks again for the article.

    • Tim B
      July 23, 2014 at 3:12 am

      Thanks Sam, all the positivity towards that software has prompted me to download it and I must say I'm impressed. I have now added it to the article just after WavePad, hopefully we can spread the word about a hidden gem.

      If you come across any more quality freeware audio tools on your travels, do let us know!

      Cheers, Tim

  12. DJ Sam Soul
    July 22, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Good article. I've been looking for a replacement for Cool Edit Pro 2.1 for about 10 years. Audacity is not really an adequate replacement, and there is no way I am paying $20+ a month for any software. I've actually had to install Windows XP just to use Cool Edit because the Wine emulation suffers from latency issues. SMH, SMH.

    • Tim B
      July 23, 2014 at 12:16 am

      CoolEdit Pro makes me feel all nostalgic, as if you couldn't tell from the many mentions in the article.

      Does WavePad (Lite) do the trick for you? That or Fission – it might be $30, but unlike Adobe's solution it's a one-time fee and the developers are a small but dedicated little team.

  13. Anonymous
    July 22, 2014 at 6:16 am

    OcenAudio is free and runs on Mac. It's very slick for a free offering and meets all my needs managing my sample collection when i don't want to open Ableton up. Has the added bonus of metadata handling too. Worth a look!

    • Tim B
      July 23, 2014 at 12:18 am

      Thanks for the recommendation, never heard of it nor did it appear in my searches. Good to know!

    • Tim B
      July 23, 2014 at 2:39 am

      This has now been added to the article, thanks. I've had to credit you as an "anonymous MakeUseOf reader" though :)

  14. Matt
    July 22, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Don't forget Ardour. Inexpensive and arguably the most powerful editor in the no- to low-cost category.

    • Tim B
      July 22, 2014 at 3:43 am

      I tried Ardour but for the life of me I couldn't work out how to perform simple wave edits. I can see it being good as a budget DAW if you know what you're doing, but it's probably one of the least user-friendly bits of software I've ever downloaded!

      For the effort involved, Audacity is the better choice.

    • Matt
      July 22, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Agreed. If you're not coming from a DAW background or something like Pro Tools or Logic, Audacity is much more accessible, but they're definitely in two different classes.

  15. bshell
    July 22, 2014 at 1:22 am

    To Tim B: you are wrong about this for GarageBand 11, which is pretty new. See Apple Support document http://support.apple.com/kb/PH2008?viewlocale=en_US "To import an audio file: Drag the audio file you want to import from the Finder into the timeline, to the empty area below the existing tracks. A new Real Instrument track is created, and the audio file appears as an orange region in the track." You can import many kinds of audio files to GarageBand.

  16. bshell
    July 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Doesn't Apple's native Garageband come for free? It used to. I'm pretty sure that you can edit sounds and do a lot more with it. Also, there's QuickTime, which I believe comes free on all Macs. It can do basic sound file editing.

    • Tim B
      July 22, 2014 at 12:47 am

      You used to be able to edit audio with GarageBand by dragging WAV/MP3 files onto the dock icon. Alas, no longer can you do so. It's strange that Apple actually removed this functionality, but according to Google it's been gone for a few years now :(

      You're right that QuickTime can perform simple edits, though this essentially amounts to trim. Nice to know though!

  17. Gustav Speed
    July 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    What I want is an audio editor that can splice out certain segments. An analogous example would be to cut oot commercials from a TV show. Do any of these do this?

    • Tim B
      July 21, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      So you just want to select, delete the segment and save? Audacity or WavePad will do the job just fine in this instance :)