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Updated Apr 12, 2022 1:34 PM

Everyone has a podcast these days. Your mom, your mom’s friends, your mom’s dog, and your mom’s dog’s friends have a podcast these days. With so many options, how do you rise above the noise, keep listeners engaged for longer than 30 seconds and, hopefully, attract sponsors one day? You have a great idea, you’re an excellent conversationalist, but then you get the interview and (gasp) and the sound is dodgy. The hum of the air conditioner and fluorescent light bulbs pull you out of the moment. Even worse, you said the wrong date mid-sentence. Don’t freak out. Post-production is where the magic happens. With the right podcast software, you’ll still have an incredible show on your hands by the time you’re done.

How we selected the best podcast software

After getting several hours of hands-on experience with a professional engineer, conducting interviews, and editing the audio under various studio and field recording conditions, we’re highlighting programs that are capable of producing pro-quality results. We chose these five apps based on their intuitive qualities, and their ability to render great sound while editing a recording you captured—even if you didn’t drop your whole paycheck on the best microphones, mixing headphones, and/or voice recorder.

What to consider when shopping for the best podcast software 

Good podcast software empowers you with the ability to accentuate, minimize, or straight up kill the noise while boosting what you want your audience to hear. Does your podcast software allow for clean cuts, crossfades, and blends? Does your podcast software have a great selection of the audio filters that are key for your use case? Remember, your mouse has a hair-trigger when you’re producing and engineering your session. The slightest tremble leaves a mark on your sound waves, and editing your own edits can put you in a world of stress. This is your legacy and you want it to be great. No, you want it to be better than great. To feel good while you’re recording, you need to go in knowing you have the tools you need to succeed.

Is all software created equal?

Short answer? No. Some programs are primarily for cleaning up raw interviews, others let you nip and tuck your curated components, while others have what it takes to record, edit, and even compose your own incidental music. But in the end, the best podcast software doesn’t have to be the most expensive soup-to-nuts program on the market, just the one that you’re the most comfortable using.

What does it take to start a podcast?

It’s easy to start a podcast with little-to-no experience or overhead cost. You could record a simple show with your iPhone and a pair of headphones. For a beginner with no audio production experience, I’d suggest starting with one of the great free digital audio workstation (DAW) apps, like Audacity or Apple’s GarageBand. They’re basic, but will help sharpen your editing skills, and prepare you for more sophisticated programs later on. 

But don’t sweat the small stuff too much at first. Remember: Content is king. That’s what keeps listeners coming back for more. If the content is strong, people will put up with a rough edit as you learn the ropes. And the best podcast software empowers you with the ability to accentuate, minimize, or straight up kill the noise while boosting what you want your audience to hear.

The best podcast software: Reviews & Recommendations

Finding the best podcast recording software, the one that suits your workflow, will help you turn a good podcast into a great one. There are countless ways to record, edit, and post your podcasts, but finding an editing program that fits like a glove isn’t always an easy task. So we’ve highlighted 5 of the best podcast software recording tools to get you started on the path toward your first Pulitzer.

Best free podcast software: Audacity

Audacity

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Why it made the cut: Audacity is the best free podcast program for learning how to edit podcasts. It’s free, so easy to learn you don’t even need to read the manual.

Specs

  • Free, open-source software
  • Unlimited audio tracks
  • Full mixer view

Pros

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Smooth stereo recording
  • Intuitive audio file editor
  • Holds its own against pricier competitors

Cons

  • Needs better plugin support
  • Long lag or break when opening the software
  • Editing and effects options are limited
  • Open-source, so no real support available

It’s hard to go wrong using Audacity for any kind of audio recording. It’s an incredibly powerful option for a free, open-source audio editor. It’s also incredibly versatile. Available for Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems, this multitrack editor continues to get great new features thanks to the volunteers who develop it. It allows users to record live audio through a microphone or mixer, or digitize recordings from other media; supports LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST, and Audio Unit effect plug-ins (with real-time previews); and offers unlimited sequential Undo (and Redo), among other features—all for the price of nothing. But its easy interface also makes it the go-to software for working with audio when you’re on the move. And it’s been available for years, so you know it’s reliable.

Best podcast software for beginners: Auphonic

Auphonic

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Why it made the cut: Auphonic is the best podcast software for beginners because it is a quick, easy, and no-frills outlet for tightening up the sound quality.

Specs

  • App- and web-based
  • Free for 2 hours of content per month
  • Automatic speech recognition with transcript generator/editor

Pros

  • AI does the work for you
  • Fast turnaround time
  • Pro-quality sound

Cons

  • Cold AI interface
  • You still should check your podcast for flaws
  • Not a lot of room for personal touch up

Auphonic is an app- and web-based audio service that uses a combination of signal processing and AI to reduce noise and create an automatic edit of your podcast. Really, it’s as simple as uploading your file and letting the machines do the work for free, which can save you a bundle on post-production costs, especially if your episodes are short or less frequent (up to two hours are free, with varying time tiers beyond that available for purchase). Levelers, normalizers, and other algorithms bring your audio up to broadcast standards ​​(EBU R128, ATSC A/85, Mobile) with no knowledge of filters required. And the final product can be encoded, with metadata and chapter marks, to MP3, Opus, AAC/MP4, Ogg Vorbis, ALAC, FLAC, etc., and automatically deployed to Dropbox, (S)FTP, HTTP, Google Drive and Cloud Storage, WebDAV, (Amazon) S3, YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud, Spreaker, Libsyn, Podlove, Zapier, Blubrry, or Archive.org.

Best podcast software for Mac: GarageBand

Apple

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Why it made the cut: GarageBand is the best podcast software for a Mac because it’s an easy way to create your podcast from scratch and it’s included on any new Mac or iOS device.

Specs

  • Included on new iOS/macOS devices
  • Supports up to 255 tracks
  • Bundled audio clips and content: 15 GB

Pros

  • Easy-to-use recording and mixing capabilities
  • Easily supports third-party plug-ins and import 24-bit files
  • Built-in sound library grows continually

Cons

  • Large project files, which can easily fill up the storage
  • No view of the mixing console available
  • More of a learning curve than some apps
  • Most useful using iOS devices

If you’re a Mac, iPad, or iPhone user, GarageBand offers most of the tools of a full-on multitrack recording studio in whatever macOS or iOS device you use to record and produce your podcast. If you’re building drama or masking identities, the software comes with a complete sound library of presets for processing your voice—and it includes several virtual musical instruments, should you decide to build original compositions that set/support the mood. The intuitive, ultra-modern design—perfect for iPad and taking full advantage of Touch Bar controls on macOS and pre-M1 MacBook Pros—clears the way for you to quickly and easily build your podcast from the ground up and broadcast it to your audience the world over. And while GarageBand is the best podcast editing software on a budget, if you find you’re ready to take your productions up a notch—tracking live musical guests or sculpting more complex broadcast-ready sessions—you can import anything you do in GarageBand into Logic Pro, its big brother DAW.

Best podcast recording software: Hindenburg

Hindenburg

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Why it made the cut: Hindenburg is the best podcast recording software because it is the gold standard for capturing the subtle nuances of dialogue.

Specs

  • Import 24-bit audio files
  • Auto Update creates a recovery file once every minute

Pros

  • Made specifically for voice-oriented podcasting and radio production
  • Supports all types of audio files
  • One-click publishing to SoundCloud and other popular hosting services

Cons

  • Multitrack recording and multiple-destination publishing only available in PRO paid version
  • Lacks mix- and tone-sculpting features in traditional music-production DAWs

Have you ever wondered how Terry Gross sounds so warm and buttery smooth on Fresh Air? She probably has a Shure SM7B or some other high-end microphone, plus a staff that knows their way around software. While I can’t tell you how to get one of those podcast microphones, I can tell you how to get NPR-quality sound and segues from your software. If you’re looking to sharpen your podcast audio to an undeniably professional NPR-like level, Hindenburg is the product for you. One of the most comprehensive and high-quality audio editors for a spoken-word workflow, Hindenburg lets you plug and play hardware, track and re-track voices or import any audio file, establish auto levels and noise reduction effects, and much more—whether guests are gathered for a round table or calling in to contribute. Hindenburg is professional-grade software, so it comes with a professional-grade price tag. At $99 (perpetual, or $12 monthly) for the single-track LITE software to $399 (for a perpetual license, or $10 monthly) for the multitrack PRO pack, this software is clearly meant for the serious podcaster on the go, and for true journalists. However, both are available for a 30-day trial. And if you’re just looking for a simple field recorder, Hindenburg offers an iOS app with one-dial compressor to capture clips and send them directly to its PRO or LITE platforms.

Best podcast software for remote recording: Anchor

Anchor

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Why it made the cut: With so many functions, Anchor feels like a Swiss Army knife for your podcast.

Specs

  • Audio encoded in stereo at 44.1 kHz, 128 kbit/s CBR
  • Embedded player plays higher-quality versions by default
  • Original files recorded as .MP3 or .M4A are passed along to your podcast feed

Pros

  • Free
  • Easy recording and posting features
  • Easy path to monetization

Cons

  • Limited editing features
  • Comparatively unstable

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced podcaster, Anchor offers a free iOS-, Android-, or desktop-based platform full of valuable tools you can access anywhere you have a phone and internet making it our pick for the best podcast software for remote recording. Built-in uploading, recording, and editing tools let you easily arrange segments and transitions then publish episodes to the most popular listening apps that are available to you, including Spotify (the program’s parent company), with a single tap—plus you can access insightful analytics from these platforms. Anchor can also instantly monetize your podcast through subscriptions and an internal crowdfunding platform that lets your listeners make direct contributions. It also has an Ads by Anchor program that inserts ads in your voice, or sponsor-read, into each and every one of your podcast episodes.

FAQs

Q: What is the best free podcast software?

There’s a cornucopia of free podcast software available online. We recommend Apple GarageBand since it’s one of the most robust platforms available and gets upgraded constantly. Audacity comes in as a close second but, because it’s free and open-source, it can be hard to get help if you run into a technical issue.

Q: Is GarageBand good for podcasting?

Absolutely. In fact, it’s arguably the best free podcast software you can find. GarageBand is an incredibly robust platform, which makes it a great place to learn about audio editing. Plus, if the time comes and you want to invest in more serious recording software, you can upgrade to Apple’s pro-level Logic Pro digital audio workstation and import your projects with no issues.

Q: What is the best app for recording podcasts?

If you’re only recording podcasts—no music or any other environmental audio—the best podcast software is Hindenburg. Its capabilities are designed specifically for radio broadcasters and podcasters who want to compile multiple interviews, sound clips, and segues into a single polished final product. The production value is high, and so is the price, but you’ll know where that extra money went as soon as you start production.

A final word on the best podcast software

Clearly, the field is wide open when it comes to selecting the best podcast software. As the medium continues to grow, the tech around the medium keeps getting better. Our top five picks—Audacity, Auphonic, GarageBand, Hindenburg, and Anchor—are just the tip of the iceberg. Once you’re comfortable with editing, the best podcast software is a matter of one’s own personal taste and style. Each of these picks is a battle-proven standby. Determining what’s best for you? That’s best left to experience. The only way out is through and this ’cast of characters will get you where you want to go.

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