Twenty five years ago, you’d have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the audio recording capabilities that a modern computer has. These days, anyone with a mixer, a computer, and a microphone can make decent quality sound recordings.
To really get the most out of a home audio recording setup, though, you’ll need a good program to edit the sound, add effects, mix it, equalize it, and perform other tasks that are necessary for optimal quality. Here are a few programs that are used by professional and home users alike to manipulate and record audio.
One of the best audio recording programs for nearly any setup, Adobe Audition offers an array of features such as overdubbing (a must, of course), tons of effects, considerable mixing and mastering power, and a user-friendly interface that’ll let new users record songs and other sounds at a decent quality but will turn absolutely awesome in the hands of a decent producer.
This isn’t by any means the most high-tech sound editing software you can get, but it’s got a significant advantage over the rest of the programs on this list-it’s completely free.
Audacity is open source, which means that many different programmers each throw in a bit of code until something that looks like an audio recording program pops up. It works well for smaller functions and basic sound recording needs. The interface is pretty friendly, and you can get a lot of help with it online.
Nobody’s getting paid significantly to program Audacity, so don’t expect a ton of features, but it’s a good bare bones recording utility for anyone on a budget.
Protools is the gold standard in audio recording and is used in digital recording studios all over the world. Why? Well, it’s pretty freakin’ sweet, for one.
Protools lives up to its name by offering professional quality mixing, mastering, effects, plugins, and practically infinite capabilities to it users in the way of production power. It’s the deadliest piece of software to own for awesome production, but it’s expensive as hell, and you’ll need Protools compatible hardware to use the software to its maximum potential. That’s a shame, but if you’ve got the dough to spend, Protools is probably the way to go.
Acoustica MP3 Audio Mixer
For smaller sound editing applications, you might want to check out Acoustica’s bare bones audio editing and recording software MP3 Audio Mixer. You won’t get any fancy effects or equalization options, but you can record audio and alter its speed, volume, pan, and length. This program’s best use is for cutting and arranging tracks, and its simple interface and cheap price make it ideal for this purpose. For music recordings, though, you’ll want something way more high tech.
For rap, techno, and other loop-based projects, up-and-coming producers will find Fruity Loops Studio to be a great tool. By focusing on looping samples and included synthesized sounds rather than features more useful to full band recordings, Fruity Loops Studio has cemented its place on top of the production heap for new wave music. For a professional recording program, it’s pretty cheap, too; a competent version of the program can be bought for under $150.