Podcasting‘s soaring popularity has led to over 3 million podcasts and over 100 million monthly listeners. But with this fierce competition, podcasters need high production quality to stand out.
In fact, 93% of listeners say audio quality is an important factor in sticking with a podcast. Poor editing with inconsistent volume, noise and silence causes 60% of listeners to stop listening after the first episode.
This demonstrates why taking the time to edit and polish episodes is essential for podcasting success. This is where podcast editing software comes in. The right tools can take you from raw recordings to fully produced, professional episodes ready to captivate audiences.
In this comprehensive guide, we compare the top 8 podcast editing software options on the market today. Whether you’re just starting out or are a pro podcaster, you’ll discover the best software for your needs and budget.
Overview of Podcast Editing Workflow
Let‘s first look at the key steps in the podcast editing process:
Here‘s a quick rundown of each phase:
Noise reduction – Remove any background noises like cars honking, mouse clicks, wind. These distract listeners from your content.
Volume leveling – Balance audio between multiple speakers and parts of the episode. Prevent jarring volume jumps.
Remove unwanted sections – Delete any irrelevant chatter, filler words (like, um, uh), or long silent pauses that hurt pacing.
Add transitions – Use subtle background music and sound effects to transition between topics and segments.
Audio restoration – Fix any pops, clipping, echoes or muffled voices. Make voices crisp and clear.
Insert intros/outros – Promote your brand by starting and ending every episode with consistent music or soundbites.
Export – Save the final edited episode as an MP3 file ready to publish.
Advanced software can automate many of these tedious steps to boost efficiency. Now let‘s dive into the top 8 options.
1. Adobe Audition (The Industry Standard)
As part of Adobe‘s Creative Cloud suite, Adobe Audition is the premium software used by audio professionals to edit major podcasts and radio shows. It‘s packed with features to record, edit, mix and restore audio.
- Powerful noise reduction tools utilizing AI and machine learning
- Automated speech alignment when editing conversations and interviews
- Effects like compression, EQ, de-essing, pitch correction
- Audio restoration to fix pops, clipping and distortion
- Support for VST and AU plugins
- Ducking to automatically lower music under speech
- Multitrack editing with up to 128 tracks
With its pro-grade toolkit and advanced features, Adobe Audition is best suited for intermediate to expert podcast editors who need specialty tools. The complex interface has a steep learning curve unsuitable for total beginners.
As part of Adobe‘s Creative Cloud suite, Audition starts at $20.99 per month. Discounts available with annual plans.
2. Hindenburg Journalist Pro
Created specifically for radio workflows, Hindenburg Journalist Pro excels at editing interviews and multi-host podcasts. The streamlined interface and time-saving automation make it a favorite of podcast pros.
- Auto leveling, noise reduction and silence removal
- Easy multi-track editing for interview podcasts
- Effects rack for compression, limiting, voice EQ
- Transcription and script capabilities
- Support for live show or remote call recording
- Customizable keyboard shortcuts
Hindenburg Journalist shines when editing podcasts heavy on conversations like interviews, roundtables and co-hosted shows. The automated cleanup tools give consistent volume between speakers.
Hindenburg Journalist costs $95 for a personal license. Discounted bulk licenses available.
3. Reaper (Powerful Yet Affordable)
Reaper is a fully loaded digital audio workstation available at a budget-friendly price. It offers pro features for editing, mixing, mastering and even MIDI.
The interface is highly customizable, allowing users to tailor workflows. This makes Reaper accessible for beginners and experts alike.
- Robust multi-track editing with unlimited tracks
- Support for VST, VSTi and AU plugin instruments and effects
- Automation for editing workflows like volume ducking
- MIDI editor for virtual instruments and notation
- ReaScript allows advanced scripting and custom tools
- Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
Reaper appeals to intermediate users who want customizable workflows. Its affordable license also attracts budget-conscious editors.
Reaper‘s personal license is only $60 for a discounted price, with a generous 60-day free evaluation period.
4. Garageband (Free for Mac Users)
Apple‘s free DAW Garageband comes pre-installed on every Mac and iOS device, making it easily accessible for beginners.
While less fully featured than paid software, Garageband provides an intuitive interface and solid tools like volume leveling, trimming, arranging and effects.
- Intuitive drag and drop timeline
- Basic editing tools (trim, cut, paste, fade)
- Large loop and music bed library
- Virtual software instruments
- Effects like reverb and visual equalizer
Garageband is the perfect free option for hobbyists looking to edit podcasts on Mac/iOS devices without investing in paid software.
100% free and included with Apple devices
5. Audacity (Open Source Podcast Editor)
Audacity is a free, open source cross-platform editor usable on Windows, Mac and Linux.
While the UI looks dated, Audacity provides capable tools for multi-track editing including effects and supports VST plugins.
- Multi-track recording and editing
- Audio restoration and noise reduction
- Support for VST, AU plugins
- Tools like cut, copy, paste, mix tracks
- Change tempo, pitch, playback speed
- Amplify, normalize, fade, envelope and mix
- Export MP3, WAV, AIFF, FLAC etc
Audacity appeals to hobbyists who want totally free editing software without paying. Novices may find the workflow less intuitive than paid alternatives.
100% free as open source software
6. Descript (Text-Based Podcast Editing)
Descript takes a unique approach to podcast editing by transcribing audio to text transcripts automatically using AI, allowing you to edit episodes like documents.
This text-based editing model gives unprecedented editing flexibility to beginners. It‘s especially ideal for interview-heavy podcasts.
- Automated transcription from audio to text
- Text editor allows editing episodes like Google Docs
- Collaborative workflows for editor teams
- Overdub tool to record new audio into existing episodes
- Reposition segments of audio by moving text blocks
- Smooth volume leveling and noise reduction
Descript‘s new text-based workflow appeals most to beginners intimidated by traditional waveforms. It‘s perfect for interview editing.
Descript plans start at $12 per month with volume discounts available.
7. Alitu (Automated Podcast Editor)
Alitu is an automated podcast editor that minimizes editing workload through AI tools.
It provides transcription, volume leveling, noise reduction, and more with one click. Alitu also offers unlimited free hosting.
- Automated transcription from audio to text
- One-click audio cleanup tools
- Built-in music library and sound effects
- Ability to edit text transcripts
- Schedule guest recording sessions
- Publish directly to podcast platforms
- Unlimited free podcast hosting
Alitu streamlines editing podcasts for businesses and beginners who want automation to accelerate workflows.
Alitu starts at $27 per month for up to 3 hours of podcast editing. Yearly subscriptions are 15% off.
8. Anchor (Free Browser-Based Podcast Editor)
Anchor is a free podcast recording and hosting platform containing basic editing features optimized for mobile.
While functionality is limited compared to paid desktop software, Anchor provides free tools to edit directly in browsers.
- Audio editing tools like cut, paste, delete, insert
- Noise reduction, leveling volume, removing silence
- Over 300k free music tracks and sound effects
- Insert dynamic ads into episodes
- Collaborative workflows between podcasters
- Publish and distribute podcasts from Anchor
Anchor‘s free mobile-centric editing is ideal for hobbyists, especially those recording directly in Anchor.
Fully free. Anchor generates revenue from podcast ads so they don‘t charge creators.
How To Choose the Right Software for You
With so many options for podcast editing software, how do you choose what‘s best for your needs? Here are key factors to consider:
Skill level – Beginners will want an intuitive interface to learn on like Descript or Anchor, while experts need pro tools like Adobe Audition or Hindenburg.
Budget – If funds are limited, free tools like Audacity and Anchor work. Paid options like Hindenburg ($95) provide more features and polish. Top products like Audition run $20+/month.
Podcast format – Certain software is better tailored to interview-heavy shows or scripted formats. Make sure features align with your podcast style.
Platforms – Consider what OS you need support for – Windows, Mac, Linux, or even mobile for recording on the go.
By weighing these factors, you can determine the best podcast editing software for your experience level, show format, and budget.
Achieve Flawless-Sounding Podcasts
As this guide demonstrates, there are fantastic options to take your podcast audio quality to the next level no matter your current skill or budget.
While you can technically publish episodes without any editing, the audio flaws will almost certainly turn off a large share of listeners. This risks destroying traction and growth.
Join the ranks of top podcasters by investing time and care into the editing process. Choose software tailored to your experience level so you can maximize efficiency while polishing episodes to perfection.
With the right editing tools in your toolbox, you‘ll engage audiences with professional sound quality and inspired content. Now get out there, hit record, and share your unique voice with the world!
Let me know if you have any other favorite podcast editing software I should check out!