Let’s be clear.
You don’t need podcast editing software to launch a podcast.
With an iPhone, headset, and an app like Podbean or Anchor, you can get your podcast online. But for a truly professional podcast, editing is a critical step.
Editing takes a bit of skill.
Podcast editors must learn how to cut, add music, balance, remove background noise, and so on.
But once you get the hang of it, you have a polished product that's music to the ears of your listeners.
There are free and paid podcast editing tools available.
My recommendation is to choose one and stick with it.
Editing can be time-consuming, and sometimes a bit frustrating. So there's no need to learn multiple platforms.
Here are some of the best I've come across so far:
Audacity is one of the most popular digital audio workstations available. Its most significant selling point is that it's free and open source. Audacity Developers from around the world add plugins often. Use audacity to cut, paste, and combine audio. Its built-in special effects help you create funky intros and outros.
Audacity gives you the tools you expect in a digital Workstation. You can balance volume levels, remove background noise, and combine other audio files like ad rolls. Audacity has a recording option too. Some podcasters choose to do their recordings directly into the app. That allows them to record and edit without having to leave the dashboard.
There are a few downsides to the workstation. Because it's open-source, the design does not look uniform, so take some time getting around the different plugins. Installing different plugins may make the app feel Bloated. Audacity also does not support MIDI, so you may need to convert your file before uploading. If you are looking to get started with podcast editing, you can't go wrong with audacity.
Do you have a Mac? There has to be a reason you paid a premium for a computer! GarageBand is a free app that comes standard with Apple computers. Created for musicians to have their home studio, podcast editors found tremendous value from the app. Because it's geared to music, Garageband has a host of loops, synths, and instruments built in so you can create your intro or outro.
Like audacity, you can record directly into the app, which allows for single and multiple track recordings. Then you can use the mouse to trim or split your audio files accordingly. From there, Garageband has a mixing feature so you can set the best levels for a perfect sounding podcast. Like Audactiy, Garageband does not support MIDI. However, if you’re looking for features that aren’t in the workstation, you’re at the mercy of Apple as there are minimal updates. For a free application with your computer, Garageband is an excellent tool for a professional-sounding show.
What if you wanted to edit your podcast without having to navigate through a deep Digital Audio Workstation? Alitu could be your editor of choice. The app was made with podcasters in mind, with a drag and drop interface that any amateur editor or podcaster can vibe to. What you lose in control, you gain in speed and reduced stress. Alitu is a paid app, with a flat fee of $28/mth or $280/year.
Once you upload your file, Alitu gets to work, cleaning up background noise and levels. The overview screen allows you to add intros, outros, ad rolls, or any other segments with just the click of a button. You can record audio files in Alitu or upload your own. There’s a library with different sounds and effects you can choose for your intro.
Once you click "Edit", you can remove snippets, move around parts of the audio, or clean up anything that doesn’t belong. Afterward, you can download your file or publish directly to Buzzsprout, Podbean, or other podcast hosting websites. Unfortunately, Alitu only supports a few audio formats and lacks the multi-channel abilities of others. If you’re mixing a solo podcast, Alitu could be your gamechanger.
Adobe is known for apps like Photoshop or Dreamweaver. Adobe Audition is its Digital Audio Workstation that you can use to for editing your podcasts. There is a monthly fee similar to Alitu ($20.99/mth or $52.99/mth for all of Adobe’s products). But Adobe Audition has all the bells and whistles you’ll need to ace your editing.
You can record, then edit, mix, and clean up your audio. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but the Auditon app gives you a 12 minute tutorial with sample files you can play around with. You can clean up background noise, adjust the levels, add fading, and other sound effects in an easy to use interface that has podcasters in mind.
If you know an audio engineer, chances are he or she has used Avid’s Pro Tools at some point. It’s geared to professional audio editors, but once you learn it, you can edit almost anything, including video. Pro Tools comes with a plugin library that allows users to expand the functionality of the tool. Add audio effects, format your intros, and outros, and even collaborate with others over their cloud service. Pro Tools supports all audio types, including MIDI. If you’re looking for full control over editing and expanding your skillset as a sound engineer, Pro Tools is the gold standard.
Another MAC OS application, Fission, boasts an easy-to-use workstation with a host of features. You can use Fission for editing most audio formats to edit music, create ringtones, and to edit podcasts. You can split, join, and crop audio files while doing simple mixing as well. While not as versatile as Audition, you can add chapters to your podcast files, making it easy for listeners to move to a particular subject with ease. Fission is free to download with a free trial attached, but you can purchase the license for a $29 one-time fee.
A lack of editing can leave a poor experience for listeners. We podcasters should aim for having a professional show if we’re looking to take podcasting seriously. That means taking the time to learn how to edit our content effectively. If you’re looking for an entry-level app, Audacity and Garageband works best. Solo podcasts benefit from Alitu, while advanced shows can flourish edited in Audition or Pro Tools. Start working on your episodes to sound just like your favorite podcast today.