(2024) The Only Podcast Editing Software Stack You’ll Need
As a podcaster, you know that the quality of your show is only as good as the editing. Poorly edited podcasts sound amateurish and can ruin your reputation. But with the right tools, you can produce a high-quality show that sounds like it was produced by a professional. At Cleanvoice, we'll show you the only software stack you'll need to get the job done.
Why Do You Need Podcast Editing Software?
The short answer? To sound professional.
This is probably the most important reason to find a podcast editing software stack that works. The barrier to entry into the world of podcasting is relatively low, and that means competition is stiff.
There are so many podcasts out there already that it’s hard for a new show to come along and make an impact. Investing in production value-boosting tools is a surefire way to put your best foot forward in this crowded space.
How Can Editing Software Make Your Podcast Better?
As humans, we have the ability to easily differentiate between movie or TV scenes that are supposed to be funny, and scenes that are meant to be serious. The combination of visual and auditory cues makes it easy for us to get invested in a character's emotional state, thoughts, problems, and more.
Podcasts don’t have the luxury of mixed media to get their point across. They rely on audio (e.g., music, host delivery, effects, etc.) to tell a story. That means getting people invested takes a bit more work.
Editing software can help you active this in four main ways:
Background Noise: This one should be pretty obvious. Removing background noise is a crucial part of podcast editing because it helps keep listeners immersed in the content.
Normalizing Volume Levels: Normalized volume is a hallmark of high-quality podcasts. By cleaning up the volume levels, your listeners can enjoy your content without having to constantly adjust the volume knob.
Cutting Stuff Out: In any given podcast recording, there are bound to be noises, sentences, and pauses that don’t deserve to make the final cut. That’s where your editing software comes in.
Adding Stuff In: Think of editing as a way to add layers of creativity to your podcast. For example, if you want music in your show, you can add it using some basic audio editing tools.
The Editing Software Stack
By now, you know that editing your podcast requires a bit of assistance in the form of purpose-built software (often multiple pieces). When we use the phrase “podcast editing software stack”, we're referring to pieces of software that work together to create a professional-sounding podcast.
Our personal recommendations are:
- Audacity (Beginner DAW)
- Adobe Audition (Intermediate DAW)
- Pro Tools (Expert DAW)
- Some domains to get royalty-free music
Let’s cover them in order.
Unless you're blessed with perfect enunciation and can excellently read from a script, your audio files probably contain a few unwanted pauses and mouth sounds. You could remove these manually using your DAW… if you have a few hours to spare.
If you don't, we recommend trying out Cleanvoice. We created Cleanvoice to function as a fully automated audio enhancement program that will leave your podcast sounding effortlessly professional.
All you need to do is upload an audio file and wait while the program scans it for auditory blemishes like:
- Mouth Clicks
- Harsh Breaths
- Dead Air
Once the program identifies and removes these blemishes for you, just download the edited file and add it to your piece! It’s as easy as that.
The great thing about Cleanvoice is that you don’t need to be an audio editing master to create podcasts that sound professional, smooth, and immersive.
At the click of a button, you’re able to create a piece that avoids all the auditory hallmarks of an amateur podcast. Plus, you can easily export the results into your podcasting editor.
Cleanvoice takes a tiered approach to pricing that allows users to pay for the number of editing hours they need in a given month.
The tree tiers are:
- Podcaster (€10 per month): 10 hours of credit per month.
- Editor (€25 per month): 30 hours of credit per month.
- Studio (€80 per month): 100 hours of credit per month.
Intrigued? We have a lot more where that came from.
2. Audacity (Beginner DAW)
Audacity is an open-source digital audio workstation (DAW) that offers users an impressive (albeit basic) suite of features.
It’s good for cleaning up sound files (e.g., reducing background noise), cutting things out, lowering volume levels, applying special effects, and adding stuff in (e.g., music).
Audacity also functions as a capable recording program, so you won't need to worry about finding other recording software.
The downsides of Audacity will likely become clear as soon as you fire up the program. The UI is uninspiring and clunky, which results in a bit more of a learning curve than you'd expect given the relatively simple features.
Still, this is a great option for producers dipping their toes into the world of podcasting!
Audacity is 100% open source, which means that it’s also 100% free! Yet another reason it’s great for beginners.
3. Adobe Audition (Intermediate DAW)
If you're looking for something a bit more technically advanced for podcast editing, Adobe Audition is the way to go.
It’s a full-featured DAW that lets you record, edit, mix, and master podcasts through every stage of the creative process.
Like everything Adobe creates, Audition is a clean, powerful, well-thought-out program that's—honestly—a pleasure to use.
It’s a great choice for people who are getting serious about their podcasting. The program has everything you need to clean up an audio file, cut it down to size, apply special effects to specific sections of the audio, adjust the volume levels across multiple tracks, and add in music.
However, it's worth noting that Adobe Audition is not free. Access to the program will cost you, but many find the features and overall experience outweigh the cost.
Adobe Audition is priced as a monthly subscription. You can pay annually or monthly, but expect to pay more if you go with the latter option.
The service costs:
- Annual Payment: $21.99 per month
- Monthly Payment: $31.50 per month
4. Pro Tools (Expert DAW)
Pro Tools has been the industry standard for professional audio and podcast editing software since 1991.
If you splurge for this DAW, you'll get to enjoy almost full control over the editing, mixing, and mastering of your audio file.
This opens up a ton of doors when it comes to experimenting with sound design, structure, and atmosphere in addition to all the features offered by the previous DAWs.
However, all that control comes at a steep price—well, two steep prices, actually!
The first is the actual cost of the program. The second is the program's relatively steep learning curve.
With so much functionality, it probably won't be surprising to learn that Pro Tools takes a good deal of time to master. That's why we recommend it for expert podcasters who have a bit of experience under their belts.
Pro Tools offers two tiers of its service—Pro Tools and Pro Tools Ultimate. If you opt for the cheapest of the two, you’ll get access to all the program’s core feature.
However, you’ll miss out on some extra plugins and effects.
The two tiers are:
- Pro Tools: $29.99 per month
- Pro Tools Ultimate: $79.99 per month
Auphonic makes editing audio files and podcasts a breeze by giving users tons of premium, automated audio editing tools… for free! Well, almost free.
With the program, you get access to a suite of tools that will help you polish your audio files, including:
- Time Stretching
- Voice Level Balancing
- Noise Reduction
- Limiter Effects
- Dynamic EQ Effects
As if all that functionality isn't enough, you also get access to the Auphonic web service. This means you can upload new audio files or update existing ones from wherever you are by visiting the Auphonic web app.
Auphonic offers users 2 hours of free audio processing credit per month, with the option to pay for more by opting into a tiered subscription.
All told, there are four tiers in addition to the free option—Auphonic S, M, L, and XL. As you go up in price, you get more and more audio processing credits.
The four tiers are:
- Auphonic S: $11 per month for 9 hours of audio processing credit
- Auphonic M: $24 per month for 21 hours of audio processing credit
- Auphonic L: $49 per month for 45 hours of audio processing credit
- Auphonic XL: $99 per month for 100 hours of audio processing credit
Descript is a unique audio editing tool that offers various features for seamless editing. You can either record your audio directly in the app or upload your media, and Descript will create a text transcript that accompanies it.
This transcript is editable and any changes made to it will automatically edit your audio file as well.
If you want to edit your audio file without making any permanent changes, Descript also offers non-destructive editing functionality.
It’s pretty great for podcasters who are starting and don’t have fancy recording equipment. You can still create studio-quality sound through the software and have access to unwanted background noise removal and speech enhancement in just one click.
Descript has an interesting feature called Overdub, which allows you to create an AI clone of your voice. This feature lets you add or change audio in your speech by typing the correct words.
It's a great way to speed up your editing process since you won't have to worry about re-recording whenever you make a mistake.
Getting started with Descript is pretty simple. You can open a free account to try it out first.
The free trial includes one hour of transcription per month, a 1,000-word limit with Overdub, one hour of remote recording per month, filler word removal, and editing for 10-minute audio.
The three paid pricing tiers are:
Creator: $12/user/month ($144 billed annually) for 10 hours of recording and transcription per month.
Pro: $24/user/month ($288 billed annually) for 30 hours of recording and transcription per month and unlimited editing capabilities.
Custom: A more personalized tier for large enterprises that you’d need to request a quote.
Another reliable option for new podcasters is Alitu because, unlike some professional digital audio workstations like Adobe Audition or Pro Tools, it is created to be intuitive and automated without too many advanced editing features.
You can access the software from virtually any computer because Alitu is web-based.
Alitu provides tools for podcast creation including templates, royalty-free music, automated sound engineering, and a built-in transcription tool for greater accessibility.
Alitu offers free podcast tutorials to help you if you're unsure where to start. There’s even the opportunity to join their PodCraft community to connect with like-minded podcasters.
If you want to simplify your podcasting process, Alitu can help you get started. You can create your first episode for free, and if you decide to upgrade to the paid pricing tier, you'll get a 7-day trial with access to all features and two hours of free audio recording.
The full version of Alitu costs $38/month. It gives you access to:
- Unlimited audio recording
- Unlimited AI audio cleanup
- Unlimited audio editing
- AI-generated transcripts
- Royalty-free music library
- Free hosting up to 1000 downloads per month
If you're an experienced podcaster who wants complete control over their audio, you should definitely check out REAPER. It's a highly flexible tool that allows you to customize every aspect of multi-channel audio recording and mixing.
Despite its powerful features, REAPER is lightweight and won't slow down your computer.
The only major drawback is that the interface isn’t that inviting.
With REAPER, you can layer and mix unlimited audio sounds to create unique and complex listening experiences. The tool offers a selection of 34 built-in effects that you can use to enhance your sound quality.
REAPER’s dashboard can be challenging to learn, especially if you're unfamiliar with audio production.
However, once you've mastered it, you'll have excellent control over your audio. Despite its complexity, REAPER offers more affordable pricing than other advanced DAWs.
REAPER offers two license options—a discounted license ($60) and a commercial license ($225). The discounted license is recommended for personal use, educators, businesses with a maximum gross revenue of $20,000, and non-profit organizations.
You’ll also have access to a 60-day free trial, which includes full functionality so you can get a thorough experience of how the tool works.
9. Free Sound Effects and Music
Last but not least, there’s a plethora of websites that you can get free sound effects and unlicensed music from. After all, these tiny audio garnishes matter.
They provide a good auditory shift from the sound of voices talking and can be effective for intros, outros and transitions. Here are some websites:
The Podcast Host offers free audio packs.
YouTube Audio Library is one of the largest libraries of royalty-free music available for unlimited downloads.
Pixabay also has a nice collection of royalty-free stock music.
Podcasting is about much more than the tools you use. With that being said, the tools you use do impact many aspects of the editing process—from how the edited piece sounds to how much you enjoy yourself.
If you're looking for an easy-to-use podcast editing software stack that'll give your show a professional edge, look no further than the tools mentioned here. If you’re looking for more information about Cleanvoice, check out our website.