8 Best Sound Design Tools in 2024
With more than 464 million podcast listeners in 2023 and this number likely to surpass 500 million in 2024, it’s currently a great time to develop and grow your podcasting career.
To increase your reach and reputation, great sound design is crucial. But what sound design tool can help you best achieve a clean, crisp end product and ideally make the process more efficient?
At Cleanvoice, we know a thing or two about sound design. After all, we’ve built a service that can speed up the editing process thanks to a range of AI-powered features. In today’s guide, we’ll explain how sound design software can benefit you before exploring the five best sound design tools on the market. Let’s dive in!
What is Sound Design Software?
Podcasters, musicians, filmmakers, and more use sound design software to generate high-quality audio content. This is achieved by manipulating the original content to produce a clean and professional end result.
You may want to use a sound design tool to add sound effects or otherwise add a layer of cinematic experience to your audio. However, you may simply want to use sound design software to edit your podcast by removing unnecessary sounds and silences among other changes to ensure a clean listening experience for your viewership.
Why Sound Design Software is Important?
Poor Audio is a Dealbreaker
No matter how strong your script is or how awesome your guests are, nothing else matters unless your podcasts have high-quality audio. Unsurprisingly, poor audio is a turn-off for more than half of podcast listeners.
Creates a Better Listening Experience
To add to the above point, a high-quality listening experience not only encourages listeners to stay tuned, but can lead to a more engaging and immersive experience.
The better the listening experience, the more likely a listener is to subscribe and return for future episodes. You can achieve this by removing unwanted sounds and unnecessary silence from throughout the initial audio using a sound design tool, among other edits.
Great for Storytelling Podcasts
Naturally, some podcast formats will benefit from sound design software more than others with the storytelling format being one such example. Sound design software can bring your listener’s experience to life with sound effects, 3D audio, and more cinematic techniques. For those who record podcasts, sound design is crucial for delivering quality audio to your audience.
8 Best Sound Design Software
Here are the best AI sound design tools:
- Cleanvoice - Best AI-powered tool.
- *Ableton Live - High-end professional suite.
- Sound Forge Pro - Good option for those with a sizable budget.
- FL Studio - Mid-range price option.
- WavePad - Low-budget but can still achieve many specified outcomes.
- Adobe Audition - Great for adding special effects.
- Descript - Good option for neatening your audio.
- Audio Lab - Great portable solution for Android users.
Cleanvoice is an AI audio tool that can automatically rid your podcast of filler sounds, dead air, mouth sounds, and more! Cleanvoice is also great for auditing podcasts and other aspects of the development and pre-production stages with a range of AI-powered features available.
- Silence remover
Our AI dead air remover feature can rid your podcast of unnecessary silences. This feature is even designed to perform context-based editing. This means that when a speaker is thinking, the feature makes the pause short, whereas during a topic change, our AI-powered tool will keep the pause longer.
- Filler words remover
Another great feature of Cleanvoice is its ability to remove filler words (e.g., ums and ahs). This feature is a smart remover that can work on multiple tracks and even detect and remove multilingual filler words.
- Background noise remover
This feature provides automatic audio enhancement by removing background noise from your audio.
- Mouth sound remover
Remove mouth sounds like clicks, pops, stutters, and other distracting noises from your audio recordings.
Cleanvoice is available in two payment forms, subscription and pay-as-you-go. There’s also a free trial if you’d like to check out our AI-powered tool before committing to a paid edition.
A subscription plan will likely make the most sense if you need an AI podcast sound design tool on an ongoing basis. However, for those with less of a structure or/and more of a casual commitment to podcasting, pay-as-you-go may better suit you.
Pros and Cons
- Cleanvoice is updated regularly
- May prove helpful for your podcast’s SEO
- You will have less control over your AI-edited audio. However, you can customize your edits by exporting timelines to another audio editor.
- No video-editing feature. (We are launching it soon).
- Some of the features are still in beta phase.
#2 Ableton Live
Ableton Live is a powerful and advanced sound design software well-suited to podcast professionals in need of the full package. You can use Ableton Live to record and edit your podcast in detail.
- Hybrid reverb
Hybrid reverb mixes convolution and algorithmic reverbs, giving you a vast range of sound space to explore. This level of sound design may prove perfect for those wishing to tell a story through sound.
This feature is perfect for creating an array of sound effects to create a cinematic experience (e.g. delayed digital shimmers and glitch effects).
You can, of course, also use Ableton Live to record your initial audio before editing soon after.
Ableton Live is available in three lifetime packages. The Live 11 Intro package costs $99 whereas the Live 11 Standard is priced at $449 and the Live 11 Suite costs $749.
Pros and Cons
- Fast workflow once you know the ropes
- Wide range of features for advanced sound design
- High level of automation
- Live 11 Standard and Live 11 Suite editions are expensive
- User interface could be cleaner
- High computer specifications needed to run Ableton Live
#3 Sound Forge Pro
Sound Forge Pro is a sound design tool with precise features, high-end plug-ins, innovative edition functions, and more, that can turn your initial podcast recording into a near masterpiece.
Use Sound Forge Pro to benefit from high-quality multitrack audio recording. 32 channel resolution of up to 64-bit/768 kHz available.
- Audio editing
You can also cut, edit, and enhance audio with the powerful features included in Sound Forge Pro. The precision provided can let you perfect each and every sound.
This software also features advanced tools and intelligent high-end effects.
You can avail of four packages in total. The primary Sound Forge Pro package currently costs $349, while the price rises to $499 for the Pro Suite.
The Pro 365 edition costs $14.99 per month for a 12-month subscription ($179.88 annually) and Pro Suite 365 is priced at $19.99 per month ($239.88 each year), again with a 12-month subscription available.
Pros and Cons
- High-quality editing features
- Plug-ins are great
- Professional podcasters can work with ease and efficiency once you know the ropes
- Large files can take a good bit of time to load
- Not a huge number of noise reduction options
#4 FL Studio
FL Studio is a comprehensive Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). FL Studio is another great option for professional podcasters looking for a place to compose, arrange, mix, edit and master high-quality audio.
Record your podcasts and start editing once you’ve wrapped.
- High-quality effects
Use various sound effects to create the listening experience you want.
Utilize various tools such as pitch shifters for cinematic sound experiences.
FL Studio provides various payment options including several packages and the opportunity to buy features and effects independently.
Pros and Cons
- Full of good plugins
- Useful and unique workflow
- Tons of great features
- Challenging learning curve
- Doesn’t come cheap
- Using it within other sound editing tools may create issues
WavePad is another sound design tool with a ton of great features. It supports a wide range of file formats including AIF, AU, VOX, GSM, WMA, real audio, and more.
- Fast editing
Cut, copy, paste, auto-trim, compress, and more with ease.
- Powerful tools
Some of the tools featured with WavePad include spectral analysis, batch process, and scrub & search audio.
- Sound effects
Utilize sound effects like echo, reverb, and normalize; great for storytelling podcasts in particular.
Pros and Cons
- Great for achieving specified results
- User interface isn’t too difficult to grasp
- Reliable sound design software
- Lack of multitrack mixing
- If running many plugins, managing and organizing media can become challenging
#6 Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition is a robust audio editing software that’s beneficial for those looking to add a professional touch to their audio. It works well for recording your audio, remastering it with effects, as well as noise reduction.
- Essential Sound panel
The Essential Sound panel is an audio mixer for podcasts. With this feature you can edit as well as add sounds and effects to your audio.
- Podcast recording
Adobe Audition allows you to record high-quality voice audio and supports multiple file formats for rendering.
- Strip Silence
If you have sections of audio without sound, Adobe Audition can help you remove them without affecting the synchronization in your multitrack audio. This feature includes adjustable parameters, allowing you to balance out uneven volume levels between speakers or reduce background noise.
Adobe offers a paid plan for Audition starting at $20.99/month. If you’re interested in purchasing all 20+ apps from Adobe’s Creative Cloud (including Audition), the pricing starts at $54.99/month.
Pros and Cons
- Professional-level audio editing
- Versatile enough for both recording and editing
- Noise reduction capabilities
- Some settings have a steep learning curve
Descript is an intuitive tool for audio editing that makes multitrack recording and audio production simple. It comes with a wide selection of editing features without the hassle of a steep learning curve.
- Multitrack recording
Record unlimited tracks simultaneously to easily add intros, outros, music, and effects for your podcasts. Descript will also identify mic bleed if you’re recording with multiple mics in the room.
- Live editing
Edit and clean up your recording sessions in real-time. You’ll be able to fix background noise and correct transcription mistakes instantly.
- Audio mixing
The tool gives you access to a full suite of audio effects, including fades and crossfades for seamless transitions, echo, distortion, reverb, bit crusher, noise gate, compressor, and limiter, so that post-production is efficient.
Descript offers three paid pricing plans: Creator at $12 per user/month, Pro at $24 per user/month, and a Custom plan for large enterprises. The Pro plan is the most popular because you get 30 hours of recording per month as well as unlimited access to editing features.
There’s also a free plan that allows for one hour of recording per month.
Pros and Cons
- Editing features are easy to work with
- Automated audio transcription
- You can edit audio in a document, so your work is more streamlined
- Transcription isn’t always accurate
- It can take a while to download high-quality audio
#8 Audio Lab
Audio Lab is a portable audio software you can access from your Android mobile device. It’s free to use and helps you compress, merge, and mix audio files when you’re on the go.
- DAW functions
Easily remove awkward pauses, trim, fade, add silence, and change the speed of your audio.
- Multi-channel editing
The app allows you to mix and merge different audios and adjust their speed and pitch for a seamless listening experience.
- Convert audio
You can convert your audio clips into multiple formats, including MP3, WAVE, AAC, M4A, FLAC, OGG, OPUS, and AC3.
While Audio Lab is free to access basic editing features, there’s also a Premium version that gives you access to the more advanced features, such as multi-channel editing. The price ranges from $1.49 to $14.99 monthly, depending on your chosen features.
Pros and Cons
- Trim, mix, and manipulate pitch while on the go
- Produces great sound quality
- The premium plan comes with versatile editing features
- Sometimes the user interface isn’t the greatest to find what you’re looking for
- There have been some concerns with storage and sharing of audios
In this guide, we’ve looked at the eight best sound design tools to perfect your podcast in 2024. We also explored their various features, pricing, pros & cons, and customer reviews of these options.
In addition, this guide also explained how sound design software can prove so advantageous.
At Cleanvoice, we understand how valuable your time is as a podcaster. That’s why we’ve developed AI-powered features that can help podcasters like you free up hours.
Leave the boring and tedious editing to our automated tool to remove filler words, mouth sounds, stuttering, background noise, and more! Check out our prices, and start getting cleaner audio recordings today!