Audio recording has been a complex task until relatively recently. You practically needed a degree in audio engineering to properly record, mix, and edit high-quality audio content worth listening to.
But with the rise in popularity of podcasts, there’s a higher demand than ever for accessible, easy-to-use audio recording software that lets hobbyists and beginners create professional-quality podcast audio from their home studios.
For audio content creators in 2021, it has never been easier to record high-quality podcast interviews from home or on the go. There are many affordable and free audio recording software options available on the market that let you unleash your creativity easily and quickly.
In this post, we’ll cover what audio recording software is, tips and tricks for using it to its highest potential, and give you four of the top audio recording software options on the market today.
What Is Audio Recording Software?
Simply put, audio recording software is a user interface that records sounds. These applications allow users to record any sound, manipulate audio, and generate audio files.
Many podcasters use recording software to capture the sounds of their voice and the voices of their guests. Typically, the software collects audio from the input device you choose, whether it be your computer’s built-in mic or (preferably) a professional microphone.
You can also use audio recording software to import audio clips from other sources and mix and/or manipulate them to match your vision for your project.
And finally, the best audio recording software allows you to import and export audio in multiple formats.
What Are the Benefits of Audio Recording Software?
For content creators like podcasters and musicians, choosing the right software is key. While it’s true that your phone probably has built-in audio recording capabilities, such as in a voice memo app, you probably want more functionality in your recording software of choice.
Most quality audio recording software options on the market let you:
- Record and edit original audio
- Import external audio clips (like background tracks, pre-recorded audio, and voiceovers)
- Adjust audio content to your tastes using a mixer
- Use some form of producer mode to easily tweak audio settings in real-time
- Minimize background noise while recording audio
Does Recording Software Affect Sound Quality?
In a word, yes. The type of recording software you choose determines how good your finished product will sound.
Why? Because it all comes down to how much data is gathered.
Let’s use televisions as an example. You probably already know that the higher the resolution of the television screen (think SD vs. HD vs. 4K), the better the picture. This is because the more pixels there are, the more detail is possible—and therefore, the sharper the image.
The same principle holds true in audio as well. The more information is captured by the recorder, the clearer, and higher-quality the sound. That’s why when choosing your audio recording software, you should look for tools built for professional recording.
If the tool compresses audio to save bandwidth when transferring data, some of that precious audio data is lost—resulting in a sound that’s not as crisp or clean.
Riverside.fm Records Locally, So It Has Very High-Quality Audio
When recording a remote interview podcast, each participant is connected via an online conferencing software rather than recording in person. What happens if your internet connection drops or lags?
For many audio recording software options, the resulting audio will contain skips, fuzzy audio quality, or—in the worst of cases—the audio will be lost altogether.
Riverside.fm solves this problem by recording locally, meaning each participant’s audio and video is saved directly to their own device. Even if the internet connection drops momentarily, the recording continues uninterrupted and is saved both to the user’s device and to the cloud so that there’s no interruption or drop to worry about in the finished product.
What Is the Best Software for Audio Recording?
Let’s look at four of the most popular audio recording software options on the market today. We’ll cover their pricing tiers, best features, and in some cases, potential drawbacks.
We may be biased, but Riverside is your best bet if you’re looking for professional-quality audio recording software at an affordable price. As the first browser-based recording platform to offer 4K local video and audio recording, Riverside delivers quality podcast episodes no matter the format you choose.
Riverside includes the following features:
- Local recording to preserve quality regardless of internet connection delays
- Producer mode so that the host or producer can adjust audio levels in real-time to keep post-production work to a minimum
- Saves audio as WAV and video as 4K to maximize the quality of the finished product
- Receive separate audio tracks for each participant
- Implements progressive uploading to the cloud to keep your recordings safe, even if your internet connection is lost
- Integrations for live streaming to social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch—as well as the platform itself
- Live video call-ins from guests—a unique feature in podcast recording software
- Easy to use, with no downloads or installations
- Up to 8 co-hosts and guests
Riverside pricing: Basic plans start at $7.50 per month.
After 2020, Zoom is one of the biggest names in tech thanks to the Coronavirus and the need for virtual conference technology.
Zoom wasn’t designed as podcast recording software, but rather as a video calling service. However, many beginner podcasters use Zoom’s screen recording feature to record remote interviews due to its affordability and ease of use.
But if you’ve ever been on a Zoom call, you know that the audio recording isn’t reliably high quality. Files are converted and saved only at the end of the Zoom meeting—meaning that unless you make a backup recording simultaneously, lost files are a real risk if your internet connection drops or is interrupted.
Also, since Zoom was first designed as a conferencing software, audio and video files are compressed to facilitate fast data transfer during video calls. But as we already established, compressed audio loses data, meaning that the finished product is likely to be less than professional-quality.
Zoom pricing: The platform has a free basic plan, with Pro ($14.99), Business ($19.99), and Enterprise ($19.99 per license) monthly upgrade options.
If you’re a Mac user, Garageband is one of the best free recording software choices for beginners. It’s a free digital audio workstation (DAW) that comes preloaded on all Mac computers.
Garageband was designed for musicians, which explains why it comes with a variety of virtual instruments like guitars, pianos, and keyboards. However, the software does offer a lot of customizability, letting you create separate tracks for:
- Intros and outros
Garageband is also equipped with a visual EQ featuring eight color-coded bands on your computer screen, arranged from treble to bass. It also integrates with a variety of plugins to broaden your recording and audio editing capabilities.
Garageband pricing: Free
Audacity is a free, open-source audio editor and recorder that’s available for iOS, PC, and Linux users. While the learning curve for this free software is relatively steep, it does have some useful features, like:
- WAV, AIFF, FLAC, MP2, MP3, and Ogg Vorbis file editing
- 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit sound quality
- Splicing and mixing tracks together
- Audio effects, such as changing the speed and pitch of a track
- Exporting files in multiple common audio formats
Audacity pricing: Free
What Is the Best Podcast Recording Software?
While there are several great options for recording podcasts, Riverside.fm is your best bet for producing high-quality audio and video easily and cost-effectively. There are many recording software tools out there, but very few of them offer local recording in WAV and 4K—while also being user-friendly, browser-based tools that require no downloads or installations.
Start your free trial today to record up to an hour—with no credit card required—and see for yourself!
How Do I Make My Sound Clearer When Recording Audio?
Of course, the best way to end up with clear, studio-quality sound is to use quality recording software like Riverside.fm. But no matter what software program you choose, there are still a few ways you can make your sound as clear as possible. Let’s look at a few below.
Use A Good Podcast Microphone
While you can always use the built-in microphone on your computer or phone, investing in a separate microphone can make a great deal of difference to your audio quality. Choosing a podcast microphone can instantly make your podcast sound better.
If you’re new to the podcast world, all the mic options can be overwhelming. For starters, you’ll need to choose between:
- Polar patterns,
- XLR vs. USB, and
- Condenser vs. dynamic microphones.
Check out our guide to choosing a podcast microphone for more details!
Find a Quiet Place
Protecting your recording space from external noise is important, especially if you have a quality microphone that picks up every noise possible.
If you can, consider soundproofing or sound treating your studio space. Soundproofing involves isolating your room from unwanted external noises. This is typically done by using heavy building material on the room’s walls and sealing any air gaps in entry points like windows and doors.
Sound treatment involves improving the quality of sound in a room by focusing on acoustics and reverb. This is done by using soft surfaces to absorb sound so that it doesn’t echo or reverberate an unwanted amount.
Tips For Recording Audio on Your Cell Phone
If you’re recording a remote podcast episode on your mobile device, you’ll want to use all the tips in the section above for recording quality audio, plus the following:
1. Turn off All Notifications and Alerts
This one should go without saying—after all, you don’t want an annoying “ping” in the middle of your audio! Remind your guest(s) to do the same as well.
2. Keep It Charged
The best setup would be to keep your phone plugged into a power source while recording, even if you think it has enough juice. There’s nothing more annoying than having to interrupt or reset your recording in order to plug in your dying phone—except, of course, for your phone actually dying on you.
3. Use the Riverside.fm iPhone App
The new Riverside iPhone app lets you record up to our high-quality standards from anywhere. Simply invite guests with a link so they can download the app and join the call with a few taps. Then, hit record. You’ll get HD video and WAV audio files delivered to your account straight from your guest’s iPhone when you’re done.
Audio Recording Software FAQ
What Do YouTubers Use to Record Audio?
Many high-income YouTubers use a wide variety of delicate and sophisticated video production equipment—and some even hire professional producers and video editors. Other YouTubers rely on common audio recording software like Zoom, Audacity, and Riverside.fm.
If you regularly publish your episodes to YouTube, consider software like Riverside, which allows for live streaming straight to YouTube and other social media platforms.
How Can I Record Music at Home Without Noise?
To reduce background noise in your next recording, use the following tips:
- Set your microphone on a stand to reduce vibration (if you’re using your phone, place it on a soft surface)
- Decrease the distance between the speaker and the microphone
- Use a pop filter to reduce plosives in your speech like ‘p,’ ‘t,’ ‘k,’ and ‘b.’
- Soundproof and sound treat your studio space
What Can I Use Instead of Audacity?
Riverside.fm, of course!
While Audacity is a solid option for beginners or those looking for a simple, no-frills recording option, Riverside.fm provides many benefits that no other software can offer. After all, if you’re passionate about growing and monetizing your podcast, you’ll need to invest in software that can deliver studio-quality results.