The quality of the samples and recordings are the most important consideration for aspiring musicians, audio engineers, and podcast producers.
These programs will really make your life easier as it can help you create the sound that you’re looking for. As a result, your precious time will not be wasted and you will have more time to do other things or produce more music.
However, you should remember that your skills as an audio engineer create the music, not the software that you’ll use. The software is merely the conduit that you can use to achieve your goals. So whatever application you decide to use, you will never go wrong.
So, what music application should you use? Read more to find out!
Why Are Music Recording Software Not as Important?
As mentioned earlier, your choice of software will not really matter. Whether you’re using/planning to use Pro Tools, Logic Pro, GarageBand, or any other software that is available, it really won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
These programs will not create your music for you. They are not designed to know how to enhance the sound of a guitar. They can’t tell if you have over-compressed your drums of distorted your vocals with reverb. These are the things that you should have already known as a sound engineer.
The quality of the product solely relies on your skill regardless of what application you’re using.
Supported Platform/s: Mac
Arguably one of the most famous additions to this list, GarageBand has been a staple for budding audio engineers and musicians worldwide. It may be free but it still offers power that is perfect for any budget home studio.
- Very intuitive user-experience as it has a drag and drop process
- Recordings are streamlined
- The virtual instruments offered are high-quality considering its price (which is $0)
- Limited for macOS or iOS only and no PC support
- Editing parameters are somewhat lacking
You can find more information about GarageBand here.
Supported Platform/s: Windows, macOS, and Linux
Audacity is THE most famous audio software in the world as it is both free and widely available. However, it is in second place because this list is aimed for beginners and Audacity is anything but. Compared to GarageBand, its UI is clunky and ancient-looking whereas the former has a very intuitive design. As a result, you will spend more time familiarising the UI than creating music. However, Audacity still offers effects, plugins, and editing features that are comparable with Apple’s offering.
- High-quality sound
- There are a lot of effects to choose from
- The plugins are very helpful
- Recordings can be edited comprehensively
- Cluttered and ancient-looking UI
- Operation is not as intuitive as GarageBand
You can find more information about Audacity here.
Supported Platform/s: Every modern web browser (Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and etc.)
Hya-Wave is a free and browser-based music editing program that allows you to record, cut, copy, and paste your audio. You can also apply effects and share them easily to your social media accounts. This program will also not take a toll on your machine as the application and the processes are all cloud-based.
- Operation is extremely easy
- Available for all web browsers
- Produces recordings that are of decent quality
- Very limited features
- No multi-tracking compared to the other two programs in this list
You can find more information about Hya-Wave here.
4. Pro Tools First: Limited Access to the Industry Standard
Supported Platform/s: Windows, macOS, Linux, and etc.
Pro Tools is the music software that is used by almost all big-name artists in the music industry. The software will really help you create amazing-sounding recordings. However, the full-blown applications cost a bit of a fortune. Thus, you should use Pro Tools First which has some of the most important features while also being free and limited access. These limitations include 16 instruments and audio tracks, 4 inputs, and 1GB of space in the cloud.
- It’s Pro Tools so you’ll surely have a great time editing your recordings
- 16 instruments/audio tracks which are equal to an orchestra
- Very limited space for your projects
You can find more information about Pro Tools First here.
Supported Platform/s: Windows, macOS, and Linux
Ardour may not be as pretty as most of those included in this list but it still offers the right functionality for audio engineers. The wide support of audio engines like JACK, ALSA, ASIO, and Core Audio as well as the addition of ripple edits made this one of our top picks. While it offers a lot of functionality, you can pay more to access more powerful features and other upgrades.
- The program is compatible with all audio engines
- Has great MIDI capabilities compared to similar applications
- Can do ripple editing
- The interface is not as clean and intuitive
- The features are not as powerful as other similar programs
You can find more information about Ardour here.