Voice recording is handy for many reasons, from creating voiceovers, making quick notes, or sending a voice note to your friend. Voice recording saves you time and energy by freeing up your hands and allowing you to multitask while you do it, and it’s only becoming more and more convenient with the many tools available. So, what is the free audio recording software for Windows and Mac?
Today, we’re sharing the requirements for good free audio recording software and the top 15 choices available for Windows and Mac so you can find your ideal solution.
What makes good audio recording software?
Before going over the best free audio recording software for Windows and Mac, we want to touch on some of the features that make an excellent audio recording software. Here are the factors we looked at for this review:
1. For starters, the audio recording software has to be easy to use and do what it claims to do. While these may seem like basic requirements, you’d be surprised how many software programs don’t meet these qualifications.
2. Next, we looked at audio recording software with background noise reduction. We want these apps to be useful while you’re on the go in a noisy environment, at the office, at home, and anywhere else you may need to record yourself. As a result, apps with background noise reduction were prioritized during our research.
3. Multiple input sources were another critical factor in choosing the best free audio recording software for Windows and Mac. Software that only offers one input option, such as your microphone, is limiting and less convenient, so we avoided those options in this guide.
4. We also looked for programs with multiple export sources so that you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues when transferring files to other programs.
15 Best Free Audio Recording Software for Windows & Mac
Audacity is one of the most popular audio recording software, and its many incredible features make it easy to see why. Audacity allows you to use external equipment for recording and offers tools within the software to record, edit, and mix audio to your liking. In addition, you can adjust the treble, bass, and access frequency analysis while editing with Audacity.
We like that Audacity has a clean, simple interface that makes it easy to learn. You also don’t have to worry about unnecessary graphics or pop-ups while using this program. Audacity also offers the ability to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings, and record computer playback. We also like that you can write custom plug-in effects with Nyquist, allowing you far more customization choices than many audio recording software.
Supported OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
Features: Simple user interface, open source, audio editing, audio mixing, frequency analysis
Verdict: Ideal for free open source audio recording
2. Adobe Audition
Adobe Audition helps you create a polished audio mix with ultra-clear sound. It offers many tools, including waveform, spectral display, multitrack editing, and the ability to restore audio. We like that Adobe Audition offers great audio cleanup and restoration abilities because many audio recording software don’t include this feature. This software also consists of a spectral frequency display, diagnostics panel, and “remix to fit” feature, which allows you to rearrange any song to fit your desired duration.
You can also design sound effects and integrate your workflow with other Adobe products like Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Adobe Stock, and more. In addition to the integration, you can open templates from other Adobe programs without leaving the Adobe Audition app, saving you a lot of time.
Supported OS: Windows and Mac
Features: Multitrack display, mixing and editing capabilities, restores audio content
Verdict: Best for restoring and mixing audio content
3. Apple Garageband
GarageBand is the ideal audio recording software for artists, allowing you to record from various instruments and microphone options. We love that it features color-coded tracks because this makes it easier to switch between tracks and quickly identify which track is which. It’s also one of the more straightforward interfaces because of its drag-and-drop process to use among audio recording software, but it doesn’t lack sophistication for this.
GarageBand offers many effects and an expanded Sound Library, featuring a variety of electronic-based music styles. We love that you can design your dream bass rig from various vintage and modern amp sounds. It even provides you with the choice to position different microphones to customize your sound.
GarageBand works on all Apple devices, including iPhones, tablets, laptops, and desktop applications.
Supported OS: Mac and iOS
Features: Expanded Sound Library, customize dream bass rig sound, click and drag interface
Verdict: Great for music editing on a Mac
WavePad Audio Editor supports many file formats and allows you to export your edits in many different forms. We like that it offers a full suite of sound and audio editing features, including special effects, recording, editing, and sharing capabilities. This software’s most notable effects include noise reduction, amplification, and echo. It also has an easy interface that allows you to click and drag, copy, paste, and cut any part of your recording by simply highlighting the part of the track you wish to edit.
Supported OS: Windows
Features: Works as a WAV or MP3 editor along with many other file formats, full-featured sound, and audio editing software
Verdict: Ideal for users looking to add filters and special effects
Ocenaudio is a cross-platform audio editor with an easy, fast interface. This audio recording software is ideal for beginners learning to edit and analyze audio files. However, it still offers enough advanced features to appease more intermediate users.
Ocenaudio includes a powerful library with a large selection of audio manipulation and analysis tools. It also runs effortlessly in the background without becoming unresponsive during edits. You can continue to make heavy changes, like opening and saving audio files or adding special effects, without fear of your program crashing. It supports many file forms and also offers audio signal generation and spectral analysis.
Supported OS: Windows, Linux, Mac
Features: Easy-to-use interface, lightweight software, powerful library
Verdict: Best for audio recording and editing novices
6. Sound Forge
Sound Forge is a creative audio editing tool that has been around for over 30 years. It has many abilities, from recording multichannel sounds, editing audio efficiently and precisely, and mastering sound results. You can also record with 64-bit precision on up to 32 channels. Its 64-bit audio engine provides the best stability and low latency while editing, ensuring your sound quality is crystal clear.
In addition, Sound Forge offers a lot of restoration and mastering effects. Its many effects allow you to optimize how loud your audio is and to create a variety of audio formats, including red book masters, DDPs, and master files for streaming services. Lastly, it offers a resampling engine and expanded plug-in manager to optimize your workflow.
Supported OS: Windows, Linux, macOS
Features: Resampling engine, precision editing, audio restoration
Verdict: Ideal for audio editing master files for streaming services, like Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify
Wavosaur is a free audio recorder, audio editor, and processor. It offers a simple interface with cut, copy, and paste features. You can analyze, record, and create music loops within the software. This software is simpler than most, but its fundamental nature can be an asset for users hoping to jump in and immediately start editing with no frills. It also supports audio conversion and sound design. We like that Wavosaur also has real-time effect processing and supports VST plugins and multichannel WAV files.
Wavosaur is one of the older audio recorders, so it lacks newer, modern features like audio restoration or a suite of special effects.
Supported OS: Online service, based on the browser.
Features: Clean user interface, real-time effect processing, creates music loops
Verdict: Ideal for users looking for simple audio editing
Ardour offers a multitude of recording, editing, and mixing options for sound engineers, musicians, soundtrack editors, and composters. We like that this software has MIDI multi-track recording and editing with non-linear editing features. You can also record with any bit depth, sample rate, and dozens of different file formats. Additionally, it has many import options and allows you to import audio from the free sound database, MIDI files, or your computer hard drive. You can easily mix these files to create your own signature sound.
With Ardour, you can transport sync and external control surfaces. It also has dedicated Mackie control protocol support, pre-defined mappings, and many MIDI controllers.
Overall, Ardour is ideal for musical audio recording and enhancing recorded voice. It has a clean, intuitive interface with many modern features.
Supported OS: Windows, Mac, Linux
Features: Huge number of plug-ins and add-ons, multi-track recording, drag and drop interface
Verdict: Ideal for musical audio recording
QuickTime is usually thought of as a Mac video editing tool. However, it also allows users to record audio and video on their Mac, making it a convenient and accessible tool. You can also use it on iOS devices. Simply navigate to the files tab on your QuickTime screen and select new audio recording to start recording. After recording, QuickTime allows you to trim, edit, and split your recorded audio track.
We like QuickTime if you’re looking for simple audio recording and editing. However, if you’re looking for advanced editing capabilities, you’ll want to look elsewhere for more modern, cutting-edge tools.
Supported OS: Mac
Features: Easily trim, edit, and split your audio tracks, capture video, and audio
Verdict: Best for basic audio and video editing and recording on Mac
Cleanfeed is a unique audio recording software that only requires a browser and access to a microphone. Unlike most programs, no download is required. You only need a Cleanfeed account. Cleanfeed produces high-quality audio recordings with top-notch codecs and high stereo audio and bitrates. Its studio tools include live playback audio, sound effects, intros, jingles, and beds. You can also complete audio repairs to selected tracks during the editing process to reduce background noise.
In addition, you can easily record multiple parties in the same session by sharing a link. Cleanfeed even provides you with options to record numerous parties on separate tracks. There is also no time limit or limit to the number of guests you can invite to record at one time.
In short, we recommend Cleanfeed for broadcasters, producers, and podcasters in particular because of its ability to record audio from different types of outputs, multi-track recording, and advanced audio editing capabilities.
Supported OS: Mac, Windows, Linux, Android
Features: Host remote guests, no download required, high-quality audio
Verdict: Ideal for browser-based audio recording and podcasters
Gilisoft is free audio recording software that allows you to easily capture music from a streaming audio website, online radio program, or the audio from a video. It works directly with your sound card and records near perfectly. It also records and exports audio in over 12 file formats, making it a versatile program.
Gillsoft is also set up to easily record Yahoo Messenger, Skype, and Google Talk applications. You can also set up a time-triggered recording schedule on your desktop to begin recording while you’re away from your computer. In addition, you can set a file length limitation and voice activation system to split these recordings succinctly.
We like this software because of its versatility and hands-off recording functionality.
Supported OS: Mac, Windows, Android
Features: Works directly with a sound card, scheduled audio recording
Verdict: Best for recording music and audio from streaming services
12. Music Studio 9
The Ashampoo Music Studio 9 is the ultimate music editing software containing eight powerful modules for audio recording and song files. It has a massive suite of editing features, including the ability to burn, edit, cut, and format your audio. You can also create mixtapes and playlists with any audio files.
We like that Music Studio 9 offers many productivity features, from the ability to organize songs and audio files with a variety of templates, detail modifications, a host of designed program skin options, and many keyboard shortcuts. In addition, you can edit and mix up to three tracks at once to make your project more seamless. Lastly, Music Studio supports the most popular Apple formats, including AAC and M4A, so you can easily share your music and recordings on iTunes.
Supported OS: Windows 10 and 11
Features: Split MP3s and audio files, smart synchronization features, mix songs, audio normalization
Verdict: Perfect for a music-focused audio editor looking for an all-in-one program
13. FL Studio
FL Studio offers desktop and mobile versions of its audio recording software, allowing you to create recordings and music on the go easily. This software has been around for an impressive 24 years. We love this software’s superior organizational features, including the ability to store notes, audio, and automation. You can also click and drag data tracks and overlay them easily. The Browser feature allows you to quickly organize and label the tracks so that you can keep everything organized.
In addition, FL Studio offers a wide variety of synths, plugins, and effects. It also has an extensive sound library with various sounds and samples, thousands of presets, and exclusive loop content. Lastly, we love that the FL Studio is a lightweight program, so you don’t have to worry about it crashing or lagging while you’re running several programs on your computer.
Supported OS: Windows, Android, iOS,
Features: Organizational features, special effects, sound library
Verdict: Ideal for layering and mixing multiple audio tracks
14. Wondershare DemoCreator
If you’re looking for a versatile audio editing software with real-time effects and screen and webcam capture, the Wondershare DemoCreator is an excellent selection. We like that you can record audio and video in real-time and draw on the screen, making this a fantastic option for streamers, students, freelancers, or employees recording or creating work presentations. As a streamer or presenter, you’ll also love the virtual avatar effects and multiple recording options, including webinars, meetings, and streaming.
Once you’ve finished recording, Wondershare DemoCreator has a huge number of video editing options available, including creative video effects, audio mixing, audio and video editing in multiple tracks, and an extensive special effects library. Lastly, be sure to check out Wondershare DemoCreator’s large number of video collaboration, cloud backup, video distribution, and online video management services.
Supported OS: Windows 7, 10, 11, Mac
Features: Online video presentation maker and screen recorder, video collaboration, special effects, real-time presentation effects, and virtual avatars
Verdict: Perfect for streamers and presenters due to its many real-time editing features and effects
Hya.Wave offers essential, web-based audio recording and editing functions and does not require account creation or software download. We like that this program provides an easy user interface and limited features, making it incredibly quick to learn and start recording and editing. While its editing features are limited, it does the job for fast, simple projects and can create simple voiceovers, voice notes, and more. Hya.Wave is also usable on a mobile device, making this an on-the-go option.
Supported OS: Mac, Windows
Features: Simple audio recording and editing, no download required
Verdict: Best for simple web-based audio recording
Bonus! Record Audio & Get Transcription with Notta
Recording audio is a great productivity tool that allows you to save real-time conversations, meetings, lectures, and your own thoughts on the go. Notta is our favorite tool for recording audio because it records crisp, high-quality audio, automatically transcribes your audio files and allows you to organize and add notes and images to your transcription easily.
With Notta, you can focus on current conversations and engage more actively during your discussions and online classes. You can also generate meeting notes, memos, reports, and video subtitles from the transcription, saving you time and increasing your productivity. In addition, you can edit the playback speed of your audio, edit the transcription text, and transcribe audio into up to 104 languages, making Notta an incredibly versatile tool for improving your productivity.
1. How to pick an audio recorder for your Windows or Mac?
To pick an audio recorder for your Windows or Mac computer, we recommend looking for user-friendly software that does what it claims to do, offers multiple file formats for both input and export, and includes editing capabilities. Depending on your needs, you may want an audio recorder that automatically transcribes your audio for future reference and note creation or a software that can mix and restore music files.
2. Does Windows have built-in audio recording software?
Windows does have a built-in audio recording software called Windows Voice Recorder, which is automatically available on Windows 10. If you don’t have it automatically installed on your Windows computer, you can download the app for free.
3. How can I record music for free?
You can record music for free through various online audio recording software. Audacity and Ardour are among the most popular online audio recording software options because of their extensive music editing effects and capabilities.
4. Can I do voice notes on my phone?
You can do voice notes on your phone through a built-in app or by downloading a third-party application, like Notta. Many phones have a built-in app that you can find on the phone by searching “Recorder.” However, you may want to download an additional app to create voice notes because most built-in phone apps are limited in their functionality and editing capabilities. For example, Notta allows you to record voice notes, transcribe your notes, add typed notes and images to your transcription, and much more. These additional features can make recording voice notes, musical ideas, and classroom lectures more valuable and allow you to transform them into usable notes, music lyrics, memos, and reports.
Audio recording software is a wonderful tool to have available for creating voice notes, recording lectures or online meetings, and creating your own music and presentations. While there are many audio recording software programs available, Notta is our top choice for easy, efficient audio recording. It also offers an extensive suite of valuable features, such as transcription and the ability to add notes and images, making it great for reference, creating lecture notes or memos, and drafting your thoughts and ideas.