Sound recording software: Top 2021 picks for professionals and rookies


When you get on the path of learning how to play an instrument, sooner or later you arrive at a point when you want to also record your playing. There are plenty of options for sound recording software out there and which one is right for you depends on what your goal is. In order to help you, we have gathered below the best software for free and also the best professional picks. 

Free sound recording software

1. Audacity

Audacity is a free music recording software that is great for beginners as it has a ton of effects, high-quality sound, loaded with plugins and many editing features. It is easy to understand and once you get the hang of it, you can record any audio you want. You can even produce professional studio-quality audio if you have the supporting hardware for recording high-quality audio.

2. Pro Tools First

Pro Tools is the ultimate mixing tool. But it’s not cheap. So a good thing is there’s Pro Tools First – the free limited access version of this top recording program. Since it is the free version you are limited in what you can create, but it’s perfect for singers, songwriters, and musicians just starting out on a limited budget and who want to get a taste of some of the best recording software out there.

3. Garageband

Garageband comes free with any Mac computer and can cover most recording needs. It is more powerful than you’d expect from a free piece of software and is a perfect centerpiece for any budget home studio. You know how Apple is really good at making things look pretty while still maintaining high functionality – GarageBand is just like that.

4. Ocenaudio

Ocenaudio is another free, cross-platform audio recording software that has many amazing features for audio editing. It is a little complicated to understand at first but once you get the hang of it, you will appreciate how highly intuitive it is and its simple interface. It also features a powerful library.

5. Traverso

Traverso has an easy to use interface combined with innovative mouse and keyboard shortcuts that help quickly perform audio recording tasks. It is developed for beginners so they can easily learn and get onto recording music. Traverso’s mastering controls, efficient user interface, and intuitive recording performance make it stand out among the rest.

Professional sound recording software

1. Ableton Live 10

This is one of the most beloved DAW (Digital audio workstation) recording softwares on the market. It gives a long free trial (90 days!) for you to make up your mind, with more features than you’ll need for any simple audio recording project with enough for a full-on music project if you upgrade. Probably the best feature is the variety of options that it gives – you can record on multiple tracks with this industry-standard software, as well as sequence MIDI files. A distinctive feature is also the abundance of samples that it offers, with more than 5,000 sounds to choose from, as well as 57 different effects. Overall it is a reliable, safe choice for home producers of all levels, but it’s especially good for novices looking to experiment.

2. Avid Pro Tools 12

Avid Pro Tools 12 is another of the best softwares a musician could ask for. The sound processing with this software is easy, fast and good. It’s one of the most powerful software products available on the market today for recording music, mixing, editing and composing. The DAW package contains a variety of virtual instruments, including, drums, pianos, synths, and other sample instruments. But keep in mind you need a powerful computer system to support this program, unless you go for the ‘First’ version. Definitely check out the requirements before purchasing it.

3. Logic Pro X

Apple has two DAWs in its stable: Garageband, a veritable staple discussed before, and Logic Pro. Logic shares its user-friendly design philosophy with Garageband. If you started with Garageband, you’ll find a lot to love in Logic Pro X.  fantastic built-in plugins that give you a suite of all the tools you need to create great recordings right away. Couple that with intuitive MIDI and audio editing and a powerful sample editor, Logic Pro X strikes a perfect balance between functionality and ease of use. 

4. Image-Line FL Studio 20

FL Studio is an outstanding DAW, with full-featured, professional-grade native plugins. The sum of the functionality, pricing and user interface results in a really great DAW for beginners and pros alike, delivering everything that every other DAW brings but with its own unique workflow.

5. Cubase 

Cubase has been around for a long time and remains popular to this day. It’s innovative, trustworthy, and stable.  Although this DAW isn’t the easiest software to use right out of the box, after a little learning, you’ll be able to make the most out of the startling number of features that it offers. You’ll soon have the tools you need, whether you’re in the studio or performing live.

If you want some further reading materials on the topic, check out also these articles here and here. For more guides, tips and tricks we invite you to join Neli’s Guitar Family and subscribe to her YouTube channel! If you are ready to dive into the world of guitar (or ukulele) you can sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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