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Best Adobe Audition alternatives: Free and paid software options from Audacity and others

The best free audio editor
(Image credit: Shutterstock)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Best Adobe Audition alternatives

1. Audacity

2. Pro Tools

3. Logic Pro

4. GarageBand

5. Reaper

Read on for our detailed analysis of each program

Part of the Creative Cloud suite of software, Adobe Audition is a comprehensive audio workstation that enables you to edit, mix, record, and restore audio. It’s used by professionals and amateurs alike to record podcasts, mix film soundtracks, clean up audio files, and more.

However, it isn’t always the best option. It lacks advanced functions for music production, and with Adobe’s subscription-based pricing, it can become expensive over time.

Thankfully, there are plenty of Adobe Audition alternatives on the market. In this feature, we look at the pros and cons of five of them.

Audacity

(Image credit: Audacity)

1. Audacity

A sturdy and reliable free audio editor

Reasons to buy
+Free and open source+Solid recording and editing+Accessible to beginners+Large library of plug-ins
Reasons to avoid
-Too basic for pros-Unappealing interface

Audacity is an open-source audio editor that’s available to download for free for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s been around since 2000, and its basic interface hasn’t changed substantially in that time, so it can look a little outdated and simplistic. 

But that means it’s easy to get to grips with and start using its solid array of recording and editing tools. Since Audacity has a big community built up around it, there’s a huge number of plug-ins that you can find to improve its capabilities, such as Gsnap, which enables you to add autotune effects.

Audacity is a good free audio editor for beginners, and professionals can often find themselves returning to it for simpler jobs. It might not be the best choice for creative music production or a film soundtrack, but it’s ideal for when you need to quickly put together a podcast, for example.

Pro Tools

(Image credit: Avid)

2. Pro Tools

The number-one choice of professional audio engineers

Reasons to buy
+Industry-standard audio workstation+Many features for mixing music and film soundtracks+Cloud collaboration features+Basic version available for free
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Too complex for beginners

Pro Tools, developed by Avid Technology for Windows and Mac, is the audio workstation software that you’re most likely to find in a professional recording studio or audio post-production facility. 

It has a deep array of features that enable you to record, mix, and master high-quality music tracks, as well as options tailored to mixing audio alongside a video. In fact, it’s often used to craft the soundtracks for films and TV series. You can have up to 768 audio tracks, and there are useful cloud collaboration features.

But its complex, high-end nature means it can be daunting. This, combined with the high price—a subscription of $299 a year, $29.99 a month with an annual commitment, or $34.99 a month with no commitment—means that it’s not for beginners or those only working on simple projects. However, there is a more basic version, called Pro Tools First, available for free. 

Logic Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Logic Pro

A good choice for creative production

Reasons to buy
+Sleek, intuitive interface+Wide range of features+Innovative additions enhance creativity
Reasons to avoid
-Mac only

Logic Pro is Apple’s digital audio workstation, and like most Apple software, it is designed to maximize creativity. Besides having a robust and intuitive interface, it has several rather innovative options that can enhance music production.

For example, recently added features include Live Loops, a way of adding samples into a grid of cells that encourages you to experiment with different combinations; Step Sequencer, which enables you to quickly build drum beats and melodic patterns; and Logic Remote, with which you can control features via an iPhone or iPad. 

Logic Pro is useful for music production and can also be helpful for other audio-related tasks. It costs a one-off fee of $199.99. While this seems high, this can work out cheaper over time than the subscription models of Pro Tools and Audition, and any future updates are included.

GarageBand

(Image credit: Apple)

4. GarageBand

Apple’s free alternative to Logic Pro

Reasons to buy
+Streamlined, intuitive interface+Easy to record and mix audio+Free
Reasons to avoid
-Mac only-Too basic for pros

If you’re a Mac user looking for an audio editor that’s simpler and cheaper than Logic Pro, then GarageBand may be the choice for you. It comes free with every Mac and is designed to make it easy to record and mix music.

With a sleek interface that looks like a simpler version of Logic Pro, it’s simple to get started and learn as you go. You can record into GarageBand with an instrument or microphone or draw from the vast sound library included. While it lacks the more advanced features of some other software, you can export projects from GarageBand to Logic Pro when you’re ready to step up.

Though it could be used for projects like podcasts, it’s specifically designed for music creation, so it’s ideal for those who want to get started creating music on their Mac without having to learn the complexities of fully professional software.

Reaper

(Image credit: Reaper)

5. Reaper

An affordable but powerful option

Reasons to buy
+Full, feature-packed suite+Good value+Thousands of plug-ins available
Reasons to avoid
-Unintuitive interface

If you’re looking for something on a similar level to Pro Tools and Audition but without the cost, Reaper is a worthwhile option. It costs a one-off fee of $225 for businesses earning over $20,000/year and $60 for everyone else.

Available for Windows and macOS, this is a comprehensive audio production suite packed with features that enable you to record, edit, mix and master audio. The only major downside is that the interface can be tricky to work with, as it lacks the intuitiveness of Logic Pro and Pro Tools. 

It takes time to learn your way around and can seem fiddly and inflexible. But there’s plenty of support from the developers and online community, and it’s highly customizable, with thousands of plug-ins available.

Kieron Moore

Kieron Moore is a freelance writer based in Manchester, England. He contributes to Future sites including TechRadar and Creative Bloq, focusing on subjects including creative software, video editing, and streaming services. This work draws on his experience as an independent filmmaker and an independent TV watcher.