Free Audio Editing and Mixing Software

If you are looking for some free audio editing and mixing software, take a look at these programs below. The most popular one is at the top, but there are a few others worth taking a look at as well. See what you think, and let me know how you get on with them.

Note: For those wanting a more professional, full-featured audio editor, Sony Sound Forge Pro is an excellent choice.


Audacity

I actually use Audacity myself, but only minimally. Although it can be used for mixing multiple audio tracks together, I don’t personally use it for this because I use Propellerhead Reason to mix all my music. What I do sometimes use for is to for little bits of audio editing that I might want to do. For example, I might use it to edit a sample that I can then load into the software sampler in Reason to play it within that. I also sometimes use it for doing some audio editing to my final mix, for example adding extra compression.

However, if you do want to mix multiple audio tracks together, Audacity can do that just fine. It has a rather minimalist, no-frills appearance, probably because it’s free and they don’t need to worry about trying to impress anyone with flashy graphics or anything like that. But for a free program, it does a lot!

Some of the key features of Audacity include:

  • Record at 24-bit depth
  • Record to multiple channels simultaneously
  • Works with many sound file types
  • Supports 32-bit samples
  • Export as MP3 or other common file types
  • All standard audio editing functions (cut, paste, etc.)
  • Many good effects included such as reverb, phaser, echo, reverse, wah wah, limiter, and even one called “Paulstretch” which
  • works great to time-stretch your audio to the extreme.
  • Works with plugins such as VST, LV2, LADSPA, Nyquist, and Audio unit.
  • Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux
For more information and download:

http://audacityteam.org/


Kristal Audio Engine

Kristal Audio Engine is free for personal, educational and non-commercial use. For a free program, it seems to do quite a lot. It has a lot of the same features as Audacity, but with a more traditional mixer interface. The one thing I would say, though, is that the program’s graphics have an old look to it. It has the look of a program that was made 20 or more years ago. But for free software that has a lot of features, can we really complain?

I am sorry for the bad singing in that video, though. I don’t think they should give up their day jobs.

For more information and download:

http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/


Ableton Live Lite

This is the free version of the very popular Ableton Live music software. It does have some limitations compared to the paid version, such as the ability to only have 8 tracks. For some people that may be enough, though, if your songs aren’t overly complex.

But the advantage of using Live Lite over the other programs on this list is that it does include some software instruments. Not all of the ones present in the paid version, but you do get:

  • Drum Rack – an instrument for layering samples, synths, and effects in a classic 16-pad grid.
  • Impulse – a drum sampler with complex modulation capabilities.
  • Simpler – an easy-to-use but powerful sampler with classic synthesis parameters.

It can also be used as a MIDI sequencer to control external hardware synthesizers. So as you can see, it does provide a decent number of features for a free program.

For more information and download:

https://www.ableton.com/en/products/live-lite/


MixPad & WavePad

These are two complementary programs that work well together. Why they didn’t put them both into one piece of software, I’m not sure.

MixPad

This has a similar layout to Audacity’s multi-track layout, with minimalist volume and pan sliders on the left. I would list all the features of this software, but it so similar to Audacity that I would be at risk of just duplicating the same information twice. One I will point out is that MixPad on its own is not ideal for advanced editing of single audio files. For that, you also need WavePad, which is also free.

One other thing I will say is that not all the features of the paid versions of these programs are present in the free versions. So, that being said, it might be better to stick with Audacity instead.

For more information and download:

http://download.cnet.com/MixPad-Free/3000-2170_4-75913313.html


WavePad

WavePad integrates with MixPad and lets you edit your single audio files which you can then mix in MixPad. It is very quick and easy to use and works fast. However, the fact that you need a separate program to do advanced editing of single audio files makes me think that Audacity is definitely the better option.

For more information and download:

http://download.cnet.com/Wavepad-Free/3000-2170_4-75742513.html


So there you go, those are some free audio editing and mixing programs for you to take a look at. I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

All the best,
Marcus.

P.S. You may also be interested in this free Roland TB 303 emulator and this free online music composing software.

You might also be interested in...

14 Comments

  1. Tar

    Howdy Marcus. It’s great to have audio editors for free. I’m guessing the pricing to acquire is quite too much?

    When reading this, there are some words which I’m not familiar with like ‘bit depth’ and ‘bit samples’.

    Does it have to do with the frequency/wave? About Audacity, it’s quite beneficial since it compatible in any software like iOS.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Hi Tar. Great question. Bit deth refers to how many bits of information a sample is made up of. The higher the bit depth, the better the sound quality. For example, CDs have 16-bit sound, whereas DVDs and Blu-ray discs have 24-bit sound.

      Reply
  2. Anh Nguyen

    Thanks for sharing us all these great software, Marcus! I LOVE editing tools and am immensely thankful how we have so many great free ones all over the internet.

    My favorite audio editing software is WavePad. Lightweight and powerful. The other one I have been through is Audacity, I always think it’s a little complicate but maybe it has more features – I’ve only ever need simple edits.

    What’s your favorite?

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, Audacity is my favorite free audio editor.

      Reply
  3. Dave Sweney

    Thanks for this post on free audi editing and mixing software. As a hobby musician, and for some of my online marketing efforts, I have the occasion to use such softwaree on a regular basis.

    For instance I have used Reason for quite a few years now and like it a lot. Very versatile and easy once you get to know it’s capabilities.

    The next one I use on your list of programs is Audacity. This is one I am just getting started with, and for podcasts and video sound editing it works well for the tasks I have used it for to now…

    I did have a good look at the others you mention here as well, I always like to see if there is something better I could be using! Of the rest, it seems to me the Ableton Live Lite might be worthy of trying out…

    The others are close to Audacity as you say, so I will not bother – as I said I have that! Thanks once again I had to come back and have a look at more of your posts, I just left another one that was quite interesting too!

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      It’s great that you are using the same music programs as me.. I really like Reason. It does everything I want.

      Reply
  4. bioelectrobot

    I’ve heard lots of good things about Audacity. The others I have not used, nor have I heard of them. However, they all have interesting features. I ought to set aside some time and try some of these out. I don’t do much with audio editing, however, I do enough that my time would be well spent trying out these different audio software packages.
    The Kristal Audio Engine looks quite comprehensive. Perhaps, I’ll start with the Kristal option and go from there.
    Thanks for the reviews and for the information. I now have several options to choose from.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      I’m glad you found it helpful. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
  5. Robert

    How do I say thank you. I just learned something that will really make a difference. I don’t do music. I do fiction and fiction includes audio books. This could be my big fix. The tutorials make the difference. I am not smart enough to figure it all out but if I was picking right now I think the Krystal Audio base solely on their tutorial video. The WavePad tells me I can record my audio and then trim out the errors. The free part of course, make’s it workable.
    Great stuff, thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Thank you for taking the time to post your comment, Robert. I’m glad you found it helpful. Wishing you the best of luck with your audio books.

      Reply
  6. Larry

    Thanks for the great information. I only used Audacity, and then only with a microphone input. Many years ago I used a paid program called MusikTime with my midi keyboard that was plugged into the game port on the sound card. How do you connect a midi keyboard on today’s computers? Is it through the USB ports? I really want to give this a try.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Yes, you use USB to connect a MIDI keyboard to a computer.

      Reply
  7. Pete Williams

    Hi Marcus

    I would agree that Audacity is a great free software to start with. First off, it’s free, it’s simple and it’s a good place to start off loading up files and learning editing.

    For some one starting out I would recommend Audacity just so as to learn how to copy & Paste and snip audio and make loops.

    I use it as a quick n easy way to double up guitar tracks I can jam along to.

    I also know that Audacity is very common in Hotel Conferences & Meetings as I regularly help tutors and speakers set this up for their audio presentations.

    It is minimalist and has no thrills, but that’s why it’s uncomplicated, popular & has great appeal to the beginner.

    I’ve investigated quite a few other free ones but I thought you wouldn’t mind me giving a few words on my experience with audacity.

    Thanks for the advice on all the above in your post about where to find free audio and mixing software, and the links to go find them.

    Cheers,

    All the very best,

    Pete.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Hi Pete,

      That’s great that conferences and meeting use Audacity. I didn’t know that.

      All the best,
      Marcus.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *