When you want to edit an audio file or when you want to create or record your own music, what is you need is a capable audio editing software. A good audio editor software has all the features, can handle long sessions of recording, and even lets you make and manage music. In our previous articles we covered free audio editing software, but most of them contain ads, upgrade prompts, or even artificial limitations. To deal with that, here are some of the best free and open source audio editing software.
Open Source Audio Editor
When it comes to free and open source audio editing software, Audacity is one of best in terms of features, accessibility, and plugins. Though I don’t edit audio files on a regular basis, I use Audacity from time to time for some minor tasks like converting M4A format to MP3, Splitting MP3 files, removing noise from old audio files, etc. The user interface is traditional and looks a bit dated but it is very user friendly and gets the job done without any hiccups.
We use audacity to edit audio for our YouTube channel
Audacity supports a wide range of audio formats including but not limited to WAV, FLAC, AIFF, AU, MP3, etc. When it comes to editing, you can do things like recording, import and export, scrubbing and seeking, cut, copy, paste, mix multiple tracks, unlimited undo, automatic crash recovery, sync-lock tracks, etc.
Of course, you can also add various included effects, reduce noise, change pitch and tempo, isolate vocals, generate tones, etc. The best part is, Audacity supports external plugins to improve and/or add extra functionality. Simply put, no matter who you are, just download and install Audacity. It will come in handy from time to time. After all, Audacity is completely free.
Pro Tip: You can also use Audacity to record audio comping out of computer.
Platform support: Audacity is a multi-platform software that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.
2. Traverso DAW
Traverso DAW is a powerful audio editing and audio recording open source software for Linux users. The best thing about Traverso DAW is its scalability. i.e, you can use it in both amateur and professional situations. Using Traverso DAW you can edit multi-track audio with layers and effects. If you want to, you can record the complete band and burn it to a CD or DVD directly from Traverso DAW, no need of yet another software. Just like Audacity, the user interface looks dated but once you get comfortable, it is very user-friendly.
Being a professional software, you can connect multiple instruments to Traverso DAW and record them in multiple tracks with ease.
As good as it is, Traverso DAW is officially only available to Linux users. Moreover, you need to know how to compile Traverso DAW from source and then install it. That being said, on some distributions, like on Ubuntu and its derivatives, you can install Traverso DAW with a single command. Optionally, you can check for its availability in the included app store.
If you are looking for a scalable professional audio editing software that can effortlessly manage recording multiple instruments then try Traverso DAW.
Platform support: Traverso DAW supports only Linux platform.
Should know: One thing to keep in mind is that you should know how to compile the package from source and install it on your Linux machine. Of course, if your Linux distribution has Traverso package then you can install it directly from the app store or using the terminal commands.
Ardour is a professional open source audio editing workstation for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. One of the best features of Ardour is its Flexible Recording. Using which you’ll be able to set layered, destructive, and non-layered modes on per track basis. You can even manage individual monitoring options per track by simply clicking on the individual monitor buttons. Moreover, being a professional software, the Mixer section of Ardour is one of the best compared to other software on this list. It has a ton of options with a friendly user interface.
Other features of Ardour include but not limited to non-linear and non-destructive track editing, unlimited multichannel tracks, ability to extract audio from video, lock audio and MIDI regions, blank frames, automation, mixing, support for external plugins, ability to import and export, etc.
If you are looking for a professional audio editing, recording, and mixing software that supports multiple platforms then Ardour is for you.
Platform support: Ardour supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Price: Free with a catch.
Should know: As a free user, you will be given the source code. To install Ardour you need to compile it on your machine. If you can’t do that, you can simply donate a minimal monthly amount and download the ready to install file to install Ardour on your operating system.
If you are into DJing then Mixxx is one of the best free and open source software that enables you to fly with your creativity. The software is designed to be friendly for both beginner and professionals alike. Gettings started with Mixxx is nothing hard, simply drag a song into Mixxx and you can start manipulating it using beats, cue points, and scrollable and scratchable waveforms among other things.
You will also have access to various features like sampler decks, pitch, and key control, master sync, beat looping, chained effects, built-in music library, key and bpm detection, recording, live broadcasting, etc. There is also a fun feature called Auto DJ which can take over your job in the time of need. All you have to do is point it towards a playlist and you are good to go.
Of course, being a DJ software, it has multiple skins with a customizable layout. If you not a fan of the default layout then you only limited by your imagination when it comes to layout customization.
Apart from all the features, the best part of Mixxx is that it supports a wide range of DJ hardware without any artificial limitations.
So, if you a DJ or looking to become one then you should try Mixxx.
Platform support: Ardour supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Price: Completely free.
Qtractor is an Audio and/or MIDI multi-track sequencer application. Unlike all the other applications shared in this list, Qtractor is designed for professionals. Also, it gives you the power of Jack Audio Connection Kit. In fact, you need to have Jack Audio Connection Kit in order to work with Qtractor on your Linux machine. Unfortunately, though Qtractor is easy to use and has support for Jack Audio Connection Kit, it is not as complex or flexible as Ardour.
Features of Qtractor include but not limited to unlimited undos and redos, built-in connection patch bay control, multi-select, drag and drop, multi-track tape recorder, loop recording, unlimited location markers, MMC control surface, session or project description files, support for non-destructive and non-linear editing, Jack Audio Connection Kit transport sync, etc.
If you are looking for powerful audio editing software that requires Jack Audio Connection Kit then you should definitely try Qtractor.
Platform support: Linux only.
Price: Completely free but you should compile it from the source code.
That is it for now. If you think I missed any of your favorite open source audio editor then comment below and share them with me.