What is the Best Voice Recording Software in 2020?
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with the latest information for 2020.
Whether you’re a voice actor who is building your own home studio, a singer, or someone eager to start their own podcast, recording software is a crucial consideration for achieving high-quality voice overs.
If you’re curious about which voice over software professionals prefer – including free options, this article will help you determine which option you should consider.
Purchasing the Right Voice Recording Software for Your Needs
While you may be tempted to save some money on your voice over software, you may also be asking, “Should I use a free software package for recording my audio files instead?”
When software is available for free, some may be tempted to equate the price with ‘low quality.’ However, there are a number of reliable programs available for no cost, many of which are available for download. So, in order to help decide if investing in software – or downloading it for free – is a better option for your needs, it’s worth it to ask yourself a few key questions.
Which Voice Recording Software is Best in 2020?
If you want great vocal quality for your professional voice over demos and auditions, or even for your podcast show, there are some considerations to weigh in order to find the best software solution for your situation.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself to determine which recording software option is right for you:
- Do you identify as a professional? With the professional title, there may come an expectation for professional-grade equipment and software (among other things!). Research what the ‘pros’ use and see if the program is generally available for free, or if it tends to be a cost of business. In a recent survey conducted by Voices.com, Adobe Audition was the most popular software used.
- What software might your clients be using (e.g. you may need to collaborate)? And will it be compatible with what you have in your studio? Compatibility is important. While it’s impossible to anticipate what every client uses, at least understanding the industry standard can be very helpful in deciding between software options.
- Is the software user-friendly? If you can’t use it… then of what use is it to you, really?
- Does it allow you to do what you need to do? A good quality program should have all of the ‘tools’ you need to do your job.
- Is it compatible with your system and hardware? Whatever tech you acquire should be compatible not only with your computer’s operating system, but your mic and other hardware as well.
- How does it sound when you use it? Quality is key!
- What do reviewers say online? If the program has a poor rating, it may not be worth your money or your time.
5 Most Popular Audio Recording Software Brands
According to data on voice actor profiles on Voices.com, these are the most popular software programs – you can learn more about them below.
- Adobe Audition (38%) (subscription $20.99 USD/month)
- Audacity (26%) (Free)
- Pro Tools (16%) ($24.92 – $599 USD)
- Logic (8%) ($279.99 USD)
- GarageBand (5%) (Free – Standard on all Macs)
8 Digital Audio Recording Software Programs to Consider
These are some of the most popular programs for voice actors, podcasters and more. Bonus: You can also view working professionals’ favorite mics, software, and more in How to Become a Successful Voice Actor.
Free Recording Software
- This software is free, and proud of it.
- Audacity is regularly updated to continuously improve on the user experience of the software.
- Generally compatible with all major operating systems.
GarageBand is a fully equipped music creation and voice over studio right inside your Mac — with a complete sound library and presets for voice, taking the complexity out of processing your audio files. With Touch Bar features for MacBook Pro and an intuitive, modern design, it’s easy to learn, play, record, create and share your voice overs worldwide.
- This software is a program that typically comes pre-installed in Mac computers. Therefore, it is free to use.
- It is an Apple product and is not currently compatible with PC operating systems.
- Marketed with a slant toward music production, but can definitely be used for voice over if desired.
- GarageBand is considered a beginner’s option into audio production.
Recording Software for Purchase
Adobe Audition is a comprehensive toolset that includes multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio content. This powerful audio workstation is designed to accelerate video production workflows and audio finishing — and deliver a polished mix with pristine sound.
- Free trials are available. Otherwise, it is a software that requires purchasing.
- Offers compatibility with all major operating systems. For specifics, read up on Adobe Audition’s latest features.
Adobe Audition price: Purchase Adobe Audition individually for $20.99/mo, or get it as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud plan with other apps for $52.99/mo. Get it here.
Avid’s Pro Tools is the industry standard audio-production software for songwriters, musicians, producers, and engineers. Because so many people use Pro Tools, it’s also great for voice actors.
- Pro Tools is considered the industry standard audio recording software packages and as such is one of the more advanced (read complicated) recording software options.
- Offers different product levels that are outlined by usage of the program, not by experience level.
- Recently introduced Pro Tools First, an entry-level version of Pro Tools that helps people start recording that’s ideal for students, musicians, and podcasters.
Pro Tools price: You can purchase an essential Pro Tools plan for $29.99/mo, or the Pro Tools Ultimate plan for $79.99/mo. Get it here.
Logic Pro X is the most advanced version of Logic ever. Sophisticated creative tools for professional songwriting, beat making, editing, and mixing are built around a modern interface that’s designed to get results quickly and also deliver more power whenever it’s needed. Logic Pro X includes a massive collection of instruments, effects, loops and samples, providing a complete toolkit to create amazing-sounding music.
- Logic Pro is made by Apple.
- Logic is considered the upgrade from GarageBand.
- Like GarageBand, Logic is only available for Mac operating systems.
- Unlike GarageBand, it is not free.
- Logic provides the granularity in audio editing that GarageBand is unable to.
Logic Pro X price: You can purchase Logic Pro X on the Mac App Store for $279.99. Get it here.
Sound Forge Audio Studio 14 offers comprehensive tools and functions for all digital audio editing requirements. Record podcasts, edit your projects using professional effects, convert vinyls and cassettes to digital, produce soundtracks for videos and create and burn CDs.
- Sound Forge is considered to be one of the more advanced recording software options.
- Free trials are available. Otherwise, it is a software that requires purchasing.
Sound Forge price: You can purchase Sound Forge Audio Studio 14 for $89.99. Get it here.
GoldWave is a highly rated, professional digital audio editor that turns your computer or mobile device into a recording studio at your finger tips. Do everything from the simplest recording and editing to the most sophisticated audio processing, restoration, enhancements, and conversions. With millions of downloads over 25 years, GoldWave is a widely used, trusted and dependable program.
Many languages are also supported, including German, Spanish, French, Chinese, and more!
- This software seems to put an emphasis on music production, but can also be used for voice over recording in desired.
- Goldwave provides licensing options, with no free versions available.
GoldWave price: You can purchase a one year GoldWave license for $15, or a lifetime license for $45. Get it here.
Cubase is one of the most powerful music creation software packages in the world. With its unrivaled range of flexible tools, you can create any kind of music quickly and intuitively. It comes packed with a wide range of virtual instruments, effects and thousands of sounds. Whether you’re a professional composer or a music production beginner, Cubase provides you with everything you need for turning your ideas into music.
- Cubase offers different product levels and very clearly outlines which product is best for advanced audio production professionals, musicians, and home recordists.
- Requires time and financial investments to onboard.
For more information on each, browse through each company’s websites and investigate reviews on the software to help you understand specifically what each recording software brings to the table. Also, though these are the most popular, you can find other alternatives online.
Cubase price: You can purchase Cubase Elements 10.5 for $150, Cubase Artist 10.5 for $500, or Cubase Pro 10.5 for $878. Compare features and get the software here.
The Best Voice Over Software is the One that Works for You
By now, it should be clear that the software that is best for recording actually depends more on how you intend to use it.
By answering the above, you should now have an understanding of whether it’s worth it for you to make an investment in software as the best move for your business, or, if free software can help you accomplish what you need to.