Try Movavi Screen Recorder to capture audio!

  • Capture system sounds and microphone
  • Trim recorded audio
  • Save recordings in popular formats

Free audio recording software can be used for making music, recording podcasts, creating videos, and much more. This guide will introduce you to some of the best free audio recording software you can download and start using today.

Program

Best for

Download

Movavi Screen RecorderUsers who want to record audio and video together
AudacityUsers who want free, fully-featured audio recording
GarageBandUsers who want to make music easily on Mac
WavePadUsers who want an audio recorder with many special effects
ArdourUsers who want to enhance their music
OcenaudioUsers who want to simplify the audio recording experience
Avid Pro ToolsUsers who want a collaborative audio recorder
WavosaurUsers who want a very basic audio recorder and converter
CleanfeedUsers who want to record live audio or radio
Free Sound RecorderUsers who want to capture internal and external audio
QuickTime PlayerUsers who want a built-in audio recorder on Mac
Audio HighjackUsers who want to stream and broadcast audio live
HYA.WAVEUsers who want to edit and record audio online
CakewalkUsers who want to repair distorted audio files
MixPadUsers who want a free multi-track audio recorder

Best audio recorders for a PC and Mac

Movavi Screen Recorder

Best for: Users who want to record audio and video together

OS: Windows, Mac

Price: Free trial, full version for $57.95

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5, 49 reviews

Movavi Screen Recorder is an audio recorder for your PC and Mac. It's capable of recording your screen, your system audio, and any external audio via a connected or built-in microphone. This is some of the best audio recording software for a PC, due to its ease of use and helpful features, like built-in editing tools and the ability to export your audio files in a wide range of formats. This allows you to work with almost any kind of audio or video file and create audio that is compatible with any device.

Key features:

  • Record both audio and video
  • Built-in editing tools for trimming and cutting
  • Configurable audio and video capture parameters

Pros:

  • Great for making videos and recording commentaries
  • Really easy to use and ideal for beginners
  • Works with many different audio and video formats

Cons:

  • Need to pay a fee to unlock all features

Audacity

Best for: Users who want free, fully-featured audio recording

OS: Windows, Mac

Price: Free

PCMag rating: 4 out of 5

Audacity is often described as the best audio recorder software. This audio recorder is completely free to use, without any hidden charges or costs. It offers a huge range of different features, such as multiple track recording, stereo and mono tracks, noise enhancement, noise cancellation, trimming, cutting, merging, pitch adjustment, volume adjustment, and more. You can use this free sound recording software to make and edit audio files in countless ways, making it a great choice for everyone from musicians to podcasters.

Key features:

  • Record multiple tracks simultaneously
  • Many built-in editing tools and effects
  • Exports in MP3, WAV, and other formats

Pros:

  • Completely free to use for life
  • Lots of impressive editing tools, effects, and enhancements for your audio
  • Can be used to create professional-grade music and sound files

Cons:

  • Quite complicated for new users to understand

Download Audacity

GarageBand

Best for: Users who want to make music easily on Mac

OS: Mac

Price: Free

PCMag rating: 4.5 out of 5

GarageBand is another great example of audio capture software. This software is exclusively available for Apple devices, like MacBooks and Macs. It features a very attractive and intuitive user interface that will appeal to beginners and intermediate users alike. Not only is it visually impressive, but this professional audio recording software is also highly functional and great for making music, with presets for various instruments like guitars and pianos. It comes with various effects and amplifiers for enhancing your audio, too, and basically allows you to create musical tracks without actually needing to use real instruments.

Key features:

  • A range of synths and instrument presets
  • Make music without instruments
  • Many amps and effects

Pros:

  • Modern and intuitive UI
  • Ideal for musicians and creators
  • A lot of fun to use

Cons:

  • Only available on Mac

Download GarageBand

WavePad

Best for: Users who want an audio recorder with many special effects

OS: Windows

Price: Free version, premium from $59.95

G2 rating: 4.4 out of 5, 33 reviews

If you're looking for audio recording software that comes with a library of special effects, filters, and enhancements, WavePad might be exactly what you need. This clean, sleek, modern sound recorder for a PC features a beginner-friendly UI but tons of advanced features to appeal to more experienced users. There are countless filters and effects to apply to your recordings like distortion, amplification, fade-out, and reverb.

Key features:

  • More than 20 filters and many effects
  • Fully customizable toolbars and interface
  • Mix, split, and edit in other ways

Pros:

  • Lots of fun effects to play with
  • Easy editing like cutting and merging
  • Configurable to suit your specific needs

Cons:

  • You'll need to pay a premium for the full version

Download WavePad

Ardour

Best for: Users who want to enhance their music

OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

Price: Free

G2 rating: 4.1 out of 5, 11 reviews

Ardour is another top-quality piece of audio capture software, well-suited to musicians and creators. It's mainly designed for enhancing and bringing out the best in your voice and other recorded audio. It runs on all three major platforms too – Windows, Mac, and Linux – so you shouldn't have any issues getting Ardour set up and running on your device. It comes with great editing tools to cut, trim, split, and more, as well as intuitive features and effects to enhance your audio.

Key features:

  • Drag and drop user interface
  • A range of plug-ins and add-ons
  • Multi-track recording and editing

Pros:

  • Sleek and modern user interface
  • Plenty of useful editing tools
  • Ideal for musicians

Cons:

  • You'll need to spend time finding the best add-ons to use

Download Ardour

Ocenaudio

Best for: Users who want to simplify the audio recording experience

OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

Price: Free

TechRadar rating: 4 out of 5

Ocenaudio is one of the smartest and most impressive audio capture and editing tools available. It's powered by some very impressive technology that is highly intuitive and can make the process of recording and enhancing audio surprisingly easy, once you figure out all the different functions and systems. It's also cross-platform, working equally well on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Key features:

  • Runs on all 3 major platforms
  • Many audio effects
  • Real-time previews

Pros:

  • A very clever and modern interface
  • Powerful tech for easy recording and editing
  • Runs on almost any device

Cons:

  • Can take a little time to learn all the features

Download Ocenaudio

Avid Pro Tools

Best for: Users who want a collaborative audio recorder

OS: Windows, Mac

Price: Free, premium from $39 per month

PCMag rating: 4.5 out of 5

Avid Pro Tools is a pro-level piece of audio software. It's used by many bands and artists for recording music and working on tracks together. Collaboration is a big part of the experience with this software, and it's specially designed to allow users on different devices to interact and work together on the same projects, so it's a nice choice for bands, with tons of high-end features and professional effects.

Key features:

  • A huge selection of MIDI tools
  • Plugin, loop, and sample library
  • Cloud collaboration support

Pros:

  • Work together with bandmates to make music
  • Create tracks without real instruments
  • Perfect for collaboration and sharing ideas

Cons:

  • Can be very expensive per month

Download Avid Pro Tools

Wavosaur

Best for: Users who want a very basic audio recorder and converter

OS: Windows

Price: Free

PCWorld rating: 4 out of 5

Wavosaur is one of the oldest examples of free audio recording applications. It's been around for years and the interface hasn't changed a lot over time, so some users find it outdated, but others have been using it for a long time and still see it as one of the best options. It's very simple, beginner-friendly, and basic, offering all you need to get started with audio capture without too many frills or fancy extras. If you're just getting started with the idea of recording your own audio, this is a nice app to begin with to teach you the basics before moving on to something more advanced.

Key features:

  • Basic audio recording
  • Supports VST plugins
  • Some light editing features

Pros:

  • One of the oldest and most trusted apps
  • Very simple and ideal for beginners
  • Good for learning the basics

Cons:

  • A little outdated and surpassed by other more modern apps

Download Wavosaur

Cleanfeed

Best for: Users who want to record live audio or radio

OS: Windows, Mac, Linux

Price: Free, premium from $22 per month

Cleanfeed is one of the few audio recording apps to be available in your internet browser. You just go to the website, sign in to your account and then click the record button. It's as simple as that, and this site is really useful for people who just want to dive right in with audio capture. It's also perfect for live audio like radio and podcasts, and with just one account, you can host your own guests, which is another great feature for radio broadcasting.

Key features:

  • Browser-based audio recorder
  • Automatic mixing and quality enhancement
  • Host remote guests via a link

Pros:

  • Nice choice for radio and streaming
  • No downloads or installations needed
  • Runs on almost any device

Cons:

  • Monthly fee applies for business users

Download Cleanfeed

Free Sound Recorder

Best for: Users who want to capture internal and external audio

OS: Windows, Mac

Price: Free

Free Sound Recorder has been ranked as one of the top sound recording apps to download for Windows and Mac for years. It offers a range of great features and can capture audio both internally and externally, so you can record system sounds and audio playing on your device as well as external audio via a microphone. It offers simple 3-step recording and comes with a built-in editor to enhance and adjust your clips.

Key features:

  • Capture internal and external audio
  • Enhance recordings with editing tools
  • Various presets for optimal recording conditions

Pros:

  • Really easy to use
  • Ideal for recording system audio and external audio together
  • Great for content creators and making podcasts or commentary tracks

Cons:

  • Some aspects of the UI are confusing

Download Free Sound Recorder

QuickTime Player

Best for: Users who want a built-in audio recorder on a Mac

OS: Mac

Price: Free

CNET rating: 3.5 out of 5, 664 reviews

QuickTime Player may not be the best audio recording software for Windows, but it's a solid option for Mac users. This app is installed by default on all Mac systems and is usually used for playing media files like videos and songs, but it can also be used as a recorder. It takes a little configuration to set up, but once you figure out how to use it, QuickTime is simple and efficient. And once you've captured audio with QuickTime, you can use the same app to edit, play, and convert it.

Key features:

  • Media player and recorder in one
  • Installed by default on Mac systems
  • Completely free to use

Pros:

  • No extra downloads needed
  • Very beginner-friendly
  • Can be used for playback of your recordings

Cons:

  • Lacks editing features and special effects

Download QuickTime Player

Audio Hijack

Best for: Users who want to stream and broadcast audio live

OS: Mac

Price: Free version, premium from $64

CNET rating: 4.3 out of 5, 42 reviews

Audio Hijack is a Mac-exclusive audio recording app that allows you to make professional-level sound recordings with ease. It has a really sleek and modern interface that will appeal to younger generations and users who lack experience with this sort of software. It supports live streaming and broadcasting, too, ideal for those who want to record and share their audio with the world. You can get this good audio recording software for free.

Key features:

  • Suitable for streaming and broadcasting
  • Grab audio from any website
  • VoIP recording with Skype, Zoom, etc.

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly user interface
  • Lightweight to download and speedy installation
  • Ideal for streamers or capturing VoIP calls

Cons:

  • Have to pay to unlock all the features

Download Audio Hijack

HYA.WAVE

Best for: Users who want to edit and record audio online

OS: Any (web-based)

Price: Free

Most good audio recording software needs to be downloaded and installed on your device, but HYA.WAVE is an all-online audio recorder, so you can use it directly in your internet browser. This app often appears in response to the question of "What is the best audio recording software to use on a low-end system?" as it can run on almost any device. It's ideal for students or people on a budget and lets you record, cut, copy, and crop your audio files, along with adding some simple effects. On the downside, it lacks a lot of features compared to other apps on this list.

Key features:

  • Online, browser-based sound recorder
  • Create, edit, copy, and trim
  • Small selection of audio effects

Pros:

  • A simple, budget-friendly option
  • No need to download or install
  • Runs on almost any device

Cons:

  • Lacks features like multi-track support

Go to the HYA.WAVE website

Cakewalk

Best for: Users who want to repair distorted audio files

OS: Windows

Price: Free

Cakewalk is another free and simple piece of audio recording software you can use to record audio and edit your existing audio files. It's great for composing songs and performances, with an intuitive and easy-to-understand interface, but where this app really excels is in fixing and enhancing audio tracks. You can use it to repair distorted audio, rearrange parts of audio tracks, and adjust things like pitch and volume.

Key features:

  • Compose, record, mix, edit, and more
  • Share directly to sites like YouTube and SoundCloud
  • Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Great for fixing distorted audio or mistakes
  • Excellent set of editing and enhancement tools

Cons:

  • Lacks effects compared to other audio recording software

Download Cakewalk

MixPad

Best for: Users who want a free multi-track audio recorder

OS: Windows, Mac

Price: Free for non-commercial use, premium from $79.99

CNET rating: 3 out of 5, 4 reviews

MixPad is a multi-track audio recorder for Windows and Mac. It allows you to record and mix together an unlimited number of audio, voice, music, and sound files to create songs and other kinds of audio content. You can use the vast majority of audio formats with this software and it's totally free for non-commercial use. It's some of the best sound recording software around for tasks like making radio adverts or a music mix, so will appeal to DJs, artists, and creators.

Key features:

  • Record an unlimited number of tracks
  • Pro-grade editing and mixing
  • Works with almost any format

Pros:

  • Totally free for home use
  • More formats than almost any other audio recording programs
  • Free download and speedy installation

Cons:

  • You'll need to pay if you plan to use the audio recorder commercially

Download MixPad

What is audio recording software?

Audio recording software is a term used for programs that are designed to record sound on your device. They work together with sound recording hardware, like internal or external microphones, to collect and store audio information in digital format. Many of them also feature editing tools that allow you to adjust and enhance audio files, as well as tools for importing and exporting audio in various formats.

What does a sound recorder do?

There are various different ways in which you can use sound recording software, including:

  • Podcasts – Sound recorders can be used for making your own podcasts.
  • Music – You can use sound recording software to make music or songs.
  • Videos – Many people use audio recording software to record commentary or backing tracks for videos.
  • Editing and enhancements – A lot of sound recorders are used for editing or enhancing audio files.

How to choose the best sound recording software

There are many sound recording apps and tools available. Here are some factors you can focus on to help you find the right app to meet your needs:

  • Ease-of-use: It's a good idea to find a sound recorder that is easy to use and suitable for your ability levels. If you're a total beginner, choose an app rated as beginner-friendly, with a simple and easy-to-understand user interface.
  • Features: Sound recording software can have a range of different features. Some apps are really advanced, with dozens of effects, filters, and editing tools to let you play around with your audio files in different ways. Other apps are much simpler and lacking in features.
  • Supported formats: It's important to ensure that the app you use is compatible with the kind of audio files you want to work with. Most software should work with common formats like MP3 and WAV, but you may require other audio formats for import or export.
  • Price: Check to see the price of each app, too. The apps featured in our guide are all free to some degree, but some of them have limited usage for the free version and will ask you to pay a fee to unlock certain features.
  • User reviews: It's always wise to check out some user reviews of apps before you download and use them yourself. Users will give you an honest view of how good an app actually is, and they'll let you know if any bugs or compatibility issues are present.
  • Support: Good quality sound recording apps should also have decent support, with guides, tutorials, live chat help, and email help systems ready to aid you if you have any issues or need some help getting started with the software.

Summary

We hope that this guide has helped you find the perfect free audio recorder for your next project. Remember to focus on the factors listed above to find the right app for you and try a few apps to compare them before settling on the one you want to use.

Frequently asked questions

Which software is best for audio recording?

Some of the best apps include:

  • Movavi Screen Recorder
  • Audacity
  • GarageBand
  • WavePad
  • Ardour
  • Ocenaudio
  • Avid Pro Tools
  • Wavosaur

Read this article to learn about more audio recording options.

Jump to the article

What is the best free music recording software?

There are plenty of great music recording apps available to download, including

  • Audacity
  • GarageBand
  • Ocenaudio
  • Audio Highjack
  • MixPad

How can I record high-quality audio from my computer?

You can use Movavi Screen Recorder. Here's how:

  1. Download and install Movavi Screen Recorder to your device.

    Download Movavi Screen Recorder for Windows
    Download Movavi Screen Recorder for Mac

  2. Choose the audio recording mode, like system audio or mic audio.
  3. Pick the recording area of your screen.
  4. Click REC to start recording and Stop when you're done.

Follow the link below to read the detailed guide on audio recording.

Read about recording audio with Movavi Screen Recorder

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Movavi Screen Recorder does not allow capture of copy-protected video and audio streams. Learn more

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specializes in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.