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If you need to lay down some sick beats but you are clean out of cash for recording and editing software we’ve got the solution.
Don’t despair. These days there’s always a freeware alternative to paid packages and while they may not be as slick as the best DAWs on the market, they are free.
This is nearly as powerful as most paid for Digital Audio Workstations and yet, it’s free!
You don’t need to spend a fortune on a laptop to run Audacity on either, one of our budget laptops for audio recording will do the job nicely.
It also runs happily on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems which makes it pretty handy for most people.
You can multi-track record (which many free software packages don’t allow) and there are a lot of plugins and effects you can get too.
It won’t take long for you to learn how to use Audacity, but the UI isn’t the greatest and you’ll find that it can feel a bit cluttered at times.
It’s free, however and it really does get the job done and at this price point, we can’t be too choosy, right?
Get it here.
This is a non-destructive editor, which means that it creates a fresh file of changes and preserves your original recordings. That’s a good thing if like us, you can be a little error prone.
It comes with a ton of effects in the virtual box and it is very, very easy to use.
It’s less powerful than Audacity, but it’s also easier on your system which means it will run on a potato, more or less.
However, you can’t run multi-track sessions in the Ocenaudio environment which is a bit of a pain at times.
Get it here.
WavePad is getting on a bit now and it does show, however, that doesn’t mean it’s useless, either.
It’s very simple to get it installed and it works on Windows, Mac, iPads and Android tablets like a charm.
We love the inbuilt analysis tools which are very powerful. You can’t do multi-tracking though.
We use it as a backup to Audacity and regularly find ourselves using the batch-processing tool overnight.
Get it here.
This is a very simple online web application for editing your work, so no multi-tracking.
It is super easy to use though and while it’s not exactly brimming with functionality everything that it does do, works well.
If you only have a browser to work from, it’s worth checking out.
This is actually a pretty powerful online app which does all multi-tracking and the interface is very well put together.
However, we’ve got to be honest, overall this package is stronger for arranging than it is for editing your music.
If you just need to get online, crop a little and maybe throw in a few fades? Then Audio Cutter Pro has got you covered.
It works well with files in your Cloud which is a bonus, but it’s massively under powered compared to the other editors on our list.
If you need an audio editor for Linux, then we’re told that Qtractor does a great job.
We can’t confirm this as we don’t run Linux on anything within the New Music World computing environment and thus, can’t test it.
If you have no computing power to hand at all, but you can run an Internet browser then you can always give Hya-Wave a go.
It’s been out for 6 years now and recently underwent a major overhaul.
As you’d expect for a browser-based editor it doesn’t do anything too complicated (forget multi-tracking) but you can cut, paste, copy, crop, etc. and add effects.
And when you’re done it supports a quick transfer of data from the workstation to the cloud or social media.
We wouldn’t use Hya-Wave as our first choice of software but it’s great when you’re working on the go and don’t have much computer power at hand.
You might want to pair it with a solid pair of in-field headphones to get the most out of it.
All of these free audio editing software options are going to be able to help you lay down your beats and get them sounding the way that you want them to.
Sure, when you’re feeling a little more flush, it’s worth upgrading to a paid package that makes things easier, but for now?
You won’t be stopped from making music that sounds great and that’s the most important thing, right?
The first time Nicholas went to a live gig, 31 years ago, it turned out to be an Iron Maiden secret gig and he became hooked on the music scene. He was one of the founding writers for Astro Zombie a heavy metal and new world techno-inspired zine and his interview with Rob Caggiano of Anthrax brought in over 300,000 readers. He’s based out of Southeast Asia now, but his love of music is as strong and diverse as ever.