These 5 Programs Are the Ultimate Software for Podcasting

Podcast Like a Pro With These Tools

Man and woman hosting a podcast show.

Maskot / Getty Images 

Almost any audio software with a record feature can be used to create a simple podcast, but every program has its unique strengths and weaknesses.

Discover the different capabilities for some of the best and most widely used programs.

If you're looking for the best podcasting program for sound quality, it's more about the quality of microphone you use than the software program. These applications are really only different when it comes to features, not how well they can use a mic. And you'll see our picks for the best USB microphones if you don't already have one.

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Audacity Screenshot
Audacity Screenshot. Screenshot from Sourceforge

What We Like

  • Free.

  • Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

  • Good quality recordings on par with paid software.

What We Don't Like

  • Lacks looping capability for music bed.

  • No support beyond user forums.

  • Multitrack audio capabilities are rudimentary.

There are two reasons Audacity is used by so many podcasters: it works, and it's free! It also has great cross-platform support, running on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Audacity is a simple program that can record live audio and comes with a basic set of effects that you can try out on your recordings, though it's often compared to similar software that runs hundreds of dollars.

This program processes audio at professional sample and bit rates and can turn out a professional sounding podcast with intros and music beds.

It lacks looping for music beds, but if you're not planning on creating custom music for your podcast, you won't miss the absence of these features.

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GarageBand Screenshot. Screenshot from

What We Like

  • Powerful and easy to use tools for modifying and creating music.

  • Free with macOS systems.

What We Don't Like

  • Only available on Macs.

  • Lacks a mixing board style interface.

  • Does not support many plugins for additional features.

Sorry, Windows users, but GarageBand is only for Macs, which is a shame because it strikes a near-perfect balance between power and intuitiveness.

In addition to the audio capabilities of Audacity, GarageBand adds a fantastic library of music loops you can join together to create custom music for your podcast. If you want to get fancy, some of these loops contain virtual instruments which can be modified so that you can write your own melodies and beats.

GarageBand is targeted for musicians, but it contains all of the capabilities needed for producing the most complex, scripted podcasts. If you're lucky enough to own one of the newer Macs, just plug in a USB microphone, and you're literally ready to go!

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Adobe Audition

Adobe Audition

 Screenshot / Adobe

What We Like

  • Works well with Adobe Premiere for video editing.

  • Excellent sound editing tools and interface.

What We Don't Like

  • Subscription fee structure can be pricey longterm.

  • No MIDI support.

  • Complexity requires a lot of learning to master.

Adobe makes some of the best and most popular software programs, so you can expect a lot from Adobe Audition. It's used to create and mix sound, so it's perfect for podcasting.

If you're in deep with the whole suite of Adobe products, something else to think about when it comes to Adobe Audition is that it's tightly related to Adobe Premiere, so if you plan to do video podcasting, the two will work great together.

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Pro Tools

ProTools LE Screenshot. Screenshot from Digidesign

What We Like

  • Industry leading editing software.

  • Support for plugins.

  • Cloud collaboration.

What We Don't Like

  • Professional software that is likely more than the average podcaster needs.

  • Requires a specialized USB dongle for license verification.

  • Significant learning curve.

  • Expensive.

Pro Tools is for established podcasters who are looking to expand into a powerful and deep software. It has all of the features mentioned above, but the biggest reason to own Pro Tools is that most any professional studio is bound to have a copy running.

Something important to note is that Pro Tools only runs on specific Pro Tools rated hardware. Pro Tools is a high-end product with loads of features and power, but not essential for the first time podcaster.

File this under “Nice to have if you can get it,” but be warned: along with tons of features comes a bigger learning curve.

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Sony ACID Xpress

ACID XPress. Sony

What We Like

  • Offers GarageBand-like features for Windows users.

  • Comes with a few trial, royalty-free loops.

What We Don't Like

  • Free version is much more limited than the paid ACID Pro version.

ACID Xpress is a free, limited version of MAGIX's ACID Music Studio software (it used to be owned by Sony). It can record and edit audio and emulates the looping capability of GarageBand in a free software for Windows.

ACID loops are royalty free music that can be stretched to fit different tempos and keys. ACID XPress comes with a few trial loops, but you will either have to buy a library CD or download free loops from the internet if you want to use its soundtrack capabilities.

Work can be done in XPress, but the limited track count, disabled effects, and annoying pop-ups mean most people who like the ACID workspace will opt to move up to ACID Music Studio. Xpress is simple to learn, so you can quickly get up and running.