You know it’s time to move on when you realize Adobe Audition’s only good for audio restoration.
Today, let’s discover nine popular Adobe Audition alternatives sorted according to their use cases, pros, limitations, unique features, and pricing.
About Adobe Audition (and why users are switching to alternatives)
Adobe Audition is a digital audio workstation (DAW) that edits, mixes, records, and restores your audio files.
Even though it offers a wide variety of features like multi-tracking and waveforming, the DAW is best for repairing audio for individual podcast and music recordings.
According to many users, the editing capabilities on Adobe Audition aren’t as sophisticated as competing tools like Ableton and Logic Pro.
9 top Adobe Audition alternatives
1. Best free: Audacity
Audacity is the gold standard for basic (and free!) audio editing. Use it to manipulate tracks and digitize your recordings.
- Zero learning curve. It’s easy to perform simple tasks like fade-outs, trimming.
- Great range of plugins for extra functionalities (e.g., Filter Curve to remove unwanted sub-bass rumble)
- Excellent for batch audio processing macros
- Available on Linux
- Lack of advanced features as Audacity is not a complete DAW
- No email, social media, or phone support—though the community support team is pretty responsive!
- Occasional bugs that run slow and affect workflow
- Changes to Terms of Service that allows data collection. Users recommend downloading versions before Audacity 3.X to bypass it.
- Open source platform that lets you modify it according to your unique needs
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Enter: Soundwise, an all-in-one platform that creates and sells your audio products while growing your email list from one dashboard.
All it takes is three quicks steps:
- Upload your audio after editing them on your preferred DAW
- Set your pricing as a subscription, one-time purchase, or rental
- Share your landing page to your email list
You can cross- or upsell customers. Simply add images and PDF documents as a bundle and list it on the landing page.
Soundwise offers a 15-day free trial, with paid plans starting at $59/month.
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2. Best for live performances: Ableton Live
Do you often edit live performances? If so, you need Ableton Live. This DAW adjusts tempo based on your audio in real-time.
- User-friendly interface despite dozens of complicated features
- Live listen and tweak tempo based on incoming audio on the go
- Extensive collection of instruments, sound packs, and audio effects (e.g., Hybrid Reverb, Spectral Resonator, Spectral Time)
- Excellent workflow that makes it extremely easy to create effects and complex MIDI patterns
- Expensive. To get the most of Ableton, you need to get the Standard or Suite plan which costs $449 and $749 respectively.
- Warping: Remap a sample’s tempo and rhythm completely to manipulate your sound
Pricing: 90-day free trial, with paid plans starting at $99
3. Best for audio cleaning: Sound Forge
Source: Sound Forge
Sound Forge is your answer if you’re looking for a DAW that does surgical destructive editing. Check it out if you often clean and restore your audio files.
- Multiple one-click solutions to clean your audio files’ sounds
- Outdated features. Users report that Sound Forge is no longer on par with competing tools ever since it was acquired by Magix.
- Audio Cleaning Lab 4: Restore and clean your audio files quickly (e.g., digitize vintage recordings, optimize audio quality for old records, CDs and cassettes). A Reddit user sums up the experience, “for cleaning up waveforms by redrawing the rough spots, it’s still the best to me.”
Pricing: Free trial, with paid plans beginning $59.99
4. Best for professional music producers: FL Studio
Source: FL Studio
A favorite DAW among professional musicians, FL Studio is best for house, techno, and electronic music. Look no further if you want a one-stop solution to record, mix, master, and edit your beats.
- Huge variety of top-notch presets, synthesizers, and plugins (e.g., Edison, Grossbeat)
- Favorite DAW among big-name producers and DJs like Madeon, 9th Wonder, and Martin Garrix
- Cluttered user interface, especially in audio recording workflows
- Free updates for life (note: some DAWs charge an annual fee for new updates)
- Early access to new releases
- Piano Roll: Many users shared that FL Studio’s is the best by a mile thanks to its smooth navigation, small learning curve, and the ability to convert any active steps to the roll notes.
Pricing: Time-unlimited free trial (note: you can save but can’t open projects until you purchase FL Studio), with licenses starting from $99
5. Most affordable: WavePad
WavePad is a wallet-friendly audio editing software that supports over 50 audio formats.
- Starts free
- Affordable paid plans
- Simple interface
- Supports over 50 audio formats such as WAV, MP3, FLAC, OGG Vorbis Audio, and GSM
- Lack of advanced tools like multi-audio edits (note: you need to purchase WavePad’s sister tool, MixPad, to access this feature. NCH, the parent company, offers a discount if you purchase both products)
- Royalty-free music library: Access over 1000 sound effects and royalty- and license-free music
Pricing: Starts free, with paid plans beginning at $3.88 per month
6. Best for mastering: WaveLab
WaveLab is the brainchild of Steinberg (the same company that brought Cubase).
With its mastering-centric workflow, audio montage, and visual audio meters, this is a must-have for mastering professionals.
- Audio montages to create CDs and assemble audio clips into a montage
- Fantastic for mastering entire albums thanks to its extensive codecs and file formats
- Embed metadata tags according to album and track
- Lacks audio editing features like metronome (tip: use WaveLab with Cubase to unlock advanced tools)
- WaveLab-Cubase integration: Master, edit, restore, produce, mix, and repeat on one platform
Pricing: 30-day free trial, with paid plans starting at $140 (€129.00)
7. Best for Mac (free): GarageBand
GarageBand is an entry-level DAW that’s won the approval of several Grammy award-winning artists.
- Clean and smooth user interface
- Tons of built-in instruments
- Stellar audio quality that’s almost on par with Logic Pro
- Great iOS app and iPad
- Favorite choice among established artists
- Other features not as advanced as premium audio editors like Logic Pro (e.g., lacks plugins, automation options, proper sampler, and mixing channels)
- Built-in piano and guitar lessons with instant feedback: Pick from 40 video lessons featuring original recording artists and track your progress
8. Best for Mac (paid): Logic Pro
Logic Pro is the big sister of GarageBand. Many users who started on the stripped-down DAW upgraded to Logic Pro after outgrowing its features.
- Easy-to-use traditional multi-track recordings
- Free future updates
- Outstanding loops and comping workflows
- Relatively low price point
- Inconsistent performance and occasional crashes
- Alchemy: Insanely great sample-manipulation synthesizer with over 3000 sounds that lets you import Sampler instruments, manipulate and combine samples, and more
- Retro Synth: Intuitive set of vintage synths (e.g., screaming leads, sawtooth waves, plucky bass) that re-creates electronic sounds from the seventies and eighties
Pricing: 90-day free trial, with paid version at $199.99
9. Best for customizability: Reaper
Reaper is a non-destructive editor that’s won numerous praises for its stability, performance, and customization options.
- Excellent flexibility and customization options that lets you set up the dashboard in your preferred layout
- Smooth performance thanks to its well-written and tight code
- Unparalleled customer support (this YouTube user who switched from Pro Tools to Reaper sent a bug report to Reaper and the team fixed the bug overnight—a rarity in large software companies!)
- Not as recognized as rivals like Ableton, Pro Tools, and FL Studio. If your employer or client requires you to have access to these tools and you’re only using Reaper, that could be a problem.
- Audio rendering: Create complex names for your files based on medium, track, or even parameters in the region output function. This feature is perfect when you have hundreds of separate files!
Pricing: Starts free for 60 days, with licenses starting at $60
Which Adobe Audition alternatives will you use today?
It’s impossible to pick a winner from these nine Adobe Audition alternatives as they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Let’s recap on what these DAWs do best:
- Audacity is the gold standard for basic audio editing. Experiment with this free tool if you’re just starting out.
- Ableton is best for live performances. You can easily adjust tempo based on incoming audio in the middle of a set.
- Sound Forge may not be as advanced as its rivals, but its multiple one-click audio cleaning solutions are worth a look at.
- FL Studio is a champion when it comes to its piano roll feature.
- WavePad is a wallet-friendly DAW that offers a royalty-free library and supports over 50 audio formats.
- WaveLab is a must-have for mastering professionals. Use it with Cubase to get the most out of both tools.
- GarageBand is an entry-level DAW that’s best used on the iPhone or iPad.
- Logic Pro, the cool big sister of GarageBand, holds the number spot for its Alchemy and Retro Synth tools.
- Reaper is a highly flexible and customizable DAW known for its audio rendering.
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