Your podcast deserves to sound amazing.
And the first step to achieving that is by capturing a great recording of your episodes. This goes for whether you’re recording an interview-style podcast, or you’re going solo. Your recordings should be high quality, with as few nasty noises as possible. It also helps if you can capture them in a way that makes editing easy.
In addition, the software that you use to record your episodes should be easy to set up and use. The last thing that you want when you’re gearing up to have a chat with a dream guest is to be messing around with clunky software. All you want to have to do is hit record and capture a reliable recording to send off to your editor.
Choosing the right software is key in making sure that you can effortlessly record crystal clear audio. Finding a piece of software that does all of this doesn’t have to be hard. Or expensive. Read on for our curated list of the best free podcast recording software that covers all of these bases.
Some podcast recording software also includes editing functions, so that you can edit the podcast yourself within the app. These normally record the audio directly to your device. They’re perfect for solo podcasters and those wanting to edit their own podcasts. Others, allow you to record a call over the internet and save the audio to your device. These are ideal for those with remote guests who just want to easily record. Whichever your preference, this guide has you covered.
At A Glance
Audacity has been around for over two decades and it’s still free and really simple to use. This software allows you to record through your audio interface or USB microphone locally onto your PC or Mac. It also allows you to make edits and apply effects to your audio after recording, all within the same interface.
The experience couldn’t be simpler. No accounts or logins are required to download the software and it installs in seconds. Once installed, you’ll find that the interface is easy to use, too. It’s just a case of choosing the interface or mic that you’re recording with and hitting record.
Some may find Audacity’s simplicity to be a burden, however. Particularly if you’re a seasoned recording pro. Audacity is missing some of the tools and features that you might expect from more professional recording software. For example, it’s designed to only record one microphone at a time. There is a workaround to this that allows you to record up to two, but this still might not be suitable if you’re recording a group podcast locally. Your options for editing and mixing your audio after recording are a bit limited too, compared with some other software on this list. However, this won’t be a problem if you’re sending your recordings off to be edited.
Bear in mind though, that Audacity has recently received a fair few updates. It’s functionality is getting closer to that of the pro software with each update, while still remaining simple to use. So by the time you’re reading this, it’ll probably be even more feature packed! And even as it stands today, Audacity is a fantastic option as free podcast recording software.
Check out the free Audacity Accelerator course on YouTube to learn how to record your podcast with Audacity.
- Fast and simple to use
- No account required
- Lacking in some of the features of more professional software
- No built-in support for recording with multiple microphones (at time of writing)
If you have a Mac, then you have Garageband. Like Audacity, GarageBand is free, but only for iOS users. It’s just as simple to use, though, and is a great option for recording your podcast onto your Apple device.
GarageBand is more tailored towards musicians than podcasters, but there’s nothing stopping you from hooking up your microphone and recording your podcast with it. If you’re deep in the iOS ecosystem, you’ll also have the benefit of being able to use the same software across all of your Apple devices (iPad, iMac etc.)
The software also includes tools to edit and mix your recordings. And while these aren’t quite up to the level of what a professional audio engineer would use, it’ll do the job if you’re self-editing your podcast.
Just remember though – this one’s only for Apple users!
- Comes pre-installed on your Mac
- Simple to use
- Limited in it’s features compared with more professional options
- Mac only
For those who want a bit more control over their audio, Pro Tools First is a great option. Pro Tools has historically been a very pricey piece of software, used mainly in recording studios. Avid now offers a free version of the software, though. Many of the features of the paid version have been cut, but you’ll still have the tools needed to record your podcast like a pro!
Pro Tools First can easily record multiple microphones at a time if your audio interface includes multiple inputs. It also includes some great sounding plugins to improve the sound of your recordings. And furthermore, if you edit your podcast yourself, you can easily make professional, transparent edits using Pro Tools.
However, with these additional tools, Pro Tools First may seem overwhelming to some podcasters. And if all you need to do is record (and none of the other stuff), Pro Tools First might be unnecessarily complex. It’s slower to load than Audacity and needs a more powerful computer to run. You also need to create an Avid account to use it, which you’ll need to remain logged onto. And finally, Pro Tools First doesn’t always play that nicely with USB mics, so if you’re USB only, it might not be for you.
Pro Tools First is a fantastic, mini version of the full package. If you want more control over your audio, Pro Tools First offers one of the best free podcast recording software around. Just keep in mind that as the name suggests, it’s not quite as beginner-friendly as some of the other options on this list.
- Pro level tools for free
- Record multiple mics at once with ease
- Requires a free Avid account
- Not ideal for USB mics
Zoom’s popularity exploded in 2020 and 2021 as one of the most widely used internet calling apps. And while it’s main use is for video calls, Zoom has the functionality to save the full conversation as an audio file.
Zoom isn’t a dedicated ‘digital audio workstation’ like the software that we’ve talked about so far. This means you won’t be editing and mixing your recordings within Zoom. However, because Zoom can record internet calls, it means that only the host has to worry about recording for all speakers. Even so, I would still recommend that everyone records locally to their computers as a backup as well, using something like Audacity. You can never be too careful!
Zoom also has an option to record each speaker to a separate audio file too, which makes for easier editing. You may be limited to how long each recording can be in the free version, though.
If you want to record yourself and your guests during your online podcast call, Zoom is a solid and free option.
- Record multiple people over the internet from your computer
- Simple to use
- Only calls and recording – no editing or mixing functionality
- The free version is may have limited recording time (check website for details)
5. Zencastr (And other online recording services)
Zencastr is an online recording service that allows all speakers to record over the internet via it’s website. What sets this apart from Zoom, though, is that it records high-quality recordings as though they were recorded locally. Meaning that a poor network connection won’t be affecting the quality of the recordings. It’s more stable, and as a result, gives you a higher quality recording.
Zencastr isn’t the only online recording service available, but at time of writing, it offers an unlimited free service, whereas Zencastr’s competitors typically don’t. The free service does have some limitations, for example, you’ll be able to download your recording in MP3 format, rather than the full quality WAV. But the MP3 files are perfectly fine for a podcast.
You’ll need to set up a Zencastr account to use it. For your guests, though, you can just send them over an invite link so that they can jump straight into a call, similarly to Zoom.
If you want to record your online calls in high quality, Zencastr is a solid choice.
- Pro quality audio recording over the internet
- Simple to use
- As with Zoom, no editing or mixing functionality
- MP3 only recordings with the free version – no full quality WAVs
With these five options for the best free podcast recording software, you’ll be able to find one that suits you. Zoom and Zencatr are great options for if you want a simple way of recording your online calls. Audacity, Pro Tools First and GarageBand are robust digital audio workstations that give you the tools to record like a pro and edit your episodes too.
Which software will you be using to record your podcast episodes?