Today, every Mac comes with an audio recorder that puts to shame what studios used back in the day. Yet, even Garageband has shortcomings, not the least of which is audio editing options. If you’re on a budget and need a few of the tools missing in Garageband, you may like this free recording and editing app.
Audacity By Committee
If there’s a Mac audio recording app still available that I haven’t tried or used through the years, I don’t know what it is.
One of the earlier bargain recording apps for Mac users is Audacity; free, open source, cross platform, and loaded with editing and recording features.
Audacity lets you record and edit audio waveforms from nearly any audio file format, and the latest user interface, though still suffering a bit from a ‘designed by committee‘ look, is the best ever.
Audio is recorded easily by selecting an input source from your Mac. Audacity plays and records, and imports and exports, AIFF, WAV, and MP3 files.
Audio tracks can be mixed, edited, blended, using cut and paste and other tools– and every audio track can have effects applied to modify the sound.
Built-in tools include a customizable spectrogram, frequency analysis, an amplitude envelope editor, and a number of effects– from base boost to noise removal to reverb and more. The optional VST enabler lets you add VST audio plugins, Audio Units (Apple), and others.
Audacity’s claim to fame is the ability to run almost everywhere, and use most of the important audio file formats (including AU, Flac, and Ogg Vorbis). There’s a Mac version, Windows version, and Audacity for various Linux versions. Sound samples support are standard– 16 bit, 24-bit, 32-bit and 64-bit, with samples up to 384kHz.
It’s a good app for Podcast production, especially for Mac users on a budget, but Audacity doesn’t do multiple track recording in the way Garageband does.
Otherwise, Audacity remains one of the few free audio recording apps for the Mac, continues to be upgraded regularly, and has enough basic features to make it useful for budget conscious users.