One of the most enticing aspects of the digital age is the myriad of ways to express thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Perhaps one of the most popular formats to accomplish this flow of ideas is through a podcast. This episodic series with audio files is simple to download and stream for audiences worldwide.
What takes more effort is the production side with recording, editing, and audio mixing. Finding the right space to craft the podcast is essential to producing quality content. Fortunately, a vast number of services and software programs seek to fill this creative need. Two popular software programs are:
- Adobe Audition CC
These Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) are useful in all components of podcast creation. When creating a podcast, it is good to sample DAW options and choose one to master rather than juggle multiple software systems.
The goal of this review is to highlight the key differences between Audacity and Adobe Audition so you can determine which one is capable of producing the quality content you seek. You will want to keep the features and functions in mind when thinking of your podcast needs.
Both platforms are distinct and well built but have their own distinct drawbacks. Let us deep dive into Audacity and Audition to see which podcast software system best suits your needs.
The most practical starting point is simply how much each program costs. You always want to make the choice that is financially perceptive for you and your podcast purposes. If the podcast is not meant to turn a profit, you will not want to pour too much into the endeavor.
- Audacity has an open-source design, so it is free to download and use. Since it is free, it just leaves the question, “Is Audacity good for podcasts?” More on that soon!
- On the other hand, the answer to, “is there a free version of Adobe Audition?” would be no. Adobe Audition operates on subscription-based services, so you can expect a monthly or annual fee for usage.
Is there a free version of Adobe Audition?
Depending on your status and investment as an audio editor, it might be worth the fee. There is a free trial you can sample before committing. Currently, a month-to-month Audition subscription is $29.99, while the price tag on an Annual Plan would be $19.99 per month.
Since Adobe does have expanded services, you can opt into an “All Apps” package for access to Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Audition, and more. This is a bit pricier with a fee of $74.99 per month or $49.99 per month with a twelve-month commitment. On the bright side, teachers and students will qualify for a discount on the All Apps package for Adobe products’ suite!
Audio editors will tell you to plan to spend quite a bit of time on a podcast editing platform if you are committed to creating and producing quality content. As such, you will want a platform designed to operate smoothly while fulfilling the functions you need of the system. While Adobe Audition and Audacity might share functions, the outward design is very different.
- Audition’s sleek design might be intimidating to a beginner. It has the backing of editing powerhouse Adobe, so you can expect more attention to detail than the free Audacity system.
- Audacity is a tad more basic and dated, but this resonates with newcomers. This makes sense comparing the free open-source of Audacity versus the complicated premium features of Audition.
Ease of Use
The design allows for easy navigation, but you also need a space that is easy to use. Recording, mixing, and editing audio files is no simple task and can get confusing. You might also be facing a learning curve if you are completely new to editing.
- Audacity is simple to open and begin recording. The dashboard has drop-down menus where you select the appropriate mic, speakers, or headphones and begin recording. You can adjust recording and playback volumes with sliders for the right level.
- With Adobe Audition, the process is not as straightforward. You navigate to the microphone and volume levels through Audio Hardware settings in the Preferences menu. Afterward, the process is largely the same, but the steps to get there are not as direct.
When saving projects, Audacity refers to them as “project,” while Adobe Audition refers to them as “session.” This is not necessarily a major detail, but it helps you recognize what the files are titled after you save them.
As you record, you are bound to make mistakes. You might have to pause and return to your recording or wait for a guest to join later. Regardless, you are likely to stop recording and start again. You will have to blend the multiple tracks that are produced when you stop and start. How these tracks are blended together is known as multitracking.
So, when you stop and start with Audacity, you automatically create a second track underneath the original. Audacity will also operate in the multitrack mode if you import an external audio file, like a music track or sound forge, into the project.
Audition can do the same thing, but not automatically. It will create one single track at a time until the Multitrack option is selected in the main toolbar. Adobe Audition also will not automatically add imported audio to the session. It will be in the Files window. The multitrack function is rather powerful and can allow for recording on multiple microphones at once. This is not something you can do in Audacity as easily.
This function is useful when creating broadcast media because you can merge multiple elements, including interviews, music, and more.
Mixing & Editing
This is the base operation when considering quality audio editing options. Overall, most user reviews indicate stronger performance from Audition, especially when working with multiple files. The multitrack editing tools from Audition allows for split, overlap, stretch, and shuffle editing options. The user interface is also more intuitive and simplifies moving these pieces around.
Two common phrases in editing circles are “destructive” and “non-destructive.” These refer to the direct or indirect edits being made on the source material and the after-effects. Destructive changes are irreversible and non-destructive changes are not made directly to source material. It is easy to reverse this if you mess up something in the audio or music editing process.
Audacity does provide the option to create file copies before editing, allowing you to save a copy of the source material before editing. However, Audacity typically results in more destructive editing mistakes when compared to Adobe Audition.
Another set of criteria to consider when choosing a DAW is the effect options available within the platform. After all, you need the ability to manipulate, enhance, and repair audio. These are three common effects and their status within Audacity vs Adobe Audition.
This is also known as Equalization and allows users to boost or lower frequencies within the audio. EQ is present within both Audacity and Adobe Audition and appears like a mixing desk – like what you would see in a radio studio.
- To find EQ in Audacity, check the Graphic option
- To find EQ in Audition, check under Graphic Equalizer
Both have different preset options or the ability to manipulate frequencies and sound forge manually. Each will show a frequency ‘band’ with sliders than can be lowered and raised as needed. Podcasters use EQ for noise reduction and reducing the impact of certain ‘pops’ in the recording.
Normalization & Limiting
This set of effects are useful to control and alter volume levels in a recording.
Normalization allows editors to reduce or raise the level of the waveform without changing the shape. Limiting places an upper limit on the waveform peaks, or how loud the sound can go.
Both platforms are essentially identical in the Normalization feature and simple to use. Adobe Audition’s Hard Limiter is under the Amplitude & Compression option and allows peaks to flatten or clip as needed. Audacity has a similar tool under Limiter and then Hard Limit. It is a clumsy effect and has a lack of detail when compared to Audition’s ability to cut within one-tenth of a decibel.
Audio recordings are bound to pick up background noise and other unnecessary interruptions. Noise reduction operates to remove underlying “hiss” or “noisefloor” in an audio track. It takes a sample of silence in the audio and then identifies background noise to remove without damaging the rest of the audio.
This process is similar in both Audacity and Adobe Audition. In Audition, you select the stretch of silence and then Capture Noise Print. From there, it begins to identify and remove background noise. Audacity has default noise reducer features to do this automatically.
Noise reduction is important in the editing process because background noises can be distracting elements in the podcast. It can be as simple as rustling papers or as noisome as a barking dog. Either way, this effect will be essential in producing a clean audio file.
As a content creator, there are few worse feelings than nearing project completion and losing your work. This is especially true for the drawn out process of audio editing.
In Audacity, the work is considered a “project” where Audition refers to it as a “session.” Either way, both have “Save” and “Save As” as you would find in most places. An Audacity project will save as an Audacity Project file (.aup) and create a spate folder with the data.
An Adobe Audition session save will create a distinct folder with materials. An Adobe Audition Session File (.sesx) will be saved here. Audition sessions do not take up as much memory or storage space as Audacity projects.
Eventually, you will near completion and need to export the broadcast media to share with your audience. You will export podcasts as an MP3 to upload and share across a myriad of platforms.
Exporting in Audition is simple. You select a bitrate, name the file, and mix it. What is Adobe Audition good for? Well, quality MP3 exports are certainly one of the things it is good for.
Due to licensing, Audacity’s export process is not as straightforward. You have to download and install a second program, the LAME encoder, before exporting. This is partially due to the patent on the MP3, which was just dropped and therefore, might change future export options for Audacity.
In the meantime, the LAME encoder will help create the MP3 in much the same way as Audition. The LAME MP3 quality is sometimes questionable. Audition has the advantage of the powerful Fraunhofer encoder.
Summary: Adobe Audition VS Audacity
At the end of the day, it boils down to which platform provides the audio edit capabilities needed for your podcast. Both have their appeals and drawbacks, so it is a matter of personal preference.
Adobe Audition makes a powerful case in terms of intuitive function and flexibility. Most people ask, “is Adobe Audition easy to use?” and find the answer is yes. However, the subscription cost can be a deterrent. You can always consider the seven-day free trial to evaluate the functionality and features.
Is Audacity good for podcasts? The free nature of Audacity immediately makes it an attractive option. For a solo podcaster or simple USB mic user, Audacity can handle your needs. Audacity is great for basic editing functions. If you need more complex mixing or multiple mics, you need something that can handle that complexity.
Remember, these are just two of many podcast software options!
Learning Audition VS Audacity
If you are torn between the platforms or certain of which suits you, the next step will be to learn how to use Audacity and/or Audition. There are a ton of resources available to break down different aspects and functions within each.
If you take the time to thoroughly browse the free tools, you can find the ones offering solid advice. If you lack time or patience to browse, you can take the tried-and-true route of trial and error. Both platforms are easy-to-use in most regards, making it a fun process to explore and learn audio editing functions.
Either way, welcome to the world of podcasting and audio editing. It is a great creative outlet, further with the support of platforms like Audacity and Adobe Audition.