Associate Professor of Voice, Shenandoah Conservatory Artistic Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute
If you are a Mac user you are lucky – you have Garage Band and it is pretty amazing. However, if you are a PC user you have to find another solution. Here are a few options for FREE that will enable you to perform basic and some advanced functions.
Audacity is an open-source program with a simple interface. It has an extensive array of free effects, but they are not the highest quality and making adjustments to them can be somewhat confusing. However, if you are making simple recordings with a USB microphone or your built-in microphone, it will do just fine. It is also able to convert and export WAV and MP3 files, something that Garage Band does not do. This can be especially useful if you are trying to trim down MP3s or WAV files for auditions or presentations.
PreSonus offers a free version of its Studio One software. The interface is more complicated than Garage Band but the effects are similar. Just be prepared to ask for help, learning how to handle this interface could be really frustrating if you have no prior experience with audio equipment.
Finally, there is Reaper. While this program is not completely free, it does offer a 60 day free trial. It is similar to the PreSonus software and has a significant learning curve. However, if you are able to figure it out and willing to pay the $60 license fee, it is a great substitute for higher priced programs such as ProTools and Logic.
There are always new programs being developed and I’m sure I have missed some of them. However, these are a great starting place for your search. If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading! ~Matt