Audacity is free and Adobe Audition is $349. Are there really benefits to Audition that are worth the big price tag? I share why Audition may be best for my podcasting workflow, but why you probably shouldn’t switch.

My reasons for switching to Audition

1. Included in Adobe Creative Cloud

Because of my professional web design services, I’m subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud, which gives me access to every Adobe creative app: Photoshop, Premiere Pro, InDesign, Illustrator, Lightroom, After Effects, and more.

Audition is also included with Creative Cloud, so it’s software that I already own and doesn’t cost any extra to use. So why not try this professional audio-editing software?

2. Better multitrack editing

I have been overall pleased with Audition’s multitrack editing. I can add effects to tracks or sections without changing my actual audio (called destructive editing), so I can also make changes much later.

Some of the multitrack workflow does get annoying, like exporting. There’s a particularly nasty bug that forces me to manually switch my export bit depth to 16-bit lest Audition ignore the rest of my encoding settings.

3. Recording markers from Zoom H4n

The Zoom H4n external recorder has a fantastic feature that will place a marker in my audio. I just press the REC while recording to place it.

This makes spot editing much easier! I don’t have to write down timestamps and edit backwards. It’s also a lot more subtle when I mark something to edit in a conversation with cohosts.

4. Quicker crossfades

In Audacity, crossfades are involved!

  1. Edit the audio, or import the separate clips.
  2. Move the two clips to separate tracks
  3. Overlap the clips by the amount of crossfade you want to occur.
  4. Select the overlap’s length of the end of the first clip.
  5. Go to Effects > Crossfade out.
  6. Select the overlap’s length of the beginning of the second clip.
  7. Go to Effects > Crossfade in.
  8. Hope you never have to change this.

(Crossfades in Audacity produce a better volume curve than a normal fade. So the transition will be smoother.)

In Audition’s multitrack mode, this is much easier.

  1. Edit the audio or import the separate clips.
  2. Move the two clips onto the same track and overlap them the length of the desired crossfade.
  3. Move these around anytime you want to change the crossfade.

5. Simplified workflow

You know that since episode 10, I have recommended making MP3s with iTunes instead of Audacity (Audacity uses LAME which is great for VBR music MP3s, but terrible for CBR podcast episodes). Here’s the process.

  1. Export from Audacity to WAV.
  2. Import into iTunes.
  3. Setup iTunes to make mono 64 kbps CBR MP3s or 128 kbps stereo CBR (one-time step).
  4. Convert to MP3.
  5. Copy the MP3 from iTunes.
  6. Delete the leftover WAVs in iTunes and your source directory.
  7. Delete the leftover MP3 still in the iTunes library.

Since I work in mono audio, I would always add a step before all of these to convert my WAVs into a mono WAV, since iTunes would do that faster than Audacity.

Since Adobe Audition uses the Fraunhofer MP3 encoder (same as iTunes), I can make my MP3s directly from Audition.

Audition also quickly converts my source WAV files to mono and saves them for me. So I’ve dropped several steps from my conversion workflow.

6. Smaller project sizes

Unless I run a destructive effect or process my audio inside of Audition, it simply links to my external WAV files. Audacity does this, too. But adding any kind of processing in Audacity would require embedding the raw audio at an even larger size than uncompressed WAV.

Since Audition applies most effects as a nondestructive feature to tracks or clips, it doesn’t have to process the audio until I play (live processing) or export.

Since Audition processes live instead of changing my raw audio, my project folders average 1/3 their size of when I use Audacity.

7. Integrates with Adobe Premiere Pro

Since I’m now getting into video production with my Canon T4i DSLR, I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro and even After Effects more often. Audition integrates quite well with these apps, including some of the exact effects and presets can be carried between them.

Why you shouldn’t switch

1. Expensive ($349)

Adobe Audition is available at multiple price points (as of December 3, 2012):

  • $349 to buy outright;
  • subscribe for $19.99 per month with an annual contract ($239.88 per year);
  • subscribe for $29.99 per month with no contract;  or
  • included Creative Cloud membership at $29.99, $49.99, or $79.99 per month, depending on your contract and eligibility.

Whatever option you select, it costs a lot! But Audacity is free and many other great audio-editing programs are under $100.

Unless Audition provides some steller feature set that saves you hours (or brain cells), then the price is probably too high for most podcasters.

2. Won’t improve audio quality

Audition is high-quality software, but it won’t make your audio any better. There are numerous compressors built in (some I think are overused to produce over-processed, headache-inducing sound), but the quality of these depends on your knowledge of the tool, not the tool itself.

Hear the Audacity version of this episode for comparison

This edition may sound different, but it’s due to my settings with different tools, not due to the quality or price tag of the software.

3. May not save any time

Your workflow is most likely different from mine. Most podcasters only need basic cut/copy and paste features, with some basic adjustments. In this case, Audition is like renting a bus to transport one person.

4. If you have extra money, invest it elsewhere

There are so many other things worth the money if you’re tempted to spend $350. You could be a better mic (or several!), a mixer or bigger mixer, premium WordPress plugins, better headphones, silent mic stands, shockmounts, cables, pop filters, webcams, or any number of other things.

Audio-editing software is probably the last place you should ever spend money in your podcast. But even if you do want something fancier or easier to use than Audacity, there are plenty of great options under $100.

Upcoming: podcasting stuff worth the money

In a future episode, I’ll share what things I think are worth spending money on for your podcast. Please tell me your favorites!

Podcasting tip: get the best audio quality with what you have

The best gear doesn’t mean the best podcast. Focus on episode content and audio quality with what you have. Max Flight from Airplane Geeks Podcast and Podcasting Passion

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Disclosure

This post may contain links to products or services with which I have an affiliate relationship and may receive compensation from your actions through such links. However, I don't let that corrupt my perspective and I don't recommend only affiliates.

About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

44 comments on “7 reasons I’m switching from Audacity to Audition (and why you shouldn’t) – TAP106

  1. Thank you for the mention at the top of the episode Daniel. I found this a very compelling listen. Thanks for name checking ID3 Editor. I’d been copying and pasting my ID3 tags using iTunes… how foolish! You’ve just saved me so much time on my podcasting workflow. Is the paid version of ID3 Editor your official recommendation or do you use something else yourself? Have you an affiliate link I may use for ID3 Editor?

    1. I do recommend the $15 ID3 Editor. It’s fantastic for copying tags from one file to another and it generates compatible information.

      I don’t have an affiliate link, but I am actually a reseller. But my price is the same as direct from the company, and they accept credit cards online.

      1. Thanks Daniel. This is super helpful – off to buy it now!

        1. Cuong Dang Manh says:

          Hi all
          The mp3 file created by Audition has the size smaller than audacity. I think this might good for downloading.
          Cuong Dang Manh

          1. Yes, that was odd. It’s barely smaller. Both MP3s were encoded at the same rates. Audition’s was 100 KB smaller for a ~27 MB file. This is strange, because both iTunes and Audition are using the same Fraunhofer encoder.

  2. I found the Audition sound more beautiful, more bassy, at the same with strong treble, sibilating esses. But the excess treble can be a bit tiring. The Audition sound was more “FM-like”. Your voice bass was very precise and beautiful this time, and at the same you managed to avoid being too “thundering” in my car stereo, a sin that sometimes Max and Cliff commit.
    Thanks for you work and dedication, I’m great fan of AtP, cheers

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I’ll listen closely to hear the same things you’re talking about, and then figure out what should change in my suggested Audacity workflow.

      1. Anyway it was nice that you said that the softwate won’t improve your audio quality, and Audacity can produce the same result as Audition. I plan to stick with Audacity, and I’m learning those chains and key shortcuts to improve workflow, thanks

  3. Thanks for the tips, Daniel! I just downloaded Audacity 2.0.2 this morning and have been tinkering around with it. It’s been a long time since I’ve really used it the way it can be used. I also tested out the tip on using iTunes to create the mp3.

    1. I believe I speak for Audacity when I say, welcome back! We missed you. 🙂

  4. Hi Daniel. You mentioned doing a poll for podcast editing software. I don’t see it yet, but in case you were going to leave this one out I wanted to mention that while I haven’t begun podcasting yet (recording first episode this month) I’ve been playing around with and plan to use Reaper. It can be found at reaper.fm. Reaper is developed by the creators of Winamp.

  5. Hey Daniel, my husband and I pay for Adobe Creative cloud as well. I didn’t realize that, since we already pay for it, why not use Audition? We’ll try it and see, using these instructions.

    FYI that there’s extensive training for those who use Lynda.com. http://www.lynda.com/category/Adobe-training-tutorials/105-0.html

    1. Great! Let me know what you think while you try it. Are you coming from Audacity, too?

  6. Hey Daniel,

    I was at NMX and saw you at the podcast awards. I just gave this episode a listen and I can see why you won! I’m your newest iTunes subscriber and I’ll be looking forward to more great stuff in the future.

    1. Thank you, Joel! What audio-editing software are you using?

      1. Why, Audacity of course. 🙂 But after hearing you talk about the superior iTunes algorithm for converting .wav files into .mp3 files for constant bit rates, it looks like I’ll be adding another program into my post-production workflow.

  7. tokyotony says:

    I’m jumping late in the game, being that I am going through all your podcasts in one chunk (well, I do have to eat, sleep, and work so not completely in one chunk!). I am on a Mac and I use Amadeus Pro (it’s made specifically for the Mac), and It costs $60. I found that, while Audacity got the job done, the interface is a bit clunky and overwhelming in the beginning. I think there are things that can be improve with it as well, but the interface works a bit better for me. Audition looks like a smooth program and I’m trying out the trial verson now, but some of the functions are way over my head or they are over the top of whay I need. I wish that Amadeus had non-destructive editing and a way to assign more commonly used function in the toolbar–then I would be set.

    1. That’s an easy-looking program. Audition is certainly packed with professional features and functionality, but most podcasters wouldn’t need it. But I have found my workflow is mostly faster with Audition than it was with Audacity.

  8. hobujob says:

    Recently I was really, really low on money and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this!!! – tc03

  9. Pingback: matt
  10. Dwaine Stroud says:

    Daniel, you mentioned “many other great audio-editing programs are under $100”
    Care to share any of those?
    I currently use Garageband for GUI in editing and then sometimes move to audacity for the effects.

    1. Reaper, Hindenburg, GoldWave, Sound Forge, are some I know. Check out http://alternativeto.net/software/audacity/?license=commercial

  11. I’ve been using WavePad and MixPad from NCH Software (http://www.nchsoftware.com). They are very easy to use, full featured, and inexpensive. Wavepad is all you need for single track podcast recording. If you want to get a little “fancier”, Mixpad is still simple but supports multi-track recording. I have looked at Audacity and thought about switching, but some of the shortcomings of Audacity that Dan highlights are actually better in Wavepad.

  12. porchhound says:

    Hopefully you don’t get weary of answering questions regarding your older posts! My primary issue with audacity is the lack of a punch in/out feature. I have scoured the internet for plugins or fixes to no avail! Do you have a suggestion for a simple podcaster’s alternative. I certainly don’t need the dizzying range of audacity features but it seems most of these software programs are designed for aspiring musicians.

    1. Can you explain what you want to do a bit more?

      1. porchhound says:

        My wife and I are beginning a podcast with a fair share of mistakes sprinkled through the recordings. i just want to be able to erase a mistake on the track and insert the correct word or phrase without Audacity beginning a totally new track and me having to split the original track, copy and paste the correction up onto it, erase the replacement track and re-join tracks on the original. Seems like a crazy multi-step ordeal but maybe I am just lazy!!!!

        1. That’s not possible. Even append-record adds the new audio to the end.
          Instead, I recommend that you change your approach. Either tone down your perfectionism, or correct those mistakes as you’re speaking and in a way that makes it easy to edit.

          Difficult:
          “George Bushington—I mean Washington—was the first president.”

          Easy:
          “George Bushington—[pause] George Washington was the first president.”
          Write down these mistake times, or mark them in your recording to make it easier to find.

          Don’t waste your life away trying to edit to perfection! It actually won’t sound very good, either, if you record single words or sentences later.

          1. porchhound says:

            Good advice Daniel, thanks. I grew up in an era and in a family where grammar and correct verbal presentation was imperative. Although I have participated in live radio broadcasts, mistakes always seem more glaring in a pre-recorded program, probably because the medium allows me to ruminate over them endlessly!

  13. Daniel,
    Regarding #3 and the Zoom H4n…is there anything I would have to do special when recording with the Zoom H4n in order for the markers to work? I just got one and am learning how to use it.

    In fact, do you possibly have another blog post that talks about/shows this very thing? Either for audio only or even for use with video? I also read that I could easier sync the audio recorded in the Zoomh4n to my video b/c of the ability of lining up the markers. But can’t find how to do it!

    thanks as always!
    Jeremy

    1. The marks will have no influence over your syncing with your video. Simple make a couple loud claps and perfectly align those spikes in the audio from your camera and the audio from your recorder. Then mute the camera’s audio in the editor.

      To mark your audio while recording on the H4n, press the Record button. Those markers will show up in professional software, but not Audacity.

  14. Sadly, you can no longer buy a perpetual license. Now the only option for Audition is their CC license which runs near $250/year.

    This is really disappointing. I’ve used this all they way back when they were Cool Edit Pro in the 1990’s before Adobe bought them.

    If Audacity isn’t sufficient or efficient enough for the tasks at hand, I’ve fallen in love with Reaper. $60 for personal or small business or educational licenses. Powerful enough that I’ve given up on Pro Tools and their horrid support and licensing.

    1. ApolĂ´nio Kant says:

      get the adobe audition cs2. old, but free

      1. Really? Where can I find it? Adobe site? Somewhere else? Even with Reaper, I wouldn’t mind having that for quick and dirty work.

      2. Ok… to answer my own question, I did some searching. All references to it now point to the CC license; i.e. monthly charge. Apparently the “free” version was an artifact of shutting down the old license server. This gist of it is that if you don’t already have a perpetual license for Audition then you are out of luck.

        Bummer.

  15. Dom Reidman says:

    yea of course if your dropping $50 month for Adobe Creative Cloud you would switch to Adobe Audition. But it not really fair comparison because Audacity is free.

    1. And that, among several other reasons, is why I say you don’t have to switch. But premium software does save a lot of time and make a lot of complicated things far easier than it would be with Audacity.

  16. FishyLuv says:

    I have 12 years of experience working professionally with Audition as a radio producer and I use Audacity in my home studio. Both are professional tools. One thing that drives me nuts about Audacity is the inability to pause and edit audio in the same track while you are recording. Appending audio is a pain. No, I do not want a new track, darnit! I much prefer Audition’s workflow for that. I wish the Audition team would add that as a feature.

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