I am looking for an audio editor (it does not matter if it is free or not). I am starting to learn music and how create and edit in Mac. I want a simple but still powerful enough application to edit audio files and apply some effects. I come from Linux, so, and the obvious choice would be Audacity. What other alternatives do I have (may be more "Macish")

  • 3
    I'd still suggest you use Audacity. It's the best of the free options in my opinion and you already know it.
    – boehj
    May 7, 2011 at 1:43
  • Agreed. I've tried several, and I use Audacity almost exclusively. (I use Fission for ringtones, as it's easier to use for a quick snip.)
    – Joe McMahon
    Sep 1, 2011 at 23:12

6 Answers 6


I don't know how "Macish" it is, but Reaper is inexpensive, easy to use, and has an excellent guide called "Up and Running" (PDF) that will quickly get you started using it. It also has a free 30 day trial period so you can check it out properly.

I have used Audacity for recording, and found adding effects to be tedious. With reaper you simply add the effect to the track and adjust it in real-time.


Do you have Garage Band? It's really quite a powerful sequencer. If you don't have it, I believe it can be purchased through the Mac App Store for not much. I'm not sure if it fits what you mean by a sound editor though. If not, then I'd suggest you use Audacity as: a) it's free, and b) you know it already, having come from Linux.

Ardour would be the F/OSS alternative to Garage Band.

TwistedWave is available from the Mac App Store for about $80. I don't have any experience with this program but it's a sound editor as opposed to a sequencer.

  • 3
    Garageband is a great start, but it may be overkill if you just want to edit single waveforms. It also ships with all new macs. May 7, 2011 at 17:17
  • I have garage band. But I have only used to record some analogic instrument (via my MBP microphone) and some sequencing using a KorgPad I own. But I don't know if it works like a waveform editor. Basically I just want edit and mix some mp3 I have, and applying some effects to them so they match the melody. Does Garage band offer such functionality? (I have used some effect, but I find them a little bit limited).Anyway, I am going to try and see what I can do with it.
    – mfcabrera
    May 12, 2011 at 16:19
  • It doesn't work for waveform editing. (I use Bias Peak for that.) Jul 3, 2011 at 3:30

I know it is expensive, but Logic Studio comes along with Soundtrack Pro. It's a great program allowing for powerful waveform editing.

I jumped straight into it and bought a video training from Lynda.com. It's not really the easiest editor after all but for the Mac I guess it's by far the best one. Most other stuff I've discovered always was about Midi and making music. Sequencers, etc, but very poor or no waveform editing capabilities.

Audacity is nice but I find it very hard to use.

And then there's also SoundBooth from Adobe. I don't know it's price though but guess it's insanely expensive. I've got that as well inside my CS5 Production Premium package but haven't ever used it. From what I know by watching some about videos, it's comparable to Soundtrack Pro from Apple.

Note that Soundtrack Pro has been developed with a strong focus on sound editing for movies, so there is a lot of "interface chrome" going on for this kind of stuff.

I'm not sure if there's a "real" standalone wave editor for the Mac, besides Audacity, which does it the "Apple way" (easy to use, great user interface, etc.).

Garage Band is comparable to Logic Pro 9 but imho not very useful for sound design, just for making music.

After all I am a beginner though so you shouldn't take my advice for granted ;-)

  • Garageband is pretty much meant for making songs and podcasts. I still use it for that, then import the songs into Logic, which has much better tools for mixdown. May 7, 2011 at 20:30
  • And the best standalone wake editor I've found for the Mac is Peak, but I can't compare it to Audacity as I've not used Audacity much. May 7, 2011 at 20:31
  • I agree that Audacity isn't particular user friendly. I use it a bit but wouldn't want to spend a lot of time with it on a regular basis.
    – boehj
    May 8, 2011 at 11:03

Ableton Live is a recording and production program which might fit your needs. It's simple to use, and it can handle most production tasks. I've used it over 2 years and I haven't yet found a task that I cannot solve with it.


Sound Studio by Felt Tip Software is also a great entry level editing package. The fidelity of the processing is top notch and the user interface is very well done.

It's not a Logic Express or Logic Pro level tool, but it is more like Garage Band in price and ability to do a lot of high quality work with only a little investment in learning and cash.

  • Ack! You beat me to it! Well, since you did, +1 for a great recommendation. This would be my top choice for a simple sound editor.
    – daviesgeek
    Sep 21, 2011 at 16:05
  • You can run, but you can't hide @daviesgeek :-)
    – bmike
    Sep 21, 2011 at 16:07

I use Amadeus Pro for quick editing. It doesn't have as many features as Audacity but it's more responsive and definitely feels "more Mac". I'm not sure it's $60 better than Audacity - I got it cheap as part of a promotional bundle - but it's worthy of a look.

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