Audacity vs. Adobe Audition [In-depth Analysis]


A few years back I worked in a few radio stations. Within these corridors, a lot of company computers as well as personal ones had digital audio workstations installed on them. The types ranged from Garageband, Adobe Audition, Audacity to other digital audio workstations. Later on, when transitioning to podcasting I noticed that some people carried on with some of them while others transitioned to others. A number of factors informed these decisions. Factors like pricing or system were and still are used in deciding on what software to install.

For podcast editors or audio editors in general, we have those doing it professionally and others doing it as a hobby. Professional users do not mind paying a fee for a program unless they feel like the amount required is expensive or there is no return on investment. These users also prefer programs with extensive functionality. With this, they will be drawn to software with lots of features.

Hobbyists or learners are on a trial or temporary phase as some do not view audio editing as a long-term activity. Due to this, some will not see a need to pay for something they are not sure that they will utilize so much. They are also not looking for sophisticated software as they want something that does basic edits. From the groups mentioned above, we can see that the software available in the market can be segmented based on the wants and needs of the users.

 A basic categorization will be based on the skill level of the user.

professional vs. learner

The two categories can have more information added to them to help with providing more distinctions. One is the usage of the software – Are the users doing personal or commercial projects? Are they using it to do basic editing work or complex editing work?

professional vs learner

Audacity is free. This characteristic appeals to someone starting out and someone looking to use it for personal use. Its mastery is favorable as well making it ideal for beginners. This makes it fit for DAW B. LogicPro and Adobe Audition are paid for and handle demanding projects making it suitable for professionals. With this, it fits in DAW A.

As an audio editor, you will have a wide range of options to pick from. This article will look at Audacity and Adobe Audition, two commonly downloaded digital audio workstations. 

Audacity vs. Adobe Audition Differences

Adobe and Audacity differ in a number of ways. This article will look at the system requirements, learning curve, functionality, appearance, and pricing. These are the basics that you will be looking at when making a choice on which one to use. Here is a table highlighting these factors for both programs. A further breakdown of these differing factors follows after.

System RequirementsUnfavorable to low specs PCs.   Adobe Audition is not available for LinuxIt works well with low Specs.   Audacity is compatible with Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, and other operating systems.
Appearance and NavigationNo customizable theme, better interface, and better navigation.Customizable themes, good interface, and complicated navigation processes.
Learning CurveDemandingEasier to learn.
FunctionalityExtensive and better functions.Gets basic functions done.

Summary of Differences.


Audacity is free, open-source software. There is no payment whether recurrent or a one-off for its use. Download here – Audacity Download.

On the other hand, if you are planning to use Adobe Audition you will have to factor in a budget. It only provides a 7-day free trial version. Here are the plans.

adobe audition pricing

An additional advantage that comes with paying for Adobe Audition is that you get additional offers but at an additional price to it. The pricing makes sense to professional users and some beginners who will have a monetary value attached to its resourcefulness. People who do not use it recurrently and do not get paid for projects done on it will not see value in paying for the software. This factor is cemented by the fact that it is a rental charge. If it would be a one-off payment with extra charges that would amount from updates or new features people not able to pay would probably consider using it.

The free pricing element for Audacity has this advantage, open source software usually banks on community support that continually improves it. Here we have people working on it, making suggestions, and adding new creative and innovative elements to the program to make it better which is fueled by their personal drive. Therefore, never expect Audacity to lack so much behind in terms of keeping up with new trends. With this, you can find its usage to be quite resourceful as well but coupled with a few limitations as well.

System Requirements

Audacity works great with the system requirements in the table below.

Windows 10/11 (32- or 64-bit)RECOMMENDED RAM – 4GB2 GHz

These specifications are on computers with relatively weak hardware and performance whose prices are cheap in the market.

These specifications will however work best in certain situations. For instance, when working on multitrack sessions or working for long hours on this software it is recommended that you have higher specifications. Also, if you are having these minimum specifications, it is advisable that you close other running and programs that are not being used during editing.

Adobe Audition is quite demanding for the system requirements. I have previously installed it on a 4GB RAM laptop and had lagging issues. This is because when adding some effects takes a lot of processing power. Effects like reverb.

Adobe Audition will work on a computer with a minimum of 4GB RAM for both Windows and macOS operating systems. Go for multicore processors with 64-bit support.

Audacity is compatible with Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, and other operating systems. Adobe Audition is not available for Linux.

Appearance and Navigation/Interface

In this “screen age,” I believe it was important to look at the importance of a good user interface. A good user interface is easier to navigate around as it has an easier and better interaction with the user. I can say both Adobe and Audacity have an intuitive and simple interface. The only difference is to what degree these characteristics vary. One is simpler than the other.

For a first view of the Adobe Audition interface, most people’s reaction is that it is a lot to take in. But as you progress and become better at using the software you will realize that there are more elements that are organized quite well and are easily found. The first view for Audacity will evoke a less intimidating feel to a new user. I am not ruling out the possibility of someone being intimidated by it especially someone with zero experience with audio interfaces.

Audacity usually has fewer things going on as you are interacting with the interface. The major issue regarding a simple interface is the toolbar section. The toolbar section is in the image below.

appearance navigation audition

This section has numerous buttons that I believe would be placed on other sections of the interface to avoid having the toolbar jumbled up.

In themes, the Audacity interface can be changed to different themes. These themes are Light, Classic, Dark, High Contrast, and Custom themes. The ability to change the themes of apps on our phones or programs on our computers is usually beneficial for viewing. Changing to a dark theme helps with having an easier view, especially in low-light environments. Adobe only allows you to change the colors of a few elements but not the interface. One element is the waveform color shown in the image below.

waveform color

Onto the navigation. Adobe provides more sophisticated and better navigation means as compared to Audacity’s simple ones. For instance, I can import a file quickly in Adobe by just double-clicking the Files Panel section. In Audacity, I have to use the Menu section or a keyboard shortcut.

Another example is when editing and I want to skip selection for precise editing I will find this process better in Adobe Audition as compared to the similar process in Audacity. In Audition, you make a selection and press C on your keyboard. The audio will play skipping the selected parts. To adjust the time played before and after you have to change the settings in the preferences settings in Audacity. For Adobe all these are achieved with a  process made better by a few clicks and by the use of a few buttons like the Skip Selection Tool to skip the selected section. There is a Loop button to restart the audio. This is useful in ascertaining whether the edit you are making is good.

Learning Curve

Adobe Audition is popular among professional users with a few hobbyists using it. Audacity is popular among professional users but not in terms of usage. This is because of some limitations.

Professional inclined software is usually extensive. With these, you have a lot of features that will take more time to grasp. Simpler software has fewer features and learning takes a shorter time. 

Personally, I learned the use of Adobe Audition in an institution and later on became a self-taught Audacity user. This was helped by the fact that I had experience with using the Adobe Audition interface. For a beginner and as you progress, the process of learning and gaining mastery of Audacity is undemanding.

This makes Audacity, popular with people with little to no experience in audio editing.


This functionality section covers what can you do with Adobe Audition and Audacity. Both are audio editing tools but they differ in a couple of functionalities. One is recording multiple inputs simultaneously.

Adobe Audition can record a number of inputs on separate channels at the same time. Audition also can do a multitrack recording but one has to pause a channel and select a new one to record a new channel.

Another difference is the formats that can be opened. Audacity can import and export additional audio formats such as M4A, WMA, and AC3 after you download an import/export library. This is the FFmpeg library. Adobe does not need to download additional features to work with a number of audio formats.

In terms of making adjustments to audio like adding a fading in and out effect to an audio file or amplifying it, Adobe has quick processes which are achieved by the click and adjustments of a few buttons. Audacity on the other hand will have a bit lengthier processes compared to the timing in Adobe for the same processes.

Lastly, integration with other software is a key element in settling on a digital audio workstation. Audacity saves projects with an AUP3 extension, an extension that can only be opened by Audacity only. Adobe Audition can open an Adobe Premiere project. Adobe Premiere is used for video files. Opening an Adobe Premiere (PRPROJ is the file extension for Adobe premier projects.)  in Adobe Audition will open the audio of the video for editing. It can also be integrated with Iconik, a cloud solution that gathers and organizes media securely from any storage.

Audacity vs. Adobe Audition Similarities

Since both Audacity and Adobe Audition are audio editing tools they are bound to have a few similarities. These are

Keyboard Shortcuts

The similarities of some of the keyboard shortcuts can be largely attributed to the operating system. Keyboard shortcuts for copying in Windows and macOS are Ctrl + C and Command-C respectively. For both software, this is the same. Note that there are a number of shortcuts that are specific to each. A shortcut like pressing 0 in Adobe to start a new multitrack session is not available in Audacity. Importing a file in Audacity uses Ctrl + Shift + I and in Adobe Audition just use Ctrl + I.

Not Ideal For Music Production

I would not recommend either of these two in composing or producing music. They are better at handling voice-over works, post-production editing, and podcasting.


You can use add-ons for Audacity and Adobe Audition.


If asked which of these two I would recommend I would say Adobe Audition. I do a lot of audio editing work that requires a professional touch. From the difference section, it is also clear by the few breakdowns that Adobe is better in what I would call the basic DAW functions. It is a better DAW in terms of its functionality and appearance, and navigation section.

System Requirements
Appearance and Navigation
Learning Curve

Audacity wins in the pricing section as it is free. It is also favorable for users with low-spec computers. Lastly, you are able to master it quicker as compared to Adobe Audition.

But at the end of the day, audio editors strive to be better and have the ability to do more. Even for starters, they factor in room for growth. Audacity offers lesser functionality and features compared to Adobe Audition meaning getting to the intermediate skillful level is quicker.

Here is my verdict: Adobe Audition takes the win in this face-off.


The verdict section was sort of the last man standing type of situation. In this concluding section, we can avoid a dilemma situation and use logic and real-life probabilities.

First, I want to clarify that in this face-off, it is not a fight where one opponent obliterates the other. Audacity is capable of presenting creative and better ways to deal with some audio editing functionalities. I personally use it quite often as it provides usefulness that Adobe Audition would fail to provide or experience challenges in providing in that similar instance. One is I have used Audacity to record when running a number of programs in the background as Adobe will sometimes freeze during the recording session.

Here is another situation that you might find yourself in. If your computer has high specifications you can download both and they will serve you in different situations. On the other hand, if you can only download and install one, refer back to the specification and usage breakdown in this article. For instance, if you are starting out as a podcaster and have no budget as an audio editor download Audacity as you will not be paying for it. Also, Audacity is great in this situation as learning the editing and actually starting it will not be as stressful. In addition to all these, since you are not looking at doing sophisticated editing work this digital audio workstation will work best for you.

You can be in a case where you have been contracted to do professional audio editing work or work on a demanding and extensive project. This can be a podcast for an organization or a radio drama. In such a case, Adobe Audition will be the ideal pick