PC recording software has many different types and possibilities. What I want to focus on is software that you can use to record music or voice-overs on your computer. This is limited to two categories of audio recording software: programs to use for “tracking” or to send the audio to the PC or Mac, and programs used to edit audio after it has been recorded.
As I said, there is a significant overlap between these two types of audio programs. For example, most editors can also record audio. But you cannot normally make a multi-track recording with an editor. For the purposes of this article, I want to focus on using the editor after multiple tracks have been mixed / displayed in a single file. Sometimes this is called mastering. But in reality, audio editors have many other applications.
So after you have merged all your audio tracks into a single definitive stereo sound file in your DAW, you are ready to use your editing software. The main difference now is that you are working on how a single file sounds, rather than a lot of different pieces of sound, alone and together with the other pieces of audio. That is such a big mindset difference in the music business that it is common for different people to do every job. However, for most home recording projects we often come across both jobs. You open the file in the editing program and change it to a final product by splitting, blurring, folding, dropping the file and other actions that somehow change the audio. For example, if I were to do the final edits to a song, I’d make sure that any external noise at the beginning and the end of the song is eliminated and the song starts and ends smoothly. Sometimes there is a count, or someone coughs at the beginning or at the end. An editor can cut it off immediately. Then you want to pay attention to loudness. To make the entire song loud enough, you may need to lower parts of the song before you can increase the average loudness of the file. You can read more about this process or compress or limit audio in another article on the Home Brew Audio site. Other things you can do in the final editing stage are filtering parts of the song that may be too loud, such as certain bass frequencies or SSS sounds, etc. Or you can raise some frequencies. Then you may want to add some effects, such as echo or reverb. When you have finished editing your song, save it as a single stereo file (although today it might be mono or even surround), and now the audio is ready for use in any way you need.