When it comes to free sound recording software, your options are limited to just a handful. So that’s good and bad.
ChromeOS no longer has built in audio recording (record sound command), so that’s where web-based software comes in to the picture.
One on hand, your search for the perfect audio recorder for ChromeOS will be quick.
On the other, you only have a few choices where if none of them work out, you’ll have to use a paid recorder.
Let’s go over the most popular audio recording apps for Chromebooks. We’ll cover everything from basic voice recorders for lectures or classrooms to podcasting software.
Are there truly “free” recording apps?
Everything on this list is free, but some have paid upgrades. It depends on what you intend to use it for.
Sometimes even with a time limit restriction, it’s good enough for simple tasks. But other things like recording quality, file size, download availability, etc.
Some will pick up the noises from your keyboard while others will only record through the internal or external mic. Or directly from the sound source (record “what you hear”).
Depending on what you’re looking for, you should be able to find a few good, quality sound recorders that suit your needs.
Let’s dive in.
TwistedWave is an online audio editor that’s built into the browser. As their page says, it’s an “audio editor in a browser!”
TwistedWave only requires any internet browser to use.
So in your case you can work it directly through Chrome. It can record and do minimal editing, trimming, fading, increase or decrease volume, etc.
But if all you really need is something to record with, TwistedWave will do the job. The audio file is stored on the server, so it requires no downloads or app installs (as if Chromebooks can do that anyway).
You can also edit audio recordings that you have saved on your local disk by importing them into the software. It’s a cloud-based audio editor that records everything you’ve done, so your work is saved.
The redo/undo buttons are amazing because it records the complete history of your work.
You can upload files, import from Google Drive, import from SoundCloud, or start a new recording straight from the website without even creating an account!
This is perfect for quick voice notes, reminders, sound clips, meetings, or interviews.
This is the easiest recording software to get started with. No accounts are required. No downloads. No installs. And it’s completely free and functional for up to 5 minutes of recording time.
If you create a personal account, you can save your files on their server rather than take up space on your Chromebook’s limited storage.
Soundtrap is an online service powered by music streaming giant Spotify. It lets you record, edit, and even collaborate with others on any device.
This makes it easy to record for group projects for interviews, podcasts, or even creating music on your Chromebook. Soundtrap is intuitive, modern, and comes packed with loops, beats, chords, synths, 808s, melodies, and automation tools.
You can connect your own mic and auto tune your voice recordings. Adjust pitch, speed, or clean it up with a few clicks. The personal version is free to use and comes with over 4800 loops, 400 instruments/sounds, 150K sound effects, sound packs (their original sounds), and unlimited projects.
Beginner-friendly tools makes it easy to create professional sounding tracks.
If you’re looking for a modern and fully featured online sound editor and recorder, Soundtrap is worth checking out. It makes groupwork super easy as anyone can work together to edit sound tracks.
Vocaroo is a basic online voice recorder.
It’s similar to TwistedWave in the sense that you don’t need to download or install anything to use it.
Vocaroo records your voice through your internal or plug-in USB mic with no strings attached.
After recording, you can easily share it using website embeds, QR code links, social sites, unique sharing URLs, or as a separate file download. Vocaroo has a social aspect to it.
I think it was made to share audio clips or reactions easily with other people because each audio clip will generate a unique URL that can be shared with friends, colleagues or anyone that has the link handy. When you land on the site, just click the record button and talk.
Click again to stop.
It has built-in background noise recovery and auto volume adjustments.
Note that it does pick up keyboard noises if you’re typing, so it may not be good for taking notes while recording audio.
If you need to quickly record sounds with your Chromebook directly through the mic, Vocaroo works. It’s free to use with no signups or limits.
Anchor is a professional podcasting software that has a fully featured audio recorder and editor.
You record directly through the web with your Chromebook then edit the audio to fine-tune or clean it up.
It lets you share directly with popular podcasting platforms like Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify, and more.
It’s backed by Spotify so you know it’s got plenty of an investment giant that’s trying to get it into the market. Perfect for beginner podcasters or professionals alike. Anchor is completely free to use, but does require you to sign up with an account.
It even lets you monetize your podcasts by splicing ads into them if your program takes off.
5. Online Voice Recorder
This is a web-based app made by 123apps. It’s a basic online tool that can be recorded using a microphone and saves your file as mp3.
It’s basic, simple, and doesn’t get any easier to use. Their website domain is even called “online voice recorder.”
It’s free to use with no hidden charges or extra features. There are also no paywalls or tier upgrades. Just hit the record button and then adjust your mic settings.
Then hit stop when you’re done. You can also crop your audio clip with the built-in editor. What’s nice about this tool is that it automatically removes dead air at the beginning and end of your clip to automatically cut down on file size.
123apps also guarantees your privacy by never uploading your clips to their servers, but this is your call if you’re working with sensitive audio recordings.
SoundCloud is easily the most popular music hub online. Artists share their latest tracks for their audiences to enjoy.
But did you know that you can use it as a personal audio recorder? Create an account then hit the record button to start recording your own track. You can upload tracks as well.
The difference with SoundCloud is that you can add comments to specific points in the audio track, which can be useful if you’re working with peers on audio-based projects. Interviews, podcasts, or other audio-driven productions can all be done with SoundCloud.
Plus, it’s free to use with no limits on audio recording time.
This extension allows you to record/capture sound from any website. This includes YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, conference calls, meetings, etc. Basically, it records the system sound so it doesn’t pick up your keyboard sounds.
This extension can also transcribe the audio it records for you. It records both audio and video, then transcribes what it records into text. You can upload files into the app to convert it into subtitles, text, or documents.
If you want to convert your voice notes into text, interviews, voice conversations, podcasts, video calls, or transcribe entire meetings or lectures into a document, SpeechText.AI is worth considering.
So it’s basically an all in one solution- you can record voice from the mic (even offline), capture audio from the Chrome browser. The quality is crystal clear and the transcription works within seconds. SpeedText.AI is good for those that need to work with both voice and text.
Mic Note lets you record audio while typing out notes simultaneously.
If you’re taking notes in class or at work during a Zoom meeting, Mic Note allows you to do both written and verbal notes at the same time.
It’s got a lot of features, but the only ones that really work well are note-taking and voice recording. It has a basic transcription tool, but it’s really hit or miss.
You get this neat little organizing menu by folders and files that make it easy to jump around quickly. I think this is excellent for students looking for a note-taking app that also records sounds.
This is a web app so no download is required.
You can sync to Drive or Dropbox as well. The free version allows you up to 10 minutes of recording time per note.
So how do you circumvent this? Just create a new note to bypass the time limits! Yes, there will be a brief pause as you start a new note, but you can technically record with no time limits for free.
Does recording sound while taking notes on your Chromebook? This app makes it simple.
Perfect for professors who talk too quickly.
8. Talk and Comment
Talk and Comment is a Chrome extension that lets you create voice notes anywhere online. It’s pretty unique in what it does.
Basically, think about the last time you were watching an (educational) youtube video.
Here’s a random convoluted situation:
What do you do if you want to take notes as you watch? Typing is too slow.
Voice would be perfect. But how do you do it without recording the system sound from the video? How do you avoid alt-tabbing between the YT video and your voice notes? Or split screen your Chromebook?
Well, that’s where this app comes in.
Talk & Comment lets you record personal voice notes inside Google Classroom, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Slack, Discord, Gmail, Reddit, etc.
You can record from nearly any popular web service directly through the extension inside Chrome, then paste the unique voice link on the web.
People can then click on it to listen to your voice note, which makes it more personal and easier to type for longer responses. It’s a pretty unique service, only touching toes with Vocaroo. There were complaints about how long the recordings remained on the server.
They used to disappear after 30 days, but now the developer has made them last indefinitely, which is cool. Active support for this app makes it constantly competitive. The audio quality is compressed, so it’s lossy after you record. But it’s not bad for a free app.
Talk and Comment are rated at ⅘ stars with over 5.7K reviews at the time of this writing. There are over 400K users, so there are plenty of people using it.
With unlimited recording time, free storage, and no caps on the number of voice notes you can take, Talk and Comment is a good choice for students.
You can leave voice notes all over specific slides or lectures during class.
Reverb is another online voice recorder that requires no nonsense. Go to Reverb, click the “RECORD NOW” button, and you’re all set to record.
No accounts are needed. No apps. No installs. It’s similar to how Vocaroo or Voice Spice works, but it’s another alternative you can use if those don’t work out for you
Just jump onto their site and record. It also generates a link for you to share with friends, peers, or colleagues.
Or even embed them into websites or emails (or Facebook, Twitter, etc.). There is an option to create an account so you can save your recordings over time.
This is good for quick interviews, voice notes, lectures, etc. It does record your keystrokes though, so if you’re typing while recording, it’ll be noisy.
Use an external USB mic if you want to avoid picking up extraneous background sounds.
Reverb prides itself on being completely anonymous. The account you create allows you to stay private so you can record anonymous voice messages.
Of course, collecting metadata or your IP address is a different story.
10. Apowersoft Online Sound Recorder (records both mic or system sounds)
Apowersoft is a free-to-use audio recorder that works in the browser. Just like most of the other recording software on this list, it requires no download or apps to install.
Just hit the RECORD button, choose your audio source, then save the audio file to your Chromebook. Apowersoft offers free recording with no limits.
No fees, subscriptions, or tiers to pay. The nice thing about this is that you can choose between recording through the microphone or system sound.
So if you’re recording a video call, Apowersoft will pick it up. Music soundtracks, youtube videos, meetings, online courses, etc. are all recordable.
The audio quality is based on HTML5 so it’s not compressed. It retains its original sound quality with no compression or data loss. So the quality is basically 1:1 to the original.
This results in larger file sizes though. If you want to create voiceovers on your Chromebook, this tool is excellent for recording high-quality audio transcriptions, scripts, or notes since it keeps the original quality of the track.
Recording audio in Chrome with no limits has never seen higher quality. Save your audio files to your local storage, export them, or put them in the cloud. It’s built in.
11. Sound Recorder Online
Audio Recorder is another basic audio recorder that lets you easily record audio from your laptop’s microphone. It’s very similar to the other ones on this list. Install the extension, then click on it.
Hit the “Start Recording” button. Start talking and that’s it. Easily record podcasts, classroom lectures, or interviews.
It’s free to use, offers unlimited recording time, and has no signup required. It even runs without WiFi. The audio will save to your Downloads folder by default. Don’t forget to allow microphone access or else it won’t work.
It saves your audio as .webm, which is the pain point. If you want other formats like .mp3, .mp4, or .wav, you’ll need to convert. But there are plenty of online conversion software like this or this.
Other than that, it works well. There are quite a few buttons on the extension, but they’re self explanatory. Check out this page if you need help on how to use it.
12. Mote: Voice Notes & Feedback
Mote is voice messaging/note system. It allows you to easily add voice comments to documents, slides, emails, assignments, forms, lectures, chats, etc. It’s like sticky notes, but with voice.
You basically hit the “Motepad” button, then record your voice. That’s it. The voice comments can be added instantly into comment forms as well. Record and insert audio clips into Google Forms, Slides, and more. Others can click on your comments to listen to your voice notes as well. You can even react to others’ voice notes. Or save them to your “Motebook.” Clever.
It works with popular Google services like Docs, Drive, Forms, Gmail, Classroom, Sheets, Slides, etc. So if you work with these, Mote will work with you. It even lets you embed into other popular apps like Notion. Or create a QR code to share your voice notes.
Mote supports over 20 languages for its transcription service- including French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, etc. Voice to text transcription is available with a paid plan.
It supports team collaboration as well with voice note feedback on shared projects or documents.
13. Voice Spice Recorder
Just like most of the free recorders on this list, Voice Spice is another option.
This online web-based recorder allows you to record audio OR use text-to-speech (basically type with your voice).
You can even manipulate your voice for free using filters to sound like an alien, robot, monster, squirrel, man, woman, etc.
It’ll remind you of people using voice masks for trolling.
It looks like this is a social voice platform similar to Vocaroo in that you can create custom-recorded greeting cards, play “voice tag” or even view a voice map recording (people leave messages in their local area all around the world). VSP is free to use.
Just hit the record button then talk. Hit stop when you’re done. Recorded audio is automatically saved so you can send it to others, embed, or share the generated URI.
This makes sending your voice notes to others super quick and easy.
14. Chrome Audio Capture
Chrome Audio Capture captures the audio on the selected tab. You can record any sound output from any website as long as the tab is active.
This is useful if you want to selectively choose sound sources to record.
Multiple tabs playing sounds at the same time?
This extension gives you the option to choose which one you want to capture. Or record multiple tabs simtaneolsly. Save them as .mp3 or .wav for compatibility with Windows or Mac players.
- Hit “CTRL + SHIFT + S” to start recording current active tab.
- Hit “CTRL + SHIFT + X” to stop recording.
Record up to a full 20 minutes per session. Start another recording session once you hit the limit for unlimited recording time! Well, until you run out of storage.
CAC has over 300K users with over 1.6K user reviews at 4.2/5 stars at the time of this writing. It’s one of the most popular audio capture software on the entire Chrome Web Store. Completely free to use with no signup required.
This popular recording software is free and used by students, professionals, or even podcasters. So I think it deserves its own section.
Because of the immense popularity of Audacity, it needs its own section regarding its use on Chromebooks.
For those that have never heard of it, Audacity is a 100% free-to-use audio recording and editing software.
You can do everything from recording audio, splicing tracks, overlaying tracks, fading, filters, effects, exporting/importing audio, muting, censoring, reversing, or cleaning up the blurry sound.
It can pass as a complete, powerful audio software which on its own is good enough for most people. Or pair it with your Chromebook-compatible Digital Audio Workstation for some real production value.
Can you use Audacity on a Chromebook?
No, ChromeOS by default can’t run Audacity because it requires an installation of software. As you probably know, Chromebooks can’t install anything other than Google Play apps or Chrome Web Store extensions.
But, there is a way to bypass these restrictions with the power of Linux.
If you use the Linux terminal, you can easily install Audacity and harness the power of this powerful audio recorder.
Here’s how to install Audacity on a Chromebook step by step:
- Note that only modern, newer Chromebooks can do this because it uses Linux beta. If you don’t have the option to enable Linux, use the crouton method.
- Click on the Launcher icon (the big button at the bottom left of the screen)
- Search for “Linux” and then enable it
- Your Chromebook will work in the background to turn on Linux. Be patient. Get your favorite drink while you wait for it to enable Linux
- When it’s done, the command line will show up. Don’t be scared.
- Type in the following command (without the quotes):
- sudo apt-get install audacity
- You’ll see a bunch of onscreen prompts. Read then and type “Y” followed by Enter to agree.
- Wait for it to install Audacity. It’ll show a bunch of random code that’s meaningless for most users. Let it do its thing. Take another sip of your drink or read some more Chromebook tutorials (thanks!).
- After a few minutes, it’ll stop shuffling code. Congrats. You now have Audacity 2.2 installed on your Chromebook with the power of built-in Linux beta.
- Look from the Audacity app on your Launcher menu. It should be nestled under the Linux apps > Audacity group. Click on it to launch Audacity. That’s it!
Audacity works (almost) perfectly through the Linux emulator.
Poor mic quality? Find out how to fix sound quality issues.
Since you’re basically running another kernel through a kernel, things can break or not work. Audacity is running through Linux through Chrome OS.
If you’re used to software emulators like Bluestacks, then this should be nothing new.
Using Audacity is easy. You can record directly from the program and then save them locally on your disk. If you’re new to it, read their guide.
If it doesn’t pick up sound, toggle the input using the menu. If that doesn’t work, you need to allow sound recording from the Chromebook settings page. It may be a restriction that blocks your mic from being found by Audacity.
For previously saved audio files, your Chromebook may not be able to find the files stored on your disk.
Here’s how to fix that:
- Launch the Launcher
- Click on the Files app
- Find your file, then drag and drop it into the Audacity > My Files > Linux Files folder
Then it’ll show in the list of audio recordings in Audacity. You can do this to load up files to edit or play or export.
When you do export, they’ll show up in the same Linux Files folder that you found before. You can drag them to your external drives or upload them wherever you want.
What can I use instead of Audacity on a Chromebook?
If you’re not up for installing Linux to use Audacity, try the other simpler recorders on this list.
There are a few web-based audio editors that can do some basic audio manipulation such as trimming, cropping, noise removal, fading, or volume fine-tuning.
Check out Online Voice Recorder, Apowerserve, Soundcloud, or Anchor. Some are even easier to use than Audacity with their basic, straightforward UIs. So that makes it beginner friendly.
Even though the audio manipulation tools aren’t as good as Audacity, you can still do small changes to fix up tracks.
Honorable mention #1: Sound Setting
Sound Setting isn’t a sound recorder, but a quick way to quickly change the volume, sound balance, or increase recording volume with basic parameters.
After installing the extension, you can modify by adjusting the values in each setting. It makes adjusting for recording interviews or voiceovers in real time convenient.
For example, if you’re doing interviews with multiple speakers, you can use the input settings to quickly change the recording input volume for the quite or louder interviewees instantly.
You can even split sound output between speakers. While it doesn’t record sound, it lets you modify sound recording parameters on-the-go by just toggling the sliders.
Honorable mention #2: Sound Level Meter
Sound Level Meter lets you use your Chromebook’s microphone as a dB meter. Isn’t that cool? You can measure ambient noise through this extension.
It’ll tell you real time dB along with graphing it on a line chart with other sound parameters like noise level, sound average, normalized sound value, and sound level in dB.
How is this useful? Well, if you’re doing a podcast, you may be concerned about background noise. This extension can show you if anything will be picked up so you can eliminate that “fuzz” in the BG.
Do Chromebooks have an audio recorder?
They used to. But not any longer. In the past, you could simply launch the command prompt, then punch in this nifty command in crosh:
sound record [duration]
So if you wanted to record 1 minute, you’d type:
sound record 60
That was it.
Your Chromebook would then start recording for the set duration you typed in like magic. It saved the file automatically when it was done. It saved in the Downloads directory on its own.
Sadly, this feature was removed from ChromeOS so it doesn’t work now. You need to use a workaround to do any sort of recording rather than using native built-in functions. Boo.
Recording sound on a Chromebook is free and easy
You can do it right in Chrome using the web-based recorders.
That’s the easiest and quickest way to do it without having to go through the hassle of installing things or signing up for accounts you’ll probably never use again.
If you need a more sophisticated approach that allows for more robust editing tools in addition to just recording, try Anchor, SoundCloud, or Audacity.
Let me know how it works out for you.
Found another awesome recorder that’s free to use? Post a comment using the form below so I can add it to the list!