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Why We Love Free Music Production And Recording Software (And You Should, Too!)

I’ve been testing as many Free Music Production and Recording Software daws as possible and in this blog, I want to show you my favorites but also briefly discuss the pros and cons of all the software that I tested. In case one of them is right for you, there’s plenty of time stamps and chapter markers If you just want to find out about one of the daws in particular.

The list of Best Free Music Production and Recording Software

1/Audacity

2/Studio one 5 prime

3/Waveform 11 free

4/Cakewalk

5/GarageBand

6/Band lab

7/Soundbridge

8/Ohm studio

9/lMMS

10/Fl studio 20 trial

But let’s waste no time and just get right into it. Firstly it’s important to understand that there’s no perfect software for everyone, of course, it really depends on what you want to do with it. That’s why I have three or four favorites and then I’ll address the rest.

Free Music Production and Recording Software

Audacity

Free Music Production and Recording Software

So before we get to the serious ones and the more complex stuff, if you simply want to just use your computer to record a microphone, just record a performance and then export it and not do anything fancy I’d recommend downloading audacity. It’s lightweight, but it’s very stable. It’s very sort of trustworthy, it’s never crashed on me at least. 

But it’s very limited you’re not going to be able to use virtual instruments to sort of arranging and sequence stuff. 

Studio one 5 prime

Free Music Production and Recording Software

So for people that want to do more than that you know you want to record multiple microphones, layer up vocals, start arranging and composing, and also start using some virtual instruments and effects I would recommend using studio one 5 prime.

I think out of all the ones on the list it’s probably one of the easiest to understand get up and running in it has a very traditional but also intuitive workflow I think that it’s a great daw to start understanding the basics of sort of sound engineering and audio engineering. But it does come with one big limitation.

This is that while you can stack uploads of tracks edit compose use their virtual instruments and effects. you can’t use third-party plugins. so you can’t use synthesizers and effect plugins from other developers and for many people, this is a complete deal-breaker.

This daw is going to be great for you know singer-songwriters who are recording a lot of instruments but it’s probably not going to be suitable if you want to start sequencing and creating electronic music.

Free Music Production and Recording Software

Waveform 11 free

Free Music Production and Recording Software

For someone looking for a more unlimited daw, I would recommend waveform 11 free by traction. But there are a few important things and that is that you have to go into the settings and make sure that you’re in the free mode. otherwise, it keeps giving you this sort of trial warning message that you need to buy the software.

But once you’re in the free mode this is a really special piece of software. It works on pc mac and Linux and it was very stable on my machine. This software and especially the GUI took quite a long time to grow on me. I was trying to treat it like a traditional audio software where really this is trying to do things a little bit differently. It sort of has a one-page layout where it tries to put everything important all on one screen. And you can sort of maximizing windows which really helps me like pulling the whole mixer in into shot. But it’s trying to be a very sort of fast and fluid workflow. I think the GUI could do with some optimization but virtually every feature I could possibly think of needing was there and a ton more. I was highly impressed by the feature set. The piano roll especially was very easy to draw your melodies and chords you can pull in any third-party plugin and they work great. but there is one issue and that’s that on windows on my pc at least, I had issues with the system scaling so if I had the windows scaling at anything other than 100 percent the plug-ins and the interface just didn’t really work properly. So I know that this isn’t a problem for most people but some people like me have maybe a high-resolution monitor and then you increase the system scaling a little bit that means that the plugins might not work right for you and you might have to use this on 100 scalings. But I know that this could be an issue that could potentially just be fixed in a future update. I really felt like this was one of the only programs where I felt like I could do anything I wanted and the only thing limiting me was my own actual sort of creativity and my own imagination and not the tools in the software. So that’s why it’s sort of my top pick for a free daw. So now I want to talk through all the other ones. Some of them got quite close and you might think that they’re better for you.

Cakewalk

Free Music Production and Recording Software

So I want to discuss all the other software I tested. The first one was from the bandlab and it’s a software called cakewalk and it’s a more traditional daw. I felt that it was starting to get a little bit dated, but it’s closer to studio one or pro tools if you want a more traditional daw like that but you want to be able to use your third-party plugins. This is a good option so try it out to see if it works for you.

Free Music Production and Recording Software

GarageBand

Free Music Production and Recording Software

The next one is for Mac users and this is simply GarageBand. It comes free if you have a mac computer and honestly it’s a great piece of software. The reason it’s not one of my favorites is that it’s a little bit too simplistic. You can’t do sort of complex mixing and mastering and complex arrangement tasks but for simply recording stuff getting some ideas down some loops or well more than ideas, to be honest, you could make professional-sounding music in this. I thought that it was a great option, it’s just a little bit too simplistic and I think that once you’ve been using it for a few weeks you’re going to run into a lot of sort of hurdles and times when you have an idea but .you just can’t do it because the software doesn’t let you get that idea down into the daw.

Bandlab

Free Music Production and Recording Software

The next software I tested was band lab which is an online daw so it’s browser-based and they do have a mobile app. I was impressed by the fact that the online doll actually worked. It was stable. I could arrange some loops and had some fun in it. It was very easy to navigate, that’s something I would say is a big pro for the software. Easy to navigate, easy to understand what was going on. But I just felt it was far too limited to be considered a professional daw and I also like having my software be standalone. I don’t like having to be connected to the internet for my software to work. but I would uh sort of giving them credit for the fact that they managed to make this daw work inside a browser. I thought it was a very accessible and easy way to make some fun music.

Free Music Production and Recording Software

SoundBridge

Free Music Production and Recording Software

Soundbridge was one of the most interesting software I tested because many of the reviews online are highly favorable. And I think it’s because they’re written by people who are already audio engineers and understand a lot of how this software works. But I found that while the feature set was incredible. I just felt that the learning curve was very steep and very long. I felt that if you were a beginner this would be a pretty difficult software to understand.I feel there’s a lot of optimizations that could be made with the GUI .but just in general I found things to be not as fluid and seamless as they were in studio one prime and in the waveform. if however you already know how daws tend to work you understand a lot of the principles of audio engineering then this software isn’t so confusing and it might actually be a good choice if you like the way it works you like the workflow and the user interface. it’s clearly very powerful software. I just think that most people looking for a free daw are also beginners or just hobbyists that don’t know absolutely everything about audio engineering yet and for that reason, I think some of the other dolls were just a little bit easier to understand.

Ohm studio

Free Music Production and Recording Software

ohm studio was another interesting one because I couldn’t even download it. the website didn’t have an SSL certificate which is a pretty critical safety feature on a website so I wouldn’t download from it. But I also know that had I managed to download and get it working the free version doesn’t let you export in high quality I believe it’s just ogg . You can’t export wav files and for that reason, it’s just a complete sort of no stay away if you can’t actually export your music in high quality. I don’t think there’s a point in using the software.

Free Music Production and Recording Software

lMMS

Free Music Production and Recording Software

Another software I tested was lMMS which was one of the most confusing software I’ve ever used in my life. It was almost sort of laughably complex. it’s clear that many users managed to sequence and arrange great-sounding music in there. but for a beginner, it was the most complex software I’ve ever used. and if you learn lmms almost none of the workflow is going to be able to be transferred to any other audio software. Of course, you know understanding arrangement mixing, and mastering that knowledge will stay with you no matter what software you use but this was such a unique ecosystem .and not a very pretty or intuitive ecosystem I felt that it’s not a good option for beginners who are looking for something quick and easy.

Fl studio 20 trial

Free Music Production and Recording Software

The final one is the fl studio 20 trial which isn’t marketed as a free daw so it’s sort of unfair to put it on the list. but many people ask me to talk about it and I think it’s a brilliant piece of software because they let you use the daw completely unlimited .but they don’t let you open projects that you have saved so that’s obviously a massive limitation. it’s not designed to be or marketed as a free unlimited daw it’s just supposed to be a trial and if you like the workflow then you can invest and buy one of the other versions of fl studio. and I do think fl studio is the most affordable professional audio engineering software available at the moment. At least that I know of, I think even though all the others are incredibly powerful studio one ableton pro tools they all just come at a higher cost.

and a final thought I want to add just like any other hobby you might want to just get working with some free stuff some trials and just very slowly sort of save up a little pot of cash on the side you know like a piggy bank, and then one day when you’re ready to invest more in your hobby maybe you’ve been producing for six months or a year or two and you maybe you want to move on to software that makes things easier for you makes things faster then you might want to use some of that and invest in one of the other software. But what I find amazing is that almost all the companies offer these trials and demos and that just means that we can try them out first. So we don’t have to risk losing a load of money on software that just doesn’t click with us. one of the biggest things I’ve learned through running this channel is just simply how different everyone is one software works for someone and it doesn’t work at all for another person .so I hope this post sort of steered you in one direction or another and helped you figure out what’s right for you but thanks for stick with me.

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