If you’re like me, you want all the good things for free, or just super cheap. And that’s true when it comes to digital audio workstations (DAW).
DAWs like ProTools and Logic Pro are cool, but my bank account is already breaking a sweat trying to keep things together.
So with that in mind, here are my favorite free DAWs for making music.
Reaper is the one that holds my audio engineering heart.
It’s easy to use and has built-in presets and effects for mixing. It’s similar to ProTools but fit for paupers like me. The cross-fade is brilliant, and it makes precise editing simple.
Plus, it works with my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface.
The cost is based on the honor system; it’s a free download and the price tag depends on whether you’ll use it for personal or commercial purposes. I got the personal use license for $60.
I used GarageBand for my early music, from about 2008 to 2011. It’s perfect for beginners because of its simplicity, Apple’s forte.
If you’re a Mac Head, it’s your best option; it comes pre-loaded on every Apple computer and has plenty of pre-recorded instruments that are easily customizable.
One downside is that crossfade didn’t exist when I used it, and it still seems to be user-unfriendly, from what I’ve read online.
If we go way back to 2005-06, that’s when I was using Audacity to record my very first songs.
Songs no one but my mom has heard.
My point is, it’s the perfect DAW for beginner musicians and producers. It’s simple and free.
It may not have as many of the bells and whistles as Reaper or GarageBand, but it’s a solid place to start.
Other Free DAWs To Keep An Eye On
Soundtrap is an online recording program I’ve used a bit. I haven’t had much time to play with it, but it seems promising.
A con: it seems to allow one-track recording, but not two tracks at a time, which is a major downside if so.
Soundation is another online recording program that I’ve tried using.
It, too, doesn’t seem to allow multi-track recording, so this one may be good if you’re looking to keep it simple.
And that’s my list. Give ’em a try and let me know what you think in the comments…