30 Best Free Music Making Softwares and DAWs

Martin Kristiansen

Martin Kristiansen

My name is Martin Kristiansen and I’m the founder and chief editor of HomeStudioIdeas.com. I’ve been playing, recording and producing music for the last 10 years.

If you are a beginner and just starting out in music production there is a lot of free music-making software available. In fact, because of the impressive amount of quality and control, some of these DAWs are used by experienced producers as well. I have compiled the ultimate list of the 30 best FREE music-making softwares and DAWs that you can download online today!

Let’s dive right in!

Updated list of the best free music making softwares:

1. Tracktion Waveform Free

Waveform Free comes out of Tracktion Corp’s top-tier digital audio workstation, Waveform Pro. The resource is video-friendly, giving you the chance to synchronize audio to animation, movies, or music videos. Unlike many free solutions, there are no restrictions on things like track counts.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows, Ubuntu, Rasperry

Primary Features:

  • The platform records MIDI and audio
  • Range of advanced features
  • The audio mixer has a variety of built-in effects
  • ReWire compatibility and VST plugin support
  • Access to a broad library of plugins

2. Ardour

Ardour is one of the best free DAW ready to record, edit, and mix open-source workstations. Use floating-point fidelity with a versatile mixer, external surface controls, and hundreds of plugins. There are also unlimited redos and undos. Give the site a one-time donation and receive all minor updates between releases of new full versions.

Platforms 

Linux, macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Cut, stretch, move, copy, delete, paste, crossfade, align, and more.
  • Plug in a mic or keyboard
  • Flexible architecture’s with access to hundreds of plugins and other external surface controls.
  • A great tool for audio engineers, soundtrack editors, musicians, and composers

3. TX16Wx Software Sampler

TX16Wx Software Sampler is a free sampler plugin for your music production as well as a top alternative to industry standards like the Native Instruments Kontakt sampler. The experts incorporated the simplicity and newest features of modern software solutions in this best free music making software.

Platforms 

Windows

Primary Features:

  • Manages SoundFonts, SFZ patches, and presets for Akai and EXS 
  • Essential features include SFZ and SoundFonts
  • Create sample-based patches
  • Captures sound and treats them as samples

4. MPC Beats

MPC Beats makes for a remarkable beat software. There are over a dozen pads for drum loops and sampling. From the first use, start remixing included songs or mix your own. Use genre templates or 2GB of content to craft samples. Expand the free digital audio workstation with premium sounds released by the platform’s developer, AKAI.

Platforms 

Windows, macOS

Primary Features:

  • MPC Beats can be a VST plugin
  • Software loads with over 80 audio effects for mixing and sound design
  • Comes with time-stretching algorithm and step sequencer
  • Install third-party plugins in VST and AU formats

5. MFreeFXBundle

MFreeFXBundle is a powerful free music-making software. It comes with dozens of effects. You can build on the software’s already impressive capabilities with market plugins or by purchasing a license. But even with the stripped-down version, you get close to 40 effects that include the following:

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • MAnalyzer, a spectral sonogram for super-resolution and normalization
  • MAutopan, for creating adjustable shape oscillation with auto panning.
  • MBandPass, a collection of filters, and slopes
  • MBitFun, a tool for extreme distorting

6. SoundBridge

SoundBridge doesn’t have the goodies found in DAWs like Waveform Free and Cakewalk. But it remains one of the best free music making softwares for beginners and users whose demands aren’t intensive. You edit, sequence, mix and track quickly. There are low-latency and high-fidelity audio driver support, as well as third-party VST.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Program from-scratch drum beats with the included drum sampler/sequencer
  • Dig into a library of essential mastering and mixing effects
  • Enhanced with a Universal Windows Platform
  • Advanced mixer, midi mapper, and automation editor

7. Audacity

Audacity has a multi-track recorder and expansive editor features. It’s a free cross-platform and open source solution for your audio tracks. With over 100 million downloads, this DAW is driven by a healthy community offering support, code, translations, documentation, and more. Audacity is a good choice for beginners who want to get right to creating music.

Platforms 

Linux, macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Multi-track audio editor and recorder
  • Available for a range of different operating systems
  • Simplifies multi-track editing
  • A popular solution for music video and podcast recording

8. LMMS

LMMS is a free, pattern-based, open-source audio platform. The design improves with every upgrade to LMMS. This is an entirely free solution that never requires a license. There are plenty of online video tutorials to get you through the learning curve.

Platforms 

Linux

Primary Features:

  • Impressive built-in effects and virtual instruments
  • Features ZynAddSubFX synthesizer, one of the finest instrument freeware around
  • VST plugins availability
  • Links to other applications with the JACK Audio Server

9. Garageband

This software is Apple’s entry into DAW. Garageband is on any computer running macOS. It’s equipped with instruments, voice presets, and guitar presets with session percussionists and drummers. The touch bar is intuitive and easy to master. Garageband is popular for introducing a lot of musicians to the recording process. 

Platforms 

macOS

Primary Features:

  • Exceptional beginner app offers more than enough surprises for producing expansive music productions.
  • Meshes ease-of-use functionality with smart design
  • Use it to design your own ringtones.
  • A great resource for learning to play instruments

10. Podium Free

Podium Free is a reliable free digital audio workstation. Compared to its paid version, there are actually only a few restrictions. Leaning toward electronic music, Podium focuses on virtual and real instruments. There’s an easy-to-use graphical interface, and the software runs well on low-end PCs. Development strategy tends to be slow, but the company’s debugging and planning make this one of the most reliable free music-making software.

Platforms 

Windows

Primary Features:

  • Comes with a robust project structure
  • Has a virtual mixer
  • Features include track freeze and bounce.
  • External MIDI controller support

11. TDR Nova

TDR Nova is an excellent free equalizer plugin since the processor manages parametric and dynamic equalization. Compression capability includes frequency selection, multi-band, and wideband. There’s present management, A/B, redo and undo, and plenty more. You get both knob interfacing and drag and drop display. 

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Four-band dynamic equalizer with high- and low-pass filters
  • Includes a basic parametric equalizer, multi-band compressor, and dynamic EQ
  • Flexible and user-friendly
  • Even beginners will be creating music in minutes

12. Ableton Live 10 Lite

Ableton Live is a popular DAW download, noted for its electronic and sample-based leanings. The download has a range of essential instruments, workflows, and effects. You also have the capacity for recording, creating hands-on productions, and taking music into your apps. Slice up audio, reinvent, or remix until you perfect your song.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Distinctive “session view” makes loop composition easy
  • The platform comes with 16 tracks featuring combinations of midi and audio channels
  • Allows up to four inputs and outputs
  • Has strong supportive community

 13. DC1A

DC1A isn’t the feature-packed compressor you may need, but it is the most intuitive one. If new to production software, this is the compressor you want in your toolkit. You get parallel (New York style) and negative (over) compression. The software has right and left channel compression, as dual mono switching, relaxed compression, and high pass filtering to minimize bass-heavy pumping.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Beginning music producers will get a grasp of using audio compressors.
  • Parallel compression and dual-mono processing allows compression of left and right channels independently.
  • Simple operation allows focusing on audio without fiddling with many controls.
  • Comes in VST3, AU, VST, and AAX formats

14. AmpliTube Custom Shop

AmpliTube Custom Shop is a free version of AmpliTube but remains a fully-functional application for guitar rig modeling. You get a library of amps, pedals, mics, rack FX, and cabinets. Take advantage of certified gear models from leading manufacturers as well as legends like Brian May, Jim Hendrix, and Slash.

Platforms 

Linux, macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Has official guitar amp models from Ampeg, Fender, Mesa Boogie, Orange, and more
  • The free version comes with two dozen models, including a digital chromatic tuner, stompboxes, amps, cabs, mics, and rack effects.
  • Authentic tones and an impressive level of customization available
  • Record directly into a laptop using your mic or instruments

15. Pro Tools First

The free Pro Tools First includes many of the features that make Pro Tools the DAW of choice for professional studios all over the globe. Whether you compose music for the eye or for video, this audio workstation has audio-to-midi, Dolby Atmos, and gaming workflows. Use UVI Falcon 2 to implement crazy effects.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Allows 16 audio and 16 virtual instrument tracks
  • Lets you record up to four simultaneous tracks.
  • Record up to 16 tracks of audio and use up to 16 virtual instrument tracks in a session
  • Has a library of 500MB worth of samples, loops, and sounds

16. Studio One 5 Prime 

Picking up where KRISTAL Audio Engine left off, Studio One 5 Prime uses quick drag-and-drop and multi-touch technology. It records, produces, and mixes in an intuitive platform. Create music, podcasts, and score video. Guitarists will appreciate the Ampire tech for its realistic cabinet and amp simulators.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Record, produce, and mix.
  • Single-window workflow with multi-touch and drag-and-drop functionality 
  • Unlimited virtual instruments, audio and instrument tracks, and FX channels
  • Has Presence XT virtual sample player for synth and keyboard sounds

17. Ohm Studio

Ohm Studio is a fully-stocked DAW free for download. It provides the essential creation features you’d expect from a paid free music maker software, but without the limits. The platform is built around collaboration for sharing works with your music partners. Ohm Studio has access to extensive internal and third-party plugins to enhance productions. 

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Exceptional collaboration system
  • Modular mixing and routing approach
  • Stable and efficient cloud-based setup
  • Contains chatroom for enhanced collaborative compositing

18. VCV Rack

Check out VCV Rack for its open-source format and MIDI Out function. It hosts VST plugins and a Spectral vocoder and processor. Not only does the Sound Stage offer 3D room reverb for tight audio creation, but you also get an eight-channel mixer and quad-note chord sequencer. As open-source, there’s a huge library of modules that’s still expanding.

Platforms 

Linux, macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Hardware modular gear hooks directly to your computer
  • Use 16 voices of polyphony to play sound. 
  • Expand the software with plugins from the community
  • Transfer MIDI to CV-MIDI, CV-Gate, and CV-CC

19. SyndtSphere

SyndtSphere has gradually carved a name for itself with its library of virtual instruments. It’s fundamentally one of the most accessible free software synthesizers on the market. You’ll be able to use over 70 presets. Play with them, morphing sounds to create new sounds. A distinct morphing function is an excellent tool for rock-solid design.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Innovative interface
  • Save current state
  • Ping pong delays
  • Over 70 presets

20. VladG Limiter N°6

A limiter is an essential tool in audio mastering. Mastering is a process that’s usually given to a professional engineer. Still, owning a quality limiter plugin is smart for mastering your demos and tunes. Limiter №6 is an outstanding plugin for your music-making application. There are five modules: peak limiter, RMS compressor, clipper, high-frequency limiter, and true peak limiter.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Brickwall and soft limiting with different timing settings
  • Optional 4x oversampling
  • True inter-sampling peaks limiting
  • Two different GUIs

21. Cubase LE

Cubase LE is the lite edition of its manufacturer, Steinberg, flagship app Cubase, one of the first digital sequencing apps. The LE version offers the best legacy to free users with few limitations. You can record 16 tracks total of audio and up to 24 tracks with virtual instrumentation. 

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Comes with some of Steinberg’s VST plugins
  • Access Cubase libraries for HALion sampling 
  • Create mixes with sample-accurate timing and plugin latency 
  • Compatible with hundreds of effects and virtual instruments and available on VST platforms

22. Surge

Surge is a free synthesizer plugin. It functions as a VST, AU, or LV2 plugin with compatible digital audio workstations. A flexible synthesizer for music production is a must, especially if you’re an electronic music producer.

Platforms 

Linux, macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Factory sounds: 2116 patches, 614 wavetables
  • Eight effects arranged two inserts per scene, two sends, and two master effects
  • 14 effect algorithms
  • Extremely flexible and fast modulator routing

23. OrilRiver

A not-so-secret feature of a great mix is a lush reverb effect. A high-quality reverb plugin like OrilRiver is an essential building block in your music production arsenal. 

OrilRiver is an algorithmic stereo reverb plugin free download that easily matches the most expensive reverbs’ sound quality. OrilRiver is a complex plugin, but an intuitive interface and controls make it easy for beginners.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • 12 variations of early reflections
  • Five variations of the reverb tail
  • 3-band equalizer helps create shades of virtual space
  • Two graphical interfaces

24. Cakewalk

Cakewalk is your complete free music software. You get songwriting tools and instruments, advanced mastering and mixing tools, unlimited MIDI and audio tracks for recordings, and a suite of editing resources. You can publish to SoundCloud, Facebook, Youtube, and other sites.

Platforms 

Windows

Primary Features:

  • Correct errors, rearrange parts, manipulate pitch, time, or any recording aspect.
  • Easily compose performances and songs.
  • Polish mixes to perfection with built-in tools
  • Advanced mixing tools produce professional studio results.

25. Bosca Ceoil

Bosca Ceoil is a top design for the beginner. Within minutes of running through the tutorial, you are cranking out music. The platform supports the basics, such as chords and scales. If you have no experience composing, you’ll be in a good starting place. 

You’ll have access to a truckload of instrument presets, including Chiptune and MIDI effects. There’s an online version if you want to test Bosca Ceoil out.

Platforms 

Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Chromebook

Primary Features:

  • The layout is easy to follow.
  • Plenty of tools for learning music
  • Create songs in no time
  • Comes with a built-in step-by-step tutorial

26. MuLab Free

MuLab is an exemplary tool for creating, editing, recording, and finalizing your music because it features a quality modular architecture and synth engine. Plus, it offers superior support for sampling recycling and slicing drum loops. You get REX file support and automation for parameters in the modular tree structure.

Platforms 

macOS, Windows

Primary Features:

  • Tracks and sub-tracks support MIDI, audio, and auto parts
  • Oscillators with 300 waveforms
  • Supports user waveforms
  • Has a versatile, user-friendly mixing desk

27. Qtractor

Qtractor is a multi-track MIDI and an audio sequencer. You can use unlimited tempo/time-signature maps, giving you precise control over events in real-time. You have a traditional multi-track tape recorder control paradigm. It supports audio in OGG, FLAC, MP3, WAV, AIFF, and other formats.

Platforms 

Linux

Primary Features:

  • Unlimited location/bar markers
  • Standard MIDI files support (format 0 and 1)
  • Unlimited number of tracks and overlapping clips per session and project
  • Point-and-click, multi-select, drag-and-drop interaction

28. Soundtrap

Developed by the minds behind Spotify, Soundtrap created a platform for collaborating on music. Whether professional or inspired, you’ll have an expansive library of loops, instruments, and beats. Or grab your real-world instrument, plug it in, and create! With your projects stored in the cloud, you have access to them everywhere you go.

Platforms 

macOS, (coming soon to Android)

Primary Features:

  • Auto-tune provides a precise modification of voice recordings
  • Use easy and intuitive Pattern Beatmaker to create beats
  • Collaborate in real-time with anyone anywhere
  • Over 4,000 presents

29. Roland Zenbeats 2

Zenbeats’s free version is as robust as it gets. You get unlimited tracks in traditional Timeline and Loopbuilder platforms. Its SampleVerse offers limited presets but a solid start for the aspiring producer. Zenbeats is touch-friendly. Lastly, Zenbeats plies you with new features, new instruments, and loop packs in their store.

Platforms 

Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Chrome OS (supporting Android)

Primary Features:

  • Lovely interface
  • Cross-platform
  • Exclusive Roland content
  • Cross-platform versatility

30. KORG Gadget 2 

Designed specifically for the iPad, Korg Gadget 2 has plugins galore. Beats are setup by customizable genres. You get a timeline geared towards optimizing workflow, which allows movement across the scale with any sound or chord that you like.

Platforms 

iOS, macOS

Primary Features:

  • More than 40 gadget sounds (samplers, drum machines, and synths)
  • Create great music within less than a half-hour
  • Excellent interface grouped instruments with specific functions
  • Hundreds of controls to maximize individuality

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