In this piece, we take a look at 5 brilliant music production and recording software you can use to kickstart your journey as a musician. Each of these softwares are free-to-use and are what industry professionals swear by. Whether you’re a budding vocalist, music producer or instrumentalist, or whether you simply have a penchant for sound, these software will provide you with the tools you need to take your craft to the next level!
Are there songs always playing in your head? Does your foot just start tapping along to that beat playing in the background while you sit at a coffee shop waiting for your date? Do you feel like you have music pouring out of your soul? Well then, YOU need to find a way to transcribe your soul’s rhythm into something tangible, so that the world can dance with you, or well, at least headbang to the rhythm and sing along to the melody.
For you to achieve this sonic translation, what you need is a decent PC or a laptop (Windows or Apple), and on it, a “Digital Audio Workstation” or in short – DAW, a more commonly used name for it. In simpler terms, a DAW is a software that is used at the core of the music making process since it’s conception in the mid-90’s, a landmark time when the process of recording and producing music took a whole new direction. The traditional old school way of recording via tapes became obsolete as the years went by, and the digital world was the new way, and has been getting more and more advanced as soon as it started.
We give you a list of the top 5 FREE DAWs, which are easily available for either Windows or Apple, which will ease you in to the process of creating and recording your own music within the four walls of your bedroom or apartment. Just imagine that!
Top 5 FREE DAWs (in no particular order of importance)
Cakewalk by BandLab (Windows 64-bit OS only)
This DAW is the whole package. Unlike many other free DAWs or Free or Lite versions of other DAWs, Cakewalk holds nothing back. You can program music, record audio, add external plugins and do everything a paid or expensive DAW offers. It is already loaded with a full range of effects and various virtual instruments as well. The only minor drawback with it is that you have to install the BandLab Assistant software and register yourself for free, after which you are allowed to download the DAW.
Get it here: https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk
Waveform Free by Tracktion Corporation (Mac OS, Windows, Linux)
This is a free version of the Waveform Pro, again packed with loads of features in itself for creating music and recording audio. This particular DAW is recommended for those who have specific interest in making electronic music. It has an intuitive approach and is especially useful for those who are just about beginning and have never used a DAW before. To make the user experience smoother, a detailed user manual comes with it, and the official Tracktion Youtube channel has tutorial videos as well.
Get it here: https://www.tracktion.com/products/waveform-free
SoundBridge (Mac OS, Windows)
A fully functional freeware DAW, SoundBridge has a more straightforward and simpler user interface, making it another great option not only for beginners, but for professionals too. You can make beats from scratch in its intuitive drum sequencer / sampler, and you can also use external effect plugins and virtual instruments. It can work for you in the long as well, if you expand your setup. It’s already prepped for multiple touchscreen support. All you have to do is register on their website and the DAW is all yours.
Get it here: https://soundbridge.io/
GarageBand by Apple (Mac OS)
Focused on the music making part of the song-writing process, Apple’s free DAW GarageBand boasts of several high-quality instruments sounds and loops ranging across various music genres, and makes it really convenient for some who is just starting off. It’s generally considered a smaller sibling of Apple’s paid DAW Logic Pro, and is a great stepping stone if you want to pursue music production further. Plus, it’s available for multiple Apple devices – MacBook, iPad, iPhone, making it accessible even if you don’t have a setup. All you have to do is go to the app store and download it for free.
Get it here: https://www.apple.com/in/mac/garageband/ or from your Apple device on the App Store.
Music Maker by MAGIX (Windows)
The free version of the Music Maker DAW, on which the only drawback is that it doesn’t support the use of external effect plugins and virtual instruments. However, it has its own piano, a great sounding virtual analogue synthesiser and a pristine sounding acoustic drum simulator. Like GarageBand above, you can also record audio and also import ready audio samples in your production process. This DAW also has a special song generating feature which automates idea creation with Music Maker’s Construction kits. Another advantage is that it takes a negligible amount of space on your PC or laptop.
Get it here: https://www.magix.com/in/music/music-maker/
There you have it! Now that there’s nothing stopping you from becoming the next big thing, what are you waiting for?! Oh wait, you need to be sure that these DAWs work on your PC or laptop.
4GB RAM (8GB recommended)
Intel / AMD dual core processor – above 2.0 GHz
4-5GB free space
OSX 10.10 Yosemite
4GB RAM (8GB recommended)
Intel Core i5 or M1 – above 2.0 GHz
4-5GB free space
There are quite a few other free DAWs available with limited features which are just basic representations of their paid versions, such as – Pro Tools | First, Ableton Live Lite, PreSonus Studio One Prime. But, again, these versions have aren’t fully activated and are provided mainly to give you an understanding or a hang of them. So, if you see yourself taking on music production and recording or mixing and mastering seriously, getting these limited versions of some industry standard DAWs used by the professionals is then a good idea, to familiarise yourself with the user interface before you decide which DAW(s) to invest in later.
Don’t stop that foot from tapping, don’t stop that head from banging, don’t stop believing!