Which is better LMMS or FL STUDIO

These are the best freeware DAWs in the world

Good digital audio workstations for free download - is that possible?

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

These are the best freeware DAWs · Source: gearnews

There are many DAWs. Above all, you can pay a lot of money for some DAWs. It doesn't have to be! There are some freeware DAWs available. But free doesn't mean bad at the same time. This list shows you which free DAWs have which advantages and disadvantages.

All DAWs shown here are free, but you may have to create an online user account with the manufacturer. If you want to spend money, take a look at our large DAW overview. The order is not used for any evaluation.

Did we miss a DAW? Write us a comment!

Pro Tools | First (Win, Mac)

Everyone has certainly heard the name before. Pro Tools was one of the earliest audio DAWs, and Avid calls the DAW the industry standard. In addition to the paid version in the subscription model or annual licenses, there is also a completely free version. Compared to the full version, the version is much slimmed down and includes 16 tracks at 48 or 96 KHz in mono or stereo. , Let it be maximum of 4 inputs on 4 tracksat the same time take up. Join in 16 instruments, MIDI and AUX tracks. The video functionality is missing. You are not allowed to load external AAX effects, but there are at least a few included plug-ins in the package. It's appetizers for the large version.

For Pro Tools | First you absolutely need one Avid user account, plus one for Pace iLok account - at least not the iLok dongle.

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Studio One 4 Prime (Win, Mac)

Studio One 4 Prime is also an appetizer for the large versions of Studio One 4. The DAW is developed by former developers of Steinberg and Crystal. In the free Prime version you get unlimited audio, MIDI, effects and buss tracks. That's what you're up to 9 effect plug-ins brought along and the Presence XT sound generator limited and cannot install your own.

In any case, the DAW is sufficient for sniffing and for first projects. A User account at Presonus is compulsory.

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Cakewalk by Bandlab (formerly Sonar) (Win)

The DAW used to listen to the name Sonar Platinum. Meanwhile, the brand name Cakewalk no longer belongs to Gibson, but to Bandlab and the DAW is completely free. For Windows, this is now the most comprehensive free DAW out there and more than just an insider tip. A lot Effects, amps, virtual synthesizers, tracks, functions, loops - But you need one for this Account at Bandlab and the in-house Download manager.

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Tracktion 7 (Win, Mac, Linux)

Tracktion has been publishing the older versions of their DAW of the same name for free for years. Meanwhile, the draft horse and Tracktion's successor is called Waveform, which is why Tracktion 7 is the last version to be completely free.

In the package there is not only a slightly different DAW with more intuitive operation (for beginners), but also one Mixer, effects, editing functions and more.

Tracktion also works cross platform, which means there is the DAW for Windows, macOS and Linux.

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Ardor 5 (Win, Mac, Linux)

The Open source DAW wrongly ekes out a niche existence. It is originally for Linux developed and looks a bit old-fashioned - currently uses Pro Tools 7 as I remember. Ardor is now also available for Windows and macOS. If you have no problem with that, you can get one here All-round carefree DAWthat you only have to feed with a few effects. The only restrictions here are the hardware.

But be careful: Ardor is only free if you use the DAW according to the instructions compiled by myself. Anyone who has never heard the word or does not trust himself can get the Installer for at least € 1 to buy.

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LMMS (Win, Mac, Linux)

LMMS means written out Linux MultiMedia Studio - this is due to the fact that it was initially developed for Linux only. The DAW is now also available for Windows and macOS. She is often called free alternative to FL Studio designated. The interface and thus the operation are also relatively similar. You can with it Audio and MIDI easily pick up, arrange and mix in the blender. Editing is not that easy for us, but it is also possible.

There is actually in LMMS no artificial restrictions as in other DAWs in this list. Whoever uses it should donate. You don't need a user account.

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Podium Free (Win)

Even if the DAW Podium Free is a bit old (2014), it is still available for free for Windows in 32 and 64 bit. You are in the free version a MIDI In and Out limited, mixing takes place in 32 bit, moreover are ReWire, Surround and Multiprocessing deactivated for plug-ins.

If you don't have a problem with that and don't need the latest stuff, you can confidently take a look at Podium Free.

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Music Maker Free (Win)

A very old representative and for some the entry into the world of digital audio production. In the meantime, Magix Music Maker can no longer just do it Loops and Samples Push together, but also record and arrange your own things or compose with the sound generator you have brought with you. You are limited to 8 tracks in the latest version, Music Maker 2020 Free.

For Music Maker you need a User account create at Magix.

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Here you will find DAWs that are basically free, but always have a catch. For example hardware that you have to buy for a license.

Cubase LE (Win, Mac)

In addition to Pro Tools, there is the second market leader Steinberg with Cubase, especially in Germany. She comes from Hamburg and supports up to in the quasi-free Cubase LE version 16 audio tracks at 24 bit and max. 192 KHz sample rate. You are allowed up to 8 inputs use of your interface at the same time. 24 MIDI and 8 instrument tracks are not much, but enough for your first steps in the Cubase universe. There are also 18 effect plug-ins and HALion Sonic SE 2 as a virtual sound generator.

Cubase 9 LE is only available in a bundle with controllers, interfaces or in magazines. You then have to enter the activation code in your SteinbergUser account deposit.

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Live 10 Lite (Win, Mac)

Ableton has also made a free version of the DAW Live available as a quasi-top dog in electronic music. You only get this in the Bundle with hardware, for example controllers or interfaces. Then there is a maximum 8 trackswhich otherwise have no restrictions. There are a few of your own effects, but you can too own VST and AU plug-ins to install. The specialty of the DAW is that Session View, in which you can easily play different song parts and tracks in a live performance.

You need a for Live Lite User account at Ableton.

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Audacity (Win, Mac, Linux)

Even if here multiple tracks and VST effect plug-ins supported, Audacity is more of a WAV audio editor. A really good one with a wide range of functions and Open source License. You apply effects directly to audio sections, there is no mixer and the MIDI-Functionality is now available but very rudimentary. The development continues, however, and it is never wrong to have Audacity as a backup on your computer.

Audacity is available for Windows, macOS and Linux.

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Garage Band (Mac)

It would not be fair to include it in the freeware list, because even if Garage Band is free itself, it only works with macOS and for that you first have to buy a Mac - or run a Hackintosh.

But then you get a little logic. The effects are almost as comprehensive as with their big brother, there is no track limit and you can definitely use them Write, edit and arrange songs. The mixer is missing for mixing.

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Reaper (Win, Mac, Linux)

Even if it is repeatedly referred to as freeware in forums and blogs: Reaper is no freeware. It's a perfectly normal, paid DAW that you can 60 days free can test. Then the “license me” request can be clicked away and the DAW can continue to be used without any problems. But that is not allowed. (!)

A license costs comparatively small 60 euro, for that you get one of the most flexible DAWs on the market.

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by claudius Columns Tips & Tricks REC Ableton Avid BandLab Cakewalk MuTools Paul Davis Presonus Steinberg Tracktion Software Corporation Ardor Audacity Cubase LE DAW Freeware Garageband free Linux Live Lite LMMS macOS Mu Lab Music Maker Open Source OSX Pro Tools First Reaper Sonar Tip Tracktion Windows