Choosing the right Digital Audio Workstation is the fundamental step in the process of building a software-based music production studio. After all, the DAW is the central part of any virtual studio setup, where all the audio recording, editing and mixing takes place.

Needless to say, there are plenty of commercial digital audio workstations out there, however the options are far more limited if you’re building your studio on a tight budget. Most commercial DAW applications come with a demo version of some sort, but a demo is often quite restricted in terms of available features when compared to the full product. Thankfully, it is possible to build a powerful music studio almost completely free of charge nowadays, at least when it comes to finding the right software for the task (you will still need to invest some money into a decent computer, a pair of monitors or headphones and an audio interface).

The list below features a selection of the best free digital audio workstations. Please note that the programs are listed in no particular order. Every user has different demands and it is practically impossible to say which freeware DAW is the best.

Cakewalk by Bandlab

Cakewalk by BandLab and all its world-leading features are available free-to-download via the BandLab Assistant client for Windows – your central hub on your desktop for your musical creative process.
The most complete music production package, now FREE.

Pros (+): Great user interface, included full set of Pro plug-ins,Studio Instrument Set, full VST support, unlimited audio & MIDI tracks.
Cons (-): non found as of April 2018. 64bit OS only.
Platforms : Windows 64bit Only

https://www.bandlab.com/download/assistant/windows

SoundBridge

SoundBridge is a full featured Digital Audio Workstation that emphasizes mobility, connectivity and ease of use. We’ve optimized the user experience and made the application high resolution with 5 color schemes, added channel strip & plugin presets, a swing tool, advanced mixer routing, and much more! SoundBridge is an omni-recording experience, transcending desktop, mobile, and in-browser recording environments. Our online collaboration engine allows you to seamlessly connect, communicate and transfer data, among an unlimited number of collaborators per project.

Pros (+): Great user interface, included full set of plug-ins, full VST support, unlimited audio & MIDI tracks. Online collaboration and project sharing.
Cons (-): non found as of June 2017.
Platforms : Windows, Mac OS.

Studio One V4 Prime

daw_studio-one-prime

Pros (+): Great user interface, external SoundFont support, quality native effects.
Cons (-): No VST plugin support, only one virtual instrument included.
Platforms : Windows, Mac OS.

https://shop.presonus.com/Studio-One-4-Prime

Tracktion T7

daw_tracktion-4

Pros (+) : VST and ReWire support, fully functional software, cheap upgrade price.
Cons (-) : No updates, unconventional workflow and user interface.
Platforms : Windows, Mac OS, Linux.

http://www.tracktion.com

Pro Tools | First

daw_pro-tools-first

Pros (+) : AAX plugin support, includes Xpand!2 instrument and over 20 native effects. Marketplace for extra plugin purchase
Cons (-) : Only three projects can be stored, network connection required, CPU hog.
Platforms : Windows, Mac OS.

https://www.avid.com/pro-tools-first

OHM Studio

Pros (+) : VST plugin support, high quality native effects. Collaborate with musicians from all over the world.
Cons (-) : Free 10 Project/Songs. No Offline (yet)
Platforms : Windows, Mac OS.

www.ohmstudio.com

MAGIX Music Maker Free

Pros (+) : Easy loop based music creation. Several free SoundPool libraries included.
Cons (-) : Only up to eight tracks per project. No VST support.
Platforms : Windows.

https://www.magix.com/au/music/music-maker/

There are lot more free or limited functionality version of DAW out there than this short list. I will add them to the list as I try them and provide my feedback and review on each.

List Updated: December 2018

4 thoughts on “Free Digital Audio Workstation List

  1. Vatche…thanks for your help to those of us who are “technically challenged”

    I have both Cakewallk by Bandlab and Bandlab

    Trying to export midi files from Calewalk to Bandlab. ..found instructions, but going to:
    File>Export doesn’t work. Audio and midi on drop-down are not lit.

    What to do?

  2. If you want to make music then it is important to have a good quality Digital Audio Workstation on your computer. There are a lot of options that you can use to make yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.