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The Best FREE DAW's for 2023

Comparison of Free DAWs

Software OS Support Max Tracks VST Support Built-in Instruments
Cakewalk by BandLab Windows Unlimited Yes Yes
Tracktion T7 Windows, Mac, Linux Unlimited Yes Yes
Audacity Windows, Mac, Linux Unlimited No No
GarageBand Mac, iOS Unlimited Yes (AU) Yes
Ardour Windows, Mac, Linux Unlimited Yes No

Scoring a Killer DAW for the Price of Zero

Hey there, I’m Mattie. You’re broke, but you have a burning desire to make some wicked tunes. You find yourself stuck in the paradox of needing quality software to produce music but lacking the capital to invest in one of the big names. I get it. We’ve all been there.

Let’s cut through the crap, shall we? Free doesn’t have to mean shitty. Yeah, you heard me right. In the world of DAWs, you can get some surprisingly robust platforms without spending a dime. But hold your horses, not all “free” is created equal. Let’s get into it.

Cakewalk by BandLab: Like Finding a $20 Bill in Your Old Jeans

Cakewalk was once a pretty high-end DAW that you had to shell out a pretty penny for. But guess what? It’s free now, thanks to BandLab. The best part? It’s not a stripped-down version; this is the full deal, and it’s still updated regularly.

So, what’s the catch? Frankly, not much. It’s Windows only, so Mac users are outta luck. And, yeah, it might be overkill for total newbies, but it’s a beast for those willing to tame it. For a thorough look, here’s an in-depth review.

Tracktion T7: The Minimalist’s Wet Dream

Tracktion T7 offers the essentials without overwhelming you with a gazillion features you’ll never use. This makes it perfect for beginners or anyone who subscribes to the minimalist ethos. It’s like the IKEA furniture of DAWs: functional, pretty to look at, and doesn’t break the bank—because it’s free!

Tracktion T7 is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Check out the official rundown for the full feature set.

Audacity: The Old Dog with Some Surprising New Tricks

Look, Audacity has been around since the dawn of time—or at least, it feels that way. It’s not a full-featured DAW in the way that Cakewalk or even Tracktion T7 is. It’s more like a wave editor on steroids. But don’t let that fool you; this old dog has learned some new tricks.

You can record multiple tracks, apply real-time effects, and if you’re savvy, even master your tracks to an extent. Learn the nitty-gritty from this Audacity guide.

GarageBand: The Apple of the Free DAW World

If you own a Mac or an iOS device, you’ve hit the free DAW jackpot. GarageBand is like Logic Pro X’s little brother who’s happy to live in his sibling’s shadow while still being surprisingly competent. It’s simple to use and offers a range of instruments and loops. Ideal for those just getting started. To get the best out of GarageBand, follow this guide.

Ardour: The Dark Horse

Ardour is a robust, open-source DAW that works on Linux, Windows, and Mac. Now, I can hear you saying, “But Mattie, open-source means it’s going to be super complicated!” Well, yes and no. It’s not as user-friendly as the other options on this list, but it offers a level of customization that they don’t. Learn how to get the most out of it with this detailed tutorial.

Look, don’t let money—or the lack thereof—be your excuse. Free DAWs have come a long way, and they offer an excellent stepping stone into the world of music production. So, what the hell are you waiting for? Start making some damn music!

Thanks for reading! If you still need help, check out my Free Vocal Presets for Logic Pro X that will get your vocals sounding amazing in no time!!

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