Fancy creating quality music from your computer without the financial outlay? Here’s the best free music production software absolutely anyone can use.
It appears that big-budget studios are becoming increasingly irrelevant nowadays. There is now a slew of high-profile artists headlining festivals around the world who made it all happen with the free music production software they had in their bedrooms.
From Mac DeMarco and Tame Impala to Clairo achieving overnight stardom with Pretty Girl; world-class records can procure themselves at home as long as you have the right bells and whistles.
It doesn’t matter what platform you’re on either — there are plenty of free music-making software for Windows and Mac. And if you’re a novice, there are options for free music-making software for beginners.
You might be surprised at the number of quality music-making software available that won’t put a strain on your pocket. We’ve compiled a list of the best free DAWs for making music from scratch. Here’s the list of the best music software there is, in no particular order.
Many of these options are free music-making software for beginners, but there is an impressive amount of quality and control at your behest, should you so desire. Moreover, the non-existent price tag does not mean that there have been corners cut on the production side of things. Free tools and options for expressive control are here in spades as these programs are often trying to seduce you into upgrading to their more professional older cousins. Defy the seduction and create without cost!
Take a browse through the best free music making software – aka audio gateway drugs. Whether you’re looking for music software for Mac or PC, there are some great options below.
As far as user-friendly music production software goes, GarageBand is leading the charge. If you’re interested in merely being musical, Apple’s entry-level program has a significant variety of samples to play with, making it a staple music producing software mac users love! You could quite literally build a song in minutes. The sandbox landscape and slick interface put it at the top of the list.
Don’t be fooled though! There is plenty of quality to choose from here and it is the perfect stepping stone to Logic Pro X. With shared features like Drummer, a seriously easy to use groove making sampler with multiple genre styles and a plethora of pattern variations. These features arguably make GarageBand one of the best free beat making software platforms for beginners. You will also become familiar with Apple Library as well as a similar interface to logic.
The only downsides include a limit of 255 tracks per song (Which is still a LOT!), there’s no MIDI export or the ability to control external hardware via MIDI. Though when it’s all said and done, GarageBand is still an immensely powerful tool and one of the most proficient digital audio workstations going around. Plus, it’s the ultimate free music making software for beginners.
AmpliTube 5 Custom Shop (Mac/Windows)
If you already have a guitar lying around, then AmpliTube 5 Custom Shop is the perfect way for you to add expression and flair to your music without the hefty price tag. While it’s essentially a stripped-down version, this free fully functioning guitar rig application includes 42 models that consist of a chromatic tuner, nine stompboxes, four amps, five cabs, three mics and two rack effects.
Thus it’s not only the perfect tool for any guitarist looking to record straight into their laptop but it’s essentially a ‘try before you buy’ for anyone interested in lashing out on the real deal. And the samples are impressively accurate! Not the least because IK Multimedia locked down official guitar amp models from industry giants such as Fender, Mesa Boogie, Orange, Ampeg and many more.
To top it off you can customise the mic model and placement, hinting at the pool of options available when you got the full mile. AmpliTube 5 Custom Shop is ideal for anyone looking to explore guitar tones or just lay down a few ideas. Plus, it’s free music making software for Windows and Mac. So it’s no wonder why AmpliTube is considered one of the best music producing software for beginners in existence.
Cakewalk by Bandlab (Windows)
Cakewalk is one of the oldest digital audio workstations going around and has received a significant upgrade from its previous model — Cakewalk Sonar. After Gibson halted production, Bandlab snapped it up and made it free for all music lovers.
Labelled as the ‘most complete music production package’, Cakewalk offers advanced mixing and mastering tools, unlimited tracks, studio-quality effects and a 64-bit mix engine. They are also rolling with the times, adding in Windows features such as touch integration, pen calibration and Surface Dial advancements throughout the interface.
If you’re looking for the most comprehensive free music making software at absolutely zero cost, Bandlab has got you covered. PS: this exclusively free music-making software is for Windows only.
Waveform Free by Tracktion (Mac OSX, Windows, Linux)
Waveform Free involves one of the most impressive business models on the market. Every year the free music making software gets an upgrade and the previous model has its price tag shaved off. The latest version to drop the cost is Waveform Version 12.
This impressive interface is as user friendly as GarageBand yet with a little extra sheen. It features unlimited audio and MIDI tracks — depending on your hardware capabilities — plus it allows multiple plug-in formats such as VST and Audio Units.
Furthermore, each window is scalable so you can adjust everything to suit your workflow allowing for surprisingly linear fluidity. Not firmly in the category of free music making software for beginners, but still approachable.
Akai Pro MPC Beats (Mac/Windows)
Known for their legendary MPC, Akai Pro have taken this idea into a free DAW with MPC Beats. It’s an easy to use DAW that’s well laid out and focuses on making beats, just like your ancestors did on the MPC60.
MPC Beats comes with 2GB worth of content, including samples, loops, and built-in virtual instrument plugins and over 80 audio FX plugins, plus the ability to add third party plugins. If you are unsure how to start there’s also genre templates like Trap, Dance, Pop plus more.
Available for both PC and Mac, MPC Beats is free, however you can add on MPC Beats expansion packs and join the MPC Beats Academy.
This, of course, is by no means an exhaustive list. Music production software — especially that of the free variety — pops up all the time. There’s a thriving community of developers making innovative plugins and entire DAWs on a regular basis. This friendly competition makes it easier than ever for people to find the right workflow for them, no matter which platform you care to use.
Further to this, the big players like Ableton, Pro Tools and Logic Pro X have free trials between 30 to 90 days, so you can dig into those DAWs for free and see how they feel compared to their free counterparts.
The barriers to entry in the field of music production have never been so low. By checking out one or more of these free programs, you might just ignite a passion that will last a lifetime.