The Best Free DAW Software for Windows: Innovations must continue; it must inspire people surrounding you. Music is the way of life and making one must not be costly, at least not in 2020.
We’re here to prove a point that you can create fantastic art in the form of music with a couple of free DAW software for windows. The only thing you do need is a computer. That being said, we went for a hunt to curate a list of the best ones out there. We also point out some specifications so that you don’t need to look around anymore. So, let’s get right into it.
What is DAW, and why do you need one?
DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. Mainly these tools are used to record audio and do some light edits like joining, splitting, and so on. With DAW, you can create music from instruments that you don’t know how to play. You can create your own music from scratch, edit any tones, and do a lot of things to make your creation better.
There’s more to it, though; you need to know some specifications and capabilities that DAW has to offer. Some of them just record the audio while many do both recordings as well as editing. You may even require different hardware just to try the features. In this segment, we have covered all the things that any of those free DAW Software has to offer.
Here’s the Best Free DAW Software for Windows
1. Roland Zenbeats
Previously named, Stage light by Openlabs was acquired by Roland. They relaunched it as Zenbeats on 1st January 2020. All you need is a free Roland backstage account and get started with creating stellar music.
The all-new Zenbeats offer an intuitive user experience with a fantastic user interface, and along with it comes tons of features. Mostly all the features of Stage light such as unlimited tracks in timeline and loop builder mode, nine instruments, a drum kit. It also comes with SampleVerse, a sampler with limited presets, MIDI Polyphonic Expression, and an extensive set of beat making tools.
It’s a touch-friendly DAW that happens to be with cross-platform availability and no specific hardware requirements. You can manage your music with a single dashboard interface.
Here you get to choose from different music templates or save yours on Google drive, Onedrive, and other cloud platforms. From there, you can also share your work with other collaborators. Apart from all this, you get access to features such as loop-building, beat-sync, and key locks.
It also offers some beginner-friendly tutorials as a bonus that teaches Advanced Drum Machine, Using the loop browser, and shows you around on using the audio editor. You can unlock all the features by getting the ultimate version of Zenbeats. Beware that it will tempt you to unlock everything, but the free version is powerful enough to skim through regular music-making demands.
Get Roland Zenbeats from here.
2. Cakewalk by Bandland
Badland acquired cakewalk and relaunched its SONAR Platinum DAW for free in early 2018. Though it doesn’t have all the features that SONAR had, this DAW could be the best out there that can compete for premium segments. Also, this is Windows only DAW and is not available for any other platform. They keep it updated regularly, and you can expect superior performance all the time.
It inherits all the core features that were considered premium for SONAR, such as PRO channel modules, skylight user interface, and a 64bit end to end mix engine. You can do limitless things, be that recording, editing, or saving your work.
It doesn’t put on any caps to work limitation, nor it shows you any annoying ads. You get a built-in virtual instrument with a lot of effects. Just so, if you’re wondering, it does comes with VST3 support for FX & synths and ARA support to integrate different editing tools. It lets you compose, mix, edit, and publish your music seamlessly while providing the unmatched premium experience.
Get Cakewalk by Badland from here.
3. PRO TOOLS | First
The free version of Pro tools named First, lets you create music with up to 16 audio tracks and enables you to record four tracks simultaneously. You can start creating music from scratch in no time.
It also comes with 23 effects and utility plugins, the powerful Xpand!2 virtual instruments, and a UVI workstation 3. There are session templates available with preloaded instrument tracks to get you started on the go. You can edit a lot of variables such as tempo, pitch, timing, all with a simple drag and drop. It even lets you alter the volume of each note for superior music quality.
Furthermore, you can access a sound base of over 3GB of the high-quality loop, samples, and other sounds produced by lead musicians. It also comes with a cloud collaboration through which you can work with others on the same project.
The free version lets you share and sync up to three projects, for local session storage and more sharing, you need to upgrade to the premium plan. Also, a notable thing here is you get a lower sample rate than the premium version. It offers a lot of limited but premium features. You can give it a shot and upgrade at a later stage if you find it suitable for your daily music conquests.
Get Pro Tools | First from here.
4. Traction T7
Traction is famous for its Waveform DAW and other digital instruments. Still, among the premium range of products, it also offers you a featured free digital audio workstation in its T7 DAW.
It claims to be the world’s best and genuinely unlimited music production tool and comes with no track or plugin limitations like other free tools. You get an easy to use interface with simple drag and drop editing.
It lets you record, compose, mix, and edit audio as per your requirements. To make things look more straightforward, it doesn’t include the trivial features of waveform 8 & 10, such as various colour schemes. Also, it misses out on some virtual instruments such as drum sampler and multi-sample.
Apart from these, it inherits all the premium features of Waveform, making it a perfect choice for your studio. It has got a blue steel user interface that comes with different sections that make things look more meaningful.
You get access to features such as automation patterns to automate the beats, LFO modifiers to control any variable of the tool or any plugin, clip layer effects to manipulate the sound on clip level. It’s beginner-friendly and packs with many powerful features, and we see no reason why you must not give it a spin.
Get Traction T7 from here.
5. PRESONUS Studio One Prime
Studio One Prime is a free DAW offered by PreSonus along with its paid versions. It doesn’t cap the usage of audio tracks and mixing channels, and it also comes with 1Gb of sample loop and royalty-free music to get you started in no time.
A significant drawback here is that you don’t get virtual instrument support, but it can be compensated nine unique with native effects plugin, which are of the best quality. You can also load third party sound fonts. Apart from all this, it offers automation and time-stretching. There’s also a Presence XT virtual sampler.
Furthermore, you get full MIDI support, multichannel coping, and the side chain routing workflow to get the maximum efficiency. The nine free effects in comprise of a compressor, 3-band equalizer, a simple distortion module, reverb & delay effects, a guitar amplifier, and a set of modulation tools of a simple distortion module.
It was first released in 2009 and has been continuously upgraded to hit the industrial marks. Studio One Prime is a perfect entry-level Best Free DAW Software for Windows that is lightweight and doesn’t need any specific external hardware.
Get PRESONUS Studio one Prime from here.
Here’s a quick overview of Audacity. First of all, it’s an opensource tool, and also offers cross-platform compatibility, which makes it available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There’s a beat analyzer that helps you make the beats slow or faster as per your taste.
Also, it’s super easy to record and edit podcasts or even rough demos for the songs. It enables a user to do multitrack recording and editing. The virtual instrument support is a bit dicy, and you might need some third party help to make it sound right.
With Audacity, it is easy to export audio files to MP3 and WAV format via LAMEC encoder. Furthermore, being the oldest free & opensource DAW software has its own perks, the community offers a lot of VST Plugins to get the sounds right.
Sometimes it is difficult to get the recordings right, but with audio editing, it’s a perfect choice. Audacity simple to use and won’t require much training to start. If you’re just a beginner to DAW and need some light touch of workstation features with a powerful audio editor, it is an ideal start.
Get Audacity from here.
Free Windows DAW with unique features
Here’s the list of some notable free Digital Audio Workstation that totally deserves mention for some unique features. You may couple the use of two workstations together and get an amazing creation out of it.
SoundBridge: Available for Windows and Mac, Completely free, Simple to use, comes with a lot of advanced features such as Sequencer, MIDI Mapping, advanced mixer, and automation. A RitMix: Drum Machine is available here to play the drum as a virtual instrument, with a MAC Pad and a 16-step sequencer.
As this tool is touch-friendly, it might feel a bit bulky and compact while using it. Also, it completely supports VST and low-latency Hi-Fi drivers.
Magix Music Maker: a DAW that has Multicore support, 425 free sounds & loops, four free additional Soundpools, three instruments, and eight free effects.Though with limited features, you can easily create, edit, and Mix audio to get a piece of high-quality studio-like music.
To make the process simpler it offers a simple drag and drops functionality while editing or creating the music. MIDI support is also present. Plus and premium versions will let you access a premium range of music and remove any of the features that are capped in the free version.
Ardour: It’s an opensource free DAW. For the folks with high-end hardware, Ardour can full-fill your requirements with ease. It even gives you the option to use Network audio, PIC, USB, or firewire interface.
You get a powerful recorder, Unlimited multi-channel tracks, an audio editor to take care of heavy workload, a soundtrack for video-audio edits, and mixing. Furthermore, you can choose from thousands of free VST plugins. Beginners might find this tool quite intimidating with the set of features and complexity of use. Rest, you get a decent enough user interface that gets the job done.
Use any of these free Windows DAW to make your music happening and bring it to reality. Do let us know in the comment sections below on what DAW made it to your studio.