Best Free DAW?


Hey everyone, I’ve had a MIDI keyboard (an MPK mini mk2 to be exact) for a few months now and have mostly taken it to my school to work on Garageband with the Macs we have there. Unfortunately, I have a PC at home and can’t buy a DAW yet so I wanted to see if anyone has any suggestions. I’m looking for free DAWs, no trials or demos please. Some that I’ve already tried are Tracktion 4 (couldn’t figure it out, didn’t have a piano roll or drum sequencer), Audiotool and MuLab. Preferably one that has many instruments included as well as beat sequencing and VST support. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!




I’ve heard good things about reaper. You’re supposed to pay for it after a trial, but the company lets you keep the full thing even if you don’t. I think they call it “honorware” or something like that. It’s less than 100USD for the full version if you do decide to buy it at some point.


Reaper, no question. It also comes with some really powerful plugins. And yea, even after you run out the trial period it stays fully functional and you just have a nag screen at start up.




LMMS is defo the best if ur trying to make electronic music, it has gotten really stable over the years and you can do a lot more with it now



Reaper + Audacity.

Neither comes with instruments per se (you can build a basic synth from the modules in Reaper) but there’s so, so many good to great free plugs these days…


How long has Audacity been a proper DAW? I thought it was more just an audio editor.


There’s always been the capability to do a Burial and (as the screenshots show) use a waveform to visually quantize, etc. - the feature set has always tried to be as good as or better than Audition (formerly CoolEdit Pro). But it’s not really optimized for sequencing, etc., it’s always been better for wave editing and mixdown/self-mastering. In addition to Reaper though one literally has most all of the same feature set as any DAW that costs money.


Any DAW can be free :slight_smile:


Does Reaper have a beat sequencer? Btw does anyone have any experience from Tracktion 4? I was probably just too much of a noob to give it more of a chance :smiley:


It has a general purpose sequencer that can be used for beats, OR you can get a VST with a sequencer just for beats (like Grizzly or Percumat or something).


i 2nd giving LMMS a go. none of the free DAWs are particularly nice though in my opinion. REAPER is really fleshed out and feature-complete but i really don’t dig the UI.

i know you specifically said you didn’t want demos/trials but i’d still give them all a go while you’re trying out the free DAWs. when i first started making beats i rocked the FL demo for ages with no shame.


Thanks for the suggestions!


Um, you know you can make Reaper look pretty much ANY way you want?


I think that is a bit of a ridiculous statement to make about Reaper. What makes it “not particularity nice” ? If it is just the UI I say, as my old man does, “beggars can’t be choosers”. For something you can essentially use for free, forever, Reaper is flat out amazeballs.


boys, i just don’t like reaper’s UI, sorry for my differing opinion.
and yes, i did use it a lot at one point so i’m aware about skinning it.
and yes again, it’s an awesome program, don’t take my dislike of the UI as a diss against the program itself. just personally i work way faster in and much prefer fl, reason or cubase, even demo versions, rather than any of the free DAWs.


^ boo lol. Ah well. Enjoy… whatever.


Tracktion is now free.What’s cool is that it runs on Linux boxes… Netbook DAW yo.




Nah m8 give money to Justin and crew. They deserve it. They’re literally fighting the good fight - not getting rich off Reaper at all and developing it we can make music and have everything we need.