There is No Thing As a Free DAW (Oh yes there is)
Rumours have been passed for many a month now that Behringer/Music Tribe, might just be thinking about developing their own Virtual Studio Technology (VST). Well here we go! It’s not just a VST, but a whole new DAW. On a recent Facebook announcement, Behringer have confirmed it’s all happening.
“Our Music Tribe DAW will also include samples and VSTs plus connections to third-party VSTs. Our goal is to include the very best features available, including multiple user interfaces for both recording and DJ.
“We would love to develop this together with you and hence encourage you to share your preferred platforms and features so we can consider your input. Our opportunity is that we have no legacy platform to maintain, which will allow us to think “blue sky” and combine the “best of all worlds”.
In a crowded marketplace, the software is going to have to good to be competitive and make people ditch their existing workflows. But knowing the way that Behringer operate and the success they have had over the last few years, selling gear by the shed-load (Behringer equipment is always highly requested for Decksaver covers), it won’t be a surprise if they actually pull it off.
The software is still 18 months away though, so plenty of time for the competition to make improvements, if they think they need to of course.
So if you are looking for a FREE DAW in the meantime, here are some of the top packages available today:
This fantastic piece of software, released waaayyyy back in the mid-2000s, probably did an awful lot to bring music-making to the masses, as it came free with Mac OSX.
The package is definitely a sibling of the professional Logic Pro and shares much of its features, including UI, drum and MIDI editing options. Quantization and heavy EQ settings are also available.
There are dozens of loops and plug-ins and its intuitive interface makes it easy to pick up and learn. Definitely a strong option (if not the best) for Mac users.
Audacity is a free, open-source software with multi-track recording options and a whole host of features and benefits. It’s a fairly basic package, but it’s great for recording basic stuff like ripping vinyl and podcasts.
There are a few nice features and filters and there are loads of great VST plug-ins to build up the usability a bit more. There’s no MIDI editing though, but it’s not a bad way to start your audio production learning off.
Cakewalk has been around for around 30 years now in its various guises and has been a popular choice amongst bedroom producers for much of this time. It’s great software to look at and is has a great UI. It’s packed full of feature that should satisfy a whole raft of producer-types, with dozens of awesome plug-ins to help with your creativity. Mixing tracks is a breeze and it’s also easy to collaborate and share tracks. Mobile apps are also available to even make it easy to produce on-the-go.
It needs some power though (64-bit Windows OS), but it’s still one of the best Windows DAWs available today.
Soundtrap has only been around for 6 years or so, but has picked up a nation of fans. It’s different to most DAWS in the fact that it’s cloud-based, rather than installed on your machine of choice.
It’s fairly basic but modern looking, but stylishly designed and pretty intuitive. It’s packed with a virtual keyboard and dozens of instruments and effects. It’s also super-easy to collaborate and hook-up with other musicians around the globe.
Like many cloud based software services, there’s a tiered pricing structure, but the free package gives you unlimited projects, 900 loops, 200+ instruments and 150k+ sound effects from freesounds.org.
Studio One 4 Prime
Although PreSonus will be a well-known name amongst music people, not many know that they offer a free version of their professional Studio One software too.
It’s a little stripped back in comparison (of course), but it still looks a lot like its big brother and has plenty of the core features, including drag-and-drop functionality, unlimited tracks, Native Effect Plug-ins and around 1GB of loop and sample content. Plenty to keep many newbies busy for a while.
So it will be interesting to see how Music Tribe deliver their DAW solution. Will it be cloud based or will it be downloadable for PC, Mac or both? Will there be an app available for working on the move? And where will if fit with the extensive hardware that Behringer already produce? It will have to be good for sure, as there are already some fantastic workflow options out there already, catering to all kind of users with different requirements. We are waiting…
More details of the Behringer notification can be found here: