Top 10 best free DAWs for beginners making music in 2022

Check out our list of the top free DAWs available to download in 2022.

Musicians and producers don’t have to fork out for an expensive DAW before getting stuck in making music. In fact, there’s plenty of good DAWs out there waiting to be downloaded that are absolutely free.

It’s fair to expect some limitations in performance and plugin compatibility from a free DAW, but if you’re just beginning to produce or aren’t fussed about getting technical then sticking with free can be a perfect option. Besides, some of the available free music production software is surprisingly powerful.

There’s endless options of digital audio workstations to choose between, but let’s have a quick look at some of the best free DAWs available now in 2022.

Check out our list of the best overall DAWs here.

Tracktion’s Waveform Free

Windows, Mac, Linux & Raspberry Pi

Unlimited tracks! Nice effects! Decent virtual instruments! And it supports third party plugins. There’s not that much difference between the free and full versions of Waveform Free.

The DAW has just had an update that makes it even better, with fresh editing features and a new welcome screen.


  • Computer keyboard MIDI control is awkward to use


Mac, iOS & iPadOS-only

Apple casually throws in a DAW free with its devices, and it’s crazy easy to use. Recording audio is simple and the interface is easy.

It’s versatile and surprisingly powerful, too. GarageBand is especially good for quickly recording. The virtual Drummer player feature offers a choice of percussionists and drummers to let you produce different great-sounding grooves.

It serves as a lead-in to Apple’s Logic Pro in terms of layout and workflow, so if you find you’re outgrowing it you can shell out some cash and hop over.


  • Only on Mac


Windows, Mac & Linux

A very basic but surprisingly versatile free DAW. With a focus on MIDI recording and arranging, LMMS has cool features like the piano roll’s one-click chord writer tool.

You’ll find that LMMS has a similar feel to FL Studio… but free!


  • No audio recording


Windows, Mac & Linux

The mother of all free DAWs, and absolutely perfect for beginners. Featuring a simple, clean interface, multi-track recording and editing is a breeze on Audacity.

It’s probably the most popular free DAW out there, and if you’ve little interest in more complicated pro features, look no further.


  • No MIDI recording or VST instrument capabilities



Previously released as the SONAR DAW for which you had to part with your hard earned cash, the fact that Cakewalk is now free seems… suspicious. But in fact it’s just fantastic software and up there with the best free DAWs.

It’s unlimited and contains professional-standard instruments and effects, and supports third party VSTs. Too good to be true? It seems not.


  • Only compatible with Windows

Akai MPC Beats

Windows & Mac

One of the newer free DAWs, and one geared towards beatmakers. It’s easy to create beats with just a mouse or MIDI keyboard, with a quick workflow so you can jump straight into a project before the musical idea leaves your head. 

Bring VST plugins in or use the included sounds, and explore the 80 effects plugins included. Based off Akai’s legendary MPC products, Beats comes free with products like Akai’s MIDI keyboards.


  • Only two audio tracks, six MIDI tracks per project


Windows & Mac

Unlimited free DAW with a very user-friendly interface. Third party VST compatibility, plus it’s got a fantastic drum machine plugin. You can add endless tracks.


  • Always requests a donation on startup



An easy to use browser-based free DAW, great for beginners. It records to the cloud, saving your storage, and its available on any system you can think of, provided you’ve got access to the internet.

You also have access to BandLab Sounds, letting you drag and drop royalty-free loops and samples into your track. Instantly collab with other BandLab users via the chat button.

Studio One 5 Prime

Windows & Mac

Free version of PreSonus’ Studio One with a slick interface and workflow. Prime comes with cool plugins of its own, and loops and samples.

It’s a good starter DAW if you’d like to get a feel for professional software.


  • Doesn’t support third party plugins

MuLab 8 Free

Windows & Mac

A free version of the full MuLab 8 from MuTools DAW with a few restrictions. It’s simple but effective, perfect for if you’re just getting started making music or have limited storage space as it doesn’t require installation.

Recording audio and working in the piano roll are a breeze.


  • Limited to five tracks
  • No third party plugins



Windows & Mac

Signing up for a free trial of REAPER gives you 60 days free, and afterwards you can continue to use the DAW for free if you can put up with sign-up prompts. REAPER is endlessly versatile and it’s pretty affordable anyway at $60 a license.

Fast, efficient, with huge plugin support and lots of effects.

  • Steep learning curve
  • Not technically free, with all the guilt that comes with it

The free DAWs that are stripped down versions of their costed counterparts hope to lure you in to purchase the full version one day. It depends on what you’d like to get out of your DAW. Priorities might change as you grow as a producer, or you might find that there’s little need to upgrade.

There’s new free DAWs releasing all the time. Why not do some research and try a few out. The best part about the software being free is there’s absolutely nothing to lose by downloading a free DAW and getting started making music – all it will cost you is your precious time, and you’ll still learn producing skills as you go.

What’ve we missed? There must be tons. Let us know your favourite free DAW in the comments!

Not only can you go from beat to complete pro-sounding song using a free DAW, but you can distribute that song too without it costing you a penny!

Sign up with RouteNote today to get your tracks out to all the major stores and streaming services.

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