The top 10 best, free DAWs for making music

Following our incredibly popular list of the best free Digital Audio Workstation’s (DAWs) back in 2015 we’re here to bring you a new list of the greatest software for making and recording your music – at NO COST to you at all.

There are hundreds of amazing pieces of software for music making out there, so we’ve pinned it down to the top 10 just for you.

If you’re looking for the best of the best then check out our list of the best paid DAWs in 2017 here.


(Windows, Mac, & Linux)

Audacity is a staple in the free music making world, as one of the most popular music software ever thanks to its lightweight build and incredibly easy usability. It’s software is basic and its audio editing isn’t of the highest quality, but it’s the best all-rounder that is not just free but easy for anyone to jump into.

Thanks to its versatility Audacity has become popular with indie musicians, podcasters, voice actors, cover singers and more. Audacity is a prime choice for those who simply want to start recording tracks without any fuss.



Pyramix is a digital audio workstation used by professional studios and engineers the world over for post-production TV and film, music production, CD/SACD mastering and many more audio-related industries where advanced tools and flexibility, combined with astounding sonic precision are required. It is an amazing tool for working with video and audio simultaneously, like music videos.

Pyramix has a lot of smaller features that make it shine above others such as brilliant dual-screen optimisation, audio importing which adjusts the tempo to sound perfect, a log list to look back and undo specific actions, and more. There is a steep learning curve for getting used to Pyramix but it’s worth it for a great experience.

The free download requires a quick, simple free register on Merging’s site.



GarageBand is a fully equipped music creation studio inside your Mac — with a complete sound library that includes instruments, presets for guitar and voice, and an incredible selection of session drummers and percussionists. With Touch Bar features for MacBook Pro and an intuitive, modern design, it’s easy to learn, play, record, create and share your hits worldwide.

GarageBand may not have an incredible depth but it’s a brilliant piece of software to play around and craft music with. GarageBand has long stood as the free Apple music software for Apple products, particularly Mac’s, building a solid reputation over the years.


(Windows, Mac, & Linux)

Audiotool is part of a growing group of DAWs that don’t even require a download, as they work straight from your browser. An easy criticism of browser DAWs is their lack of power and features but that’s not an issue with Audiotool.

Audiotool features hundreds-of-thousands of samples to work with and loads of instruments and effects which can be wired manually to manipulate your sounds like early electronic musicians. Being an in-browser DAW you can store all of your projects on the cloud for access anywhere to listen back or carry on working with it.



Qtractor is rare breed of DAW – one that is made specifically for Linux software. Qtractor features a fully fleshed out multi-track recording and sequencing software that resembles a similar layout to that of the top DAWs.

Qtractor offers up a wide range of functionality and possibilities within a powerful little package. It’s the beauty of a full DAW but optimised to work especially with Linux. It’s a must-have for any music makers working on the less popular operating software.

Studio One Prime

(Windows & Mac)

Studio One Prime is a free copy of PreSonus’ brilliant music making software. Whilst it may not come as fully packed with features as Studio One, Prime still has all the tools you’ll need to start crafting great music.

For a free version you are surprisingly given unlimited audio and midi tracks, as well as unlimited buses and FX. It’s drag-and-drop functionality makes it a super smooth experience with a bunch of features you can use to enhance your mix/track.

Ohm Studio

(Windows & Mac)

Ohm Studio is a great digital workstation for music but it has a unique element that makes it truly stand out. Ohm Studio is a collaborative software that means you can join projects and invite others into yours to make music together in real-time.

If you want to create long distance collaborations or your band are separated but want to go in on a track together then Ohm Studio is the thing for you. Beyond collaborations though Ohm still offers a brilliant package of a beautiful DAW with plenty of instruments and effects in a smooth workflow.


(Windows & Mac)

With MixPad multi-track recording and mixing software, you can access all the power of professional recording and mixing equipment through a single platform that streamlines the process and makes mixing a breeze. With a super lightweight download you can start mixing and making within minutes.

MixPad features unlimited tracks, the ability to record multiple tracks at a time, free effects and sound library, and more. MixPad also boasts support for more audio file formats than any other mixer. You can also save your track/audio in any format, a massively handy feature that is less common amongst free audio software.




Zynewave offer a free version of their popular Podium DAW that has gained a loyal fanbase of users. It’s developed by just one man but don’t let that fool you into thinking this isn’t a powerful piece of software capable of all you want from a good DAW.

There are some criticisms of its workflow not being as obvious and streamlined as in other programs however its stability and beautiful design help it to stand out. As with Audacity it’s incredibly competent at what it does but may not have the feature set to appeal to more serious mixers and producers.


(Windows, Mac, & Linux)

Soundtrap is another in-browser DAW that stands out from the rest thanks to a powerful software that is easy to use. It’s accessible for anyone from beginners to professionals and as an in-browser DAW you can instantly start creating music from their website.

Soundtrap also features collaborative abilities for working on and sharing projects around the world whether they be strangers interested in music or friends that you’re working with.

Are there any programs you would have added? Let us know in the comments below!

Writing about music, listening to music, and occasionally playing music.

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    tracktion6 in 2017 provides a free use, I thought I would be in the first free list, the list and 2016 contrast upside down!

    What do you mean? Seriously I do not understand what you are saying. I speak English and I understand each word that you typed separatley but together I can’t make any sense of it

    Mixcraft 8. One of the most easy to use and intuitive DAWs around, yet not mentioned here. Not for nothing does the company that makes it, Acoustica, bear the slogan ‘Software should be easy to use!”

    One free DAW I’ve found recently is AudioNodes, which claims to be a modular audio production suite:

    Still no support for VST plugins (it’s said to be coming soon), but it’s one of the most promising free choices I’ve seen recently. It also has an online version.

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