Thanks to advances in computer software, recording your own music from home or on the go has never been easier than in an expensive studio. When looking for a free and reliable digital audio workstation (DAW) to record music, the internet has a lot to offer. GarageBand is free, easy to use and offers a wide range of effects and virtual amplifiers. However, it is not the only offer on the market. Check out our other tips for the best free recording software below.
While MacOS isn't always the only platform for great software, it offers the best in free recording applications. GarageBand is an exclusive Apple program that offers you a complete audio creation suite with features for audio recordings, virtual instruments, MIDI editing, and even music lessons.
Part of the appeal of GarageBand is how easy it is to get started. The user interface is intuitive and easy to learn. If you want to record something, just plug in your instrument or device and get started. There is a large selection of virtual amplifiers and effects as well as drum tracks that sound as if they were played by real musicians.
The sound and loop library available for editing your own tracks is constantly growing and you can even integrate your iOS devices to wirelessly control your setup. GarageBand is the most complete free application on this list. You will need an Apple device to run it, but it will be difficult for you to find a better application that will not force you to get your credit card out first.
Avid Pro Tools first
Pro Tools First is a limited version of the main applications Pro Tools and Pro Tools Ultimate, but still quite powerful in itself. The main limitation is aimed at singers, songwriters, and musicians who are just starting to record audio or want to try the software before buying. You can only save projects in the cloud and they cannot be larger than 1 GB. You are also limited to 16 simultaneous audio tracks, four inputs and 16 instruments.
In addition, however, the features and capabilities are largely the same, so you have a good idea of what the tool can do. For example, you still have access to non-destructive editing, a MIDI editor, support for AAX Native and AAX AudioSuite, AIR Xpand! 2 instrument sounds and the UVI workstation.
An advantage of not having as many features as the premium editions of Pro Tools is that Pro Tools First has less stringent system requirements. Only one Intel i5 processor with 4 GB RAM and 15 GB installation memory is required. If you later choose to upgrade to the Standard or Ultimate version, you'll get $ 30 or $ 80 back per month.
Audacity was first released in 2000 and has become one of the most popular free software for good reason. The open source program offers users a variety of audio recording and editing options, all of which come with a simple user interface. Everything that Audacity has to offer is free. Compared to other notable DAWs like ProTools and Sound Forge, Audacity's layout is very minimalistic. There are toolbars for navigating, editing and mixing a track. When tracks are loaded, they appear as waveforms, and users can edit certain sections of a track by marking the corresponding section of the waveform.
Of course, free software is not without its flaws and despite Audacity's many virtues there are some problems. The most noticeable problem is that Audacity uses "destructive editing". This means that users who add effects to a track actually change the waveform. These changes affect the original file, so you cannot undo it later. This is not necessarily a problem if you are doing simple tasks such as: For example, editing breaks in a podcast. However, more complex actions like shuffling can be difficult.
Ardor is an open source DAW for Linux available for MacOS and Windows. Its developer, Paul Davis, also invented the Jack sound server for Linux and previously worked as one of the original programmers at Amazon.
Ardor offers a wide range of multi-track recording functions, including the ability to import videos for film music purposes, record and edit them non-destructively, and prepare any combination of individual tracks for recording. By using Jack, it is also compatible with a number of external applications. Unlike other DAWs, however, Ardor does not have built-in effects or instruments and instead relies on the installation of third-party software.
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Zynewave Podium Free
In 2005, programmer Frits Nielsen gave up his position as a user interface designer at TC Electronic to focus on a recording application he had developed in the early 1990s. Nielsen founded a company called Zynewave and published a program called Podium – a fully functional DAW with a 64-bit sound engine, MIDI functions, third-party VST and plug-in compatibility, and a number of other advanced functions. It was also priced at just $ 50.
Zynewave is now offering a free version of its software called Podium Free. Admittedly, there are some limitations: Zynewave has disabled Podium's multiprocessing capabilities, which affects the performance of the program under pressure and the surround sound playback features. Among other things, both the 64-bit mixer engine and ReWire are deactivated, and the MIDI interface setup allows only one input and one output. Otherwise, Podium Free is identical to Podium, a program that you have to get used to.
However, once users learn how to use it, they will find that Podium Free offers a user interface that is characterized by customization while offering a range of effects and other features comparable to premium DAWs. The program never runs or displays a grumble screen, and Nielson updates the software regularly to fix bugs and known problems.