Best Free DAW for Windows in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

The industry standard DAW (digital audio workstation) is constantly being created with the intention of helping people make their music creation dreams come true. But with so many different ones to choose from, it is hard to know which one will bring your creativity alive.

This article dives into the best free versions of DAW for Windows. We’ll review the top DAW software and tell you about the features of each. We will also share our likes and dislikes about the programs. 

Why trust us? We review products daily for our devoted readers to help them with their buying decisions. They value our honest and unbiased opinions and we really appreciate them putting their trust in us.

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT
mpc-beats-laptopK 1. MPC Beats
  • This is a full-featured program
  • The included loops are excellent
  • The included compression is very clean and great for mastering
CHECK PRICE
podium 2. Podium Free
  • It’s easy to use, and has lots of good options to help you make music quickly and easily
  • Has some pretty good tutorials and tutorials that are well written and very detailed
CHECK PRICE
wave 3. Waveform
  • Runs on any platform
  • Lots of tools for beginners and experts
CHECK PRICE
reaper daw 4. Reaper
  • Very powerful
  • Truly lets you make the program anything you want it to be
  • Plenty of plugin support
CHECK PRICE
cakewalk 5. Cakewalk by Bandlab
  • Lightweight but powerful
  • Minimal interface
  • Scratch feature is great!
CHECK PRICE

1. MPC Beats

mpc-beats-laptopK

Specification

PRICEFREE
OSWINDOWS, MAC
COMPATIBILITYVST/AU
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTSWINDOWS 10, 8 OR WINDOWS 7 SERVICE PACK 1

MPC Beats is a powerful and feature-packed DAW that is available for free. It has a great set of pre-built loops for mastering and to add layers to your project. Also, it comes with a long list of features. It’s one of the more feature-packed tools in this list, but it doesn’t necessarily top them all.

WHAT WE LIKE

The program itself has a big influence on the quality of a recording. MPC is considered one of the best music production DAWs in the world. However, it is quite old and lacks some of the more contemporary features that users want to use in 2016. MPC does not include a mixer. It has basic EQ, although it also has a tool to edit EQs later. There is no MIDI-track, which means that it cannot be used with hardware MIDI-controllers. It’s not a bad thing that it doesn’t have these functions – but it would have made it even better.

However, MPC Beats brings a new MPC-like interface that is almost all customizable. This means you can make some minor changes and it will still look similar to the original version.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

First, the interface is poorly designed, and the program isn’t well organized. Second, the interface has a steep learning curve, especially for beginners.

PROS

  • This is a full-featured program
  • The included loops are excellent
  • The included compression is very clean and great for mastering

CONS

  • The interface is pretty basic and limited
  • There is a limited set of MIDI mapping options
  • Keyboard and mouse input is limited, for a DAW for Windows

2. Podium Free

podium

Specification

PRICEFREE
OSWINDOWS
COMPATIBILITYVST
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS32-BIT AND 64-BIT WINDOWS

Podium Free, (Podium is a Unity company that has been acquired by Sony, a gaming company and now has its own studio) has a large number of features, including live performance, multiple audio and video channels, collaborative features and great effects.

The free version is still in beta but is generally comparable with the pro version. If you do decide to upgrade, you can get additional plugins, a session cap and everything else that you need. It is available to download for Windows, Mac, and Linux (for all three).

WHAT WE LIKE

It’s easy to use and has easy to use export plug-ins that help you make great sounding and easy to edit and share your music.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

Very little to complain about except there seems to be any VST3 support.

PROS

  • It’s easy to use, and has lots of good options to help you make music quickly and easily
  • Has some pretty good tutorials and tutorials that are well written and very detailed

CONS

  • No VST3 support
  • Free version is limited in scope

3. Waveform

wave

Specification

PRICEFREE
OSWINDOWS, MAC, UBUNTU, RASPBERRY PI
COMPATIBILITYVST/AU
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTSWINDOWS, MAC AND  UBUNTU 64-BIT
RASPBERRY PI (32-BIT)

We find that this DAW is one of the most interesting around, due to its cross compatibility. 

Packed with full-featured sound and performance tools, this program has most everything a person can ask for in an audio editing tool.

Waveform is a particularly good option for vocalists. It has a section for editing voice overs and is easy to use.

The program has plenty of virtual instruments, as well.

WHAT WE LIKE

You can make use of a vast selection of instruments, and the pre-programmed sets include sample playback. You can make use of an advanced VST (Virtual Stereo) effect for making your sound richer, and even import your own samples and live instruments.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

In our opinion, Waves’ line of products tend to be a bit old. We found Waves’ previous versions less intuitive to use. However, the latest version of Waveform brings with it many new features that may tempt you to give it a try. Wavetable 4.1 was released in 2014 and in the 4.1 release, a new user interface has been added and a lot of stability improvements have been made.

PROS

  • Runs on any platform
  • Lots of tools for beginners and experts

CONS

  • A bit dated

4. Reaper

reaper daw

Specification

PRICEFREE 60 DAY TRIAL
OSWINDOWS, MAC, LINUX
COMPATIBILITYVST/AU
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTSWINDOWS: XP/VISTA/7/8/10 (32 OR 64-BIT)
MACOS: 10.5-11 (BIG SUR)
LINUX: REQUIRES GTK+3 AND ALSA

Reaper is a very interesting DAW that works with Windows and Macs. It lets you import anything you need to make your music such as MIDI and other synths. You can even make your own menus, toolbars and much more. 

Items can be dragged and dropped to make the program what you need it to be for music production. 

WHAT WE LIKE

Lots of options let you expand your musical horizons. We also like the rather extensive (at least 400 pages) manual. Believe us, you will need it.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

This is a complex program that beginners may have difficulty with. 

PROS

  • Very powerful
  • Truly lets you make the program anything you want it to be
  • Plenty of plugin support

CONS

  • Steep learning curve

5. Cakewalk by Bandlab

cakewalk

Specification

PRICEFREE
OSWINDOWS
COMPATIBILITYVST3/AU/ARA
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTSWINDOWS 7 OR HIGHER (64-BIT ONLY)

Cakewalk is a brand from a well known maker of live performing instruments called Roland. The software comes with a wealth of great features including MIDI sequencing, audio processing, loops and Instruments for creation and performance.

Cakewalk Pro comes with a great set of features which, apart from music creation, help one produce and edit videos. It also comes with a suite of other video editing tools, including slow motion effects, stabilization, video editing and so on. The software is very versatile, and can be used for a number of different purposes.

Cakewalk Pro (32 bit) – FREE

Cakewalk Pro (64 bit) – $99.95

As usual, cakewalk is the best choice for people who want to learn how to use the most powerful computer software ever invented.

WHAT WE LIKE

Cakewalk Studio Audio Software is very lightweight compared to the big DAWs. The program is focused on producing audio content, not editing it. As a result, it is easier for new musicians to use it with a minimalistic interface.

One of the major attractions is its ease of use. The program is simple and doesn’t require any knowledge of coding to operate. It is also friendly to beginners as it does not have many options or instruments.

One of the best features of Cakewalk Studio Audio is its most famous “Cakewalk Scratch” tool. The Scratch tool allows you to create any kind of scratch to record any music that you like.

WHAT WE DONT LIKE

Nothing to complain about

PROS

  • Lightweight but powerful
  • Minimal interface
  • Scratch feature is great!

CONS

  • May be too bare bones for some

Conclusion

Thanks so much for sticking with us to the end of this article about the best free DAW for Windows. 

After a lot of research and testing, we have found out that all three programs have their pluses and minuses. They also have some amazing features that separate them from the rest. However, all three of them have their pros and cons, so we decided to choose the top three best free DAW for Windows.

So after thorough research, the three programs have been picked. However, it’s important to know that they do have limitations. Other than that, we feel you will enjoy any of these DAW programs. Happy Music Making!

Best Macs for Music Production in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

You don’t have to have the fastest computer in the world in order to produce music. But if you are in the market for a new machine, making sure to get one that will optimize your music production capabilities is a great idea. Alternatively, if you feel like your hardware is really slowing you down, a new computer might be the piece you need to speed up your workflow and turn your ideas into songs. Both Mac and Windows computers are optimized wonderfully for producing music from home these days, but Macs do have a few perks that set them apart in the eyes of many users. If you use Garageband or Logic, for example, you will have to produce on a Mac, barring the hassle of finding a PC workaround. Today, we are going to look at some of the best modern Mac computers for producing your own music, comparing them based on their specifications and features. If you are looking for a new Mac, this review should give you some inspiration. 

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT
2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) 1. Apple iMac 2020 27″ 3.3GHZ i5
  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Included keyboard, mouse, camera, speakers
CHECK PRICE
Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - (2020) - Z12N000G0 2. Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip
  • Affordable
  • Powerful CPU
  • Lots of RAM
CHECK PRICE
2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray 3. Apple MacBook Pro 13″
  • Portable
  • Lots of storage
  • Lots of memory
CHECK PRICE
2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray 4. Apple MacBook Pro 16″
  • Portable
  • Lots of storage
  • Fast processor
CHECK PRICE
2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray 5. Apple iMac 2020 27″ i7 3.8 GHZ i7
  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Fast processor
CHECK PRICE

1. Apple iMac 2020 27″ 3.3GHZ i5

Check Price

2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)

Check Price

2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)

Check Price

2020 Apple iMac with Retina 5K Display (27-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage)

Features

  • 5k, 27-inch Retina Display
  • 6 core intel i5
  • 256/512 GB SSD Storage
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mics
  • Mouse and Keyboard

In terms of desktops, the 2020 iMac is perfectly suited for producing music in a number of ways. One of the most striking and noticeable features of this computer is its built-in display. While the vast majority of desktop computers have traditionally required an external monitor as a display, Apple has wrapped the monitor and computer into one in striking fashion. Their famous Retina display is here and capable of displaying in 5k, and the monitor’s ample 27-inch size will allow you to get a lot done on one screen. When it comes to music production, it is important to have enough space to work, and this display is perfect for the job. On the inside, this computer has a 3.1 GHZ intel core i5 processor, which is enough for smooth performance in the vast majority of home production scenarios. It also has SSD storage, which is crucial for production. Solid state drives, or SSDs, are significantly faster than traditional hard drives, allowing you to load software and other information stored on them very quickly. The iMac comes with either 256 or 512 GB of SSD storage. We recommend using this built in storage for your most-used software and files, and a cheaper external hard drive for everything else if you need more storage. 

PROS

  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Included keyboard, mouse, camera, speakers

CONS

  • Not portable
  • Advanced producers may want more RAM
  • Some may need external storage

Especially if you are a relatively new producer, this iMac has everything you could want. Its 8GB of RAM is more than adequate for most projects, and the integrated, all-in-one design of the machine is beautiful and efficient. For ease of use and built-in features, you can’t go wrong here.

2. Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip

Apple Mac Mini with Apple M1 Chip (16GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - (2020) - Z12N000G0

Features

  • 256 GB SSD storage
  • Apple M1 processor 
  • 16 GB of RAM

The Mac Mini has long been an affordable and reliable desktop computer, and this newer model packs a lot of power for its small size. While it has nowhere near as much baked in as the iMac – you will need your own monitor, keyboard, and mouse – this computer is perfect for those who do not need the iMac’s complete package. One of the most exciting features of this machine is the inclusion of Apple’s fairly new M1 chip, which can outperform standard intel chips in many scenarios. Processing power is one of the most important specs in terms of music production, so this computer may be right for you if you work with a lot of very large or intensive projects. It also has 16 GB of RAM, which, while it is more than most home producers need, is useful for demanding projects that involve aspects like video editing. Like the iMac, it has 256 GB of solid state storage. 

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Powerful CPU
  • Lots of RAM

CONS

  • No included display
  • Only 256 GB of storage available
  • No mouse, keyboard, or camera included

Especially if you have your own external equipment such as monitors and keyboards, the Mac Mini is an incredibly cost-effective option for producing your own music. Its specs are excellent and will provide you with enough memory and processing power to make any kind of music you want. It could include more storage, but this is easily remedied with an external HDD.

3. Apple MacBook Pro 13″

Check Price

2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray

Check Price

2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray

Check Price

2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Intel Processor (13-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray

Features

  • 13-inch Retina Display
  • 512 GB/1 TB of SSD storage
  • Quad core intel i5 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mic

If you prefer to take the portable route, you probably want a MacBook Pro. Long the gold standard for laptops, these computers continue to get better and better each year. This 2020 Pro comes packaged with a 13-inch retina display and quad-core intel i5 processor. One of the most impressive features here is the option for either 512 GB or 1 TB of SSD storage. SSD storage is both much faster and much more expensive than HDD storage, so having up to a terabyte of it built in is a huge plus. Of course, since this is a laptop, you have a keyboard, mouse, camera, and microphone built in, along with some nice Mac features like the MacBook Pro touchbar controls.

PROS

  • Portable 
  • Lots of storage
  • Lots of memory

CONS

  • Processor could be more updated
  • Relatively small display size
  • Trackpad is not as precise as a mouse

This is a great basic MacBook Pro for people who like to produce music on a laptop. Using a laptop lets you take your work anywhere, which is a great option to have. The storage and RAM on this machine are its main selling points. While the processor could be a bit stronger, you will be more than set in terms of memory and SSD space. 

4. Apple MacBook Pro 16″

Check Price

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Check Price

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Check Price

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Features

  • 16 inch Retina display
  • 1 TB of SSD storage
  • Intel 8-core i9 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mic

If you still want a laptop but aren’t convinced by the 13 inch MacBook Pro, this 16 inch 2019 model is one to consider. This machine has some impressive features that make it a beast for on-the-go music production. Like the 13 inch version, it has a terabyte of SSD storage and 16 GB of RAM. But it also has an impressive 8-core intel i9 processor, a marked improvement over the smaller laptop. If you are worried about having enough processing power with a quad-core processor, then this laptop has you covered. Along with these specs, it has all the great features you expect from a MacBook Pro: a large Retina display, touchbar, and more.

PROS

  • Portable
  • Lots of storage
  • Fast processor

CONS

  • Expensive
  • A bit bulky
  • Trackpad is not as precise as a mouse

This laptop surely has all the power you need for music production. The main downside here is price – all that power comes at a premium. But if you don’t mind spending a bit of extra cash, this is an excellent laptop that will keep you satisfied for years to come for producing music.

5. Apple iMac 2020 27″ i7 3.8 GHZ i7

Check Price

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Check Price

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Check Price

2019 Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

Features

  • 5k, 27-inch Retina Display
  • 8 core intel i7
  • 256/512 GB SSD Storage
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • Camera
  • Speaker
  • Mics
  • Mouse and Keyboard

Finally, we have another 2020 iMac. Like the model listed previously, this is a nice all-in-one desktop computer that packs a lot of power. Its beautiful 27 inch Retina display is ideal for creating a clean workflow, and its specs are more than enough for producing professional-sounding music at home. The main difference when it comes to this particular version is its upgraded i7 processor. While the 6-core i5 offers enough power for seamless production in most scenarios, some producers may want to go for the i7. Ultra-complex projects may benefit from this more powerful CPU, resulting in fewer instances of lag and other performance issues. But if you are unsure whether you need the i7, then you will be fine saving the extra money and going with the i5. 

PROS

  • Large built-in Retina display
  • SSD Storage
  • Fast processor

CONS

  • More expensive
  • Advanced producers may want more RAM
  • Some may need external storage

If you like the iMac but require a faster processor, this machine is for you. While this upgrade is not strictly necessary for the majority of producers, especially beginners, it is a good option for those who know they need that extra processing power. 

Conclusion

Macs are great for producing music, but the number of choices available can be daunting. Our top pick for an all-around great machine is the 2020 iMac with intel’s 6 core i5 chip. This computer is the perfect balance of power and functionality, and it is great for producers of all levels who want a reliable, no-hassle machine. Pick one up and get producing!