The Best Free Audio Recording Software for Beginners

Are you curious about home recording, building a home studio, or producing music at home? There are a lot of great reasons why you might want to look into recording audio at home.

I’m here to help you get started for free!

The essential tool you need to get started is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

A Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW, is the recording functionality of a studio packaged in a software program. This core piece of software is essential to recording and producing songs, voice overs, and podcasts. For beginners this can be a very expensive purchase. With that in mind, here’s how can you get started for free.

This list is in no particular order. One of these three DAW’s will suite you best based on your operating system and other needs.

1. Garage Band, the Free DAW for MacOS

If you own a Mac, you’ve probably heard of Garage Band. You might even have it already installed. This should be your first stop when looking for a free DAW for MacOS. Garage Band is essentially a simpler version of it’s big brother, Logic Pro X.

You probably won’t want to spend $199 on Logic Pro X while just starting out with home recording. Garage Band is the way to get comfortable with home recording for free! You can always purchase Logic Pro X down the road when you’re ready. Logic Pro X, priced at $199, is one of the best deals on the market for a full featured DAW.

If you are a Windows user, you will be disappointed though. Both Garage Band and Logic Pro X are only available for MacOS.

Get Garage Band, the free DAW for MacOS

2. Cakewalk, the Free DAW for Windows

If you own a PC, Cakewalk from Bandlab is your forever free DAW. Cakewalk is one of the original DAW’s created back in the late 1980’s. It has since been passed around from Roland to Gibson. Gibson discontinued it in 2017. Then in 2018 Bandlab purchased it and brought it back to life, this time for free!

Cakewalk includes everything you need in a DAW, including most of the premium features it was renowned for. There are no pay to own features. It is simply your go-to DAW for free.

However, if you are a Mac user, you will be disappointed. Cakewalk only runs on Windows. Use Garage Band or Studio One Prime instead.

Get Cakewalk, the free DAW for Windows

3. Studio One 4 Prime, the Free DAW for Windows and MacOS

If you are Window and Mac agnostic, Studio One 4 Prime is a DAW that works well in either operating system. There is a lot of very good reasons why you would want to use a cross-platform DAW like Studio One 4 Prime.

Studio One 4 Prime offers many of the same features as their Artist and Professional paid versions. Most of the unsupported features will not be missed by someone just learning the ropes of home recording. As a beginner you can go a very long way with Studio One Prime.

Get Studio One Prime, the free DAW for Windows or MacOS

In closing…

I am a long time home recording enthusiast of well over 25 years. It is so exciting to see DAW’s like Cakewalk, Garage Band, and Studio One becoming accessible to so many people. Despite these all being free tools, they are light years ahead of the tools we paid thousands of dollars for just a few years ago.

I say all of this to tell you to go make music! You have no excuse!