The top free music-making software allows you to effortlessly record your work in audio and/or MIDI format, eliminating the need for a purchased software license. Moreover, these music platforms often have essential features and tools typically found in professional programs requiring payment.
Tuesday, September 19th
We’ve explored and evaluated the top free music-making software for breathing life into your music, whether you’re crafting your debut single or working on your upcoming album. Here’s our selection of the top 5 best free music-making software of 2023:
1. Waveform Free
Waveform Free stands out as the top free music-making software, mainly due to being a previous iteration of Tracktion’s premium DAW with no missing features. The company typically offers the version two iterations behind the current one for free. While you may not have the most recent features, you’ll receive updates nearly every year when the flagship digital audio workstation is refreshed.
The app is user-friendly, with scalable sections that can be adjusted to fit your workflow and a bottom panel that changes based on your selected parameters. Waveform Free supports unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, depending on your hardware capabilities, and can host multiple plugin formats, including VST and Audio Units.
To use the software, you must create an account before downloading. You might initially find the app running in demo mode, but you can easily unlock all features by re-entering your account details.
2. Apple GarageBand
Apple GarageBand is the top free music-making software for Mac users, and its power and features are such that, if it were available beyond the Apple ecosystem, it would likely be the overall number one choice. The app even includes some features found in Apple Logic Pro.
GarageBand, Apple’s long-standing digital audio workstation, has evolved significantly since its debut in 2004. Despite missing a few key features like MIDI export and external hardware control via MIDI, it offers plenty to get started with music production.
Apple has successfully created an excellent entry point into free music production, providing a smooth transition to Apple’s fully functional, professional-level audio editor. Like Logic, the interface facilitates a seamless transition to more advanced audio tools.
Shared features include Drummer, an easy-to-use groove-maker with multiple genre styles, simple controls, and numerous pattern and fill variations. Users also have access to content from the Apple Loops sound library.
While restricted to 255 tracks per song, GarageBand is incredibly powerful and user-friendly. It stands out as the best free music creation software for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
3. AmpliTube Custom Shop
AmpliTube Custom Shop, a streamlined version of the premium AmpliTube, is the best free music-making software for guitarists, featuring a fully functional guitar rig modeling app.
The complimentary version provides 24 models, including a digital chromatic tuner, nine stompboxes, four amps, five cabinets, three microphones, and two rack effects. These features are sufficient for any guitarist to record directly into their laptop. The developer, IK Multimedia, has obtained official guitar amp models from major brands like Fender, Ampeg, Orange, Mesa Boogie, and others.
We found the tones produced by AmpliTube to be genuine and customizable, including options for microphone selection and placement.
The Custom Shop feature, which offers game-style add-ons to expand your collection of amp models, stompboxes, and cabinet simulations, is a notable addition. However, these extras come at a cost, marking the point where the software ceases to be entirely free. Despite this, a ‘try before you buy’ preview is available, and these add-ons are optional for basic music creation.
SyndtSphere offers a unique approach to free music production software. It’s a user-friendly, polyphonic synthesizer tool that allows musicians to effortlessly ‘surf’ between presets.
As one of the top free music-making software tools, SyndtSphere is packed with over 70 presets. The engaging aspect of this software is the ability to morph between sounds using a spherical object at the heart of the app. This feature lets you interconnect and manipulate beats, creating unique sounds as distinctive as SyndtSphere. The developer, Klevgrand, has earned a reputation for producing excellent instruments with somewhat unconventional interfaces.
Despite its unusual interface, SyndtSphere remains incredibly user-friendly, making it an excellent choice for beginners.
However, experienced music producers should be encouraged by its beginner-friendly design. SyndtSphere offers an impressive range of sounds. Its unique morphing function allows for robust sound design, and users may enjoy the creative process thoroughly.
Cakewalk, recognized by adept music producers, was one of the earliest digital audio workstations. Its owner, Gibson, discontinued its development, but it was subsequently acquired and revived by cloud music creation platform BandLab, making it accessible to everyone.
Cakewalk offers an all-in-one package for music mixing. It provides everything necessary for free music creation, including creative songwriting tools and instruments, advanced mixing and mastering tools, unlimited MIDI and audio tracks for personal recordings, and a comprehensive suite of editing tools. It truly lives up to the term ‘complete.’
It’s the perfect music-making app for professional producers, songwriters, and composers seeking advanced tools and studio-grade effects.
Despite its professional-grade features, we found Cakewalk to be user-friendly. The interface is notably sleek, fast, and modern. After spending some time with the software, recording tracks becomes instinctive.
Once your musical composition is complete, you can directly publish your work to SoundCloud, YouTube, Facebook, and other audio-sharing platforms.
This free beat-maker is only available on PC, but it comes with handy extras such as support for touch devices.
This article is based on “Best free music making software of 2023”, published on techradar.com