Here is a list of best free DAW software for Windows. DAW or Digital Audio Workstation software is mainly used for recording, editing, and producing audio/music files. DAW software can use both external MIDI instruments and virtual synthesizers to generate sounds of instruments such as piano, drum, guitar, etc. However, you can also add MIDI Files to add instruments sound. Additionally, you can also record human vocals with these software and add recorded audio files of formats like MP3, WAV, OGG, AIFF, etc.
For editing, these software provide editing tools like audio splitter/ merger, audio effects, audio filters, timeline, tracks, and more. The Timeline and Tracks are most important tools as they are used as a base on which multiple audio samples are arranged and edited to create music. Most of these software also lets you tweak musical notes of each musical instruments. To tweak musical notes, you get a Piano Roll Tool, that comes with a virtual keyboard and some small tools to modify pitch, volume, and length of notes. One more important property of these DAW software is that they support external VST Plugins. VST plugins help users to add some selected tools or features to DAW software.
Through these Digital Audio Workstation software, you can also preview the final music before saving or exporting composed music. After completion, you can save or export audio in various formats like WAV, MP3, OGG, FLAC, etc. formats.
My Favorite DAW Software For Windows:
LMMS is my favorite software because it lets you compose, mix, and automate songs in one simple interface. Its ability to support multiple MIDI and recording devices is also impressive. Besides this, it has all types of audio editing tools to produce music.
You can also check out lists of best free Open Source Audio Editor, Audio Spectrum Analyzer, and Music Notation software for Windows.
LMMS is a free DAW software for Windows. In this software, you can produce music by arranging audio samples and synthesizing sound. Plus, you can also create beats and sound that you can later merge with vocals to create a final audio. To create audio sound or beats samples, you can either connect physical MIDI Instruments or you can use software alternatives of MIDI instruments (synthesizers) that this software provides. In the Instruments Plugin Section, you get various sound synthesizing plugins like kicker, mallets, monstro, sfxr, etc. to make sounds in absence of MIDI devices. Plus, you cannot only make and merge sound to make music, but you can also import projects files of other audio software namely Hydrogen and FL Studio Files.
In this software, you get a ton of audio tools, but most important tools are audio editors of different types. There are a total of Five editors that you get in here namely, Song Editor (to compose melody), Base+Bassline Editor (to create beat and basslines), FX Mixer (to mix the unlimited number of channels), Piano Roll (to edit patterns and melodies) and Automation Editor.
By using the combination of Synthesizers, Editors, and External MIDI devices, you can generate all types of music. If all the available tools are not enough, then you can add various external plugins to enhance its functionality. Once the music or song gets completed, you can Preview it within this software. After that, you can export final audio as WAV or OGG audio files.
Overall, it is a good DAW software but a learning curve is involved to use this software in a proper manner. Home Page Download Page
Audacity is a free open source DAW software for Windows. Through this software, you can do all three main things that a DAW should do i.e. Recording, Editing, and Producing Final Audio File. Now, let’s focus on these three aspects of this software.
To record audio, you can connect a microphone to the system and directly record microphone input through this software. However, in Audacity, you will not be able to directly connect MIDI devices (MIDI Keyboard, MIDI Piano, etc.). To overcome this problem, this software allows you to import MIDI Files containing sounds of various MIDI devices that you can merge with other added audio samples to create a final song or music. Besides MIDI, you can also import audio files of various formats such as MP3, FLAC, OGG, WAV, AIFF, etc.
This software really shines in the audio editing department because it provides a ton of editing features without complicating the audio editing task. The main tool that it provides to start audio editing is the Timeline Tool on which you can add/drop audio and various effects to create a final audio. Plus, all other editing tools that this software provides works in conjunction with the timeline tool. Besides timeline, you get tools like cut audio, join audio, clip boundaries, duplicate selected audio, etc. A large number of audio effect tools are also present in it like Amplify, Bass, Treble, Fade In, Fade Out, Invert, Normalize, Fazer, Reverb, Delay, Low Pass Filter, Vocoder, and more. It also provides a small set of analyzing tools namely, Plot Spectrum, Beat Finder, Silence Finder, Sound Finder, Plot Spectrum, and Find Clipping. In addition to various tools, you can also add more handy tools to this software by adding available Audacity plugins.
By using various audio editing tools and plugins, you can create a final audio file which can also be previewed before saving or exporting. Once final audio gets ready, you can export it in MP3, WAV, OGG, MP3, FLAC, AC3, etc. formats.
Overall, it is a really good digital audio workstation software to produce music. Home Page Download Page
Tracktion is the next free DAW software for Windows. It is another feature-rich digital audio workstation software through which you can produce professional music. In it, you can directly connect MIDI Devices and Record MIDI Sound. Standard audio files of various formats like WAV, AIFF, OGG, MP3, FLAC, VOC, etc. can also be imported.
An advanced Track Section is provided by this software that lets you add unlimited numbers of MIDI audio and standard audio files. Using the track section, you can easily put various sound files at different tracks to create an immersive and full sounding audio. Plus, you can also select one or all audio samples of different tracks and play them in a loop by using the Loop Option. All the loops can also be saved in this software that you can also use later with other projects. In each track, you get a volume controller through which you can select different levels of volume and also choose to mute the audio of some tracks. There are many more tools available through which you can make a variation on audio such as Automation, Snapping, Audio Presets, Audio Filters, Tempo Changer, Audible Trimming, and more. When the audio gets completed, you can export it as WAV, AIFF, FLAC, OGG, MP3, and MIDI files. However, before exporting, you can also change some audio parameters like Sample Rate, Sample Size, Peak Level, etc. from the Export Section.
The unique property of this software is that it lets you work on multiple projects at a time due to its multi-tab interface. Its ability to support all types of audio VST Plugins is another impressive feature. It even lets you select your own keyboard shortcuts to operate various features of this software. In general, it is another good DAW software, but it can be a challenging software to use for new users. So, I suggest you read its Tutorial before using it. Home Page Download Page
Music Studio Producer
Music Studio Producer is yet another free DAW software for Windows. Using this software, you can record only audio, only external MIDI devices, or both Audio and MIDI devices at a time. Plus, you can also record the live performance with it which can be later edited through this software. It also supports MIDI audio files and WAV audio as input but during testing, this software was not able to import WAV audio files.
In order to generate music, you need to first create multiple tracks. Each track will open in an independent window with tools like a piano roll (to edit beats), scroll roll, and event list to create a rhythmic sound by modifying various independent vocals, instrument sound, and beats. Along with track and audio editor, a large set of standard editing tools are also present such as cut, copy, paste, delete, insert, merge, insert time, delete time, Audio Filters, Mixer, tempo changer, and more. Apart from preset audio tools, you can also use external audio tools by adding various VST Plugins.
Once the audio gets completed, you can listen the audio in its inbuilt Chain Player that also provides loop functionality to continuously play the same audio file. The final audio can also be saved in WAV and MIDI file formats. Home Page Download Page
MuLab is another handy DAW software for Windows. It comes with an intuitive interface that helps you record, edit, and create multi-track music with ease. Plus, it supports both MIDI Devices and MIDI Files and comes with useful tools like equalizer, audio recorder, reverb, synth, drum set, etc.
The free version of MuLab supports 8 VST plugins for each project, 4 tracks per composition, one MIDI input/output, and 2 audio input/output. If you exceeded the limitations of this free version, then you will hear a soft noise in the background while playing the audio. You will need to purchase the unlimited version to completely get rid of the noise.
This software is fully packed with features such as streamlined mixer, samplers, synths, sample players, effects, slice drum loops, etc. This software is quite useful for recording & mixing quick audio sessions and also to test various VST plugins. Plus, you can easily save the composed audio file as either MIDI or as WAV audio file. The only major drawback of the free version is the limitation of 4 tracks per composition. However, the mixer, MUX, and sequencer have no limitations and you can use them for creating music or songs of various genres. Home Page Download Page
Frinika is a free and open source DAW software for Windows. It is another handy DAW software which allows you to record, mix, and edit audio, MIDI files, and also lets you produce sound using virtual synthesizers. You can also use various VST Plugins to further enhance the functionality of this software.
This software provides Tracks to create a single audio by merging various individual sounds. Plus, you are not bounded to use limited tracks and hence, you can add sounds of as many instruments on different tracks without any limitation. All standard tools to perform audio editing like Split Part, Glue Part, Write Tool, Zoom In/ Out are also present on the Track toolbar. Along with tracks, you also get MIDI Mixer and Audio Mixer to control the volume of different tracks and to mix audio.
In this software, you can also manually make changes on music notations using tools like Piano Roll, Tracker, and Notation. The piano roll helps you change the notes using a virtual keyboard. Using tracker, you can change velocity, time, and length of notes by directly typing the note name and duration. The notation tool shows you each note as musical notation symbol over a Staff that you can change by adding new notes or changing the location of existing notes. The music or speech created by this software can be saved as MIDI, WAV, AU, AIFF, and OGG audio files. Home Page Download Page