I use paid and free music production software. While the bulk of the applications I use are paid, the ones that are free are really powerful. The free app I use most is Audacity. I use it for editing audio files, and it is perfect for that purpose. Trimming the end of my exported audio tracks, doing fade-ins / outs, and converting WAV files to MP3 is what I mostly use it for. Thats not all it is capable of though, it comes with a lot of effects you can use to manipulate audio. Also generators that can create some simple sounds for you.
Audacity is cross-platform meaning I can use it on my Mac, Linux or Windows computer. It works well on each system in my experience. If you haven’t downloaded it already what are you waiting for?
Any free DAWs?
While most of the music studio software I use is paid software there are some free DAWs available. Or very cheap variants.
First of all Reaper is technically not free, but you can evaluate it for for 60 days. If you decide you like this DAW and want to pay for it it you have the option of getting the discounted license if you are going to use Reaper for personal use. For commercial usage you still get the discounted license if your gross revenue does not exceed USD $20,000. Another thing: the software is DRM – free and that is high up on my list. I almost never buy software that forces you to use dongles, its so annoying. Its fully featured with VST, VST3, AU support, 64 – bit audio processing, automation, and more. A lot of people use Reaper and it is highly recommended.
Rosegarden is known for its good music notation abilities. Apart from that, the interface can seem a little strange but it is easy to learn. It is strong on MIDI while it also have some capabilities of audio editing. This application was born in 1995 while still being actively developed today, but it is only for Linux at the moment. If you want to try out Linux for music production try installing Ubuntu Studio. A complete Linux distribution based on Ubuntu aimed for media creators. Ubuntu studio also includes ardor which I write about below.
Ardour is a pay-what-you want DAW (from $1) so I think it is allowed to be put on this list. Ardour is aimed at people that do a lot of recording, and playing instruments. It has all the tools you expect from a digital audio workstation. It is currently available for Linux and OS X users. So yes, it is possible to get started with music production using free music production software. Or at least use something that doesn’t cost that much. The software is only a tool for you to get your ideas out anyway.
Check out Garageband!
If you are an Mac or iPad user make sure to check out Garageband. Apples own free offering for music producers. Garageband is actually not that bad and you download it for free from the App Store. Even Rihanna have used samples from Garageband in her tracks. Hope this helps! You have any free music production software to suggest? I am all ears, leave your wisdom below! 🙂