Free DAWs?

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Danjabellza, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 22, 2014
    Pahrump, nv
    Just got a computer for the first time in a couple years. And I’m looking to maybe do some recording. I previously used protools, but never got in depth with it. I also, no longer have the license or the hardware I was using back then.

    I’m looking at free DAWs, there are a multitude of options, but I’m wondering about sound quality and ease of use. I’ll be using my helix and probably running helix native for amp/effects in the DAW.

    Soundbridge has my attention currently, but I don’t want to start using something, just to switch mid-project to a higher quality/easier to use DAW.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Suproman

    Suproman Tele-Meister

    389
    Feb 23, 2006
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    Check out Reaper. Not free but you can basically use it for free forever.
     
  3. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2016
    Amsterdam
    Sound quality is not an issue anymore.

    You didn't mention which OS you have, but here's a list: https://producelikeapro.com/blog/free-daws-best-available-2018/

    ProTools First might be the easiest place for you to start. Personally I was not impressed... I don't want to be saving in cloud, and don't want to have limitations on my projects. I'd go for Audacity instead, it's basically the granddaddy of all free DAWs, been around since forever. It's a very powerful tool, and there's infinite amount of training materials, how-to's, user forums so I can't imagine a situation when you'd get stuck so bad there's no way out.

    Or maybe Cakewalk. That's also an old contender, been made free only fairly recently.

    Or, my current personal favorite, Reaper. It's not free, but has a 60-day trial period and license is just $60. Like Audacity, has absolutely excellent learning materials and so on.
     
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  4. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2016
    Amsterdam
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  5. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    Be careful of FREE versions... not all of them will run 3rd party plugins like Helix Native. Make sure you know what you are getting.

    I assume when you say you got a computer you mean a PC!
    Here are two that are more than capable of what you are asking.
    • Cakewalk by Bandlab.... FREE
    • Reaper... Free Trial, inexpensive to buy a license. It works without a license, but IMO that doesn't give you the right to use it.
    If you want to pay a little more... that will open up Cubase, Studio One, and a few other offerings.

    If you are on a MAC, then Garage Band will do the trick until you decide to move up to Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, Studio One, etc...
     
  6. Chanan

    Chanan Tele-Meister

    131
    Mar 20, 2015
    New York
    +1 for Reaper
     
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  7. akuster777

    akuster777 TDPRI Member

    37
    Jun 20, 2017
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
  8. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 22, 2014
    Pahrump, nv
    I’ve got windows 10, only cuz I couldn’t afford to get a Mac with even half the specs, and they don’t make XP any more.
     
  9. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2016
    Amsterdam
    I can only vouch for Reaper - so far haven't bumped into any VST that wouldn't work. And forgot to mention that it already comes with two large packages of very useful FX plugins. So useful that even tho' I've dumped quite some money on plugins in the past couple of years, I still find myself reverting to Reaper's offering instead of firing up a paid alternative.

    Since you're looking for free, here's a couple of great resources for VST plugins etc:

    http://www.vstplanet.com/
    http://www.vst4free.com/
    https://bedroomproducersblog.com/free-vst-plugins/

    I've found the bedroomproducer's blog immensely useful. It's very much concentrating on all stuff free, a lot of VSTs I use come from his recommendations and best of -lists.
     
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  10. Danjabellza

    Danjabellza Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 22, 2014
    Pahrump, nv
    What is a VST? After doing some more research based on the resounding support here for reaper. I think that’s the direction I’m going to take. Thanks guys! Still open to other suggestions, not anywhere near commited to a purchase yet.
     
  11. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2016
    Amsterdam
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  12. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 17, 2003
    Charlotte NC
    considering that the OP says FREE, Reaper is not a choice, it is NOT FREE. I'm sure the Reaper folks would agree and not be all that pleased about using it forever without paying the $60.

    Heck these days you can buy an Interface and get a legitimate free scaled down DAW .

    He does need an interface as well as a bunch of other things.
     
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  13. Billnchristy

    Billnchristy Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 21, 2017
    Georgia
    When I was unemployed I downloaded reaper with the Intention of just using it free, it was so good I paid the $60 even though I didn’t have much money.

    Totally worth it.

    Try it and see. DAWs are very particular.
     
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI
    .

    basics can be Audacity. ubuntustudio.org is good, has ardour and audacity plus lmms. also hydrogen drum machine.

    ubuntustudio can be installed on an old pc as the specs run faster than windows. or run off a flash drive 'live'.

    .
     
  15. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2016
    Amsterdam
    ... breathe man, breathe...

    Considering that three first commenters already stated that Reaper's not free, I'm pretty convinced the the OP is aware of that. Further considering that there is a number of legitimately free, fully fledged, well established DAWs with decades of development history and wide, active and very helpful userbase which includes professionals I see absolutely no reason why one would waste time with scaled-down versions. You did notice that I provided links where basically all of them are found - at least the heavyweights?

    Do you think there's a single ex-ProTools user in this planet who doesn't know that one needs an interface to record with a DAW?

    I don't think I'm going very far out on a limb if I assume that an ex-ProTools user would also know that to record vocals or acoustics one needs a microphone and that appropriate cables are helpful if one wants to connect instruments and microphones to the aforementioned interface. That's the entire "bunch of other things" I need to record.
     
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  16. Peregrino69

    Peregrino69 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    49
    Dec 12, 2016
    Amsterdam
    +1 for Hydrogen! :)
     
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  17. Ash Telecaster

    Ash Telecaster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Plus its cheap if you do decide to license it. I have other DAWs that I paid good money for because I wanted to make it easy to share projects with other people but ultimately I simply prefer using Reaper and use it exclusively now.

    As far as sound quality, I think of DAWs as interfaces for your hardware and your hardware is the greatest factor related to sound quality. Others may be able make points to the contrary and I would be interested in their take on the subject.
     
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  18. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 18, 2018
    WV
    I use Reaper and Audacity. I'm not gonna get into the debate over how 'free' Reaper is. I just highly recommend it. Audacity is also great and easy. But it has no built in sequencer and piano roll like Reaper, which is absolutely necessary for making drum tracks. They both have their strengths, so I use them both.

    VST allows your DAW to 'play' plug-in virtual instruments in real time using MIDI. It can be instruments like a keyboard or drum samples. Or it can be effects, like EQ, compression, or reverb applied to tracks or instruments. For virtual instruments, A DAW like Reaper can either record the instrument as the computer plays it, or save a predetermined time block as a file to be used as a track or exported as a WAV or such file. Very useful, and almost any modern computer can handle this without a hiccup.
     
  19. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Texas
    Years ago had Cakewalk. Most of 2018 I used Traction. About 2 weeks ago I started learning Reaper. That’s not going that well. I don’t find it that easy from the start.
     
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  20. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    Athens-GREECE
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