The Internet has a lot to offer if you are looking for a free and reliable Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). And it has never been so easy to make our own tracks at home or somewhere else. One of the best alternatives that exist is GarageBand. Free of charge and easy to use, it offers a wide range of effects and virtual amplifiers. But it is not the only one, so we gather the best free music recording programs currently available.
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Digital Trends has published hundreds of articles and product reviews that cover everything you need to make the most of today's best music and audio technology. But if GarageBand does not fit your needs, be sure to check out any of these other options.
Although MacOS is not always the only platform for great software, when it comes to free recording applications, it has the best.
GarageBand is an exclusive Apple program that offers you a complete audio creation package with functions for recording, virtual instruments, MIDI editing and even built-in music lessons.
Part of GarageBand's appeal is how easy it is to start. Its interface is intuitive and easy to learn and if you want to record something, simply connect your instrument or device and that's it.
There is a wide range of virtual amplifiers and effects that you can use, as well as tracks that sound as if they were interpreted by real musicians.
The library of sounds and loops that is available for editing is growing all the time. GarageBand is the most complete free application we have used.
While you will need to have an Apple device to use this program, it will be very difficult to find a better application that does not force you to get your credit card first.
Avid Pro Tools First
Pro Tools First is a limited version of the main applications of Pro Tools and Pro Tools HD, however, it is still very useful and capable.
This program is aimed at singers, composers and musicians who are just beginning with audio recording or who want to try the software before investing money. Its main limitation is that you can only store projects in the cloud that do not exceed 1 GB in total size. It is also limited to 16 simultaneous audio tracks, four inputs and 16 instruments.
Beyond that, the characteristics and capabilities are very similar to their more complete brothers, for whom you regularly have to pay. For example, you can get access to 500 MB of packaged loops from leading producers, the Xpand multitome music workstation! 2 with 20 effects and add-ons, and the same support for third-party interface systems as premium versions.
An advantage of not having as many features as Pro Tools premium editions is that Pro Tools First has less demanding system requirements. You only need an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with 2 GB of RAM and 15.5 GB of installation space. If you choose to upgrade to the standard or HD version later, it will cost you $ 25 dollars and $ 83 dollars per month respectively.
First launched in 2000, Audacity has become one of the most popular free software and for good reasons. The open source program offers users a wide range of options for audio recording and editing, all linked with a simple interface. Perhaps the most important thing, unlike many other free programs, is that Audacity is not "free for a limited time" or has many blocked features. " Everything Audacity has to offer is free.
When compared to other programs, such as ProTools and Sound Forge, the design of Audacity is very minimalist. There are toolbars to navigate a track, edit it and mix. When the tracks are loaded, they will appear as waveforms and users can edit specific sections of a track by highlighting the appropriate section of the wave. Navigating the interface is easy, although it may take time for new users to find out what each specific tool is capable of doing.
As for the edition, Audacity offers a robust set of tools to be a free program. Users can adjust the tone, bass and treble, or normalize noise and add effects such as reverberation and phase adjustment. Audacity even has some tools to analyze clues, including frequency analysis.
Of course, all free software has its flaws, and despite the many virtues of Audacity, it also has some problems. The most notable problem is that Audacity uses a "destructive edition", which means that when users add effects to a track, they are actually altering the waveform. In addition, these changes occur in the original file, so you cannot go back and undo them later.
It is true that this is not a problem if you are performing simple tasks, such as editing podcast breaks, but in relation to more complex actions such as mixing, things can get complicated. Also, Audacity requires numerous add-ons to achieve optimal functionality and cannot export projects such as MP3, for example, unless the user installs an MP3 encoder. Overall, however, Audacity offers one of the most robust packages available among free recording programs.
Ardor is an open source program designed for Linux and available for MacOS. Its developer, Paul Davis, also invented the JACK sound server for Linux and previously worked as one of Amazon's original programmers.
Ardor has highly versatile multitrack recording features that include the ability to import video for movie recording, any recording and editing and also serves to prepare any combination of individual tracks for recording. In addition, the use of JACK also makes it compatible with a number of external applications.
However, unlike other programs, Ardor does not come with any built-in effects or instruments and instead relies on the installation of third-party software.
Windows Macos Linux
Zynewave Podium Free
In 2005, programmer Frits Nielson left his position as a user interface designer at TC Electronic to focus on a recording application he began developing in the early 1990s.
This is how Nielson started a company called Zynewave and launched the Podium program, with a 64-bit sound engine, MIDI capabilities, compatibility with VST and third-party plug-ins and other advanced features. And its price was only $ 50 dollars.
Well now Zynewave also offers a free version of its software, called Podium Free. Although, of course, it comes with some limitations. Zynewave has disabled Podium multiprocessing capabilities, making it difficult to perform the program under pressure and its surround sound playback capabilities.
Regardless of this, Podium Free is identical to Podium, a program to get used to. But once you learn to use it, you will find that Podium Free offers an interface that stands out in terms of customization, while offering several effects and other features along with some premium programs. In addition, the program never runs out or shows annoying screens and Nielsen regularly updates the software to correct known errors and problems.
* Updated by Rodrigo Orellana on December 19, 2019.