The Best Free Music Production Software for Beginners
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Whether you’re starting music production as a hobby or planning to become the next Tiesto, it’s best to begin with free music production software. Later on, when you evolve into an advanced user, you can switch to premium options that give you more freedom and variety of tools.

We picked out some of the best platforms out there that will enable you to create music without any live instruments.

1. GarageBand (Mac)

When it comes to beginner-friendly digital music production, GarageBand is very much your number one option. It’s completely free, easily found on App Store 6 Best Free Mac Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) 6 Best Free Mac Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) You don't need a Mac to make music, but with this much free software available it certainly helps. Read More , and it teaches even beginning musicians how to use some powerful tools.

GarageBand also happens to be one of the easiest platforms to create great sounding music. It allows you to create a song with over 200 tracks and even has an option of adding a virtual session drummer.

However, even with all its visual simplicity, it can be rather intimidating to jump into. If you find the platform’s tools and features somewhat overwhelming, use our step-by-step guide on how to master GarageBand How to Use GarageBand: A Step-By-Step Guide How to Use GarageBand: A Step-By-Step Guide GarageBand is a powerful audio recording and editing software for Mac, but getting started is tough. This tutorial will show you how to use GarageBand. Read More and get the most out of the software.

GarageBand music editing software

In order to speed up your learning process, we recommend installing it on all your devices (Mac, iPhone, and iPad). iCloud allows you flexibility, as you’re able to work on your music no matter where you are and which device you’re using.

If at some point you feel you’ve overgrown the platform, you can transfer all your GarageBand files and progress to Apple’s premium music production software, Logic Pro. While GarageBand is availabe only for Apple devices, there are plenty of decent GarageBand alternatives for Windows The 6 Best GarageBand Alternatives for Music Production on Windows The 6 Best GarageBand Alternatives for Music Production on Windows Here are the best alternatives to GarageBand, Apple's popular music production software, that you can run on your Windows PC. Read More .

2. DarkWave Studio (Windows)

An alternative for PC users, DarkWave Studio is free music production software that supports Windows platforms from XP to 10. It doesn’t require much storage space, great for music production on laptops The Best Laptops for Music Production for All Budgets The Best Laptops for Music Production for All Budgets You don't need more than a laptop to start producing music. Here are the best laptops for music production. Read More , and is easily found (and downloaded) online. Note that DarkWave Studio is free, but comes with adware.

DarkWave Studio free Windows music production software

The platform features Virtual Studio, Pattern Editor, Sequence Editor, and Multitrack Hard Disk Recorder. Using the pattern editor you can select and edit digital music patterns. The sequence editor allows you to line up patterns to play in any arrangement and mix the track patterns together. The HD recorder tab includes recording options for streaming audio. The program also includes 19 different plug-ins which you can use to add virtual effects to the tracks.

With this many options and settings in separate windows and menus, using DarkWave Studio may seem a little difficult at first for a complete beginner. However, you can find tutorials and other beginner support available online should you get stuck at any point.

3. Audacity (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Audacity is a popular alternative to GarageBand GarageBand vs. Audacity: The Best Music Production Software Compared GarageBand vs. Audacity: The Best Music Production Software Compared GarageBand vs. Audacity is one of the big battles in music production software. Both are free, and provide a lot of features, but which will work better for you? Click to read our full comparison... Read More . Unlike the platforms we already covered, Audacity is a digital audio editor, not a digital audio workstation (DAW). Its main purpose is manipulating audio data rather than helping you organize lots of different audio bits into a coherent whole. Although, you can certainly do that if you want to.

Audacity free music editing software

With Audacity, you can edit samples, songs, process audio files, as well as export files into a wide range of formats, such as MP3, WAV, and AIF. The interface is simple and easy to pick up. At the same time, the great variety of effects and settings can be tough to wrap your head around if you don’t have any background in audio engineering. You can expect to spend several days before you get comfortable using this software 7 Audacity Tips For Better Audio Editing On a Budget 7 Audacity Tips For Better Audio Editing On a Budget Want to move beyond simple cut-and-crop jobs? Knowing just a few Audacity tips can make your audio-editing life a whole lot easier. Read More .

The tool is available for free download on PCs, Macs, and Linux machines. Audacity is one of the most used audio software and is a great way to get started in audio production with a simple to use interface and easy navigation. Take a look at the best free DAW software for Windows The Best Free DAW Software for Windows The Best Free DAW Software for Windows There are plenty of great free DAW software programs to choose from. Here are the best free DAW for Windows. Read More if you need something more powerful.

4. LMMS (Windows, Mac, Linux)

LMMS (which used to stand for Linux MultiMedia Studio) is cross-platform music production software, available on both Mac and PC as well as Linux. It’s suitable for all levels of music producers and is a good fit for a beginner.

LMMS has five editors that will help you create melodies (Song Editor) and beats (Beat + Bassline Editor), as well as make your own mixes (FX editor) and arrange samples. LMMS also has a wide variety of instrument synthesizers.

Among other good qualities of LMMS is its compatibility with external software. The program supports VST and LADSPA plug-ins with which you can mix a multitude of extra effects into the music track. You can export your files into MP3, AIF, and WAV as well as transfer files from different music production software.

5. Ableton Live 9 Lite (Windows, Mac)

Ableton Live is a great digital audio workstation designed for live performance, remixing of songs, music recording and much more. However, for a beginner, figuring our Ableton Live and its multiple versions Ableton Live: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide Ableton Live: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide Ableton Live is a complicated piece of music software -- but with our beginner's tutorial, you'll be making and recording music in no time. Read More can be complicated. Not to mention the software’s price tag (over $350 for the standard version).

Ableton Live 9 free music production software

Ableton Live 9 Lite is a version of this digital audio workstation that you can get for free. It’s available on both Macs and PCs and is a taster of Ableton. The lite version comes with certain limitations, such as having only eight recording tracks. It also features a selection of effects and instruments to create professional quality audio and allows you to add MIDI equipment, like keyboards.

Once you get familiar with this music production software, you can upgrade to the full license and get extra 4GB of sounds. Ableton is fairly easy to use, which makes it great for learning the ropes. It is also an industry standard software used by many producers and musicians to record and create.

We’ve compared Ableton and FL Studio Ableton vs. FL Studio: What's the Best Music Maker? Ableton vs. FL Studio: What's the Best Music Maker? Digital audio workstations can be pricey. To help you decide which one to buy, we compare Ableton Live vs. FL Studio. Read More if you’re curious.

Choose One That Suits You Best

This list is only the tip of an iceberg — there’s a great variety of music production software out there. Researching and reading about other people’s experiences with it helps, but the best way to find your favorite option is by trying some of them out. And with all these options available online for free, you’re hardly losing anything by doing so.

When you’re ready to move onto something deeper, check out the best free music production software for audiophiles The Best Music Production Software for Audiophiles The Best Music Production Software for Audiophiles The perfect digital audio workstation is waiting for you. Here are the best music production software for audiophiles. Read More and consider upgrading to a computer made for music production The 8 Best Computers for Music Production The 8 Best Computers for Music Production You don't have to own a studio to find best computer for music production. Here are some of the best PCs for every budget. Read More .

Explore more about: Audacity, GarageBand, Music Production.

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  1. Gary G Jindrak
    December 18, 2018 at 4:49 am

    Don't forget the cloud based apps like Audio Tool & Drumbit. Great tools to learn about how synths, mixers, drum machines, etc. There are quite a few available in Google apps. All totally free and don't require any hardware (other than your computer and an internet connection).

  2. Beltimas
    November 29, 2018 at 5:50 am

    Let me say that ableton is absolutely not beginner friendly. I've used it for almost a year now and i still dont have the hang of it.

  3. MafiaMan
    October 6, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    There is a really good one you should put on the list called Mixcraft 8. I use it at school and it is much like the others and very easy to use.

  4. Randall
    June 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    How is Ableton live lite free when usually you have to purchase a piece of audio hardware to get the activation code?

  5. miaouss
    February 1, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Presonus Studio One Prime? Bitwig? Ardour? Traktion? MU.Lab? Podium? Reaper? webbased OhmStudio?

  6. jm
    February 1, 2018 at 7:19 am

    what about protools first?

  7. Diego González
    January 31, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Audacity is also available for Linux, in fact the most important distros include it in their repositories.