Music is the best way to refresh your mind, to calm yourself, to distract yourself, to reduce stress, and more. But in order to listen to music, it has to be made first. Music-making is not a big deal these days because of the thousands of free software available in the market. There is still no alternative for the PC where you can download and install a music-making software or DAW.
DAW: DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. It is essentially a blank piece of paper and the necessary paintbrushes for an artist to create their pieces of art on. All you need to do is bring some heavenly sounds, talent, and creativity. Basically, DAW is a computer science program designed for editing, recording, mixing, and mastering the audio files. It enables users to create any music without any live instruments. It also allows you to record the various instruments, MIDI controllers and vocals, lay down the tracks, rearrange, splice, cut, paste, add effects, and ultimately, finalize the song you are working on.
Before choosing your music-making software, you should keep the following things in mind:
- You should keep your budget in mind as some of the software are expensive to use after their trial-version ends.
- How much experience you have in the music production matters a lot while choosing any music production software as for each level of experience, different music production software are available with the proper guidelines. For example, the software meant for the beginners comes with the proper instructions while the software meant for the experienced users comes without the instructions and guidelines as it is expected that the user is aware of everything.
- If you want to perform live, then for that purpose, you should go with a live music production software as performing live is a bit more tricky and you will wish that all your tools will flow in together.
- Once you have chosen any music production software, try to stick to it for as long as possible and try to explore its other options. Changing the software, again and again, will make you learn everything from the beginning.
Now, let’s get back to the free music-making software for the PC users. Out of the many music-producing software available in the market, here are the top 9 options.
Top 9 Music Production Software for the PC users
1. Ableton Live
Ableton Live is a powerful music creation software that helps you put your ideas into practice. This tool has everything you will ever need to create hypnotizing music. It is believed to be the best digital audio workstation for most of the readers. It is free to download and compatible with both Mac and Windows.
It provides the live features with the advanced MIDI recording capabilities allowing you to work with the hardware and software synthesizers. The live feature also provides you with a musical sketchpad to mix and match musical ideas.
It offers multi-track recording and cutting, slicing, copying, and pasting, etc. It has many sound packages and 23 sound libraries to create a piece of totally different music from the other music producers. It also offers a unique warping feature that lets you change the tempo and timing in the real world without stopping and pausing the music. The sound it includes is of the acoustic instruments, multi-sampled acoustic drum kits, and many more. To install the Ableton software along with all its libraries and sound, you need a hard disk with a space of at least 6 GB.
2. FL Studio
FL Studio, also known as Fruity Loops, is a good music production software for beginners. It has been in the market for some time now and is one of the most popular software to date. It is a plug-in friendly music software.
It comes in the three editions: Signature, Producer, and Fruity. All these editions share the common features but the Signature and Producer bring some extra features which allow you to create some true masterpieces. This software is used by international artists and has everything you need to create the best music in the world.
It provides different features of sound correction, cut, paste, stretching to pitch shifting or the works. It has all the usual protocols one can think of. In the beginning, it takes a bit of time to get used to it but once you get to know its features, it is very easy to use. It also offers the MIDI software, recording using a microphone, standard editing and mixing with a simple, and an easy to use interface. It works with both Windows and Mac and once you get to know it fully, you can also use its advanced features. To install this software, you require a hard disk of at least 4 GB.
3. Avid Pro Tools
Avid Pro Tools is a powerful music production tool that will help you unleash your creative geniuses. If you are looking for a tool that can help you mix the music in a professional way, Avid Pro Tool is for you.
If you ask any professional producer or sound engineer, they will say that looking for anything else than the Avid Pro Tool is like wasting your time. It is compatible both with Mac and Windows. It is an ideal software for the singers, songwriters, and musicians who are new to the Pro Tool.
It offers various features like the standard ability to compose, record, mix, edit, master, and share the tracks. It has a track-freeze feature that allows you to quickly freeze or unfreeze the plugins on a track to free-up the processing power. It also has a project revision feature that keeps all the version history organized for you. This feature also allows you to explore the new versions of a song or soundtrack, make notes, and quickly jump back to the previous state from anywhere. To install this software, you require a hard disk with an empty space of 15 GB or more. It also has an advanced version that is loaded with a super-speedy processor, 64-bit memory, innate metering, and more.
4. Acid Pro
Acid Pro is a powerful tool when it comes to music production. Its first version was released 20 years back and its new versions with some added features have come since then.
It has the different features like it supports inline editing that allows you to easily alter the MIDI data using the piano roll and drum grid, easily modify the pitch, length, and the other settings, the beat creator, mapper and chopper tools allow you to remix the music with ease, groove mapping and grove cloning allows you to change the feel of the MIDI files with just one click. Its time-stretch works pretty well too to slow down or speed up the sample or track if needed. It has a CD burning feature and you can save your file in different formats like MP3, WMA, WMV, AAC, and many more.
Acid Pro’s new versions offer a new and sleek user-interface, the powerful 64-bit engine, multitrack recording, and many more. Because of its 64-bit architecture, you can utilize its full power on your PC while creating new projects.
Propellerhead is the most stable software in the music production category. It offers a very simple and reflexive user-interface. To use the interface, all you need to do is click and drag the sounds and instruments you want to the rack and just play. It is supported by both Mac and Windows.
It provides various features like dragging, dropping, creating, composing, editing, mixing, and finishing your music. It also provides the options to add more creative options, add more VST plugins as well as the rack extensions. The recording is very fast, easy, and you can later perform your tasks when you are done with the software’s powerful editing tools.
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It supports all the MIDI software and provides the ability to cut and slice the audio files automatically. It has an audio-interface with the ASIO driver. If you want to install the propellerhead software, you need to have a hard disk with a space of at least 4 GB.
Audacity is an open-source software that is one of the most popular music editors. It has millions of downloads. It offers you to record the music from various platforms. It is supported by both Mac and Windows. Using Audacity, you can represent your track as an editable waveform that can be edited by the users.
It offers various features like you can add different effects to your music, fine-tune the pitch, bass, and treble, and access the tracks using its tool for frequency analysis. You can also edit the music tracks using its cut, paste, and copy features.
Using Audacity, you can process any type of audio and install Autotune VST Plugin as well. It has built-in support for LV2, LADSPA, and Nyquist plugins. If you want to install the Audacity software, you need to have a hard disk with space of at least 4 GB.
7. Darkwave Studio
Darkwave Studio is a freeware that gives its users a virtual modular audio studio that supports both VST and ASIO. It is supported by Windows only. It does not require much space for its storage and can easily be downloaded.
It offers various features such as sequence editor to arrange the patterns to mix up the track patterns and any arrangements together, virtual studio, multi-track hard disk recorder, pattern editor to select the digital music patterns, and even edit them. It also provides an HD recorder tab.
It comes with the adware which helps you to check the third-party programs offered in the installer. It has a streamlined UI with lots of options and settings to separate the windows and context menus. It requires just 2.89 MB of storage space.
8. Presonus Studio
PreSonus Studio is a very stable music software that everyone loves. It is complemented by the artists too. It includes the Studio One DAW which is an add-on to the product. It is supported by the recent Windows platforms only.
PreSonus offers many features like it has an intuitive drag and drop user-interface, can add nine native audio effects to any music track, easy side chain routing, control link MIDI, mapping system, and many more. It has a multi-track MIDI and multi-track transform editing tools.
For the beginners, it will take a bit to learn and master it. It lacks some advanced features when compared to its upgrade versions. It comes with endless audio files, FX, and virtual tools. You will need 30 GB of space in the hard disk in order to store this software.
9. Steinberg Cubase
Steinberg has its signature key, score, and drum editors included in the workstation. The key editor lets you manually edit your MIDI track in case you need to move a note over here and there. You get your unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, reverb effects, incorporated VST’s, etc. Although it is seen as a bit of a trend from these DAWs, ultimately trying to separate themselves from the competition, Cubase has one of the biggest sound libraries that come with the box. You get the HALion Sonic SE 2 with a bunch of synth sounds, Groove Agent SE 4 with 30 drum kits, EMD construction kits, LoopMash FX, etc. Some of the most powerful plugins within a DAW.
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These were some of the best music production software for PC users in 2020. If you think I have missed anything or you would like to add anything to this guide feel free to reach out using the comment section.