6 Free Alternatives to Avid Pro Tools

Pro Tools is the go-to workstation for many musicians, filmmakers, and other artists because of its powerful editing tools and virtual instruments.

The software has advanced tools for recording audio, editing movies, mixing music, and collaborating with other artists. This makes it one of the best DAWs out there, but it comes with a steep learning curve and price tag.

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If you can’t afford it or overcome the initial learning difficulty, there are several free DAWs with similar or unique features. Here are the best free alternatives to Pro Tools.

Audacity is an open-source and free audio editing software. It supports basic recording and editing, with options to record multiple channels simultaneously, overdub recordings, and add crossfades.

Although the software is well-maintained and regularly updated, its interface isn’t as pretty as some high-end DAWs. But it is intuitive and easy to use, even for newcomers.

Audacity has many built-in tracks and effects that you can apply to recordings, from music to podcasts. You can change the pitch of a track without changing the tempo. It also includes a noise canceling feature that lets you get rid of background hum.

The cross-platform software is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux and is a great option for beginners and professionals who edit audio only. You can use it to record 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit audio.

Audacity supports several formats including WAV, FLAC, AIFF and various types of plug-ins such as VST, LADSPA and Nyquist.

GarageBand is a full-featured recording and editing app available only on macOS and iOS devices. GarageBand has a simple and intuitive interface, which is one of the reasons it’s a great DAW for beginners.

GarageBand lets you record, create beats and loops, and cut and paste tracks. You can even record your voice and add effects like tremolo, reverb and echo.

The free DAW for Mac, iPhone and iPad has a built-in sound library and is aimed at beginner sound enthusiasts. The sound library contains a wide variety of instruments, including drums, brass, and guitars.


With GarageBand, you can access music lessons, including guitar, piano, and artist lessons. The program supports multiple formats, including WAV, MP3, AIFF, and plugins like Audio Units.

If you’re a Mac user, check out these other free DAWs for Mac.

Studio One has paid versions and a free option. Studio One Prime, the free version, includes unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, drag-and-drop editing, basic plug-in effects, and FX channels.

The software has an intuitive user interface and hassle-free recording workflow. You can use it to create music and podcasts with a single-window work environment and drag-and-drop functionality.

The DAW has an unlimited number of tracks, native effects and virtual instruments. It also includes rendering options, allowing you to share completed tracks as quickly as possible.

However, the popular Presence XT (the software-integrated sample playback instrument) and Ampire (a basic guitar amp simulator) are not available for the free version. Another downside is that it does not support VST and third-party plugins.

Prime is available for macOS and Windows and is only compatible with 64-bit operating systems.

Ardor is an open source recording, editing and mixing tool for professionals. The app is one of the best free DAWs for Linux, Windows, and macOS.

You can import audio or MIDI, record unlimited tracks, and collaborate on sessions in Ardor. The software also lets you edit projects using features like transpose and crossfade and mix tracks using tools like pre-fader, mute, and EQ.

Ardor can be messy and unconventional, making it suitable for sound engineers and professional editors. The good thing is that it has a support community that will help you if you run into any issues.


The program supports multiple formats, including WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and third-party plug-ins such as VST2, VST3, and LV2. There are hundreds of plugins to choose from.

You can get the source code and build the DAW yourself, or buy a ready-to-use version for just $1 since it’s donation software.

Soundtrap is a powerful and easy-to-use online freemium software that offers all the basic features of a traditional DAW. This, in part, makes it ideal for beginners and the inexperienced.

The free version lets you record audio and MIDI tracks, apply effects and presets, create beats using the built-in beat maker, and mix the entire project. You can also save an unlimited number of multitrack projects.

It also gives you access to over 150,000 sound effects, 430 instruments, and 4,870 loops. You can add effects like reverb, parametric EQ, and tremolo to each track.

The free version contains many virtual instruments, including pianos, synthesizers, and drum machines. However, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid version to access Soundtrap’s full range of instruments, Antares Auto-Tune, and interactive podcast transcriptions.

Some of the coolest features of the DAW are its collaboration tools. You can work simultaneously with other musicians, podcasters and other artists, wherever you are. And when saving your song, the software “masters” it automatically so that it sounds its best.

BandLab’s Cakewalk is a free DAW available for Windows. The software features a Skylight interface, which also works with touch-enabled devices, making creating and editing music a seamless experience.

The comprehensive software has collaboration tools, allowing you to work simultaneously with other online artists on the same project. You can add an unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks to projects.

The program has virtual instruments like bass, drums, piano and strings, and lets you connect your own instrument. It also features a wide selection of effects, beats, and loops for mixing, plus a full suite of plug-ins with compressors, EQs, and reverbs.

You can record live sessions and share your music directly to Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud and other platforms. You can also publish songs or albums and sell them on BandLab. Your projects will be automatically synchronized with the cloud.

Pro Tools is a cross-platform DAW that lets you record, edit, and mix songs and collaborate with other artists. The DAW is a subscription-only service and, for the most part, is aimed at experienced producers and studio engineers. That means it might not be the best choice if you’re new to audio editing.

While no DAW is perfect, there are several free and unique alternatives to Pro Tool, and we’ve rounded up six of the best in this article. These alternatives are worth trying, whether in the studio or at home.