For every beginner, intermediate and expert music producer in the 21st century, music production software is the most vital tool to master.
With the gradual change of the musical world from analog to digital, the newly built software took the world by storm.
The present-day musical world is in the process of witnessing an enormous emergence in various types of software for various purposes.
Although this emergence is a very positive one for experts and professionals in the field, this could be problematic for the new guys who are just entering the field of production and has a lot to offer.
Hence, this article focuses on the most reliable free music software apps of 2021 which have been time tested and used professionally.
Every software mentioned in this article is compatible with both Windows and macOS and some are even compatible with Linux as well.
10 Best Free Music Production Software of 2021
Check out some of the best software applications that you can get for free:
- TDR Nova – an amazing equalizing software.
- Studio One Prime – mostly ideal for audio recording software
- OrilRiver – Best for effects such as reverb.
- DC1A – go-to software for everything about compressing.
- Surge – high quality synthesizing
- TX16Wx Software Sampler – one of the best samplers in the market
- Audacity – good audio editor
- Limiter №6 – good software mainly used for sound limiting.
- T7 DAW – free digital audio workstation
- MFreeFXBundle – good free effects bundle
In every audio production, the most vital step after the initial recordings have been done and dusted is the mixing of it, which is the make or break step in any audio production.
For this, there needs to be a high-quality software and the TDR Nova is the best bet for any free software that specializes in equalizers and compression.
The software is equipped with a four-band dynamic equalizer with the additional high-pass and low-pass filters.
This four-band dynamic equalizer allows the user to make use of it as a basic parametric equalizer, a multi-band compressor, a dynamic EQ, a wideband compressor, or even a de-esser.
TDR Nova is also known for its flexibility and user-friendliness unlike many others in this list.
This gives beginners the chance to experiment and be inspired by the equalizations and compressions.
The software also offers advanced dynamic controls for more professional and expert users.
This feature is switched off at the default mode and must be turned on if required.
What I love about TDR Nova is how easy it is to use for beginners.
After playing with it for an hour or so, anyone can figure out how to get the most out of it.
Studio One Prime
The software ‘Studio One Prime’ is one of the best software for singers and songwriters who are willing to experiment on new kinds of music and try out new tracks.
The software is a free streamlined DAW for audio recording and it also can perform a simple mix.
Adding to this, the software is also equipped with the basic version of Ampire and Pedalboard, the popular guitar processing effects developed by PreSonus.
The downside to this software is its inability to use VSTs which is a massive blow to its versatility in the 21st century.
This limits the ability to use external effects to the software which makes the user to only rely on its built-in effects.
However, more effects and features could be unlocked by switching into the Studio One Artist or the Studio One Pro software.
Among the other competitors of these types of software lies ‘Pro Tools First’, a good competitor which is based on the industry-standard Pro Tools software by Avid.
However, this software also comes with its limitation and doesn’t solve the main problem of Studio One Prime, which is the inability to use external plugins.
The popularity of Pro Tools comes from its simplicity and its user-friendliness, unlike the others.
However, the recommendation of the two takes the edge to Studio One Prime.
This software is vital in getting in some good reverb effects to audio production and offers a high-quality service although being free of charge.
Oliver still ranks above from its competitors which also acts as a free stereo reverb plugin that can easily compete with paid reverb VST plugins.
The effects look simple with different presets being available to simulate any space – from a small hallway or bedroom to a large cathedral.
Although being a fairly complex reverb plugin, the user-friendly interface and the intuitive controls do an excellent job of keeping things simple for beginners and experts.
The built-in presets also covers the most used presets in audio production.
This could be opened by pressing the padlock icon next to the preset browser.
This would be the best plugin for anyone who wishes to use an audio compressor.
DC1A however, is not the plugin for anyone who wants to see fancy features and a modern style interface.
It mainly relies on the basics and is widely known in the world of music as the most intuitive one.
Although the qualities of this software would work well with an expert producer, lots of beginners struggle with this software, mainly because of the inability to know what compression is and what does an audio compressor does.
However, this offers a vital proving grounds for beginners and then it's only a matter of time on figuring out the right compression through mainly trial and error.
This software is well known for its synthesizing qualities and provides a good job at that.
Being free to use the software, it can work as a VST, AU, or LV2 plugin in most DAWd on Windows, macOS, and even Linux!
The software is a paradise to expert and experienced music producers and a puzzle to the beginners with all its technicalities and complex systems.
However, there are over 1000 sound sets for beginners to try on which means that the software offers something to all kinds of producers.
The surge would be the best option for anyone on the lookout for any flexible free synthesizer for a music production studio.
It is also one of the best free software applications on the market, especially for electronic music producers.
The software was also developed by the same programmer who later worked on developing the Bitwig Studio music production software which is proof for its high-quality standards.
TX16Wx Software Sampler
This software is likely one of the best (especially considering the price) sample software in the market for a music production studio.
It also does a good job of being the industry-standard alternative to the Native Instruments Kontakt sampler.
When it comes to the essential features of this software, the compatibility in using SoundFont and SFZ is a huge positivity in using this type.
Adding to this, the software also has the potential to create customized sample-based patches.
There is also the possibility of importing audio directly from the workstation and treating it as a sample.
Although standard music software usually issues built-in samplers, they are of less quality and it is always best to stay out of them and to use specialized software for music sampling.
That’s where this particular software does an excellent job.
However, the software is also known or its complexities and the not so user-friendly interface.
In such circumstances, the alternative called ‘Grace’ would do the trick.
But the only issue is that it only works with the windows operating system.
Audacity is a free to use open-source digital audio editor and recording application software.
This is also available to every main OS including the windows, macOS, and Linux and is hailed as the best free audio editing software in the market.
Audacity is built by a group of dedicated volunteers and they constantly provided version updates.
It is also a very intuitive software that is perfect for beginners to master the dots and crosses of the music world.
The added advantage of Audacity is its ability to load VST plugins which is a great advantage over its competitors.
However, only 23-bit plugins are supported which is the only downside to this software.
The limiter, in music production, is an essential tool to have in the art of mastering.
Although the best recommendation in mastering is to outsource to a professional audio engineer, there is no hard in experimenting with new stuff alone and it requires some high-quality software to be successful which includes the limiter as well.
This software offers some high-quality features and will undoubtedly prove itself as one of the best in the field.
Other alternatives to this include the free limiter plugin LoudMax by Thomas Mundt.
This ideally suits the beginners and is less advanced than Limiter №6. The Frontier limiter by D16 Group is also recommended.
Both plugins are worth adding to free mastering collection.
But the effects and quality of the Limiter №6 still lie unparalleled.
Developed by the Tracktion Corporation, the T7 DAW software has emerged as the core of every music production setup.
This free software works as a professional tool in recording, mixing and producing an audio track.
Adding to that, this software also works in every operating system including Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Added with almost every feature a professional needs to excel in the field, it can record both audio and MIDI versions while featuring an audio mixer with built-in effects alongside offering some newly built features which includes automation, track analysis, and more.
A notable advantage of this application is its ability to load both VST and AU plugins which means the user has endless possibilities in adding various free VST plugins like synthesizers, samplers, effects, and more.
However if the VSTs aren’t the users' cup of tea and they prefer normal software, Studio One Prime would be a better option.
The new version which is named ‘Waveform Free’ will replace the older version and would still offer free service to its users.
However, that being said, it is always a better option to opt for more quality software in the field of professional production.
And almost every high-quality software comes with a price and is better than the freedom to use the software.
When comparing these products, the most affordable product would be the software called ‘Reaper’, which could be purchased at a low price of $60.
The quality is more polished and it also offers a free 60 day trial period, which is a rather big period when it comes to audio production.
Other popular DAWs include Ableton Live, FL Studio, Steinberg Cubase Pro, and Bitwig Studio.
Logic Pro X is the logical choice if the system is a macOS. The audio workstation Studio One Pro is also highly recommended.
The top freeware alternatives to T7 DAW include Cakewalk by BandLab on Windows and GarageBand on macOS.
Ardour, free music production workstation also does a good job and offers good customer satisfaction for Linux.
However, if there is no need to use any VST plugins and just need a free music production program to record and edit the tracks, Studio One Prime or Pro Tools First might be a good option.
All the plugins mentioned above are essential software which is crucial when it comes to musical productions.
However, this software is optional, but would greatly expand the production skills when it comes to plugins.
The MFreeFXBundle is a collection of plugins that helps musicians to add other necessary pieces to polish and heighten the audio productions.
The featured plugins of this software include phaser, chorus, bitcrusher, and more.
The Komplete Start Bundle by Native Instruments, Blue Cat’s Freeware Plug-ins Pack II, and the Dead Duck Free Effects Bundle (which is only available for Windows, sadly) are also highly recommended.