LUNA Lands! UA’s free DAW is here, but the Extensions and Instruments will cost you

Having announced last week that its release was being brought forward in light of the Covid-19 crisis, Universal Audio has now released LUNA, its hotly-anticipated free DAW for Mac-owning users of Thunderbolt-equipped Apollo and Arrow audio interfaces.

As previously reported, LUNA promises super-tight integration with said interfaces - we’re assured that it enables you to record through DSP-powered UAD plugins with no discernable latency. There are also processing Extensions and dedicated Instruments, though in many cases, these will have to be paid for.

To give you some details, the Neve Summing Extension provides summing circuitry from the Neve 80-Series audio mixing consoles from the ‘60s and ‘70s and costs £229. Studer Analog Tape, meanwhile, is a tape recorder Extension that costs £260 (though it’s currently available for half price).

Moving on to the Instruments, you can purchase the Ravel Grand Piano - which models a Steinway Model B - for £229, while the official Moog Minimoog synth comes in at £229 as well. However, you do get Shape, a workhorse sample-based instrument that offers keys, drums, guitar/bass, orchestral content and “realtime synthesis” for nothing.

There’s also the LUNA Spitfire Bundle, which includes Spitfire Audio’s Chamber Strings, Symphonic Brass and Symphonic Woodwinds. This is yours for £449.

There are still plenty of questions to be answered about LUNA, of course: does it support VST/AU plugins, is there any way to use it without your interface being plugged in (on a train or plane, for example), and is the Extension/Instrument processing handled by your computer or interface? All will be revealed in our imminent review.

Luna currently runs on macOS only and requires a Thunderbolt-equipped Apollo Arrow audio interface (FireWire or USB models aren’t supported). Find out more and download it on the Universal Audio website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine