In the world of music software, the word ‘free’ can mean many things. Yes, you might be able to install an application or plugin without paying any money for it, but if its feature-set is crippled or it quickly times out, you can end up feeling cheated.
Fortunately, if you want a free DAW, you have a simple choice: install Waveform Free (opens in new tab), the latest free-of-charge music production app from Tracktion Software.
Designed for everyone, and the replacement for the much-loved T7 free DAW, Waveform Free is a fully-featured DAW (no trackcount, export, time-out or plugin limitations here) and will enable you to make any kind of music you like. Thanks to quick-start templates and easy-to-follow videos, you’ll be up and running in minutes, and you won’t have to pay a dime.
What’s more, Waveform Free includes smart features such as plugin sandboxing, which means that, should a third-party plugin crash while in use, it’s deactivated, and won’t take your DAW down with it. So, the rest of your project is safe. There are other improved stability features, too, such as automated crash reporting.
For some, Waveform Free might do the job for the foreseeable future, but the good news is that, if you want more features and functionality, there’s a ready-made option in the shape of the all-new Waveform 11 Pro (opens in new tab). This offers a wide range of additional upgrades.
As well as the aforementioned stability features, Waveform 11 Pro includes new MIDI tools, such as Chord Companion. This can be used to trigger chords from a single note - you can select from a range of scales and drag ‘n’ drop chords to pads. You can also set the octave and inversion of each chord and make use of performance options, such as arpeggiation and note repeat.
The MIDI Monitor, meanwhile, lists all MIDI events as they occur to help with analysis and troubleshooting, and the MIDI Filter enables multi-input functionality. Want to play two instruments from a single MIDI keyboard (bass and lead parts, for example)? Now you can.
Waveform 11 Pro can help you with the arranging process, too: the arranger track can be used to quickly annotate and move entire song regions using drag ‘n’ drop. Copying, replacing or deleting sections of your project - or Edit, as it’s known in Waveform world - has never been easier.
The same can be said of project navigation. The Edit overview means that you can bring sections of your arrangement into view, set start/record points or resize windows quickly, and practically every window panel can be undocked for maximum flexibility. What’s more, you can save and recall custom layouts so they’re always there for you.
Users of touchscreens will also benefit from the quick action window, which offers fast access to the mixer and a number of other configurable ‘quick action bars’. You can also set up multiple screens or touchscreens dedicated to specific instruments - again, all of these configurations can be saved and recalled.
You can rest assured that both Waveform Free and Waveform 11 Pro have a pretty strong pedigree. Released in 2002, the first Tracktion DAW was created by music software legend Julian Storer, who’s also responsible for the JUCE framework and SOUL language, and has had a loyal fanbase ever since. It’s also worth noting that Tracktion is now part of the Audio Squadron family that includes Prism Sound & SADiE.
So, whether you want a free DAW that you can use without limits, or a pro-level music production app to match your creativity, Waveform is the answer. Find out more on the Tracktion (opens in new tab) website.