Following its decision to release native versions of its plugins, Universal Audio has now made its LUNA , its free DAW, available to all Mac users. Previously, one of UA’s Apollo interfaces was required to run it.
When Luna was launched, back in 2020, Universal Audio stopped short of calling it a DAW, preferring to tag it as a ‘Recording System’. It seems happy to badge it as a digital audio workstation now, though.
LUNA enables you to record as many tracks as your Mac can handle, and promises a vintage sound thanks to the ‘analogue’ summing, tape machines, channel strips and bus/parallel compression that are built into its mixer. In fact, it comes with a dedicated Oxide Tape Extension.
There’s a built-in instrument, too, known as Shape. In fact, this contains lots of instruments - sample-based classic keyboards, drums/percussion, guitar/bass and orchestral content, along with synth sounds that are generated in realtime.
Anyone who downloads LUNA will also be entitled to a free 30-day demo of the LUNA Pro bundle, which adds a whole load of UAD plugins and Extensions and has a retail price of $399. If you want to buy it, it’s currently on sale for $199.
The premise of LUNA is that, as well as sounding good, it’s also easy to use, so if you want a DAW that you can just pick up and start recording with, it could be a good option. In that sense, it feels like it’s competing more with GarageBand than the likes of Logic Pro, but with the bonus of that UA processing goodness. There’s AU plugin support, too, so you can bring third-party plugins into the mix as well.
You can register for your free copy of LUNA on the Universal Audio website, and it can be downloaded via the UA Connect platform. An iLok account is required to run it, but not a physical dongle.