“Is there a way to make beats for free?”
“What is the best FREE beatmaking software out there?”
For beginners to music production, these are extremely common questions. Beatmaking can get expensive, so you probably want to save as much money as possible in the early days.
There is a wide range of software that allows you to make beats, each with it’s own learning curve and unique workflow. Choosing the right software really depends on personal taste, your production style and the OS system you use.
Software that allows you to create, compose and edit songs / make your own beats is called a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). DAW’s are the primary program almost all modern producers use to create their tracks.
You’ve probably heard of programs like Logic Pro, FL Studio or Ableton Live. These are Digital Audio Workstations.
So, you might be wondering, “is any of this music production software free?”
The short answer is… yes!
The slightly more longwinded answer is… yes, but you’d probably be better off investing in a commercial DAW such as FL Studio, Ableton, Logic etc. (the list goes on).
I can guarantee there is not a major, established producer on the planet that uses free beatmaking software. However, free beatmaking software is often a great way to learn the basics of music production. It can allow beginners to get to grips with how these kind of programs work, without spending a penny.
The Best Free Beatmaking Software in 2022?
If you’re dead-set on making beats for free (or at least LEARNING to make beats for free before buying the full software) then there are two methods you can use.
Option #1 – Utilise Free Trials!
Luckily for us, almost all DAW’s on the market offer free trials of the software, usually in the form of a 30-day trial.
If you’re wanting to experiment with making beats, I’d highly recommend downloading some free trials of commercial DAW’s.
Ableton Liveis fast, fluid and flexible software for music creation and live performance. It comes with various stunning effects, instruments, sounds and all kinds of creative features—everything you need to make any kind ofmusic.
Ableton Live currently offers a 30 day free trial. Click here to find out more.
FL Studiois a complete, incredibly powerful music production environment or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Representing more than 20 years of innovative development it has everything you need in one package to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional music.
FL Studio currently offer a free trial with no time limit. However, you cannot re-open saved projects.
Option #2 – Free Beatmaking Software
Alternatively, there are a number of completely free beatmaking DAW’s out there.
It goes without saying, free DAW’s do not have the level of functionality as the commercial examples above. Plus, commercial DAW’s are considerably more versatile, and often come packaged with a huge range of sounds, plugins, and additional features.
However, I’d still recommend using some free beatmaking software when you’re just starting out. It will give you a strong idea of the basic beatmaking workflow, and how to create, layer and edit your own original beats.
Below is the best free beatmaking software in 2022.
Cakewalk is a great choice of free beatmaking software, and has a design similar to traditional DAW’s.
BandLab’s Cakewalk software allows you to compose, record audio, edit, mix and master your tracks within a fast, intuitive interface.
Cakewalk has VST3 support, allowing you to import your own audio plugins. It even comes with a diverse range of FX modules, ranging from convolution reverb, resonant filtering, dynamic compression, and powerful EQ to tape and console emulation, peak limiting, and tube saturation.
Originally released in the 1980’s, Cakewalk has been used by thousands of producers to create incredible music across a range of genres. I’d say this is probably the best free beatmaking software available for Windows, and I’d definitely recommend beginners to take it out for a spin.
LMMSis a FREE, open-source music production program, designed primarily for beatmaking and loop-based production.
This free beatmaking software can be compared to the heavyweight DAW FL Studio, due to it’s pattern-oriented interface.
FL Studio’s interface is centered around loops, allowing users to create and edit individual loops, and then arrange these loops within the sequencer. LMMS has a very similar design.
Loop-based software (such as FL Studio or LMMS) is a fantastic choice when it comes to beatmaking, as it provides a rapid, intuitive workflow when building a loop or an individual idea.
LMMS also allows for third-party VST/AU plugins, so you can really build a powerful, virtual beatmaking setup within the software.
The term “Garageband” has a lot of negative connotations, but is actually a great way to get started with music production.
Garageband offers a free, incredibly simple engine to create, arrange and edit sounds. You can even record your own sounds and import them into your projects, and Garageband offers a decent selection of instruments and FXs to play around with.
Unfortunately, Garageband doesn’t offer third-party plugin support, and lacks a lot of the features of other free beatmaking software. However, for Apple users, it’s an incredibly convenient choice, and is a lot of fun to use.
Remember, this is a program that allows you to dip your toes into the process of making beats, not create your first complete beat tape. If you’re serious about making music, you should move onto a commercial DAW as soon as you can.
4. MPC Beats
If you’re looking for free software that is completely focused on beatmaking, MPC Beats should be definitely be on your radar.
MPC Beats is developed by Akai, who are mainly known for their revolutionary MIDI drum pad controllers and keyboards. Akai’s venture into the world of beatmaking software is a welcome surprise, and the results are incredible.
Some of MPC Beats’ main features:
• You can record instruments or vocals with 2 stereo audio tracks to add live elements to your music.
• 16 Pads for triggering drum samples / loops
• An intuitive piano roll to record and sequence MIDI patterns
• A sample editor to chop / edit sounds
• Easy-to-use information section to select and navigate between tracks
Furthermore, MPC Beats provides over 80 audio FX plugins to warp, manipulate and transform audio. The free software also has third-party VST/AU compatibility, giving a huge amount of creative versatility within the DAW.
Making Beats for Free: What’s Next?
Now you have your free beatmaking software, it’s time to get some VST plugins to SERIOUSLY expand your creative palette.
VSTs (Virtual Studio Technology) are a fundamental part of music production, and as the technology progresses, they are transforming the way we create music.
To put it simply, VST Instrument plugins can create any sound imaginablewithin your DAW, and then additional VST effect plugins can be used to manipulate and re-shape that sound.
Here are some of our guides to the best FREE VST plugins out there in 2022:
• The 100 Best FREE VST Plugins of All Time | Ranked and Rated
• The 8 Best FREE Reverb VST Plugins
• The 8 Best FREE EQ VST Plugins
• The 8 Best Free VST Instrument Plugins
• The 8 Best Free Compression VST Plugins