The best free DAW? “Cakewalk, easily”, says Benn Jordan

“It’s 100 per cent free with no strings attached and I’m really glad that a highly customisable professional piece of software with a sleek user interface exists for musicians.”

Producer using Cakewalk

Credit: BandLab

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Editor’s note: MusicTech and BandLab Technologies’ Cakewalk are both owned by the Caldecott Music Group.

Producer, music tech journalist and creator Benn Jordan has had his say on the best free DAW available today. His choice? Cakewalk.

Revealed in a recent video posted to YouTube entitled Lookin’ For A Good FREE DAW, Jordan praises the free-to-use software for its “sleek interface”, customisability, and its Input Step sequencing Function, comparing it to other free DAWs such as BandLab, Soundtrap and Ardour.

“I’m gonna be honest with you: didn’t have a high expectation of Cakewalk.” he says in the video. “I was like, ‘Ugh, I don’t really want to play with Cakewalk but whatever, I will.’ I figured it would be full of pain points and features that don’t really apply to 2024 music making.

“I was wrong. It’s actually badass. Seriously, if you already use Ableton [Live] or FL Studio or something – download Cakewalk. It is free and it is absolutely worth checking out.

“Anytime that I wanted to find a particular functionality, I was able to just find it and I intentionally didn’t use any third party VST plugins expect for the free and open-source Surge.”

The video cuts to a clip of him jamming away using Cakewalk’s built-in instruments. He then says, “I think that was the first time that I felt like a musician using 100 percent free software so far in this journey.”

One of the main features in Cakewalk that Benn Jordan loves is Input Step Sequencing “akin to the old Boss DR-660 drum machine or a JX-65 Roland work machine”, which lets you enter individual notes or steps into a grid to create musical sequences, often used for precise rhythm and melody composition.

“It’s 100 percent free with no strings attached and I’m really glad that a highly customisable professional piece of software with a sleek user interface exists for musicians,” he concludes.

Benn Jordan has become a well-known figure in the music tech community, thanks to his insider knowledge, hot takes and frighteningly accurate predictions about the industry (In July 2023, he correctly foresaw layoffs for Moog, Apple and Spitfire Audio staff).

Jordan also recently hit back at synth brand Behringer after it slammed the lack of gear reviews of its products. He shared a video saying that reviewing Behringer’s “counterfeit synths” would be “boring content”. He also later posted a video announcing he was done making gear videos in general due to the “super toxic” community.

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