The great thing about modern music production is the accessibility everyone has to software and equipment. Gone are the days when you needed to book into a recording studio and were on a time limit to record your ideas.
Beat making softwares have revolutionized the way we make music. Anyone can learn the basics, experiment and create a song within minutes. Many artists have established themselves with the D.I.Y ethos in recent years.
In the following list we will look at the best free beat making software available today, so that you can start programming and chopping up samples in no time.
Table of Contents
The Best Free Beat Making Softwares
1. Tracktion 7
Tracktion’s Waveform Free is a very capable DAW that is perfect for beat making. Unlike many free digital audio workstations, it has absolutely no restrictions. You can create an unlimited amount of tracks to build your beats, adding external audio or samples with ease.
Tracktion 7 is compatible with most plugins, simply add them to the VST folder and you can then use them to process your tracks within the software. It is the free version of Waveform Pro, so if you become familiar with the way this DAW works and enjoy, you can then upgrade to the paid version and get access to many more useful tools and features.
The micro drum sampler is one of my favorite section of this free beat making software. It is easy to navigate, and provides a clear visual demonstration of your beat as you make it. You can allocate different drum sounds to the individual controls, and edit them with compressors, EQ or multiple audio processing effects such as distortion, phase or chorus.
Tracktion have created a feature called plugin sandboxing in order to combat the common issue of implementing 3rd part plugins. When you activate the sandboxing feature, it protects your session by preventing the CPU usage from being over exhausted and instead of crashing the software; it quickly closes the problematic plugin and therefore prevents your work from being lost.
Tracktion Waveform free is available on macOS 10.11 or later in 64-bit or Windows 8 & 10 also in 64-bit. For a comprehensive free beat making software, look no further than the reliable Tracktion 7 Waveform free.
2. FL Studio
FL Studio once has a reputation as a primitive DAW that generally wasn’t used by professional producers. That has changed dramatically in recent years, with the software getting a new lease of life after being popularized by some of the best-known trap and hip hop beat makers around today.
The term “bedroom producer” was once used to describe amateurs, and was synonymous with FL Studio. But now, much of the music we hear on the radio has been made in this environment.
The free version of FL studio has limitations, but you can still use it to make and export beats despite these restrictions. It allows you to save your project, but reopening them is disabled, so you effectively only have one session to work on your beat. This could be seen as a blessing in disguise, as it prevents you from overly tweaking the beat and encourages you to get it finished.
Fl Studio free version also lets you export your beats to WAV or MP3 files, so you can actually get the finished product. It also allows you access to all of the features of the DAW, including compressors, samplers, EQ, reverb, delays, chorus, phasers, and all of the other various plugins that come with the full version.
The thing that makes FL studio so appealing to modern music producers is its unique simplicity. If you are relatively inexperienced using DAWs, some of the other popular choices can seem like a maze at first. FL studio is pretty self-explanatory and allows you to explore the process of making beats without getting lost in all of the options.
GarageBand is another great free beat making software, made by Apple. It is only available for use on their devices, so if you have a Mac, iPhone or iPad, it might be the perfect choice for you.
Within this DAW, you can add realistic sounding, pre-recorded drum grooves to your track with the Drummer plugin. A full drum kit is visually displayed, and you can replace each individual drum to find the perfect overall sound.
There is also the handy addition of the Bass Amp Designer, in which you can select the specific components of your perfect bass rig and experiment until you’re satisfied with the tone.
The sound library within GarageBand is pretty extensive for a free beat making software. You can explore the Apple loops for inspiration or sampling purposes. All of the sounds can be later manipulated with effects to make them more unique and suited to your beats.
GarageBand is a great tool to have on your iPhone because it allows you to make music in any situation, providing you have some quiet or a pair of headphones. You can record audio through the phone’s built in microphone, layering instruments or even vocal tracks.
With the addition of an iRig, you can actually plug straight into your phone with a jack cable and record directly into GarageBand on a guitar or other electric instruments. For free software, it’s quite amazing what you are able to do.
Studio One 4 Prime allows you to use many of the best features from the popular Studio One Artist and Professional softwares, without having to spend any money. It features an intuitive single-window work station which uses a simple drag and drop function to create your beats with ease.
You’ve probably heard of Native Effects plugins, but if you are unfamiliar, they are some of the best options out there for beat making. With Studio One 4 Prime, you get access to nine authentic Native Effects plug-ins, which can be used to process the sound of you beats. Whether you want understated effects, or more extreme options, these 9 plugins contain the lot.
Within the software there is just less than 1GB of loops and samples which you can use to get your beat started or spark off some inspiration. These loops are very high quality, and range from drum breaks to vocal chop up with a bit of everything in between. There aren’t any restrictions with Studio One 4 Prime when it comes to saving and exporting your beats either.
Overall this free beat making software gives you access to the standout features from PresSonus’ revered Artist and Professional editions, in a more limited and compact form. If you enjoy chopping up samples, the extensive loop library will perfectly suited to your needs.
Avid Pro Tools First is the free version of the highly acclaimed Pro Tools software. It is essentially a lite edition of Pro tools, which uses exactly the same format as the full version. Pro Tools is considered to be the industry standard DAW so getting your hands on the free version will provide you with a great introduction to the way it works. Then if you enjoy it, you can upgrade and get all of the perks of the full version.
There are some limits on Avid Pro Tools, but you are still able to record 16 audio tracks, 16 virtual instrument tracks and even record to 4 tracks at the same time. You don’t need a virtual instrument to start making beats either, as this free software comes with Xpand!2, a useful plugin with many interesting built in sounds.
500 megabytes of samples, sounds and loops are also included. This library is packed with high quality audio that you can easily implement into your beats. It also comes with various project templates which are invaluable for learning the functions of pro tools by dissecting the pre made beats and exploring the individual tracks.
The track freeze feature helps to free up your computers CPU usage and prevent crashing. There are 20 built in effects and utility plugins at your disposal. Add to this the extensive MIDI editing tools, and you get a generously functional free beat making software.
LMMS is another great option when looking for free beat making software. Whether you use Windows, Mac or Linux, this DAW is compatible with all three. Within LMMS you can build your beats using the sequencer, choosing the BPM and time signature you desire.
The software allows for note playback using either a midi keyboard, or if you don’t have access to one, you can simply use the keyboard on your computer or laptop. With the Beat+Bassline Editor, you have the ability to compile and consolidate instrument tracks, grouping the drums and bass into one rhythm section. This is useful for side chaining the kick with the bass in your beats.
The Piano Roll Editor allows you to see your melodies and patterns displayed on a keyboard, so you can quantize and fine-tune the timings or notes one click at a time. In LMMS, you are also able to import MIDI files and Hydrogen project files into your beats.
There are a total of 16 built in synthesizers, which include an emulation of the popular Commodore 64, Roland TB-303 and Yamaha OPL2. There is also a range of effects for you to use, including a limiter, compressor, delay, reverb, distortion and bass enhancer.
MuseScore is a unique way to conclude this list of free beat making softwares. It is unique because it is more focused on the editing of notation, so you can implement classical techniques and knowledge into your beat making.
With this free software, you are able to control the spacing and size of all of the musical objects. Staves, clefs and accidentals can all be played around with to get interesting results. If you don’t have much knowledge of music theory, MuseScore is a great tool for learning on the job.
With Midi Input, import and export options, you can make a full beat within the software and wither save it to finish later or export it there and then. If you have experience with Sibelius, MuseScore will likely seem familiar to you.
A useful feature of this beat making software is that you can redefine all of the keyboard shortcuts to your preferences. As producers, we all have certain habits of working, so being able to tailor the controls to suit your natural way of working is useful. If you want to make beats with a classical feel, or simply want to learn more about the theoretical side of music production, MuseScore could be the option for you.
Plugins – The Ultimate Tool For Beat Making
When it comes to beat making, many producers simply make do with the built in effects and function of their chosen DAW. When I first started producing, I had no idea about plugins and they way they could enhance my music. Now I can’t imagine creating without them.
When choosing a suitable free beat making software, I would recommend checking that it allows you to import at least some plugins. By importing plugins, you open the door to endless processing possibilities. There are so many incredibly high quality options out there; many are available for free too.
When making beats the end goal is to produce something unique. Plugins give you the platform to transcend the generic tools available in the software, and take your beat making to the next level.
Time to Produce
This guide of the best free beat making softwares available today was written to hopefully provide you with an option that suits your production style. They’re all free, so there’s no reason not to download the complete set and play around to find which one stands out. I would recommend considering eventually moving on to a full version of a DAW, as this will present you with many more options for your beat making ventures.