top of page

Free DAWs during COVID 19

Ableton Live

Ableton is extending their trail to 90 days (used to be 30) during this crisis. There are three packages-- Intro, Standard, and Suite. Suite is package with most features, and has the least limitation. If you would like to try Ableton I suggest you to download Suite and enjoy the 90-day trial. Ableton comes with a lot of good sound packages and samples. It is very easy to use, excellent in synchronising, and you can build your own plug-ins with MAX. But I used to avoid recommending this DAW to students because what Live offers is quite limiting in term of style. Also, it's power to synchronise is a double edged sword:-- it does not give you that many options when you want to to senza misura. Overall, Ableton is a very powerful sequencing software that gives you handy ways to do live performance. It's very easy to learn and fun to play with. I started to use it more often in recent years.

Comparison of Intro/ Standard/ Suite

Logic Pro

Logic Pro is also extending their trial to 90 days. Logic Pro comes with very nice virtual instrument packages and DSP plug-ins. It also has a much more user-friendly-looking interface, but the logic of it can be sometimes confusing. (The logic of Logic is confusing…lol). If you use Logic and wanna add a track, it gives you 5 options but it’s basically 2— MIDI or audio. If Logic Pro is not your first sequencing software it might confuses you a little bit.

  • Software instrument (MIDI)

  • Audio (audio)

  • Drummer (MIDI)

  • External MIDI (MIDI)

  • Guitar or Bass (Audio)

Pro Tools

Avid announced so early, and so loudly, that they are going to provide free licenses during the COVID 19 during the lock down. I take a look at their website and realise they are offering license ONLY to users that have lost their access to Pro Tools due to working from home. Companies and schools need to apply for free licenses for their employees and students. In times like this, if you are in a big company, applying for free licenses might not be the first thing your IT team will care about. I am also trying to apply for my students. Unfortunately, since I am not the one who takes care of the license in the lab, there is still a lot of nudging to do. Anyway, if you are curious you can follow this link to see what continuously-disappointing Avid has to say.

Pro Tools First

It’s free. It’s cross platform. It has its limitation though. I have both Pro Tools and Pro Tools First on my computer and Pro Tools first is taking up a lot of my CPU, sometimes more than 100%, on my laptop. It is supposed to be a trim-down version of Pro Tools so I have no idea why it is that resources consuming.


Cubase is a popular sequencing software for Windows users. One day before this post is published they also announced they are offering a #StayHome Elements Collection. I started to use Dorico a year ago, and feels like there is a chance that I will switch to Dorico and Cubase in the future, and leave Sibelius and Pro Tools for good.


LUNA is a new DAW by Universal Audio, and will be made available in two weeks. I havnt signed up for the beta version so I haven’t tried it. From the picture I see on the web it looks pretty decent. Please read this post and learn more about it.

102 views0 comments


bottom of page