BandLab has announced the release of Cakewalk by BandLab, a freeware digital audio workstation based on the previously discontinued SONAR Platinum music production software.
Cakewalk by Bandlab is almost identical to the flagship SONAR Platinum digital audio workstation, except for not including any third-party add-0ns. It is, essentially, SONAR Platinum without bundled plugins and add-on tools such as the Rapture synthesizer, Melodyne pitch-correction software, and others. All the core features of SONAR Platinum are included, from its analog console-like mixer to the powerful ProChannel effect modules and advanced functionality like multi-touch support, Bluetooth MIDI, etc. In addition, all previously purchased plugins or add-ons that worked with SONAR will work with the new freeware version.
So, what you’re getting for free here is a flagship digital audio workstation which used to cost $499 (with lifetime updates), minus the bundled loops and add-ons. Sounds too good to be true? Well, there’s a catch, kind of, but it’s not a deal breaker. Since Cakewalk was acquired by BandLab, you will need to install the BandLab Assistant software first in order to download the free version of Cakewalk. You will also need to sign up for a free BandLab user account. The Assistant won’t nag you to purchase or install anything else, but it will showcase some of the online services offered by BandLab. No big deal really, not by a long shot, especially considering that you’re getting such an amazing audio tool completely free of charge.
Cakewalk requires Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only) to work. It’s recommended to use a machine with at least 4 GB of RAM for smooth performance. To download your free copy of Cakewalk by BandLab, click the “Get Early Access Now” button on the product page linked below. This will download the BandLab Assistant app which will guide you through the installation process. Interestingly enough, Windows 10 wouldn’t run the BandLab Assistant installer on my laptop because it’s an “unrecognized app” but I chose the “Run Anyway” option and proceeded to install the software without any further issues.
Until this point, Tracktion 6 was the best free audio digital workstation you could download, followed by Podium Free and Studio One 3 Prime. Following the release of Cakewalk by Bandlab, it’s hard to decide which freeware DAW is better – Tracktion or Cakewalk. What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments section below!
Cakewalk by BandLab is available for free download via BandLab (66.9 MB download size, EXE installer, 64-bit standalone software for Windows 7 or higher).