Making beats doesn’t require expensive tools or musical equipment. We created a list of the best free beat making software to help you start producing music immediately.
Read the full article below to find the beat production tool that works best for your needs.
Table of contents
- The best free beat making software in 2023
- 1. MPC Beats
- 2. Waveform Free
- 3. Cakewalk by Bandlab
- 4. LMMS
- 5. GarageBand
- 6. Magix Music Maker
- 7. SoundBridge
- 8. Amped Studio
- 9. Soundtrap
- 10. Studio One Prime
- Using free beat making programs as your digital audio workstation
- The best free DAW for an experienced beat maker
- Top free beat maker software for a beginner
- Become a beat maker on a budget
- The best online beat making programs
The best free beat making software in 2023
Below is our list of the best beat making software that you can download for free.
To get started as quickly as possible, browse the apps listed below and download the one that is the best fit for your production workflow.
1. MPC Beats
MPC Beats by AKAI is the ultimate beat making freeware that makes music production accessible for beginners and adds firepower for seasoned creators.
With a core feature set that consists of an 8-track MIDI sequencer, 80 unique plugins by Air, and compatibility with AKAI and third-party hardware, it’s redefining the beat-making landscape for users looking to learn the basics of music production.
MPC Beats also offers VST and AU plugin compatibility, a sprawling 2 GB sound library, a virtual mixer, sample editing features, and the ability to function as a plugin.
While it won’t replace a fully-featured DAW, MPC Beats is the perfect software to create beats on the go.
I tested MPC Beats for a month, using it as my main software for capturing new melodies and other musical ideas. It performed amazingly well as a beat making sketch pad, although I still felt like I needed my main DAW to complete the production.
AKAI’s free Beats app is an ode to the classic MPC workflow, perfect for creating hip-hop beats or EDM. Starting with genre templates such as Trap, Dance, and Pop, you can remix, create, and experiment with making your own musical ideas.
MPC Beats lets you expand your sound kit with AKAI’s add-on sample packs from renowned sound designers like F9 Instruments, Araab Muzik, and others. The base software and two free expansion packs provide a plethora of high-quality sounds, from vintage drum kits to modern vocals.
In the world of beat making on a budget, MPC Beats is a hard act to beat, and all at an unbeatable price – free. It is perfect for both beginners and advanced beat makers who need a portable setup.
2. Waveform Free
Waveform Free is a feature-rich free digital audio workstation that draws its foundation from Tracktion Software’s flagship Waveform. The DAW offers a beat making workflow suitable for beginners and experienced producers.
The software is available for Windows and Mac, offering full VST plugin support and ReWire compatibility.
It lacks some of the features available in its premium counterpart, but all of the core functionality is included. You can use Waveform Free to record, mix, and master your music beat from the ground up.
Tracktion’s free software shines for beat makers utilizing numerous virtual instruments. Its easy-to-use workflow is fine-tuned for instrument plugins and soft synths, with intuitive MIDI sequencing.
For hip hop music production, Waveform Free is an easy recommendation. It is perfect for chopping loops and provides all the necessary MIDI features to start making beats on a computer.
I use it as my main music software on the Macbook Air, as it’s lightweight, and the interface looks great on the small 13″ screen.
Waveform is an intuitive music making software designed with beginners and professionals in mind. You can use it to make beats for free without significant feature limitations.
3. Cakewalk by Bandlab
Cakewalk by BandLab is another DAW that beatmakers should not overlook. Its conventional sequencing workflow becomes particularly advantageous when recording vocals or tangible instruments via a microphone.
Since the late 1980s, Cakewalk has been a steadfast presence in the music production software realm, debuting its first version in 1987. This longevity naturally leads to a well-refined, feature-rich music making tool. It shares most features with industry-standard music creation tools like Cubase, Logic Pro, and Pro Tools.
Cakewalk’s free version, now under the stewardship of BandLab, offers all the necessary features to record, mix, and master your music. As a beatmaker, Cakewalk lets you produce beats, record vocals, and even master your tracks for online sharing and distribution.
Unfortunately, Cakewalk by Bandlab is not compatible with Mac at this moment.
LMMS stands as an entirely free, open-source platform for beat creation. It replicates the efficient workflow of one of the most popular beat maker tools in existence, FL Studio.
For most beatmakers, the standout feature of LMMS is its sequencing workflow, deeply rooted in the methodologies of pioneering beat-making programs like Fruity Loops and Reason. This intuitive loop-based approach provides a streamlined environment for beat creation, unlike traditional sequencer layouts found in other digital audio workstations.
With that in mind, LMMS is a robust free beat maker tool for crafting beats and jamming with your favorite drum samples and virtual instruments.
The capabilities of LMMS can be extended further with third-party VST plugins. You can load drum machines, samplers, and effects to add variety to your music production software arsenal.
LMMS is fully cross-platform, enabling seamless operation across Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is a powerful free beat-making studio right at your fingertips, wherever you may be and whatever OS you’re using.
I tested the latest version of LMMS for Windows, and it performed well. The application itself is relatively lightweight compared to other beat making apps on this list, and there were no stability issues.
GarageBand is a freebie that comes with every Mac, yet it rivals many professional DAWs in terms of intuitiveness. With its easy-to-use interface, GarageBand is the perfect launchpad for aspiring beat makers who want to create music with a tight budget.
However, even seasoned pros can extract some serious juice out of it. Let’s not forget that beats for Pride by Kendrick Lamar and Love in this Club by Usher were made in Garageband.
Despite being as user-friendly as a garage door remote control, GarageBand doesn’t skimp on features.
Apple’s free beat software is an excellent tool for recording music and editing your audio recordings. It also includes a selection of virtual instruments, guitar amps, and stompbox effects to add depth and character to your beats.
The Drummer track is an excellent tool for beat producers who want a virtual percussionist in their studio (minus the drumstick flinging).
However, MIDI editing is somewhat limited, and the app lacks the advanced mixing console found in Garageband’s big brother, Logic Pro.
Still, for the whopping price of zero dollars, we can’t really complain. Apple’s GarageBand is a fantastic beginner beat making software that helps up-and-coming producers get started.
6. Magix Music Maker
If you need a free music making tool that favors usability over advanced functionality, Magix Music Maker is a good place to look. In away, Magix Music Maker is GarageBand for Windows.
Magix distinguishes itself from other free beat making software programs by offering a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. This allows novices to start making music and creating beats in just a few clicks.
The base version, which is free to download, provides a useful library of loops, samples, and virtual instruments. However, this free sound set can’t be expanded with third-party samples and VST plugins.
The Plus and Premium versions of Magix Music Maker offer a significant upgrade with an expanded sample library and additional features, enhancing the user’s creative possibilities.
It is important to note that Magix Music Maker offers only rudimentary MIDI capabilities. If you need a beat software to create custom drum loops and sample chops, look elsewhere.
Despite its drawbacks, Magix Music Maker is a cost-effective piece of software for emerging music producers interested in making beats for free. It is the best tool to try if you want to learn beat making before moving to a professional DAW.
SoundBridge sets itself apart from other beat making DAWs by offering a decent set of features while focusing on simplicity.
Its intuitive interface is designed to make the beat production process seamless, even for those new to the game. The workflow is smooth, with the software’s layout striking a balance between clarity and versatility.
SoundBridge doesn’t skimp on features, either. You get an unlimited number of tracks and a full array of mixing tools at your disposal. The software includes a sequencer, a multi-track mixer, automation, audio editing features, and more.
While testing Soundbridge’s beat making capabilities, I especially liked the RitMix drum machine. It’s packed with enough presets and drum samples to get your rhythm section going when working on new beats from scratch.
Conversely, the lack of advanced MIDI editing features might be a minor bump in the road for advanced beat makers. Yes, you can edit MIDI in Soundbridge, but not on the same level as in professional DAWs.
Also, Soundbridge currently has a very small user base, so it’s hard to find answers online if you bump into beat making workflow issues.
Despite these drawbacks, SoundBridge stands tall as one of the best free beat making software for Mac and Windows.
8. Amped Studio
Amped Studio is a free beat making tool that incorporates desktop-style sequencing and cloud-based storage. This hybrid setup is just perfect for catching those outta-nowhere beat ideas when you’re away from your main studio setup.
You can use Amped Studio to create beats for free in your browser.
The user interface provides the standard elements expected in a DAW, such as audio and MIDI tracks, virtual instruments, and effects. One distinct feature of Amped Studio is its hybrid track functionality, which enables the integration of audio and MIDI on the same track.
The software comes equipped with Amped’s proprietary virtual instruments and effects to help you start composing beats without downloading anything extra.
While Amped Studio offers a free version, several features are only accessible via a subscription. These premium features include additional virtual instruments and effects, extended sound libraries, and the ability to export projects in high-quality formats. The cloud storage capacity for saving projects online is also increased with a subscription.
In summary, Amped Studio is an excellent beat making tool on a budget, though accessing its full potential requires a paid subscription.
Soundtrap is another cloud-based app for music making and podcast creation. It was developed by Spotify, and offers real-time collaboration, allowing multiple users to work on projects concurrently from different locations.
I tested Soundtraps collaboration feature with a friend, and it worked better than expected. Sure, it’s not like you’re in the same room with another producer, but Soundtrap is a decent online beat making software for making music with friends.
Soundtrap’s interface is very streamlined, designed to cater to both novices and experienced users. It loads in your browser, so there’s no need to install anything on your computer.
The free version offers unlimited projects, 5040 loops, 290 one-shots, 440 instruments, and sounds, with access to 150,000 sound effects from freesound.org. Additionally, there is limited access to new sound packs, which are released every two weeks.
However, the free version of Soundtrap has serious limitations. To access premium features such as high-quality audio exports, pitch correction, and a wider range of loops and sounds, a paid subscription is required.
Soundtrap is a versatile cloud-based beat making app with all the core features necessary for basic music composition. While its free edition offers a decent starting point, a subscription is necessary to unlock its full capabilities.
10. Studio One Prime
Studio One Prime is a freeware music software app by PreSonus. You can use it to record and edit audio, but it doesn’t work with virtual instruments and third-party plugins.
With that limitation in mind, Studio One Prime is useful for beat makers who work with hardware samplers and acoustic instruments. You can capture your musical ideas and use Studio One’s audio editing capabilities and built-in effects to create beats.
Studio One Prime is available for free download via PreSonus.
Using free beat making programs as your digital audio workstation
All free beat making programs have some limitations, but you can still use them as your main digital audio workstation. Refer to our list of free beat making apps to find the one which provides all the functionality needed for your workflow.
Once you’re ready to invest in a paid beat making program, consider purchasing one of the commercial DAWs like FL Studio, Ableton Live, and Logic Pro.
The best free DAW for an experienced beat maker
Seasoned beat makers should consider using Waveform Free or Cakewalk by Bandlab as their main platform. Both programs offer advanced functionality for recording and editing audio, MIDI, and automation.
You can also use them to load VST plugins and export your beats in high-quality audio formats. Both apps are available for Mac and PC.
Top free beat maker software for a beginner
Beginner music producers should consider GarageBand and MPC Beats as their main beat making platforms. Both apps are intuitive and will help you get started with music production.
Once you’re ready to invest in a commercial tool, download the free trial editions of software like Ableton Live and FL Studio to see which workflow you prefer.
Become a beat maker on a budget
As with most things, your talent and willingness to practice are more important than your budget.
As you can see in this article, there are many great free beat-making tools on the market. The best way to become a beat maker on a budget is to download one of these free apps and use the software to practice and improve your skills.
So, choose your production platform and compose new beats every day. Your skills will improve more quickly with practice.
The best online beat making programs
If you want to create beats while commuting or traveling, check out online beat making tools like Soundtrap and Amped Studio. These apps work in the cloud, so it’s easy to pick up and continue working on your beats while on the go.
Another option to consider is making apps for mobile phones and tablets. There are numerous beat creation tools for the iPad and iPhone, and you can easily carry them around in your backpack or pocket.
To download free beat making software, visit the developer’s page and get the installer. Installing software is easy if you follow the instructions during the installation process.
To paraphrase a famous photography quote, the best free beat making software is the one that you have with you. This article lists the best apps out there, but it’s up to you to choose the one that suits you best. The best beat making tools right now are MPC Beats, Waveform Free, Cakewalk by BandLab, LMMS, and GarageBand.
Choosing the best software for beat creation really depends on your needs as a producer. Do you like recording acoustic instruments and sampling records, or do you prefer using a MIDI controller to play virtual instruments? Write down a list of must-have features for your workflow and see which app is the best fit for your workflow.
If you’re ready to dive into the world of beat-making, all you really need is a computer and a beat making app. Start off by checking out some beginner tutorials on YouTube and installing free beat making software on your computer.
The difference between a traditional DAW and specialized beat making software is that the latter is optimized for beat production. It all comes down to the workflow, and the software listed in this article will help you start making beats with minimum effort.
For more freeware plugins and instruments, return to our Free VST Plugins page.