Waveform 12 Free Released (Digital Audio Workstation)


Tracktion Corporation releases Waveform Free 12, an updated version of its free digital audio workstation for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Waveform Free is one of the best free DAWs at the moment, along with Cakewalk by Bandlab. It’s not easy to decide which of the two is the best, but the latest update brings Waveform Free a few steps closer to the throne.

Like its predecessors, Waveform 12 Free offers all the features needed to produce and master a track from scratch. It’s a free version of Tracktion’s flagship Waveform software, but there are no demo-like limitations in terms of functionality. You won’t experience any timeouts, track count limitations, rendering restrictions, 3rd party plugin limitations, or similar nags found in other “free” editions of paid commercial DAWs.

Waveform Free can load third-party plugins in VST2, VST3, and AU formats, so you can keep using your favorite mixing tools and virtual instruments even if you decide to switch DAWs.

Which brings us to the all-important question – what has changed in Waveform 12 Free?

The latest version of Tracktion’s free DAW comes with an improved GUI which incorporates high-resolution graphics, a new file browser (with tags, favorites, and smart content lists), and a unified properties/actions panel. The refreshed GUI certainly looks better but also brings valuable workflow enhancements.

In the DSP department, Waveform 12 Free has a completely rewritten audio engine with improved CPU performance, fifteen refreshed audio effects, six new mixing utilities, a new rompler instrument, and various workflow improvements. We all enjoy using VST plugins, but it never hurts to have a DAW with powerful native effects and instruments.

All things considered, Waveform 12 Free is now more feature-packed and intuitive than ever. Waveform Free was always a powerful free DAW, but the latest edition provides a complete package. It is the perfect starting point for beginners who want to produce music using freeware tools.

Speaking of which, the home screen now includes a Tutorials panel where new users can find a range of helpful videos to speed up the learning process. The DAW also comes with a set of project templates so that beginners can quickly jump in and start recording their songs.

To be fair, though, Waveform 12 Free is far from a beginner-only DAW. It offers a variety of advanced music production and sound design tools, such as the Plugin Racks modular environment and the Pattern Generator for experimenting with sequences and chords.

Another aspect worth pointing out is that Waveform 12 Free is fully cross-platform, which makes it an excellent playground for collaboration. You can share projects with your friends regardless of the OS.

More info: Waveform 12 Free

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


    • Yasss!! Thankyou Tomislav for covering this! Feels like such a momentous upgrade!
      Always Love seeing my beLoved Waveform Free getting moar Love! (from the developer side as well) :D

  1. Curious about the new Rompler, how many sounds does it feature. I guess I will try to install Waveform 12 to a laptop I use with Linux Mint

    • William gabourel


      I would love to give this daw a go. Am still using my old cakewalk sonar professional and sure I want to go to band lab. Thanks for your kind offer. Am using windows.

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      That’s a good question. Would like to know this, too. Perhaps Tracktion will offer expansions for the Rompler?

  2. Yes, the battle for the throne of the best free DAW just got interesting and intense.
    I have downloaded legal copies of about 18 DAWs and read manuals and watched tutorials and used them to compose. Along the line I did fall in love with Cubase, Ableton Live, FL Studio, Mixcraft, Studio One and Cakewalk. However, of all these DAWs I tested, Waveform was the one that really surprised me the most. It has a totally different workflow and graphics. I tried it and became addicted to it. It’s was as if they know my kind of workflow and made the DAW just for me.

    This new update to the free version makes it the best free DAW out there, in my opinion. In fact, some pro users who haven’t upgraded to the latest version yet are even getting jeolous of this latest free version. It now has a nice Spectrum Analyzer, EQ8, DJ EQ, Natural and Plate Reverb, Distortion, MIDI Note Names for drum mapping, searching via the browser is now very easy, and appearance wise, it looks better than before.
    You no longer have to drag the plus sign from the top to insert a plug-in on a track, every track now has that plug-in insert option on it.

    One of the greatest news is that the master track can now have a maximum of 16 plugins, it was four at first (even in the pro version).

    Also, the experimental audio engine is now a finished product which works well with a lot of tracks and sends. Good job done by the Tracktion team.

    It seems to me that it’s true that the best things in life are FREE. Go check it out.

    Thank you, Tomislav.

    • It’s purely a matter of compatibility. I work on different DAWs at the same level of experience. When I get bored with one, I switch to another. On one I write in certain genres, because it’s faster for me to complete some tasks for this particular genre there. On the other, I write complex musical phrases, because the interface contributes to this …. And so on

    • Fully agreed & seconded, you nailed it concerning the UI & improvements, nothing much further to add! :)

      (Except i will add, it’s so nice to now have native support for many small-but-crucial functions such as “summing to mono”, or low-cutting unneeded sub-bass frequencies, or even checking the frequency spectrum, without having to hunt for good 3rd-party free addons.)

  3. Peter Dillon-Parkin


    Good points about some DAWS just doing things better than others. I use a mixture of Studio One and Reaper. Reaper has a better workflow for me, and S1 appeals to the detail obsession I have, but I’m in the market for anything that might be faster from the “just get it down POV. Anyone’s experience would be helpful. I will probably try this, but the difficulty with trying things out is that it must be subtracted from already limited time with music.

  4. for those that actually have a daw already (i assume it’s most of us), is there still worthwhile looking into this, to maybe use this in addition to our already main daw?

    • Michal Ochedowski


      I recently tested one free DAW. Been putting it off for a long time and my anticipation was quite high. It took me less than 20 minutes to decide it wasn’t for me. Point is – if you have some spare time, check it out. Waveform’s installation is quite clean and very fast, so it shouldn’t take you a lot of time to get going.

  5. Thanks for the info guys. I could have saved hundreds of dollars on plugins if I knew of your site sooner. I will be looking up this waveform DAW. I’ve noticed how the price for certain DAW’s escalate as you add more features and unlimited track options.

    • The first lesson in making music with computers in 2022, is that there is no need to spend money on plugins or DAWs. With so much quality free stuff now, even “try before you buy” is a thing of the past.

  6. Michael Jackson


    Waveform 12 Free works on Windows 7.

    I am too used to Reaper’s workflow for this to work for me. However, the developers did a great job.
    That it is free is amazing.

    But I did buy Collective for $30. Really love that synth.

  7. Both Cakewalk and Waveform 12 are tied for me as the best free DAWs.
    The only complaint I have is that Waveform 12 doesn’t have built in 32/64 bit Bridging, and it takes time to insert a rack then manually add required tracks to configurate multi-outs, while Cakewalk ask users if they want to have the multi-outs auto configurate.
    Though not free but Reaper is still the one that works best for me, especially its audio track editing features. Not sure if I can edit audio tracks with Cakewalk or Waveform 12. Anyone tried?

      • I can’t get it to work on Linux version of Waveform 12 Free, can’t select input, or drag the instrument folder onto the track.

        • Michal Ochedowski


          I’m on Windows, so it’s a topic for someone that’s also using Linux. Perhaps on this forum you will find some clues: h ttps://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=22

          • I am also on Windows using FL Studio. I thought I would try out Waveform on a spare computer I use with Linux. My conclusion is that I still prefer Bitwig on that platform.

        • Forrest Leeson


          I have no trouble on Linux dragging the 4OSC plugin from the Search Pane’s Instruments folder to the plugin hosting area to the right of the track (where the pan/volume and level meter plugins are).

          To investigate input-to-4OSC issues go to the Settings tab and look under MIDI Devices to make sure yours are enabled.

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