Universal Audio now offers its LUNA digital audio workstation for free. The software is currently only compatible with macOS and requires a free iLok user account..
We have a list of the best free digital audio workstations, and LUNA is the latest contender for the top spot. However, it is only available for macOS, so it still can’t compete with the cross-platform Waveform Free.
It’s been an interesting year for Universal Audio. I will admit I never thought I would see the day they set their plugins free for native users, let alone give away a compressor for the low cost of nothing.
To push things even further, you can snag their DAW for free right now. LUNA was released to some fanfare back in 2020 but was hindered by the requirement of some UAD hardware to use it.
That requirement is long gone, with the only caveat now being that you need a Mac to use it. So, what do you get when you download LUNA on your Mac?
After seeing the news release earlier today, I decided to check it out for myself. I’m a big fan of some featured plugins touted as part of LUNA, so I figured it was at least worth a gander.
Now, I’m a bit disappointed that I have to pay a bit extra just to utilize the API Vision and 2500 as native plugins within that ecosystem, but that’s all good.
They load just fine in the DAW as it is, and I’m not in the mood to drop $200 to see if I like a DAW. My initial impressions are fairly strong.
I’m not huge on how LUNA handles MIDI, but I’m spoiled by a combination of fastidious groove box usage and integrating that workflow into Bitwig. As far as a mixing environment, I’m heavily debating dabbling with LUNA in lieu of my beloved Reaper.
It might not be as endlessly tweakable as Reaper, but I did find some enjoyment in mixing a track on LUNA this afternoon. The workflow is fast, and the interface heavily reminds me of something like the Harrison DAW without the extra cludge.
If you’re on a Mac, it is certainly worth a look. It might prove to be your default environment for recording live tracks, mixing, or mastering. I’m sure I’ll grow to adjust to the MIDI workflow at some point.
Anyway, there isn’t a definite expiration date to download LUNA. You’ll need a Mac computer, as previously stated, and a free iLok account.
Download: LUNA (FREE / Pro Bundle $199)