Universal Audio’s LUNA Digital Audio Workstation Is Now FREE (macOS)


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)


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Liam is a producer, mixing engineer, and compressor aficionado. When not mixing, he can be found pretending to play guitar, as he has been doing for the last 20 years.


  1. Logic is more or less built into the Mac platform, so it must be difficult for other DAW vendors to earn a living on it.

  2. Careful with this one, in the Gearspace forum a commenter pointed at some serious privacy issues with free LUNA. The rep was in that same thread. I wanted to share the link, but I couldn’t find it!

    The issue is that the UA store in LUNA is recording what you are doing with your pc, and there is no real way to turn it off.

  3. The old “here’s a free fish bowl, now buy the fish” idea, works every time. Nice that UA has opened up a bit with their bundles and freebies. Thanks!

    • Not really. You can still use any normal plugin with it. So you can have plenty of fish. If you want UAD fish than yeah, of course you’ll need to pay an extra. But not at all the situation you describe.

  4. “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.”

    So, even it’s the best, the fact that it’s not cross-platform somehow makes it not really the best? That’s a confusing statement. Whether or not it’s the best should be based on features and usability, not which OSes it will run on.

    • You don’t have to pay extra to use any plugins in Luna. I’m honestly not even sure what you’re asking here. There are Luna extensions which only work in Luna like API and Neve Summing, Studer and Ampex extensions, shape and the API console emulation. But any other plugins that are AU format will work in Luna without any problems or additional costs.

  5. I’m on windows. But registered anyways. Maybe in the future a windows version comes out and the activation code is still good.

  6. Everything is great; however, the graphics are a bit buggy for me on an M1 MacBook Air. The way it handles MIDI is a dealbreaker. If I decide to use it as my main DAW, I’ll create the MIDI on another DAW, maybe Ableton Live Lite, and then port it over to Luna. I hope that one day they change how to deal with MIDI and give it a separate window.

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