Which free daw do you recommend for production, mix and mastering?

Zrythm, Ardour, fami, lmms etc.

Very weird question to ask here, or on any forum of any of the mentioned DAW’s. Do you expect the Ardour folks to either brag about themselves or be falsely modest…?

Why don’t you ask or look on a more open and unbiased forum? A good example if you are a Linux User is linuxmusicians.com, there are already several similar threads there and you will get feedback from a large variety of Users of multiple DAWs including some you may have never heard of (Qtractor, Reaper, MuSE etc…)

For the record my workflow is 90% Audio based and I have used Ardour for recording, mixing and mastering for about 15 years and produced several albums and numerous music videos for myself and others, for Audio production it is second to none… To be brutally honest compared to many of it’s contemporaries it’s MIDI workflow and features are below standard and need a lot of work. That’s not to say you can’t do MIDI work with Ardour but it is challenging compared to other more advanced MIDI sequencers (in my reasonably informed opinion).


If your workflow isn’t heavy on MIDI then use Ardour.

I agree that for a dedicated DAW forum like this one, this kind of question is probably not the right place for getting objective answers. But I would easily say this in any neutral forum when considering free DAWs:

For all kinds of audio work, choose Ardour. I think it’s excellent for recording, editing, and mixing. That part of the answer was the easy one IMO.

When we speak of MIDI, choose something that suits your workflow and that can be synced to Ardour if possible. Of the free ones, I prefer Rosegarden. I have no idea if it’s the best free MIDI sequencer or not, but it’s the tool I know and therefore I’m effective when using it.

Ardour is not the right MIDI tool for me yet, but I find it useful when importing (almost) finished MIDI tracks and working in parallel with the audio tracks. In my MIDI workflow, I use a mix of live recordings, overdubs, punches, and MIDI programming with mouse clicks. Here, I find some other DAWs more streamlined to work with.

It makes sense to do the production with Zyrthm and mix and master it on Ardour.

it sounds like by “production” you specifically mean electronic/midi based production and composition. which is pretty much what all of us are saying. for those of us that use microphones and instruments, ardour really is an excellent a to z software.

By fami do you mean this?
“FamiStudio is very simple music editor for the Nintendo Entertainment System or Famicom. It is targeted at both chiptune artists and NES homebrewers.”

That isn’t a DAW. If it really is only for editing NES music then it isn’t even in the same category as LMMS, which also isn’t a DAW, but at least is a general music production tool.

This is how I think of audio software heritage, and the software tends to be more competent at the pieces which came earliest in the heritage:

Ardour and derivatives, ProTools and similar:

  • Replacement for multi-track recorder
  • Replacement for multi-track and mixer
  • Replacement for multi-track and mixer and effects devices
  • Replacement for multi-track and mixer with effects, and MIDI recorder/sequencer

MuSE, Cubase, and similar

  • MIDI sequencer
  • MIDI sequencer with built-in synthesizers
  • MIDI sequencer and simple audio recorder
  • sequencer with recorder and simple mixer
  • sequencer with recorder, mixer, and effects

So one question to ask is how deep do you want to go into the different aspects? If you are willing to put in a lot of time learning different tools, you can pick the best tool for whichever task you are working on, be that MIDI sequencing, recording live MIDI performance, audio recording, mixing, etc. and move the MIDI data and audio data between applications depending on what stage of the process you are in.

If you don’t want to devote that much time then consider an all-in-one tool, and pick the tool based on which features are most important to you. If audio recording and editing flexibility is most important, and MIDI features are less important, then pick a tool which has a long audio heritage. If MIDI recording, sequencing, editing, etc. are most important, then pick a tool with a long MIDI heritage.
Among those you will either have to try out a few and see which seems to fit your preferences best, or watch a lot of YouTube tutorial videos to see how experienced users make use of the different applications to see if one in particular makes more sense to your way of working than others.

Among the applications you listed you left off QTractor, which is another combined MIDI and audio application. I consider it slightly more MIDI focused, but it did have MIDI and audio from the beginning, so you may find the integration between MIDI work flow and audio work flow a little more streamlined there.

Zrythm is only about 3 years old as far as I can tell, and is currently in beta working toward a stable 1.0 release. You would probably have to go ask on the Zrythm forums to find very many people familiar with that, it is too new to have many users yet.
The screenshots look impressive, but there are lots of details to get right in an application like that. For something that new with such large aspirations you will probably just have to try it yourself to see how well it works.

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5 posts were split to a new topic: Automation Curves - Part II

Hi there!
My first impression is that this is a typically troll question.

If not, my proposal is
1.) Rosegarden for MIDI work and simple playback of audio files for checking the song structure, timing, lyrics, … and then
2.) Ardour for recording, editing, mastering the audio

Greetings, Michael

Well, I come from using studio one on windows and I can say that Ardour holds it own in comparison with it. I am somewhat new to linux and even newer to linux DAW but I checked out bitwig and didnt like it. Ardour is imho far superior and closer to something like pro tools or studio one and the likes. I just finished mixing and mastering my first song on Ardour and it turned out great. So based on my use and limited research Ardour is by far more advanced than anything I came across for linux. Thats my 2 cents anyway. It did include some midi stuff and I didnt find it any more difficult than studio one to record at least.

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