Cakewalk DAW free

Hi all.

For anyone that is looking for a free DAW that can import a video file as well, Cakewalk by Bandlab is now free:

Here is a Sonic Talk special by Nick from Sonic State:

Oh yeah… i think it is Windows only… :}

Have fun!


Bit odd how they just did a feature on it as it’s been free for about the last 2 years since Bandlab bought it from Gibson. Still very good and the CAL language is really useful for writing your own scripts.


Hi Mark, yes it seems I’m a bit late to this news. As while scrolling through the other YT recommended video’s, I noticed much older video articles about it :smiley:

So then I guess this presentation is somewhat still useful for those like me that were lagging behind on the developments of Sonar going back to Cakewalk.

I wasn’t really in the market for a different DAW, but like to nose around anyway to try out what is new and what has changed.

I assume that it’s not “Free” as in Open Source?

definitely not open-source

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It’s the modern “Free”, it’s “Free” as in “You won’t like it when we push a mandatory update messing up all your projects with only 2 weeks notice once we finally decide how we’re gonna move forward with monetization and/or sunsetting the brand, and you’re Free to go cry about it”

Feels like an horrible gamble to get started with it today. Formerly paid products going “Free” after an acquisition don’t sound like good news if you value being able opening your projects in 10 years.


Free but not as a free beer… you need an internet connexion and it’s not really free since you have to buy components (EQ, compressor, etc.). It’s a kind of Garage Band Extended and yes, only Windows…

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Totally agree. Sort of the worst of both worlds.

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I’m sort of hoping that if it’s bandcamp doing it they would have good reason to make a good free (as in freedom) DAW available. Having said that I don’t really know what else Bandcamp do.

Any software that’s not specifically about internet functionality and requires internet access to work is broken as designed. I find it horrid enough when major documentation exists as only a wiki or web site, but presuming 24/7 broadband for use is poor (or evil) thinking.


I just left windows (and my beloved FL studio) because of all of this, it´s linux only from now on. Will take a while to get rid of withdrawal symptoms, so I’ll keep one installation, also for some synth config tools, but in the long run I think it´ll be worth it.

Pretty sure BandLab not Bandcamp bought it?


Well, that obviously changes my assessment of the situation as well.

True fact, when cakewalk came out it was an (almost) exact copy of Sequencer Plus.

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Yes, sorry my typo. Ipad and it’s guessing games with what I’m trying to say. It’s Bandlab.

What I would say about the ‘free’ nature of it is I’d probably steer people towards getting a cheap personally licensed copy of Reaper instead because that’s being continuously developed whereas there’s really not been much done on Cakewalk since the last version of Sonar.

I was thinking the same thing. Also, although I am not proficient with either of them, I find when I really need to learn something with Reaper it’s not too bad, but I find Cake completely impenetrable.

another free DAW is Tracktion Waveform

there is the free (stripped down) version and a paid (feature rich) version for 69,-$

there are editions of Waveform for MacOS, Windows, Ubuntu, and Raspberry Pi

Not true, Cakewalk has been continually updated since Bandlab acquired it. There has been 4 updates so far this year, and 9 last year. The current version of Cakewalk is significantly better than Sonar, and the same CTO now works for Bandlab and has been involved in all of the improvements. The only downside for many, is that it is Windows only.

This is the reality with any software, and this is why most industry people, even on the undying dinosaur Pro Tools, will archive their projects properly in WAV, with FX tracks and all, so they are future proof and will play back identically in any DAW for as long as the format exists. Never trust software. Plugins and DAWs come and go all the time, so it’s up to the user to keep the masters intact. Less flexible than the project file, but it works.


I’ve even noticed this in Rack with developers introducing breaking changes.

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