6 Best DAWs (For Linux Users)

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  • Check out the best DAWs available for Linux
  • Learn tips for Linux installation
  • We compile the best options for beginners
  • Also, check out our post on the best DAW control surfaces

Linux is an often overlooked platform when it comes to music production. But that doesn’t mean that Linux has nothing to offer.

Open-source software offers several fully-fledged DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) that will allow musicians and creators to make music to their heart’s content in a Linux environment.

Looking online, though, the choices seem endless and more than a little confusing…

Therefore, we have rounded up a few of the most popular and easy-to-use DAWs for Linux so you don’t have to wade through a sea of open-source DAWs on your own.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in.

What Are the Best Daws for Linux?

If you are looking for the best all-around DAW that offers functionality and affordability, you may want to give Cockos REAPER a trial.

For those looking to get into beat-making and electronic music, then LMMS is a good go-to.

But for pros looking for a great DAW and willing to spend a little money, the Bitwig Studio is our premium pick.

Read on for our top 6 picks for the best DAWs for Linux!

  1. Cockos REAPER (Our Pick)
  2. LMMS (Best for Beat-Making)
  3. Bitwig Studio (Best Premium)
  4. Renoise 3
  5. Ardour
  6. Waveform

1. Cockos REAPER (Our Pick)

Our Pick

REAPER's full, flexible feature set and renowned stability have found a home wherever digital audio is used.

Why We Love It:
  • An industry standard DAW
  • Affordable
  • Fantastic drag and drop tool
View Reaper

REAPER is a professional-level DAW that gives you access to all the tools and features you would find in similar DAWs like Cubase or Pro Tools.

It is also fully customizable and costs around $60 (USD). It’s tough not to like this one.


  • Audio and MIDI routing have multichannel support
  • Very efficient and loads super quickly
  • Support for midi software and hardware
  • 60-day unlimited trial


REAPER has come a long way since its launch in 2006. Growing from a small upstart to a fully fleshed-out, pro-level DAW.

Additionally, they offer a full, unlimited 60-day trial and a full license fee that will cost you around $60. You can see that they want you to try what they have to offer.

And Cockos’ product does not disappoint. This is a fairly powerful and extensive DAW with loads of features you would expect to find on software like Cubase or FL Studio.

While the interface can feel a little dated and maybe a little naked if you are used to other software like GarageBand or FL Studio, once you get past that learning curve, REAPER has a lot to offer. 

REAPER allows multiple audio channel recordings of live and MIDI instruments simultaneously. So if you want to record your entire three-piece band at once, as long as you have the mics and interfaces, REAPER has got you.

Once you are ready to edit, REAPER feels a little more intuitive to me. The piano roll feels much cleaner to use than the grid-based ones seen elsewhere.

While REAPER does not come with any preloaded loops or virtual instruments, it does support a wide range of formats (VST, VST3, AU, DirectX, or JS), and many VSTs are available to download.

If you get stuck, there is also a lively online community to offer support and a 40-page user manual to get you started.

All in all, REAPER offers a DAW with all of the necessary tools for multi-track audio recording and editing at a fraction of the price of other DAWs.

Reaper is also available across multiple platforms and is available for Mac, PC, and Linux. That allows you to run the software across OSs and make collaborative work much easier.


  • A very small download of only 11 MB for Linux
  • Fully customizable
  • Runs extremely well on older hardware
  • Great online support community
  • Supports a wide range of plug-ins and virtual instruments


  • The interface initially feels a little dated
  • No useable loops or virtual instruments make the learning curve a bit steeper for newbies

2. LMMS (Best for Beatmaking)

Best for Beatmaking

LMMS is a free, open source, multiplatform digital audio workstation.

Why We Love It:
  • Free to download
  • Comes with virtual instruments, samples, beats & more
  • Very similar to FL studio

LMMS (Linux MultiMedia Studio) has been around since 2005 and is often touted as a free alternative to FL Studio, and anyone familiar with that interface will see why.

This is a feature-rich DAW that is fully open-source and free to download. With lots of built-in features and no cost, this is a great place to start if you want to experiment with audio production.


  • Low hardware requirements
  • Open-source
  • Cost: Free


LMMS is available for Linux, Windows, and macOS. The hardware requirements are modest. It requires a 1GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and a 2-channel sound card.

That means beginners can try their hand at music production without having to put together the money for a higher-spec machine. 

Throw in the fact that it is free, open-source, and has an enthusiastic online community, and you can see why this may be a good place to start for beginners.

The interface you encounter when you open LMMS is similar to FL Studio (so if you are coming from GarageBand, then you should find the switch pretty comfortable, too) and has Song Editor, FX Controller, and Rack Controls windows.

The software also comes bundled with various free plug-ins, built-in synths, a MIDI editor, and a separate editor for live instruments.

However, and this is a big drawback that would be a deal breaker for me, LMMS does not have a live recording feature.

This isn’t a problem if you are making beats, but it will definitely be a problem if you want to make a live demo as a singer/songwriter. Do keep that in mind.

If you want to start your first recording projects, then maybe give LMMS a try.


  • Free to download makes it a brilliant choice as a first DAW
  • Comes with virtual instruments, samples, beats, and a plug-in collection
  • Very similar to FL studio, so it may feel familiar for FL/GarageBand users


  • Does not have a live recording feature

3. Bitwig Studio (Best Premium)

Best Premium

Bitwig is designed to be an instrument for live performances as well as a tool for composing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering.

Why We Love It:
  • Demo available for free download
  • Allows cross-platform updating through Ableton Link
  • Linear multi-track live recording
View Bitwig

One of the best features of Bitwig Studio is that you can download its Linux demo for free. That will give you access to a multi-platform DAW that allows you to collaborate and gives you access to an excellent set of features.

It has a simple user interface/user experience (UI/UX) that we found super newbie friendly.


  • Low latency guaranteed
  • Comprehensive DAW for all you need for mixing and mastering
  • Good audio engineering setup
  • Update Ableton projects through the Ableton link


Bitwig is a fully mainstream DAW, and having support for Linux opens up a world of possibilities for Linux users.

Bitwig was created by Ableton engineers, so if you find the interface familiar, that will be why.

This DAW has many powerful features and allows linear multi-track live recording, as well as able to facilitate clip-based performances seen in electronic music.

Bitwig is a very comprehensive sound editing, mixing, and mastering tool. It is chock full of features and comes with over 90 stock VSTs, effects, and more.

The UI is intuitive and easy to navigate. The low latency guarantee also makes it great for recording live instruments.

To be honest, at this price tag, you would expect full features, and Bitwig certainly has that. If you are looking for a high-quality mainstream DAW and the price isn’t a concern, then Bitwig is your absolute best premium option.


  • Demo available for free download
  • Allows cross-platform updating through Ableton Link
  • Linear multi-track live recording
  • Can facilitate clip-based performances for electronic music


  • The price will be too high for some

4. Renoise 3


Renoise is a digital audio workstation. It lets you compose, edit and record production-quality audio using a music tracker-based approach.

Why We Love It:
  • Affordable
  • Innovative editing
  • Efficient workflow
View Renoise

Renoise 3 is a great option for those looking for a slightly different approach to music production. And at an affordable price, this is a great option for Linux users looking for a balance of value and features in an innovative package.


  • Top-down tracker
  • Plug-in grabber
  • Cost: From around $75

Renoise 3 takes its cue from older sound editing software and uses a top-down format rather than the linear one traditionally seen in other DAWs.

Renoise’s approach allows the music production to be broken down into “grids” that can be arranged into “sequences” to create a complete song.

It features an efficient workflow that is tracker based. Its grid approach allows for easy editing because it breaks down the engineering process into these grids, and the Pattern Matrix easily makes the immediate edits obvious.

With a price tag of $75, your initial investment is not high, and you have access to an incredibly powerful and unusual DAW.


  • Affordable
  • The top-down grid feature allows innovative editing


  • The interface may not work for those who want a more traditional DAW

5. Ardour 


Ardour is an open source, collaborative effort of a worldwide team including musicians, programmers, and professional recording engineers. 

Why We Love It:
  • Clean interface
  • Supports multiple export formats
  • Inline plug-in control
View Ardour

Another pro-level DAW for Linux, Ardour, is open-source and available to download at affordable prices or free if you are willing to do the work.

It features high-end DAW functionality like latency compensation and multi-track recording and editing. Ardour is worth a look for Linux-based sound production.


  • Full-featured pro-level DAW
  • Multiple plug-in support
  • Prices from $4 a month


If you are going to try Ardour software, then the easiest way is to download it directly from them.

You can download the Ready-to-Run Program, which you will need to pay for, and the Source Code, which is free. 

Thankfully, download costs start from $4 monthly for a low-cost subscription to $50 monthly for an institutional subscription.

Ardour is open-source, so you can build your own if you have the skill or install it via your distro repository if it is available. 

Ardour has all the fully fleshed-out features you would expect in a DAW, supports multi-track recording and editing, has latency compensation, and supports a wide array of VST formats (LADSPA, LV2, and native Linux VST.)

Ardour is flexible and offers unlimited multichannel tracks and editing tools.


  • Clean interface
  • Supports multiple export formats
  • Inline plug-in control


  • Plug-in options could be overwhelming
  • Linux version requires JACK to run

6. Waveform


Waveform Free is one of the world's best, fully featured, completely unlimited free DAW for all music creators. 

Why We Love It:
  • Available as a free and paid version
  • Interface is customizable
  • Includes 4OSC and Micro Drum Sampler
View Waveform

Waveform is an intuitive and easy-to-use DAW that also enjoys a lot of mainstream use and has Linux support. It offers a wide array of tools and can be used for live mixing and recording.


  • Available to download for free with paid options
  • Includes virtual instrument 4OSC
  • Includes Micro Drum Sampler


Waveform is a robust DAW that features all the tools needed for music recording and editing, and beat-making.

It is an infinitely customizable DAW that allows you to work on truly complex projects, as it has no artificial track limit. You can get as complex as your nerdy heart desires.

Waveform comes bundled with two virtual instruments, the 4OSC, and the Micro Drum Sampler.

4OSC is a powerful synth with a simple-to-use UI, while the Micro Drum Sampler allows you to build multiple kits. You couldn’t ask for an easier-to-use interface than Waveform’s drag-and-drop model.

The free version offers more than enough power to get you started, but they have premium offers, with the full pro version costing $149.

The paid option gives you access to more premium features, such as presets that are not available in the free version.


  • Available as a free and paid version
  • Interface is customizable
  • Includes 4OSC and Micro Drum Sampler


  • DBE download is available for Ubuntu, but other distros require a Flatpack package


Can You Run Ableton on Linux?

Not natively, no. You can get Ableton to run using WINE on Linux, but there are loads of open-source alternatives available that don’t have the added technical headaches.

Why Is Linux A Good Operating System For Music Production?

One of Linux’s key selling points as an operating system for music production is that it is incredibly lean. The OS is not resource-heavy, so you can dedicate more of those resources to your DAW.

If your OS is not simply using 2 GB of RAM to run, then you will likely have a smoother experience running the DAW on a Linux machine with the same specs.

Before you go, check out our guide to FL Studio vs Ableton Live. Which DAW is right for you?