Best free DAW buddy with Scaler?

I’m thinking compatibility. If you have some experiences in using some free DAWs with Scaler, which one works best with Scaler? How good would you rank Cakewalk?

Hi @greenybark

I have had Cakewalk (the original name, which got changed to Sonar, and then back to Cakewalk) for over 25 years, so it it reasonably fully functioned, comparable with Cubase etc,
The only other freebie (or almost freebie) I have had any other experience of is Reaper. This is highly configurable, but if you are not an experienced DAW user, IMHO Cakewalk would be better.

Gibson, who owned it previously did not really push it forward, but the new owners, Bandlab, seem to push out routine updates.

I can confirm that Scaler runs in Cakewalk


I agree. I have had Cakewalk (also before it changed the name to Sonar) and it is free, yes; but i have uninstalled it. I prefer Reaper. It is not difficult to learn; In addition, on their page you have access to updates and many videos to help you


I also agree.
Reaper is my DAW of choice.
It is free for 60 days, but you can still use it afterward with a small nag screen.
I used it for about 2 months before I spent the $60 to purchase it.
Kenny Gioia’a Videos on Youtube are amazing. There is nothing about Reaper that you can not learn from his videos.


Ableton Live Lite often added to MIDI keyboards (or other hardwares), even cheap ones

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Another Reaper user here. It works fine with Scaler and although not legally free, with its low price , it is almost as free. Recommended!


Bitwig is the perfect DAW for Scaler as it lets you just slot Scaler directly in front of the VST you want to control on the same track, no messing around with complicated routing / extra tracks etc like in Ableton. Plus on the full version you get a bunch of MIDI note effects that have endless permutations. You can get the 8 Track version free from CM, link is at r/bitwig.

Otherwise if you want a full DAW for cheap / free then I would second Reaper or Cakewalk as many have suggested.


Wow you guys have a helpful and vibrant community forum here. Thanks :slight_smile:

Ya I was torn between Cakewalk and Reaper. Both are technically free.

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I use Cakewalk (have been for MANY years) and it works great with Scaler2.


Another vote for Sonar/Cakewalk. No experience with Reaper but Cakewalk is full featured and I use it exclusively with Scaler


Cakewalk user here. Scaler works perfectly in Cakewalk. This is a powerful fully featured DAW which receives regular updates from BandLab.


Tracktion Waveform is another DAW that has a completely free option and is what I recommend to all my students or early career folks I mentor. Although I mostly use Nuendo, I will still often will go back to Waveform because the UI is lightweight and fast. I often use Waveform to record multi-track for live events or location recording for video because it’s very light on the CPU and simple to use.
Scaler works well within Waveform.

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Interesting. I never noticed Waveform before. Looks like as a free DAW, it complements well with Scaler:

as it doesn’t make any beats…

I’m curious. Ableton and FL lean towards dance music. Logic for scoring to picture. Is FL the beginner version of Ableton? Logic the Mac version for film composers? What are Reaper and Cakewalk?

I don’t care about the learning curve.

I don’t think so. FL Studio’s capabilities are parallel to Ableton’s. Not sure why people think FL as a DAW is targeted toward dance music. True, a lot of its users are active in that genre, but nothing in FL’s workflow biases the DAW towards dance music production anymore than Ableton. Personally I find the user interface of FL Studio much more intuitive than Ableton’s. FL has a more skeuomorphic approach to UI design, versus Ableton’s more somber technical design.
And also the MIDI routing is much more flexible IMHO.

That all being said, I am not a FL Studio fanboy - at the end of the day I use Bitwig more than any other DAW :grin:

Dance music? :astonished:
I used Ableton Live since the beginning, and never made a dance tune :cold_face:

I think that this categorization of DAWs is nonsensical: as far as you have some lanes available and relevant plugins you can do everything but the :coffee:

Yes, I agree. FL and Ableton both of them have advanced pricing options. I am not a user to both but I do not doubt they can be parallel in functions. And yes there are always plug-ins. Too many of them I must say!! :slight_smile:

It’s just, the creators of DAW first made the DAW for themselves I believe. They probably have their own biases in musical genres. Then the team grows more genres come in. That can show in the subtle designs of the software. Well if I can pinpoint some genre specific workflow I wouldnt’t be writing here.

I cannot tell about Reaper and Cakewalk. Cakewalk has a rather… I guess, a smaller user base. Reaper? It’s huge! Maybe that’s why I cannot tell though. Which one of them gears toward dance music? Which orchestral? When I am writing music with a beat- well if FL is free- I would pick FL over Cakewalk and Reaper for example. If both are free, I go straight to Ableton.

And when you are in a room with DJs you don’t want to be the only one not using FL, or Ableton… It’s not about functionalities. It’s the conversations.

Hello @greenybark ,

It is not a DAW that is related to some style. Every DAW can be used for any kind of music and each of them can do it fine.
I compose from orchestral to progressive music, passing by new age, electronic and classic rock. In every DAW, you can create a template to put the instruments you need. Accordingly, you create a template for orchestral, for example: one track for 1st violin, another for 2nd violin, then one for viola, celli, bass, horns, trumpets, etc. and add to each of them the appropriate instrument.
Create a template for country: banjo, bass, drum, accordion, etc. You can do the same for any style.
And then - record and play. And enjoy, of course!

OK, just to show you an example of orchestral music template:

I used only the track for instruments I needed in this project and removed some I did not want to use.

When recorded, this gives my project with recorded MIDI:

This is my setup in Reaper. I customized track colors (you predefine them in template), background, to see the beats, sections etc.

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Regarding Kenny’s videos, I 100% agreed.

Yes finding tutorials for Cakewalk was a real pain… in comparison to Reaper.

Ableton Live Lite is going to be included in the February issue of Computer Music, out soon! Also included in digital copies.