Best DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for Linux


With a digital audio workstation (DAW) you can record, mix and make music. There are several mainstream options for commercial use that are often considered the industry standard.

Full-fledged music DAWs like Nuendo / Cubase from Steinberg, ProTools, Ableton Live and FL Studio are the most popular (and most expensive) solutions. However, they are not available for Linux.

Therefore, when it comes to Linux, you’ll have to make different choices based on the options available. And here I want to help you point out the best music DAWs for Linux.

What to Consider Before Using a DAW for Linux

Even though you can get the same result as in a Windows / macOS system, there are a few pointers you should know before you decide to use a DAW for Linux.

If you are a pro and have used Linux, you may already know these. But for new Linux users, this could be a help in making a decision:

  • Many audio interfaces do not officially support Linux. Hence, you should check compatibility and the audio setup process before you begin.
  • Popular audio plugins may not work directly. You’ll have to look for alternatives or try using Wine (which is a time-consuming process).
  • Plug and play may not be the case. Manual setup is required for a variety of tasks

Overall, there are a few requirements for using a DAW on Linux. It may not be that easy to install and start making music. So you need to be aware of this before choosing Linux as your preferred platform for a DAW.

Note that there are several audio editors available for Linux, but not all of them can be used as a full-fledged DAW.

Now that you know the caveats, let me mention the best Linux DAWs available.

Some of the applications mentioned here are not open source. They are listed here because they are available on Linux and the article focuses on Linux.

Top Linux DAWs

Although there may be multiple DAWs available for Linux, we’ve narrowed our list to popular options to ensure you get the best hardware / software compatibility along with an easy-to-use interface.

1. Passion

Ardor is the most popular open source DAW for Linux. It’s also available for Windows and macOS.

It is a suitable option for musicians, sound engineers, and composers. You will get all the essential skills to edit a score and record / mix a song.

It comes out of the box with multiple plugin support. However, you have to manually add them to the mixer by adding them through the plugin manager. You can also add external VST3 plugins by specifying the path for them. Ardor also supports a video timeline if you want to extract or sync audio from it.

Install Ardor on Linux

Unlike other premium DAWs, you don’t have to pay a high price to access it. All you have to do is get a subscription for just $ 1 / month and you will still be able to access the program and its updates as long as your subscription is active.

If you’re not interested in a subscription, you can opt for one-time payments that give you access to minor updates along with the next major version (depending on the amount you pay).

Best of all, you also get access to the development (or night) builds if you’d like to test out upcoming features and improvements.

For Linux distributions, it offers a .run file that you can simply start from the terminal.


lmms daw

LMMS is a free, open source DAW available for Linux and other platforms.

Compared to some other DAWs, LMMS may not have the specializations a professional needs.

However, it should have some functionality if you start making music or need something without having to purchase / subscribe to anything. In other words, it’s a suitable song editor DAW.

If you are coming from another DAW on a different platform, the user interface may not be comfortable. But it’s easy to use once you get used to it.

It also supports piano sheet music labels to help you with your music experience.

Install LMMS on Linux

You have the option to download an AppImage file to work with any Linux distribution of your choice. It’s pretty easy to configure, so all you have to do is specify a working directory to get started.

3. Bitwig Studio

bitwig studio linux

Bitwig Studio is one of the most popular mainstream music DAWs that supports Linux too. Compared to other DAWs on this list, Bitwig offers better cross-platform support and hardware integration.

Even if you stick to Linux for music production, cross-platform support to pick up where you left off is also important to some.

Bitwig contains a variety of creative tools to manipulate audio files and signals. Thus it is perfectly suitable for a professional requirement.

Install Bitwig Studio on Linux

It offers a traditional DEB package for installation. You can use it for free in a “demo mode” in which you cannot save or export anything. Bitwig Studio is also available as a Flatpak on Flathub.

To unlock all features, you have to buy it for $ 399.


reaper linux

Reaper is an affordable DAW for Linux. It offers a simple user interface with all essential functions.

It may not offer many out-of-the-box plugins and features when compared to Bitwig Studio, but it should be good enough for most common needs like modulation, automation, using VST plugins, and more.

While I haven’t personally used it, Reaper claims it is very customizable and has good compatibility with a wide variety of hardware.

Install Reaper on Linux

Unlike other options, Reaper provides an archived tar package that you need to extract and install. It contains a script file. So when you extract it, open the Terminal in that folder or navigate to the folder in the Terminal and then run the script with the command below


When you install it, the script generates another script so you can uninstall it as well. So make sure you choose the folder carefully when you install it and make sure you can find it if you need to.

You can use it for free with no restrictions for up to 60 days before you have to buy it. So, I’d say that’s a pretty good thing if you want to test things out thoroughly before buying a DAW.

The cost for personal use is $ 60 and if you need it for commercial use, it will cost you $ 225.

Wrap up

Unfortunately, you won’t find many digital audio workstation options for Linux. You can try running some of the popular music DAWs with Wine, but I’m not sure of the success rate.

In any case, the ones mentioned here should be more than sufficient for the majority of users.

Which DAW do you prefer for music production? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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