10 Reasons You Should Use Cakewalk by Bandlab in 2022

While I’ve used other DAWs like ProTools and Logic in the past, I always find myself coming back to Cakewalk. That’s not to say those are bad programs. Far from it!

But I’ve been using Cakewalk for about eight years now. It’s been my DAW of choice for many reasons. Not only do I consider it to be the best free DAW for Windows, but I truly think of it as one of the best DAWs on the market today.

Here are just a few reasons you should consider using Cakewalk by Bandlab in 2022:

Reasons to Use Cakewalk by Bandlab

1. It’s a professional-level DAW

Cakewalk has been around for over 30 years at this point. In that time, it’s developed into one of the most powerful pieces of audio software available.

It has all the essential tools you need to create polished and professional-sounding music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more. This includes a huge range of built-in editing tools, effects, instruments, and other plugins.

Cakewalk has been used by Grammy-winning composers and producers, audio engineers, and millions of other musicians in all sorts of applications.

2. It’s completely free

That’s right. Free.

Prior to 2018, Cakewalk was a premium paid software that cost up to $500. But since being acquired by Bandlab, it’s been made free.

Is there a catch? Not really. 

There aren’t any restrictions or limitations being imposed on you. And this isn’t a ploy to get you to buy a more expensive version down the road.

No strings attached. Just an awesome program that lets you make music.

Best Free DAW for Windows
Cakewalk by Bandlab
This is a full-fledged, professional DAW for Windows that can handle everything you’ll ever need.
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3. Powerful audio recording and editing tools

If there’s one thing a DAW should do well, it’s to record and edit audio. And Cakewalk is no slouch.

Connect any microphone or audio interface, and you can start recording high-quality audio right away. Then, edit your audio with advanced tools that let you adjust volume, stretch sounds, slice it, loop it, and so on. 

4. Powerful MIDI tools

I primarily work with sample libraries and MIDI instruments, so a DAW with a robust set of MIDI controls is a must.

Cakewalk has everything you need to edit, program, and automate MIDI channels at an advanced level. You can enter notes individually with the click of a mouse, or play them using a MIDI controller.

5. The ProChannel is a joy to mix with

Cakewalk comes with a pretty large suite of mixing tools and plugins right out of the box. A lot of these come in the form of the ProChannel.

Essentially, the ProChannel houses a lot of modules used for mixing and effects:

  • Compressors
  • EQ
  • Reverb
  • Tube Saturation
  • Tape Emulator
  • And more!

These modules can be added, removed, and rearranged onto any audio track. And since they run natively in each track’s UI, you won’t need to bog them down with 3rd party plugins. With that said, though…

6. Support for 3rd-party plugins

The ProChannel modules and VST plugins included with Cakewalk are more than enough for you to work with and get amazing results. But sometimes, you’ll want to branch out and explore what other companies are making. 

Essentially, this gives you endless possibilities for making music in Cakewalk. Find a VST plugin or synth and go to town with it. 

7. Great virtual instruments

While it’s not the largest selection, Cakewalk includes five instruments you can start making music with right away:

  • SI-Drum Kit
  • SI-Bass Guitar
  • SI-Electric Piano
  • SI-Strings
  • Cakewalk TTS-1 Synthesizer

The four Studio Instruments (SI) have loads of presets and controls, as well as pre-packaged loops and patterns to supplement and inspire your own music. Personally, I keep going back to the drums and bass guitar on a regular basis.

The TTS-1 synth also has a pretty wide selection of synth sounds and general MIDI sounds, with options for built-in effects.

You can supplement these by installing free and paid virtual instruments. To start your collection, check out my picks for the best free orchestral VST instruments.

8. Strong developer support

After 30 years, Cakewalk by Bandlab is still going strong. The developers are continually providing updates on an almost monthly basis, adding features and fixing bugs at every opportunity.

The devs are very approachable too. You can reach out to them in the official Cakewalk forums to ask questions or report any bugs and issues.

9. An active community

Every DAW has its devoted following, and Cakewalk is no exception. It’s easy to ask questions or get help if you need it. Here are some active places where you can interact with other Cakewalk users:

10. Integration with Bandlab

In case you’re unaware, Bandlab is a free cloud platform that lets you create music and share it with the world. It’s like a social network and online DAW all rolled into one.

Back in 2018, Cakewalk’s assets were acquired by Bandlab Technologies. Since then, they’ve been adding features to better integrate the two platforms with each other.

For one, you can export your project from Cakewalk and continue mixing and editing your music as a Bandlab project, and vice versa. You can also upload your finished tracks directly to your Bandlab profile and share them with the world.

Plus, it’s easy to download and use royalty-free sounds from the Bandlab Assistant or the Bandlab Sounds webpage.