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The Cheapskate’s Guide to Audio Production Software

Last time I checked, the five hundred dollar price tag of the average audio production software was a bit too much to handle. No wonder software piracy is so popular, especially if you an amateur home recording enthusiast with more credit card debt than income from your studio. However, if you don’t want to spend your next month’s rent on Logic Studio or Pro-Tools then there are some alternatives.

Academic Pricing

First of all, if you are a student you can sometimes get a better deal on the various audio production software available. If you are a student you qualify for academic discounts, severely minimizing the purchasing price. Apple offers Logic Studio for only $199 if you are a student. Avid’s Pro-Tools 9 is similarly priced, although a little pricier, at $295. See their education page here. I had a hard time finding a way to purchase Logic Studio online at an academic price, but many universities have Apple products, and you can usually buy it from them. Not a student? Find someone who is.  If you have a friend in college, or a family member that’s currently a student you can bend the rules by having them buy the software for you. There’s no reason to pay full price for software, especially if you are a poor home recording enthusiast.

The Super Cheap Option

Cockos’ Reaper is an cheap option for those that haven’t chosen their audio production software of choice. There are many out there that swear by (___insert audio program here___), but if you’re frustrated with your current software and want to try a perfectly good alternative then give Reaper a try. If you are only using your software for personal use, or if your business doesn’t exceed a revenue of $20,000 per year you are eligible for the discounted, $40 license. $40 is an exceptionally good deal for an audio program, and there are many die-hard Reaper supporters out there that wouldn’t use anything else.

Free Options

If you don’t want to spend any money on software there are still some free options out there. Ardour is an open-source freeware program that’s only available for Linux and OS X. If you are a Windows users your free option is limited to Audacity, which is more of an audio editing program than a full on audio production software.


Whatever option you choose, there certainly are ways to minimize spending when it comes to your audio software. Academic pricing is a really great way of getting your software of choice, whether you actually are a student or not. Reaper is also a reputable program, one which has more and more followers every year. And for the small price tag it’s a very desirable option. Lastly, Ardour and Audacity don’t need any financial sacrifice, enabling you to start working on your production without ever opening your wallet. What audio production software are you using? Did you pay the full price tag or were you able to get a discount?

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About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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