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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 me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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