Blip Interactive's NanoStudio is the best desktop recording studio for Windows we've experienced, and not just because it's free (though that helps) or because it also comes in Mac, iOS, and Android versions (though that's cool) or even because it's got one of the most attractive yet useful interfaces we've seen. It's all that and more. NanoStudio exports to MIDI devices, SoundCloud, and DAWs. It has tons of studio tools, like Eden Synth, TRG-16, equalizers, mic in, real-time quantization, and built-in sampling, sequencing, mastering, and more. NanoStudio is freeware for Windows XP through 8. The Mac version is also free, but the iOS and Android apps aren't. We tried it on 64-bit Windows 7.
NanoStudio's main screen features a scrolling, full-size keyboard and twin XY pads with a pitch wheel surrounded by essential controls. But that's just the start: Up and down arrows scroll through an impressive series of panels, including a double keyboard, a rack full of consoles for controlling filter and amp envelopes, processors like 5th Planet Waveshaper and Chronos Digital Delay, and more. Mixing panels, color-coded displays, and sophisticated Project tools seem to be just around every corner. Although NanoStudio's layout is highly functional and intuitive, it's unquestionably one of the best-looking tools we've ever seen. We were particularly impressed with the way its control panels closely resemble the faceplates and controls of actual studio gear. NanoStudio sounded fantastic, too; both through our MIDI device and through regular computer audio. Our initial Project included some guitar synth and basic effects; nothing much, but the not-so-secret truth came out: NanoStudio is huge fun to play with.
NanoStudio has plenty of built-in Help resources, as is, but we suggest visiting the program's Web site and downloading the 67-page, full-color PDF manual, which applies to Win, Mac, and app versions. Aside from a few desktop-only or app-only features, NanoStudio is identical in each. It's hard to overstate the value of being able to use the same tool everywhere. Our only remaining question about NanoStudio is how it does so much for free.