In the past, producers used large consoles, and tapes for recording. At the moment we use DAWs as replacement of tapes.
What is a digital audio workstation?
DAW stands for a digital audio workstation. The best DAW is mainly dependent on your own preferences. It is the centerpiece of your whole studio setup, and it is all about navigating and using the DAW. The digital audio workstation is a digital system specially designed for editing and recording digital audio.
It refers to audio hardware and or audio software. Back in the days integrated DAWs were used to edit, record, and playback digital audio. These hardware units held an analog to digital converter, a mixing console, and a data storage device. Nowadays computers replaced integrated DAWs.
The two main digital audio workstation systems are DAW software used on PCs and dedicated hardware DAWs. The DAW software used on computers is good for a home studio because you can work whenever you want, you can add tracks, and you can add plugins. Basically, you can be creative, which helps you become a more efficient and productive producer.
Dedicated hardware DAWs are specifically built for the studio, which makes them better for the highly intensive workloads emerged when working with audio. This makes them more stable, quicker, and quieter. All the DAWs have the same basic aspects of MIDI, integrating audio, and video.
These aspects are MIDI support, Automation, Transport controls, Video support for sound to picture work, Sequencing, Synthesis, Sampling, Hardware support and use, Audio recording, mixing, mastering and processing.
A Native DAW is a DAW program that only uses the processor inside the host computer, and a non-Native DAW uses processing power from other sources like the DSP cards and devices.
How to choose your production software.
It is very overwhelming on deciding which production software you should buy. They are very expensive, so you can’t just buy a few DAWs, and it takes a lot of time sometimes to learn how to work with these DAWs. First, there is no such thing as the best Digital Audio Workstation, there are certain tools each DAW consists that is better in one DAW than the other DAW.
Each DAW has their own Pros, and Cons. Some are better for producing electronic music, some for Hip Hop. It all depends on the DAW you will purchase.
For example Cubase rules in MIDI, Pro Tools is the best in audio tracking. Also, your computer platform affects the choice of what kind of DAW you will purchase, some DAWs are Mac only, some are Windows only, and some dual platform. But it is better to buy a DAW that is available to both OS platforms. Because it is also easier to collaborate with other producers.
The price you are willing to pay for a good DAW, some DAWs are actually affordable, and some are very expensive. Sometimes the whole package is expensive. For instance, Logic Pro X is only installed on a Mac computer, but a Mac computer is expensive, although this DAW costs less than $500,-.
If you are working in different studios with different producers you may think about getting a DAW with a batch export of stems. Some DAWs have single project files that hold all the information.
The CPU Stability is the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a DAW because you do not want your DAW to crash during the recording session. Consider the features you need for your work, it is better to choose a DAW with the features you need, than a DAW that contains all the features.
Losing and misplacing dongles is very annoying. If you are a producer that travels a lot, try not to purchase a DAW that runs with dongles.
People who think about building a career around producing music, need to buy a DAW that offers scalability.
Some DAWs offer the opportunity to test it before purchasing it. If you are not sure yet about buying a certain DAW get a free DAW and practice composing and producing. This will help you find out which type of DAW suits you.
Our picks for the top 10 best music creation software:
Ableton Live is the star app (an outstanding audio software) of the famous Ableton. With Ableton Live you can create beats, adjust them, and record. In short, you can control all the processes of audio production. A powerful pairing of sequencer and sampler is featured by this software with a library full of MIDI, instruments, and audio effects you can start working with. The program also presents an arrangement view, which is something like a traditional timeline, and session view, which lets you play with effects and add effects.
There are a lot of tutorials and videos that teach you how to work with this powerful and flexible audio solution on creating music. Their amazing and easy to follow tutorials, wide library, and an excellent interface makes Ableton a complete and professional music production suite.
Here are a few points on why Ableton Live is flexible, efficient, and one of the best music production software:
• The Session View Automation, allows you to capture your performance and add movement to your loops.
• The new Live browser helps you find sounds fast, which gives you more time on making music
• Get a better sound with the new analog-modeled Glue Compressor and redesigned studio effects.
• Beatbox or sing into Live and convert your recording into MIDI.
• With the curves make automation more musical.
This audio software is very easy to use. Arranging, composing, and sound design is done really well with Ableton Live. The integrated products this software comes with like Push and the Launchpad makes live playing possible. A lot of people use Ableton Live, which makes it easier for you to join producers that use Ableton otherwise you can get problems with converting. It will lead to a more streamlined workflow.
Their audio playback engine sounds poor compared to other audio software. The audio engine quality can decrease because Ableton Live is built to operate quickly. Smooth automation curves are not included in Ableton Live, but they do in Live 9.
It is all about the audio playback engines, and the one from Ableton Live is good. Try out the demo versions of this DAW, to
The DAW FL Studio was just released by Image-Line, and for the first time since it was created it comes with native Mac support, and Windows support. If you already have FL Studio installed, you can download the Mac version without being charged extra money. It is a powerful fully-fledged audio editing application to make music on your computer, and it is primarily used for beat mixing, beat producing, and vocal mixing. This application is considered affordable compared to 2 or 3 other DAWs. Celebrities that are a fan of this program are Porter Robinson, Martin Garrix, and Metro Boomin.
The interface of this software is well organized, and the structure of this program can be a little bit complex for a first time user. The browser window participates as a resource for any file from projects, presets, and scores. If you click on an item it will open up a list with specific elements. The library of FL Studio contains a breathtaking amount of plug-ins like the Fruity Squeeze, DirectWave, and EQUO. You can also fill this library with your own samples, and loops.
There is also a smart search function, which gives you the opportunity to find any tool, track or effect quickly. When thinking about editing your tracks, the original pattern window contains all the instruments. For each instrument, the desired pattern needs to be created.
The playlist window features a paintbrush tool to color in your pattern. With the piano roll view, tracks can be edited, especially if you have a mini keyboard. FL Studios manages multiple midi-ins and features foot pedal sustains support, this is very important for the people that are interested in connecting real instruments. Create the desired number of instances to have multiple outputs. And all samplers and instruments are stereos.
Vocal mixing is not very good, and it requires outside VST/ plugin. A qualitative VST/plug-in cost you a lot of money.
Because FL Studio has been around for quite some time, its birth was in 1997, it has been updated, adjusted and so on by its designers. This gives the designers a lot of experience and time to deliver an amazing DAW. One of the problems most people have is that you need an outside VST/ plug-in. But other than that it is affordable and it is pretty good.
Apple Logic Pro X:
It is a professional audio production software, from Apple. Flex Pitch is an embedded custom audio pitch manipulation tool, and the Drummer also known as the automatic beat-making machine. These tools are very important because they make this software one of the most popular and widely used software. A lot of hip-hop, rock, and film producers use this type because you can do probably anything with the Apple Logic Pro X. fixing vocal pitches, mastering, analyzing and/or printing music sheets from a single software, and perfecting vocal pitches. It is also one of the most ‘complete’ DAWs on the market. When downloading the content, there are two links displayed for the helpers’ newcomers, and the other for existing users. The new interface is a combination of Logic Pro, GarageBand, and Final Cut Pro X. You can choose from more than 7000 loops, and they use the virtual instruments from the programs instrument catalog. You can search with the loop window by time, date, signature, and key. To add depth and clarity to your recorded audio and virtual instruments there are over 60 effect plugins in this program that do that.
You download these apps, in order to use them with Logic Pro:
Main Stage: with this app, your Mac and Logic Pro are turned into a live rig with instruments, and ready sounds to perform on stage. It is used by music producers who perform on stage.
Logic Remote: this app works as a wireless remote, to control mixing faders, playing instruments, recording, plugin knobs, and transport controls.
This DAW is a studio only software, Audio Units, and Virtual Studio Technologies/ VST are easily populated. It also does not run on a Windows machine, and completing certain tasks (for example tweaking audio files, and automating pitches) takes quite a long time.
It has an enormous collection of virtual instruments, it is easy to use, and has a smooth learning curve.
Although this DAW is only for computers that support MacOS, it is really appreciated by a lot of producers.
Avid pro tools :
This DAW software is designed for beginners, and people who are already experienced. It presents a classic approach audio. The audio engine is optimized, and its editing is amazing. Its MIDI features contain enhanced views, new keyboard shortcuts, and improved tools. With the Avid Cloud Collaboration, you can connect with mixers, producers, engineers, and musicians. It has an ultra-flexible recording, editing, and mixing environment, because of Its streamlined two window interface, which makes navigating easy. The most advanced functions and tools are only a click away.
With Pro Tool Track Commit your tracks are processed and printed, to free up resources. You can activate Track Freeze( it frees up DSP) from the snowflake icon, right-click menu, or the Tracks menu. Editing is improved by the improved waveform visualization ( this makes one layer translucent which gives you the ability to see through overlapping waveforms), the batch fades( makes drum editing instantaneous) are also improved. From the Edit Window, you can accommodate fade in, out, you can even crossfade curves. This tool saves you a lot of time. Because of the one-year Software Updates+ Support Plan, you can update products for free for one year. And after this one-year updates can still be received, because you can renew the plan.
A few amazing features:
• There are over 70 bundled plug-in processors, virtual instruments, and effects
• Grid Toggle function makes flipping between Grid and Slip modes easy
• Utilize up to 128 tracks at 44.1/48 kHz and up to 32 channels of simultaneous I/O
The 64- bit recording and mixing engine are very fast. It has a clean audio editing workflow, one of the cleanest so far.
The HD features of Avid Pro Tools is only available for the people with a Pro Tools HD System. It is also difficult to edit MIDI samples. If you do not buy the Pro Tools HD System, the track count is limited to 96 tracks.
Avid pro tools stay as the standard cross-platform solution for professional audio editing work for films, music, broadcast, and games.
This DAW was developed by the Swedish software developers: Propellerhead Software. It is easy to get started with, you can create, compose, mix, and finish your music. Everything is set up automatically in this DAW, for instance, you can click and drag the instruments and sounds you want to the rack and just play. With Reason’s arsenal of instruments, you can play, tweak, mix, and combine these instruments to create music. You can also color your music with this DAWs broad selection of effects. There are 4 work areas: The Browser, where you can find your instruments, sounds, and effects. The Mixer, where you add the final touch to your music, The Reason Rack, is the heart of this DAW where all effects and instruments are, and The Sequencer, where music is recorded and edited. If you want to expend the creative options, Reason supports VST plugins, and Rack Extensions (Reason’s own plugin format), It is great to produce hip-hop music, and electronic music, because of its suite of virtual instruments, and the range of analog sounding synths. One of the best things about this audio workstation is that you can collaborate with other producers, even if the other producers use a different type of DAW. This can be done with the integrated software called Rewire, which helps you integrate into other DAWs, and audio software. Upward of Reason 9.5 supports third-party VST plugins.
You can integrate with many different DAWs
Serious audio editing work cannot be done with Reason, you need to get a dedicated audio software if Reason is your main DAW. Only the latest versions of the Reason DAW runs on Windows, and Mac. It also has a complicated user interface, and rewiring can be time-consuming.
Propellerhead Reason is a very stable DAW, with a lot of features. The people that want to produce electronic and Hip Hop music can purchase this DAW.
This fully equipped music producing studio contains a sound library that includes an incredible selection of session drummers and percussionists, instruments, and presets for voice and guitar. You can also create professional-sounding music with and without an instrument, by plugging in a mic or guitar and choosing from an incredible series of realistic amps, and effects. But you can also human-sounding drum tracks and become inspired by thousands of loops from popular genres, for instance, Indie, EDM, and Hip Hop. Jam with drummers from every style with the virtual session player. This was created by the industry’s recording engineers and top session drummers. You can choose from EDM, Hip Hop, Dubstep, Latin, Blues, and Metal. Create a beat with snare, cymbals, and kick. With the intuitive controls, you can enable, and disable individual sounds. There is also a collection of prerecorded acoustic and electronic loops that can be customized and added to the song. The editing and recording features make GarageBand powerful and easy to use. You can edit your performances, fix rhythm issues, finish your tracks with compression and visual EQ effects, and finesse your sound with audio effect plug-ins. With GarageBand, you can share your finished songs via social networks, export your new hit single to your iTunes library, or share your remixes, and demos directly to your fans with Apple Music Connect. You can use your iPhone or Ipad to add tracks to your GarageBand.
Vast documentation available. The Cubase offers tools for plural aspects of music creation. They have a large customer base on the PC platform. You can download it for free if you are a MacOS user.
It takes a little more time to learn how to work with this DAW. It is expensive, and it also requires substantial computer resources. And one of the main problems is that it only works on Mac computers. People who use windows are only able to use this DAW if they have a Hackintosh computer system.
The Logic Pro is the big brother of the GarageBand if you do not own a Mac PC, purchase the Logic Pro. You can get it for free on your Mac computer, and it is one of the best free DAWs you can get at the moment.
Zedd, Tiesto, and Hans Zimmer and Tom Holkenborg were also known as Junkie XL, are popular producers that are familiar with the Steinberg Cubase DAW and say that in Steinberg Cubase they are allowed to build dream templates, the mix, and editing features are incredible. This DAW surpasses the other DAWs because of the features and intelligent tools that put creativity first. You can create your own workflow (which allows you to be creative), this DAW does not impose certain workflows on you. It has also one of the advanced MIDI editing tools. You can also do advanced MIDI editings like velocity compression and more. Cubase was first introduced in 1989, the people working on the innovation of this DAW are listening and reading the reviews/comments of their users, that is why they are really good at innovating features that inspire and generate real-life values. They also offer free customer support, constant communication with their customers, and regular maintenance updates. VST Transit is used to upload and share projects to the cloud, and with VST Connect you can remote-record your musical counterpart from afar. Cubase is used by everyone, it does not matter if you are experienced or not, or your level of music.
Purchase the Cubasis app for your iPad, for editing, recording, and mixing. The files from this app are also easily transferred to Cubase.
The quality of recorded audio tracks is incredible. Cubase is one of the oldest DAWs on the market, the first version was released in 1989. It rarely causes problems, it is really stable and does not crash often.
It is a little bit difficult to work with, and it is expensive compared to other DAWs.
The advanced MIDI editing in this DAW software makes it one of the best DAW. This DAW software can be installed on Windows, and Mac computers. It is very stable, which makes it an amazing DAW as well.
Reaper stands for Rapid Environment for Audio Prototyping and Efficient Recording, and its developers are Cockos Incorporated. This is a budget-friendly program. It also does not have a built-in sound library but can read 25 different file types, and export projects into 15 different file types. There are built-in plugins, but you can download and install the third-party plug-in, for example, VST, DX, and AU. It uses a 64-bit mixing engine to provide excellent audio fidelity. You can dock several of its windows onto the bottom Docker area of the main window and pick between them via tabs. A few portions you can dock are the Media Explorer for importing audio or MIDI files, and the Mixer. If you want to unlock you can float window versions, or disconnect the entire Docker area and let it float. You can also resize the individual windows, and various display areas can be resized. It is easier to work with this DAW, because of the tutorials on YouTube, good customer service support, and an online community. There is also a 60-day trial featured for people to test run, and see how you like it. You can also change layouts, toolbars, and other aspects, navigating is also very simple, because everything is drag and drop. The fifth version of this DAW comes with built-in score editor, to edit and print score sheets.
It is very stable, actually, it has the most stable software because it uses minimal computer processing resources to run. This means you can run this software on older computers, and it will still work perfectly. It is affordable. It has customizable UI skins. The 60-day evaluation you get for free gives you the opportunity to work with this software before you buy it.
Although the user interface is easily customizable, other paid programs are sleeker. There is no sound library, and the commercial license is expensive. This DAW also does not offer phone support. The plugins and effects are not as solid as the plugins in other DAWs, so other instruments and plugins are purchased by a lot of users.
You can purchase this DAW for less than $100,-. It is easy to use, but the YouTube tutorials and forum make it easier to use Cockos Reaper. Business owners take advantage of this software, because of its intuitive interface. They can also build audio projects, and learn a lot about creating music. Other DAWs cannot match the number of things this software has to offer.
PreSonus Studio One
This new DAW has been on the market for more than 7 years now. It has a single face interface. The start page consists of the tools needed to start your creative process like set parameters, open projects, and check for updates and tips. Then there is the song page, where it is all about recording, editing, arranging, and mixing music with a set of virtual instruments, effects, and arrangement tools. The project page is where you assemble and master the music. The better part is that the Project Page and the Song Page are linked which makes changes easier. You can just switch to the Song page tweak, and mix back to the Project. The Studio One 4 consist of a Chord Track, you can change and create chord progressions. With the Chord Selector, you can experiment with new chord patterns and ideas. Use Harmonic Editing to spark new ideas. You can transfer chord data from an instrument or audio track to the Chord Track. With Notion 6.4, Harmonic Editing makes it convenient to create great-looking and printable lead sheets. All the standard MIDI gear from controllers to tone modules is what Studio One works with. The MIDI data is converted to a 32- bit internal format. This means smoother controller changes, no zipper noise instruments, more detailed automation, and other benefits. This DAW works on Windows and Mac, and it has some similarities with Cubase and Logic Pro. Filmmakers, beatmakers, songwriters, audio mixing, and more people that want to do things with music need to take a look at this DAW.
This DAW comes with a customizable layout, it has intuitive features, and it is easy to use. It also has a wide selection of effect plugins. You may not need plugins, because it comes with
It has no score editor, and it can also be a little buggy. The installation and registration process can be somewhat frustrating.
It features efficient and quick music making. This alone makes it attractive to people who want to produce quality music.
Acid Pro 8
Every type of music producer can use this 64- bit DAW, with an amazing interface, and it features ACID’s famous innovative audio looping technology. The ACIDized loops that are used by this DAW, contain pitch, transient data, and length. The Acid Pro also offers 24 bit, 192kHz multitrack audio recording, and it is also ideal for creating a loop or MIDI-based compositions overall, and for recording an entire band session. The 64-bit engine it contains brings maximum power and efficiency to music. The feature-rich mixing console results in a flexible, and incredible recording environment. A traditional hardware mixing experience is obtained through the support of the following control surfaces: Frontier Design Tranzport, and Mackie Control. You can also remix music with the Beatmapper, and Chopper tools. The Chopper tool helps create amazing stutters, DJ effects, and drum fills. It also slices up your audio file. The Beatmapper tool assists you to identify tempo and time signature information. A few virtual instruments: The Pop Drum, is a virtual drum instrument which serves as an incredible beat making tool. You can even create a double bass in a metal style. The Concert Grand is a classic piano instrument. The Church Organ was created by making recordings of a church organ. This organ is suited to the contemporary and classical music.
To match your workflow, you can customize the mixing console.
The features that make it suitable as a music production environment are the multitrack recording, bundled instruments, and editing of audio and MIDI
It is only available for people who use a computer with Windows.
For Windows-based producers, Acid is great to make music. The loops are an easy gateway for the people who are learning, but also for experienced producers. And there is a 30 day trial for the people who want to check it out.