Best DAW 2018: Choose One of These Top DAWs Today

Finding a DAW is like finding a partner.

After you have designed your dream home studio, the next step is to commit to a piece of recording software.

And once you commit, you’re in it for the long game.

Sure, you can flirt around. You can open a different one up every time you sit at your computer.

But without committing to one DAW, you won’t get the benefits that come with a long-term relationship.

You might feel overwhelmed by the number of options right now. But it’s possible to make a decision in seconds…

Because I created a free PDF for musicians who want to find the best DAW for them NOW.

Inside, I share my favorite DAW for each operation system (Mac and Windows) after years of trial and error.

You can download it here:

 

Now, think about what your goals are.

Do you spend more time writing music, or mixing music? Do you want a DAW that does one specific job well or an all-rounder?

Once you have figured out what you’re looking for in a DAW, you can choose the best DAW for you.

Here is the quick list of the best DAWs available in 2018:

  1. Logic Pro X
  2. Pro Tools
  3. Studio One
  4. Ableton Live
  5. Cubase Pro
  6. Propellerhead Reason
  7. FL Studio
  8. Cockos Reaper
  9. Bitwig Studio
  10. MOTU Digital Performer
  11. Mixcraft Pro Studio

Now, read through this page and choose the DAW that suits your needs.

Once you have made a decision, stick to it. Learn it inside out. Use the stock plugins. The better you know your DAW, the better your results will be.

 

The 11 Best DAWs of 2018

 

Logic Pro X

An extremely popular piece of software. Although Logic pro is great for composing and producing music, I love using it for mixing too. The stock plugins that come with Logic Pro X are perhaps the best stock plugins of any DAW.

What They Say: Logic Pro X puts a complete recording and MIDI production studio on your Mac, with everything a pro musician needs to write, record, edit, and mix like never before.

What It’s Best For: All Rounder

If you decide to go with Logic Pro X, I created an in-depth course that takes you through the entire DAW.

The full course costs $179.99, but I pulled out the first 3 modules to share with you as a bonus for this article:

 

Learn more about Logic Pro X here: Apple Logic Pro X

 

Studio One 3

This DAW has become increasingly popular over the last few years, with good reason. It is now one of the most commonly used DAWs.

What They Say: Instantly familiar—yet nothing feels like it. Studio One® 3 contains everything you’d expect from a modern digital audio powerhouse. Once you touch its fast, flow-oriented, drag-and-drop interface, you’ll realize Studio One® 3 was built by creative people for creative music production.

What It’s Best For: All Rounder

Learn more here: PreSonus Studio One 3

 

Pro Tools 12

This is perhaps the most popular DAW in the professional world. For professional mixing and editing, this is the industry standard. A lot of people have a love/hate relationship with Pro Tools.

The stock plugins are generally good, but it lacks a stock multiband compressor – this isn’t a huge issue though.

The stock compressor can still be used for sidechain compression and parallel compression.

What They Say: Power your sound with the tools that power the industry. Create music or sound for film/TV and connect with a premier network of artists, producers, and mixers around the world.

What It’s Best For: Recording, Editing and Mixing

Learn more here: Avid Pro Tools

 

Ableton Live


Top electronic music producers around the world use Ableton Live. Although it lacks some advanced editing and mixing features, it can seamlessly integrate into your live sets. If you use this DAW, check out these free production templates.

What They Say: Live is software for creating musical ideas, turning them into finished songs, and even taking them onto the stage.

What It’s Best For: Electronic Music Production

Learn more here: Ableton Live 9 Standard

 

Cubase Pro

Cubase has been around for a long time and remains popular to this day. It’s innovative, trustworthy and stable.

What They Say: Used by star producers and musicians for composing, recording, mixing and editing music, Cubase combines outstanding audio quality, intuitive handling and a collection of highly advanced audio and MIDI tools.

What It’s Best For: All Rounder

Learn more here: Steinberg Cubase Pro 9 Recording Software

 

Propellerhead Reason

This is the perfect piece of software for electronic music producers that love the look of analog equipment. The bundled virtual instruments are powerful and versatile, and Reason comes with some great collaboration tools.

What They Say: Reason is easy to get started with, yet as deep as you want it to be. Create, compose, mix and finish your music–Reason will help you along the journey,
from inspiration to mixdown.

What It’s Best For: Electronic Music Production

Learn more here: Reason 9.5

 

FL Studio

Another affordable DAW that’s extremely popular among electronic music producers. FL Studio is easy to use and has some great composition features, but isn’t so great for working with audio.

What They Say: FL Studio 12 is a complete software music production environment or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Representing more than 18 years of innovative developments it has everything you need in one package to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional quality music. FL Studio is now one of the world’s most popular DAWs and is used by the most creative artists.

What It’s Best For: Electronic Music Production

Learn more here: Image Line FL Studio 12 Producer Edition

 

Cockos Reaper

This DAW is powerful for the price (it’s a steal at $60 for a personal license) and is one of my personal favorites. You can customize the layout and functionality of the software to suit your workflow.

What They Say: REAPER is a complete digital audio production application for Windows and OS X, offering a full multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering toolset.

What It’s Best For: Recording, Editing and Mixing

Click here for more information

 

Bitwig Studio

This little-known DAW is great for music production and live performance. Founded by ex-Ableton engineers, Bitwig Studio shares a similar concept based on ‘clips’. It has a great modular synthesis environment and networking features.

What They Say: Bitwig Studio is dynamic software for creation and performance of your musical ideas on stage or in the studio.

What It’s Best For: Electronic Music Production

Learn more here: Bitwig Studio 2 Music Production and Performance Software

 

MOTU Digital Performer

Despite being one of the oldest DAWs available, Digital Performer has only recently made its way from Mac to Windows. Unlike the others they have a 30-day free trial available, so you can give it a whirl.

What They Say: Spark your creativity, then refine your mix — all in a singular workflow. Digital Performer 9 delivers inspirational features devised to ignite your creative muse, combined with state-of-the-art studio production technologies engineered for the most demanding, world-class recording and production environments.

What It’s Best For: All Rounder

Learn more here: MOTU Digital Performer 9

 

Mixcraft Pro Studio

This affordable option has gathered some serious fans over its lifetime. It’s simple, user-friendly and easy to use.

What They Say: Mixcraft is The Musician’s DAW – the ideal application for creating professional quality songs, mixes, and videos with ease.

What It’s Best For: All Rounder

Learn more here: Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio

 

The Top 2 DAWs for Musicians

Choosing a DAW can be daunting.

It’s easy to waste time on this.

So, I did the hard work for you.

I tried every single DAW…

And narrowed it down to a shortlist of the best 2 DAWs for musicians.

Find out what they are here:

Audio professional, musician and founder of Musician on a Mission.

110 Responses to “Best DAW 2018: Choose One of These Top DAWs Today”

  • congratulations for the article but in part there is a variety of misinformation about the daw because to be updated the article are talking about ableton and fl without highlighting the latest versions as ableton10 and fl 20, missing sequioa and pyramix that is used in studies mastering at a higher level, to say that some daw are emphasized in a genre is unprofessional since they are all compatible MIDI, should be based more on sources such as the prizes (IDMA) of the winter conference to have more accurate data where in that case Fl 12 is the best daw of this year without mentioning the 20

  • DAMN , YOU ALL ARE MISSING THE POINT OF THIS POST. ITS NOT ABOUT WHATS THE BEST DAW 2018 RATHER …HERE ARE THE TOP DAWS IN 2018 , PICK ONE ACCORDING TO YOUR NEEDS. IM SICK ALREADY TO SEE PPL COMPARING DAWS JUST BECAUSE THEIR CRAPPY COMPUTERS CANT HANDLE A SIMPLE MULTI TASKING CPU PROCESS. YOU WANT FLAWLESS PERFORMANCE NO GLITCHES? GET A FREAKING CONSOLE SOME PREAMPS AND A TAPE MACHINE…HAVE FUN.

  • I have been recording music for fun since the days of cool edit and I must say I absolutely love Cubase. Maybe someone can help me out here but it has a feature called EQ Position, what exactly does that do and which other DAW have something similar?

    • I have been using Mutools Mulab for audio and midi recording, mixing and mastering for several years with nothing but success and great results. Anyone else agree?

      I have experienced only a small number of very minor grizzles but you can start with a free, no specified usage term download, then low cost upgrade forever.

      Easy-to-learn and operate with high quality and flexible VST Plugin use in any studio or live performance situation.

      No, I don’t have any connection with owners/developers. Just a happy, ongoing user.

  • You said:
    I tried every single DAW…
    And narrowed it down to a shortlist of the best 2 DAWs for musicians.
    Find out what they are here:
    … but you gave no answer. What are those 2 DAW’s?

  • You said:
    I tried every single DAW…
    And narrowed it down to a shortlist of the best 2 DAWs for musicians.
    Find out what they are here:

    … but you gave no answer. What are those 2 DAW’s?

  • I use Korg Gadget for composing and mixing (producing synth/midi music in general) and iZotope Ozone (8 Standard version) for (incredibly efficient) mastering. This way I am freed from commonly known „DAW-choosing/switching” madness. Hahahahah!

    • Yes I have Mixcraft Pro 8 (and Studio One)…..It has all the functions you would expect, the Pro version has more virtual instruments, loops, synths etc., but the normal version will certainly do for everything, Mixcraft is by far the easiest to learn, has tons of tuition videos on youtube, brilliant support and good video support for film scoring….Studio One is more stylish, yes that counts too, but it still leaves me staring at a black window when it comes to video, despite people reporting about it to Presonus. Video does not work in Studio One, not on windows anyway. Admittedly, I am still rotten at mixing because I spent all my time composing, but I think Mixcraft is underrated, it just hasn’t made it marketing wise, so far. People who know how to mix will be o.k. with Mixcraft. take a trial.

  • Stumbled across this article via a completely different search but had a lot of laughs reading it, and the comments. I think a few people on here agree with my philosophy: The best camera does not make the best photographer. I have used a ton of DAWS (pretty much every one at some point, for one reason or another) and on the other end of the spectrum I have made entire albums on nothing but an SP1200 and a crappy Mackie mixer. I am happy with my results. Anyone else’s opinion on the results I get from my equipment is subjective of course as is all art. Stop obsessing over what soccer boots you wear and start Playing football (I assume you get the topical analogy). I thank you.

  • reaper and ableton are monsters, but reaper don’t have clip launcher (with plugin vsti yes, playtime) and always need an extra configuration.
    and in ableton the mixing is complicated, and rigid skin.

    with this two daws you have no limits in creativity.

    number 1 and number 2 the orden is irrelevant because every daw has its potentials and weaks.

    I dont like fl studio except piano roll and automation funtions, the mixer is horrible. and patterns are rigid for creativity.

  • Thanks for the review.

    Personally, as a newcomer to DAWs, I just need something to bring in jazz band and orchestral MIDI Files from Musescrore (notation software) in order to get better, more realistic sound. That’s about it. It’s overwhelming, to be honest, where to even start. Tracktion 6 is free, so I might go with it as a start; Reaper is great, from what I hear, but quite a beast to learn (what with all its flexibility); Mixbus looks simple and is inexpensive, but from reviews I’ve read it’s missing several plugins – I don’t want to deal with that if it’s going to mean having to buy them.

    On and on it goes. It is what it is!

  • I think that Ableton and FL Studio are the easiest to use for beginners. It really depends on the genre. I find that if I want to make underground music, I go for Ableton. FL Studio can be used for more purposes, like scoring.

  • I must be dyslexic, because everyone seems to say that Ableton is user friendly. Not this user. (Probably why I love Mixcraft so much.) I’ve tried Ableton several times and uninstalled it every time out of frustration. Oh well. It looks like so much fun, but I can’t seem to get there. Back to Mixcraft…

    • I totally agree. I have tried a lot of them and I dont understand why Mixcraft Pro Studio is not near the top. Anyone know?

    • Me too. Mixcraft made it possible for me to even start mixing (I did NOT “get” the other DAWS back then….

  • Digital Performer comes out of one of the oldest and most well established digital music lineages. We started using the top sequencing program, Mark Of The Unicorn’s Performer 5, in the early 1990s and then transitioned over to Digital Performer when it was offered as a DAW. Since then MOTU Digital Performer has continued to upgrade and improve through each new version, currently DP 9. I have worked with Logic Pro, Cubas, Pro Tools and Reason, among others, and truthfully, each and every modern professional DAW has so many powerful features that they are all effectively the same when it comes to producing a pro recording. This is due to the fact that in order to stay competitive, every DAW company has to be looking at upgrading their version of software to have the same or better features than the newest version of their competitors. So if your current DAW doesn’t have some select feature that appears in another one, just wait for the next upgrade, and it probably will.

    That being said, I would like to mention how easy and powerful a program Digital Performer is to use, once one has learned to navigate its gigantic feature set. Out of the top DAWs, it is very much under-rated, despite its very wide spectrum of applications. It has one of the finest sequencing and notation programs built into it. It also has a wonderful array of virtual instruments and high quality plugins, that keep growing with each upgrade. It is an incredible tracking, editing and mixing tool, as well as having full video editing and mastering features built into it. NO DAW is that easy to learn and use to the full extent of its features. Having worked professionally with quite a few, Digital Performer is one Digital Audio Workstation that is definitely among the top ones you can buy. It is right up there with Pro Tools and Logic, although I much prefer its interface.

  • I think that Ableton is one of the most user-friendly and versatile DAWs. You can easily use Ableton’s built-in racks, samples, synths and effects to produce and master your tracks (at a decent level).
    I like to couple it with Izotope, Omnisphere, Absynth and a few other VSTi that help create space within the mix.

    • Wondering, though, in that Ableton really shines for live recording, would it be a good DAW for taking, say, an exported MIDI file from an orchestral or jazz band piece made in Musescore notation software (open source, free, but made for notation out put, not so much good audio) and running it in Ableton to get better (VST or other font) sound?

      That’s all I need a DAW for.

      Thanks.

  • Great post Rob, very interesting insight into many different DAW’s – some of which I’ve never heard of. Personally I started out on Logic just because I thought it was what all the cool kids were on lol. I’ve since moved towards Ableton over the last few years or so, sometimes linking Reason as a slave DAW via external instruments. However I’ve recently come across BTV Solo. It’s very easy to use, great for jotting down ideas and can be used as both a DAW and an external VST. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for large compositions but for the money they’re selling it for it is a really handy piece of kit to add to your musical arsenal. You can find it here http://bit.ly/2GgS2vP . Have a look I’d like to see what your oppinion of this is

  • I’m currently in Studio one after being for decades with logic. S1 it is one of the buggiest daw ever
    Whoever likes it, can have a watch to the bunch of videos I placed on you tube. I called them “butterflies” as they refuse the terminology bugs because it is not a repetitive issue….much worse, every song you make you incur in a different problem making more then a daw a new release of Tomb Raider.
    I’m now thinking of moving whether to reaper or cubase: My working style is do everything in one daw as I never have a strictly phase where I wtic from arranging to mixing but it is more of blurred boundary.
    what guys can advice me?
    Meanwhile if somebody is considering S1 might have a look at those videos, which I made in the last months…I could have done more, trust me:

    https://youtu.be/6QmBaDJCebU
    https://youtu.be/u9UcAj5fcSI
    https://youtu.be/qRmB1PMFO5Y
    https://youtu.be/5tcXa-Bdt5M
    https://youtu.be/jFJb0TUgZSY

  • I’m not sure this flick through a few DAWs is really a list of the top offerings for 2018. You didn’t actually mention that Pro Logic is ONLY available for Apple, and you have included SONAR when it was announced last year that it was shutting up shop (literally, you can’t buy it anymore…users can still access their software ). The review lacks depth and balance. But has given me a few brands to check out to get started (to replace my Sonar Platinum lost love).

  • Hi,

    I am a Logic Pro X user. I love it. If Apple had a Window version I would of stick to it. While my daily work is mostly done on Windows, I need a software that will function on Apple and Windows. I’ve looked done some tutorials on other DAWs that works on both platforms. I’ve looked at Pro-Tools, Studio-One, Sonar and Cubase. I’m a composer, mostly I’ve chosen Cubase Pro 9. Now I’m working on a project; I like the workflow. Some part is more difficult to learn than Logic Pro X. I like the way the editing works. I’m still learning, since September my initiation to Cubase I see some result that I’m happy with.

  • Ah so many DAWs – I’ve tried most of them. I currently use Logic Pro X and find it more than adequate for what I need to do. It’s cheap. I used to use Cubase but their upgrade prices drove me away. I used to use Pro Tools but their MIDI stuff didn’t work for me – I’ve heard that it’s better but I’m not about to pay $299 just to reinstate my license for another year. I used to use SONAR when I was using Windows computers and I would probably continue to use SONAR but I hate Windows so much. SONAR is pretty solid and it too is available for cheap. Reason is okay – it still feels likes it geared for EDM but I’ve used it for rock productions and now with VST plugin support I might check it out again. Reaper looks cool and Kenny Gioa’s tutorial series helps people get up and running really fast. Ableton I use to try out arrangments and will admit that for working with loops there is probably nothing out there like it. Load up your own loops and try out different things is dead easy. Once I find an arrangement I print the audio and bring it into Logic where I mix and master.

  • Ha:) Ableton is n. 4 and Bitwig 12 – funny that compare to Ableton, Bitwig can multiply/add automations, do hybrid tracks, deactivate-hide unused tracks and couple more thing, while only few it cant. Big down is absence of scoring (Ableton has maxscore) but over all, after three years found myself stop using ableton and working only in Bitwig.

  • My 2c – speaking as someone that uses 4 different DAWS, including Reason, S1, Ableton & Cubase – I believe I know their strengths & weaknesses very well. But it’s not about my personal knowledge and experience which may or may not be extensive, depending on who is doing the measuring.

    Software is engineered like any other technical solution which implies certain deliberate techniques or choices are included, which all added up provide a very different experience. A simple example are cars which all go from A to B, but some have aircon, powerful engines, sun roofs etc. The overall driver experience is hugely varied, even if the driver is a beginner or a professional.

    Pretty much the same with DAWs – some are engineered with absolute power and features – others are not. The comparison really becomes interesting when the software costs are not that different but the included feature sets are.

  • Logic Pro X: I used Logic 9 for years but simply could not get used to X. Also Apple as been nagging me, so I switched to windows, after discovering how great Windows 10 actually is.

    Then I started looking for a replacement:
    Ableton Live: workflow not so great for mixing, annoying (imo) browser and plugin UI’s.
    Bitwig Studio; workflow not great for mixing, limmited collection of built-in mixing plug-ins.
    Reaper: great, but too much functionality and configuration options to tinker with, after three months it still confused me.
    Harrison Mixbus: awesome mixer, but awful sequencer!

    I went for Studio One because it’s ease of use: default keyboard shortcuts are easy to remember and a great drag and drop interface. I also like the build in FX and instruments very much. I find it great for recording, arranging and mixing. It feels most comfortable comming from Logic.

    So just a personal preference!

    • Ableton 10 lands soon and apparently the browser got a major overhaul as us users have bitched and moaned about it since time immemorial. Apparently, throwing our toys out of the pram worked!

    • Yes, very sad. Have been with them since Music Creator and still learning. I loved the direction it has gone over the years and the flexibility with the look. The closure makes sense in terms of the ‘perpetual’ licence recently granted to Platinum users. I thought at the time that was a strange business model, but it’s clearly a final sweep of the funds before heading out the door. I’ll be fine for a while but without regular updates this is going to fall behind the market. I might as well bite the bullet and start looking around.

  • My experience is most people who use more than one DAW do not actually know any of their DAWs all that well. Getting a review from someone who has played with a number of DAWs to compare is not the same as asking someone who is a master of that tool. Imagine being at an auction and an old violin comes up for bidding and someone who knows a lot about the technical specs of violins tells you a bunch of information that basically says on paper it has no real special value but then a master violinist picks it up and after a quick tuning plays a song that captures everyone’s attention. Who gave you more information…the technical specs (that you can find on the manufacturers website) or the master player who showed you its potential.

    So when I read someone saying I use this DAW for this and this DAW for that…I do not put a lot of faith in their review. I know Propellerhead Reason pretty much inside and out but it took me years to get there (and I learn software fast). So of course when I hear someone say they don’t like the “some feature” in Reason compared to another DAW I ask them for more details. So far in my experience is most times Reason did do everything they needed and in a number of instances it did it quicker than the way they were doing it in their DAW. They just never took the time to learn it (even in their other DAW they were using). I have a friend that knows Cubase inside out and another that knows Logic inside and out. They basically have the same experiences of people who do not know their DAWs well saying negative things about those DAWs when they actually do those things exceptionally well. Pretty much all the modern DAWs can do everything from recording and editing to mastering. The only real noticeable difference I see is in their workflow. Some (like Reason) have a workflow that I thinks help spark creativity which helps me as a songwriter. Others (like Logic or Cubase) have a workflow geared more around mastering. It doesn’t mean that you can create songs in Logic or that you can’t master songs in Reason and someone who knows their DAW well will do any of those tasks quickly. I would recommend you determine what workflow style fits you and then dive in to mastering it. If you are musician and just get hardware then the rack method in Reason may make more sense to you but if you like to see an overview all on one screen at once so you don’t get lost that might be the last DAW you would choose.
    Checking out the latest and greatest is fun to see what is coming but do not let it rob you of the time it takes to truly master the tools you already have. Just because you can buy a chisel it doesn’t make you a master carver just as buying a DAW doesn’t automatically make you an audio engineer and just because you downloaded and tried a dozen different DAWs does not make you a DAW expert by any means and you are likely adding confusion.

    • i like your comment, but you’re a bit misguided to the term mastering.
      logic or cubase are not a single bit geared towards mastering, you just misinterpret the term mastering with production and mixing.

    • What you say is generally correct; however, there comes a point when someone who’s been in the business (regardless of what it is) knows the industry well enough to be able to sit down with related software and see, fairly quickly, what’s going on.

      For instance, it doesn’t take long at all to see that LibreOffice is good but quite cumbersome when trying to do certain basic essentials that MS Word does much better. One can quickly see that the programming reflects more of the programmer than it does the user.

      That’s not to say that LibreOffice is bad. It’s only to say that there are certain aspects of the programming are stark clear to anyone who’s familiar with word processing.

      At any rate, it really does come down to personal preference, and yes, one has to watch out for reviews from people who let person preference thwart their basic approach to a DAW.

  • I was getting the flow going with Bitwig a month ago. Im studio one user but Bitwig for me seem pretty good when creating. But at the same time I found it kinda difficult to deal with virtual instruments routing. To me studio one made that part 10 times faster and easier. But if one day I decide to change daws I will go with Bitwig. Using it for some reason I felt like I was using fl stdio back again in my opinion. LOL

    • After using Logic and Pro-Tools, Reaper is my first DAW since 2 years ago. Logic and Pro-Tools are great, Reaper is as much great, and is more flexible, adaptable, fast (on experience), and has a suprisingly optimezed CPU load, and still 64-bit internal mixing engine. Native plugins are visually ugly, but it features some first class sounding plugs, as Reaeq, reacomp, reavoice, etc…Maybe the weakest point, but for me not a big deal since I’m using a lot of third party plugs…
      It has a large suite of JS-plugins, some of them very interesting. Routing and automation is very easy, in general all functions are very intuitive and it has a big user comunity, which ensures constant improvement. This is the key I think, and this is the future in my opinion. Multiple updates (very often, 2 weeks or so) allways run fine. Never looked back to my previous DAWS, this is a fact.

  • whn U write that Stsuio One is top 3 !:))I just tested it, It can even record on a track with previous recorded material, and LISTEN to the track as you add new on top !:) that is a joke for serious Audio recording. Also, the fact that SONAR is OUT of bussiness, its announced by Gibson… they also cheated us, the users for 200$ “life time update !! year ago, a fraud !! they know it was the end. But this arcticle onsly provess , that those reweiew is paid for ,and also a scam !!! crap, dont trust anythink in this arcticle !!

    • whn U write that Stsuio One is top 3 !:))I just tested it, It can even record on a track with previous recorded material, and LISTEN to the track as you add new on top !:) that is a joke for serious Audio recording. Also, the fact that SONAR is OUT of bussiness, its announced by Gibson… they also cheated us, the users for 200$ “life time update !! year ago, a fraud !! they know it was the end. But this arcticle onsly provess , that those reweiew is paid for ,and also a scam !!! crap, dont trust anythink in this arcticle !!

  • Why isn’t Band in a box or Realband in this list. Biab is like hiring many musicians to play on your tracks. They have musicians for every part and many drum tracks that sound professional. And you can easily import them into other DAW’s to mix and things like that. Also I am sorry that Sonar is being discontinued. That software is like visiting several different mixing studios, and they had a ton of gorgeous plugIns that came with the program. I hope somehow it can get a github license like Linux programs have. Sonar is one terrific program.

  • No matter the years you might have spend jumping from one DAW to another, the true music genius lies within you – these DAWs wont make you a better producer.
    So just concentrate on what you are using and forget about these ratings, specifications and usabilities.

  • I have used Pro Tools used crash on overload all the time i have used reason as well then switch to studio one 3.5 so simply and the videos to help you on you tube is awesome unlimited tracks as well with a mastering suite that is super easy to use the sound engine is great as well stock plugins is great and the community place gives you a bunch of great presets for your plugins Daw for life

  • Now with VST integration, I find Reason beeing the most efficient for me. I must admit i grow up with and is the only DAW to have no secret for me. As i master all keyboard shortcuts and tricks i can produce a good musical sketch very easily and incredibly fast.
    I also love to do the final mix in Reason as i find their SSL mixer very efficient.
    PS : I’ve also use Logic and Ableton Live a lot, but since the VST integration in Reason, i only use Reason….

  • Sorry Guys. If it’s quality of sound that you want, then Harrison Mixbus cannot be beaten. I can’t believe it’s not even in the top ten. I use Studio One for tracking and editing but when it comes to mixing I export my stems to Harrison Mixbus. The difference is astounding.

    • I would definitely agree. I just bought Harrison Mixbus32C a few month ago as an addition to Digital Performer with the same purpose.
      By the way , the support from Harrison is very fast. I received an answer betwenn less than an hour The guys there are very friendly and really care about your problems. I would highly recommend this Company and Mixbus.

      • I discovered Mixbus 32C on Thanksgiving weekend 2017. I was blown away at how fast I could get a good sounding mix. Great time saving for mixing.

  • I use 3 DAW’s religiously!
    Propellerhead Reason- for sound design and song sketches! I find I spend most of my time in this DAW.

    Ableton Live – I use this mainly for Live use but I also prefer Ableton for Sampling.

    Logic Pro – I use this for Audio Recording, Mixing, and Mastering. If I have to do a full project start to finish I choose Logic above all else and most of the time I’m bouncing down audio from the afore mentioned DAW’s into Logic to complete the project.

    I honestly advise having all 3 of these DAW’s there is a learning curve to having 3 DAW’s but if you immerse yourself into music like I do it’s a complete blast learning them and finding new ways and new sounds to create the music in your head or even the music you didn’t know was in your head! Total Creativity!

    • I bought Mixbus that is based on Ardour and I absolutely love it not only for mixing but also for how well workflows have been thought out which due to its Ardour foundation. I bought the X42 metering and EQ which is really good sounding too.

  • YOU KNOW THIS THING OF BEST DAWS. IS SAME AS WHO IS THE BEST WOMEN IN THE WORLD. THE ANSWER IS THE ONE YOU CHOOSE IS THE BEST. YOU CANT SAY MY WIFE IS BETTER THAN YOURS.

  • Hi Guys,
    I looking for a DAW for EDM production, like different types of house music. One of my friend suggests the Studio one.
    I want to learn using 1, not 3-4 until I find out which is the best for me. So Studio one is would be a good pick for me, or…? Also, can this do mastering as well?

    Thanks your answers

  • I have tried all the daws but I want to humbly submit that PRESONUS studio one v3.5 is far far better and user friendly.

  • I have tried all the saw but I want to humbly submit that PRESONUS studio one v3.5 is far far better and user friendly.

    • I was not impressed at all with Studio one, thing they did with cursed is BEYOND dumb, they do let you fix it but I had to watch close to 17 videos to do so. Their own guy promoting it said it. All the problems of cubebass.

    • I was not impressed at all with Studio one at all, the thing they did with curser is BEYOND dumb, they do let you fix it but I had to watch close to 17 videos to do so. Their own guy promoting it said it too. All the problems of cubebass.

  • Hi all

    I’ve been messing around with GarageBand (don’t laugh) and totally new to the whole DAW’s thing, I’ve been doing some research and I’ve kind of narrowed it down between reason and FL. any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Do you get plenty of instruments in both DAW,s to get started and what would you fellas say is the most user friendly for a beginner.

    • Hi, I’ve been using Reason (along with Ableton live) for many years. Found it to be as simple or as intensive as I need it to be to finish my projects. I’m currently trying to get my head around FL Studio and have to say I’m struggling! All reviews say how easy and user friendly the DAW is but I am honestly finding it difficult to do the simplest of tasks. I could be missing something but in my opinion, Reason is the most accessible, this may change when I finally get to grips with FL Studio! Hope this helps!

    • Oh my goodness, your situation sounds an awful lot like mine! I have been messing around on garage band too for the last few months, and have been frustrated trying to find a better quality DAW. I’m not nessasarily looking for one that has the best sound quality, but one that has a wealth of instruments. Much imput would be appreciated on this end, too.

  • My experience so far after 12 months of making Electronic Dance Music. I’ve tried 4 DAWs and this is my take. Mixcraft is a great DAW generally. Easy to use. Great for playing live instruments into it however, it’s not good for creating House Music. It struggles with Warping and trying to introduce sidechain compression is tricky. Ableton is great for this, and now I use both. Ableton Live is also fairly easy to get along with. I do recommend Bitwig or Studio 1 as a great all rounder especially if you can’t afford Pro Tools and don’t have months to try and figure it all out.

  • Wow, all i see is reason growing up and getting better by the minute while abmeton falls logic pro is crash heavy and buggy like apple these days all around and pro tools is for live instruments recording only school trained in all departments propellerhead has the edge now besides the EQ and lack of plug in capabilities we are hoping for a more powerful Ui in the next while. Propellorhead started as the worst and have managed to climb up every year. Lot of great daws here but id seriously put Reason on top just for the stock and where its going. Pro tools standard is sinking apple products are weakening by the minute i do love FL studios however and ableton all sounds the same I can totally spot the sound comes from that software!

  • PreSonus Studio One 3. The workflow is so user-friendly. I’ve just moved from Cubase. Although I’ve been loyal to Cubase since Atari ST version 1.0 in 1989, I have to admit that it’s been a bit clunky and whoever did the original conversion from Mac to Windows was on a steep learning curve. PreSonus Studio One 3 is like Cubase re-designed from scratch with all the good bits and none of the bad bits. Well done PreSonus. :)

  • 1-Ableton Live 9- Arrange
    2-FL studio – Compose
    3-Pro Tool – Mixing – Mastering

    For me these are the best daw. But Everyone have different preferences and worflow

    • Yes, different DAWs for different workflows!

      I find Samplitude and Mixbus great for Mixing/Mastering too besides ProTools.

      Reason is good for refining signature sound and groove.

      So it depends on what you are trying to do. The more DAW your learn the more you will understand about your 1 favorite DAW as you trying to map back convenient workflows into your #1 DAW. You will quickly understand the strengths and weaknesses of your #1 DAW this way. And you will be training your composing/arranging/mixing vocabulary in the process. If you play guitar yes you want to master one guitar. But any guitarist knows different models inspire different songs until you reach the point where you have brought back all the techniques to your #1 instrument.

  • I’ve been using Mixcraft Pro Studio for about four years and love it. Started out with PS 6, then PS 7, and now PS 8, and yes the affair continues more passionately with every revision. Thanks for the DAW listing Rob!!! Mike Dillon 54W

  • What about Audacity? I have used it now for a few years and find it simple and easy to use. Altho I have two different Cubase Programmes { I refuse to use the silly term DAW} I find them difficult to start up and get into and sometimes when all seems to work it doesn’t record. Most annoying So I stick to Audacity. as it’s straightforward Up comes the page and click the record button and away you go . It has all the usual fine tuning functions that I need and I mix it all accordingly.. I also have my songs that I produce played on a number of Community Radio Stations right across Australia and even get airplay in certain parts Of America and Canada.

  • If you haven’t yet tried it, check out Harrison Console’s Mixbus and Mixbus32C. Without going into the history, Harrison has essentially built a software version of their consoles. Mixbus is similar to other DAWs, but the workflow is different from others. It features EQ and compression on ever channelstrip, with a layout that is right on the channel: you don’t have to go through popups to get to EQ, compression, or channel sends. The Master bus includes EQ, compression, and tape saturation, also all right on the channelstrip.. From what I have read from experienced mixing engineers up to speed using Mixbus, mixing with Mixbus is considerably faster than other DAWs.

    Mixbus is still fairly new, and has had some quirks in past releases. But those seem to be resolved and cleaned up, so it seems now to be very stable and solid. And, to make the product more enticing, Mixbus sells for $79. (Mixbus32C is $299.) (No, I don’t work for Harrison, but I can appreciate a good deal!)

    Whether this will become an industry standard and become used by all is anybody’s guess. However, if I was just starting with recording and mixing and was looking for my first DAW, this would be my starting place.

    I would enjoy reading what you or other readers think of Mixbus or Mixbus32C, if you have worked with it.

    • I’m attracted to it, however, in view of missing plugins (noted in reviews) I don’t want to have to hunt around or buy them. All I need a DAW for is bringing in jazz band and orchestral MIDI files from Musescore (notation software) to get better and more realistic sound (I guess using VSTs etc.). That’s about it. So I’m leery about what’s missing in Mixbus.

  • Been using FL for 15 years, as well as Ableton, Reason, all the multi trackers and even the old Sony Acid and Soundforge. FL is amazing, speaking as an artist that is, but yes its not as user friendly if youre a mix engineer and arent composing… However, with some quality plugins and even the stockers like Maximus and Newtone, theres not much you cant do that other DAWs can… Ive stepped away from producing a hard electro house track to picking up my strat, setting up mics and producing a pop rock song for an artist. I love FL! So, if youre doing your own. Mastering in house, get some good plugins (compressors, preamps, tape emulators, etc) and youll be happy.

  • People always give FL crap for no reason and I don’t understand why. Like why is FL studio “bad”?

    I feel like people give it crap cause it’s “easy” to use. Just cause it has a “start” button, doesn’t mean it works like you think it does.

    1 person could be driving a speed boat while the other a ship. It’s all in how you use it that matters. If you can’t drive it, you have no room to talk.

    • There are few objectively bad points about FL:

      no hotkey customization
      clunky way to make macro controls, and no intuitive way to see them
      no effects rack where you can see and control EQ’s, compressors, macro knobs, reverbs, delays etc all in 1 view.

      A lot of other opinions come from stereotypes and ignorance, like “FL studio is to make copy-pasted beats for hip-hop”. Lot of people do difficult genres like classic orchestra, VGM or IDM, experimental. In fact actually pattern-based and modular workflow is better for experimental genres, rather than linear workflow.

      So IMO strong points of FL: composing
      Weak points: mixing, automation, hotkeys.

      Doesnt mean you can’t do all in all DAWs, but the better aspect in one daw, the more experimental you can be. So I’m more experimental when composing in FL, but I’m more experimental when mixing in Ableton.

  • Ironically, Ableton Live and Propellerhead Reason which are meant for producing MODERN Electronic Music have the worst UI :(

    • I found it really easy to use Caustic. But at the time I checked it out, I didn’t see an easy way to record audio into a track. Also On Windows using my old M-Audio Fast Track Pro interface, I noticed tremendous latency when attempting to perform into the tracks. So I have since abandoned Caustic. But it’s so cool to be able to produce something on computer and then show it to someone using my phone. The included instruments seemed really powerful for the price, and way more intuitive than Ableton Live, which is my DAW of choice for now.

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