The 5 best DAWs for music production and recording (2020)

With so much amazing music making software out there it can be hard to find the one that’s right for you. Our top list will make sure you know which DAW is right for you.

We put it to our Twitter community to find out what music programs they love the most. From electronic producers big and small, bands recording in their garage, to multi-instrumentalists in home studios the votes came in and these are the top 5 DAWs voted for by our music community in 2020.

Fl Studio won our poll last year and it seems the song remains the same amongst producers and music makers. Fruity Loops’s accessible yet powerful software got a whopping 60% of the total vote, over 3x more than any other.

There are many great things about FL Studio but the main thing I hear from so many people is how simple it is to get started. The workflow makes sense to production veterans and recording newbies alike.

With multiple options of recording including an intuitive sequencing format and accessible piano roll notation it’s simple to jump straight in to beatmaking. Despite how easy it is to grasps the software is sophisticated and deep with a wealth of great built in plugins, effects and consoles.

FL Studio is available from $99.

Apple’s Logic Pro won Silver in the votes showing that after years in the game their sleek simple design and powerful functionality is as popular as ever. It’s a straightforward recording experience that holds a lot of power under the dashboard.

Logic Pro is hailed for its vast array of great functions; Smart Tempo snapping your tracks together, Brush Drum Kits providing even more options for authentic sounds, and a massive collection of effects and instruments to name but a few.

If you use Apple devices then the Logic Pro experience gets even better. You can use your iOS devices as multi-touch mixers or as a touch instrument. It also makes taking your projects on the go super simple. However, this does mean that this lovely little DAW isn’t available on Windows.

Logic Pro is available from $199.

Reaper

Reaper has always been on our radar but we weren’t expecting as many people to get in touch and tell us how much they love it. This DAW is a complete music production and recording offering available for free for 60 days and is mega cheap if you’re eligible for the discount afterwards!

It may be one of the cheapest offers on the market, but don’t be fooled, it has all of the features you’d expect from a top DAW like powerful audio and MIDI recording with multichannel support. There is support for all of your favourite effects and instruments plugins and there are hundreds of tools already built-in.

Import, record and render your music in high quality with 64-bit audio processing and make full recordings in a studio-ready DAW. It’s no surprise that Reaper is so popular with the online community as it truly does offer a fully loaded, professional recording and production solution that is one of the cheapest packages on the market.

Get Reaper now free for 60 days then $60.

Ableton is a top choice for many producers and studios. It’s one of the staples in music productions for its seamless interface (once you’ve got to grips with it), powerful handling of MIDI, and it’s two iconic layouts for recording and performance.

Session view makes recording, editing and mixing on Ableton a fairly straightforward affair with a timeline left to right. Then there is Grid View, which opens up a world of possibility by allowing you to record clips which can be looped and activated on the fly. This makes for an incredible beat making workflow but has also been an incredible solution for many DJs and producers performing live with samples, hits and loops.

Ableton Live also lays claim to one of the most expansive and quality libraries of effects and instrument plugins. It’s not quite as accessible as some other DAWs but it is a favourite for a reason.

Ableton Live is available from $99.

Propellerhead’s Reason is a pretty incredible DAW. It works with plugins in a unique way to create a world of possibilities. Imagine a combination of the power and visuals of some of the best plugins and combine that with the possibilities of rack synths and you’re on track to what Reason is all about.

Reason has an incredible list of instruments, synths, drum machines, and effects with customisation and control the likes of which you won’t find many places else. It makes for a great general DAW but it shines when it is used for its plugin capabilities.

If you want software that doesn’t just provide you a place to record, produce and mix your music but gives you a wealth of sonic possibility and experimentation then Reason just might be the choice for you.

Reason is available from $99.

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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