Everyone has a favourite for different reasons. Whether you’re recording live instruments, producing tracks from scratch, mixing pieces together or editing the last bits of a track in a mixdown – these are the 5 DAWs that beat the rest for quality, versatility and performance.
We recently put it to a poll on our Twitter to see what people’s favourites were. We expected it to be an even mix but the results came back overwhelmingly in favour of music creation veterans Fruity Loops.
The DAW has over 20 years of technology and music-making expertise packed into it’s comprehensive production software. FL Studio is a favourite for electronic music production thanks to it’s intuitive design that makes producing and mixing simple whilst offering deep customisation and editing power when you explore beyond its straightforward surface.
Many of the big names in electronic music and beyond endorse FL Studio such as Martin Garrix, Deadmau5, Avicii (RIP),’Tubular Bells’ legend Mike Oldfield and RouteNote favourite Vexento. For value, quality, features, and simplicity combined; nothing else matches up quite the same.
Ableton is the number one choice for many musicians and producers for lots of reasons. Beyond it’s brilliant handling of MIDIs, one of Ableton’s biggest assets is the choice of two creation/performance layouts: Grid and Session views, the latter making it the perfect DAW for performing live or building up your ideas piece by piece.
Session view arranges your recording, tracks, instruments and samples in columns which you can arrange for looping and creating on the fly. It makes building on a beat so easy that anyone can dive in without any DAW skill and start layering sounds and tracks – especially with many modern MIDI instruments built to work seamlessly with Ableton Live.
Beyond that Ableton are renowned as one of the most powerful music production softwares and boasts an impressive library of it’s own quality plugins and instruments including it’s renowned built-in sampling plugin. It’s an accessible and powerful program that has a reputation for a reason.
Logic Pro is Apple’s high quality offering which melds together a sleek look with incredibly capable software. It’s layout makes recording live instruments and MIDIs a smooth and dreamy experience whilst it’s impressive library of instrument and effect plugins mean you will never be lost for inspiration.
Logic has a seemingly endless array of built in features to enhance your workflow and allow you to lay your ideas down without distraction or difficulty. From waveform time-fixing to pitch perfection it’s an intelligent program built to understand your process and aid you on your creative progressions. Not to mention how excellent it’s stock plugins are.
Logic Pro is built to work across Apple Devices so that you can connect your iPad and iPhone to take projects on the go, add a touchscreen mixer, a touchscreen MIDI keyboard and much more. This is just the start of the capabilities available in Apple’s deeply fleshed out music software. Sorry Windows fans, Logic Pro is only available on Mac computers.
Pro Tools from Avid proudly boasts that it redefined the music, film, and TV industry. It’s popular among professionals outside of the music industry as well as with producers alike offering a straightforward music editing solutions.
Avid are regularly updating Pro Tools with new editing enhancements for MIDI and recording capabilities. Unlike most other DAWs which release updates to their program in blocks Pro Tools is an ever expanding platform that works on a subscription basis.
You have the option to pay to keep Pro Tools forever but the benefit of a temporary license is that you get so many premium tools thrown in from plug-ins to tutorials to samples.
Cubase is common amongst beginners for its intuitive simplicity. Anyone can dive straight in and start drawing the bare bones of a track without any extras or production knowledge.
That’s not to say Cubase is limited, it just features a fast, flexible workflow. It’s one of the best choices for composing thanks to how uncomplicated the process is but get deeper into it’s sequencing features, beat making, recording and editing and you can see Cubase is capable of just as much creation as any other DAW.
Cubase has been an industry standard for years and is often cited as influencing the shape of modern music production with it’s iconic layout and functionality.