Gone are the days of analogue equipment and huge studio spaces required to create music. The world has now moved on to Digital Audio Workstations or DAWs, that bring the entire studio to your computer screen. From recording to mixing, DAWs have got it covered for you. If you are looking out to pick a DAW for yourself, you don’t have to be confused with the number of options available in the market. We have curated a list of our top picks along with their most notable features to help you make your choice:
Here is the list of Best DAW software, acc to me:
Compatible with : iOS
Our top pick, GarageBand is not only free but is packed with a number of advanced features and an extremely user friendly interface which make it an ideal choice for both beginners and professionals. Its long line of plugins covers all instruments that you would require and even though it is free, it does not fall back on it Virtual Instruments. Adding more versatility are features like synth and the transform pad, along with an inbuilt library of thousands of Loops including drummers, strings, horns, etc.
Compatible with : Windows
Second on our list is the Mixcraft’s latest upgrade – the Mixcraft 8. Preferred primarily and extensively by professionals Mixcraft comes with a range of payment plans, each packed with a number features for differing levels of expertise. What really impressed us about Mixcraft is its next gen sound engine, side chaining and the incredibly cool sound control feature along with the new and enhanced sound library. Mixcraft also lets you easily import and export MP4 files directly from a phone or a camera. Additionally, the performance panel can now live record to grid locations!
Compatible with : Windows, MAC
Another heavy DAW, and a go to for professional music makers, Ableton Live might come across as a little expensive and complicated for people who are just starting out and do not have previous experience with DAWs. But for professional sound editors, it’s packed with Automation features including live recording, automation behaviour and drawing curves/ envelopes. It also comes with a pretty diverse Library of built in effects and instruments including loopers, Sampler, Simpler, Operator FM synth, etc.
Compatible with : Windows, Mac, Linux
We were really impressed with how user friendly and easy to calibrate LMMS was, and would highly recommend it to people who are just starting out in music and do not want to invest a lot of money right out. Free and open sourced, LMMS is known for its user friendly MIDI keyboard, a very good synthesizer, and plenty of samples and mix options. It also comes with an elaborate library of plugins that you can use for your project.
Compatible with : Android, Windows, Mac
Easy and fast, Stagelight offers a free trial before you have to buy a plan, which also, is pretty cheap as compared to a number of DAWs in this list.Whether it’s starting with beat Loops as a beginner or going on to create original songs with vocal tracks, Stagelight has found a user base in all producers with varying skills. The DAW also offers in-app and online lessons with notes, assignments, overview, etc. In addition to being a student, you can also become a teacher and upload your own curriculum. Other notable features include cloud acess, a loop builder, timeline, mixer, track freezer and easy, saving, exporting and sharing.
Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
FL studio comes with four editions ( Fruity edition, Producer edition, Signature Bundle and All plugins Bundle) with differing levels of features making you ‘pay only for what you use’. In addition, it offers a free trial that you can try out before buying, which is essentially equivalent to the All plugins bundle, and allows you to save your projects too, that you can reopen once you’ve bought a plan. FL studio sports most of the features of DAWs like GarageBand but is even more accessible and user friendly than any other DAW on this list.
Music Maker Jam-
Compatible with: Android, iOS, Windows
Free across all platforms, Music Maker Jam has a pretty user friendly interface that not only allows you to make new melodies but also to share your work and discover others’ works across genres. Even though it is mostly recommended for beginners and novice music producers, you can upgrade to premium to unlock an even greater variety of instruments and sounds for more professional use.
Compatible with : Windows, Mac
Affordable and user friendly, Reaper’s most impressive features include a full multi-track audio and MIDI recording, along with mixing, processing, editing, etc. Even though it doesn’t have a built-in sound library, but it is compatible with a range of file types, and also provides an open sourced compatibility with plugin formats For those who like to try out before buying, Reaper also offers a 60 day free trial period.
Compatible with : Windows, MAC
Generally a bit pricier as compared to the other options on the list, Cubase is packed with features that will turn your computer into a complete production system. It provides three upgrades according to your level of expertise ( Cubase Elements, Cubase artist, and Cubase Pro). Though easy to use for beginners, Cubase requires professional skills to use the more complex features including complete song production from scratch.
With that, we’ve rounded up our list of the best digital audio workstations. We hope this list will help you pick the one that works best for you. For further queries or feedback you can reach out to us via email or simply drop a comment below!
Check out this video where my favourite YouTuber compiles a thorough list and provides you with even more great choices: