DAW Software

We have compiled a list of the best Paid and Free DAW software along with descriptions to help you in selecting which DAW suits your set up, budget, and music production needs.

DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation and is simply described as computer based digital audio management. It is an electronic tool for editing, recording and playing digital audio. A typical set up will include DAW software and audio interface hardware. With these simple components, you can turn your computer into a powerhouse audio production studio and will allow you to record and produce professional sounding music.

DAWs are generally made to mimic the old tried and tested interface of old hardware multi-track recorders. This familiar interface also helps new comers quickly understand how DAWs are used in the audio production process. And you can even get a DAW Control Surface to really make music production just as convenient as using the old mixing desks. All you have to do is install your preferred DAW software, familiarize yourself with its interface and start making music.

Here are our recommendations of some of the best Paid and Free DAW software:

Paid DAW Software

Pro Tools

Pro Tools

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac
Advertisement:
Pro Tools is currently the industry standard when it comes to digital audio workstations. Most of the known professional studios and artists today are equipped with this DAW. And rightfully so, because Pro Tools is an advanced audio and music production platform that can handle everything you throw at it. It has effects, instrumentation and can handle recording, mixing, editing and even post production. You can easily handle projects ranging from home recordings to large and complicated projects with up to 96 or 192 simultaneous audio tracks. You are also properly equipped to produce quality audio productions from the get go with the included 70 effects, virtual instruments and plugins. If you are aiming to go pro and you have the money (with a $699 list price), then this would be the best choice. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com
Cakewalk Sonar

Cakewalk Sonar

More info:
Runs on Windows
Cakewalk Sonar is a popular Windows based DAW which aims to provide a one software solution for most of today's music production needs. With Sonar you can easily start a project and take it to completion. Sonar can handle instrumentation with its many built in instruments. It can handle recordings that range from basic one instrument setup to a full orchestra. It sports an updated easy to use interface for quick and automated edits. And lastly you can do professional quality mastering with the many studio grade mastering plug-ins included. If you are a Windows user, this is one DAW software to watch out for. Sonar X1c is currently listed at $619 - Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com
Cubase

Cubase

More info:
Runs on Windows
Cubase is one of the oldest DAWs available, the first version which was released in 1989 ran on the Atari ST computer and recorded MIDI. The mere fact that it is still being used by many Windows based studios today says a lot about how good this DAW software is. Cubase is used for editing, arranging and recording, and has evolved to support multiple and complex instrumentation including multitake comping, multitrack drum editing and quantizing, advanced tempo detection and VST support. If you are looking for an advanced DAW software for a Windows machine, then you might want to check Cubase out. Current retail price is at $499.99. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com
FL Studio

FL Studio

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on iOS
FL Studio was formerly known as Fruity Loops and has been the DAW of choice for many home recording artists for its pattern based interface which acts like a music sequencer. It is popularly utilized as an instrument mostly for making drum beats or hiphop loops. Like other DAWs, it can help you record, edit, arrange, mix and master your audio production. The pattern based interface makes it easy to use, you will be surprised at how fast you can create your own loops and beats. It's also interesting to note that FL Studio still offers free lifetime updates, which means that you will receive all future updates for free. FL Studio has recently been released for iOS ($19.99) and is currently being developed for Android. List price ranges from $49 to $299 depending on the type of FL Studio you purchase. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com
Logic Pro

Logic Pro

More info:
Runs on Mac
Logic Pro handles recording, editing and mixing. It features a huge collection of instruments, loops and sounds. Logic Pro is currently part of Apple's Logic Studio Suite (listed at $499.00) and cannot be purchased separately. If you have used GarageBand, then you will find Logic Pro familiar because Garageband uses Logic Pro's sound engine and shares the same familiar interface. Aside from instruments, Logic Pro provides audio effects, synthesizers and other recording facilities for music synthesis. It also supports Apple Loops – which are royalty-free professionally-recorded instrument loops.
Ableton Live

Ableton Live

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac
Ableton Live is a DAW designed for live performance and loop based recording. It does have all the important components of a DAW software, including sequencing, recording, mixing and editing. But Ableton Live stands out because it is also very useful for live performances. It has been a favorite among Turntablists and DJs because of its live features. You can use it as an instrument, or if you are a DJ, you can use it to mix tracks live and play around with its DJ friendly features like crossfading and beatmatching. Ableton Live also carries with it composing and arranging features as well, which blends with Ableton Live's unique live and raw work flow. Ableton Live is currently priced at $380. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com
GarageBand

GarageBand

More info:
Runs on Mac Runs on iOS
GarageBand is a powerhouse digital audio workstation with the added features that allows it to work as your music sequencer, amp and effects modeler, audio sampler, auto accompaniment system and music tuition program. It's an all in one program that goes beyond what a normal DAW would do. With GarageBand, you get full recording and effects capabilities, tons of virtual software instruments, basic MIDI capabilities and last but not the least it comes with piano and guitar lessons. If you have one of the latest Macbooks or iMacs, you should already have this powerful DAW software pre-installed, and its highly recommended that you try it out. You can also get GarageBand from Mac Appstore for only $14.99.
Samplitude

Samplitude

More info:
Runs on Windows
Samplitude offers complete music production facilities including arranging, recording, editing, mixing, and all the way to professional mastering and CD/DVD authoring. One of the key features of Samplitude is its fully customizable interface. It means that you can adjust, and transform the interface to match your preferred or existing format. This feature turns Samplitude into a personalized DAW, where in the interface is tailor made for you. Another unique feature of Samplitude is the ability to do spectral editing on track level, where in you can remove unwanted noise by using the spectral analysis of the audio track. Current list price for Samplitude is $499. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com
Studio One

Studio One

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac
Studio One is a digital audio workstation software that specializes on highly intuitive work flow and interface. It is designed to be an integrated all-in-one approach to recording music, from tracking to mixing to mastering and even sharing. It aims to provide a creative atmosphere by removing unnecessary clutter and stream lining the audio production process. If you are looking for a straight to the point easy to use DAW, then this might be worth checking out. Studio One not only gets the job done without hassles, it also automatically organizes your audio productions and work files for easy retrieval in the future. The current list price for Studio One ranges from $99 to $399 depending on which package you choose. Get the latest price & reviews at Amazon.com
Reaper

Reaper

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac
Reaper stands for Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording. It is a DAW that can provide you a complete multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering environment. Reaper is specially noted for its broad flexibility, especially with regard to compatibility and routing. Reaper is also constantly being updated and fixed via a rapid development cycle and the developer is known for their responsiveness to user requests. If you are looking for DAW software that is progressively evolving, and you want to take part in its development, then this might be the DAW of choice for you.

Free DAW Software

Podium Free

Podium Free

More info:
Runs on Windows
Podium's specialty is its intuitive object based interface. It is a DAW which lets you focus on musical inspiration by simplifying technical complexities. You can easily configure plug-ins and external hardware via its object based intuitive interface. Podium Free provides you with a unique hierarchic mixing engine, where you can easily facilitate VST plugins and audio recording with external MIDI and audio gear. Podium Free is a fully functional freeware version of Podium. It shares the same design and features as the commercial version, but with a few limitations like disabled plug-in multiprocessing and disabled 64bit option.
Rosegarden

Rosegarden

More info:
Runs on Linux
Rosegarden is in our opinion the best free DAW for Linux. Aside from being a professional audio and MIDI sequencer, it can also be used as a score editor, and as a general-purpose music composition and editing environment. It uses the JACK audio system. You can use Rosegarden to record and arrange MIDI and Audio compositions, and you can even add in effects and instrument plugins. Rosegarden works with LADSPA effects and DSSI instrument plugins natively, and it can also host VST effects and VSTi through the DSSI-VST wrapper plugin. A must have free DAW for Linux enthusiasts.
Audacity

Audacity

More info:
Runs on Windows Runs on Mac Runs on Linux
Audacity is a great entry level DAW software. It is a free digital audio workstation that has all the important features and is still being updated. It is a multi-track recorder and audio editor that can even host VST plug-ins. The interface is very simplistic, recording multiple tracks is a breeze. The audio editing interface of Audacity is also very streamlined and in my opinion can rival that of commercial DAWs. This free DAW software also comes with its own effects which you can easily apply to your audio for quick music productions. If you are looking for a simple, efficient and non flashy free digital audio workstation, then you might want to check Audacity out.

To see the complete range of DAW Software available click on the following platforms: Windows | Macintosh | Linux | iPad.

Related News:
The Best USB Audio Interface Roundup
The Best Microphones For Home Recording
Best Music Production Software
Audio Interfaces - USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0
Auria: 48 Track iPad Multitrack Recording App

Share This Article        

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I would choose Cubase.

I would choose Cubase.

question

im new to music production im trying to figure out what daw i should get. i use windows first off, and i use native instruments maschine. i went to dubspots online maschine course to learn more about music production. and now im just not happy with the sound of my tracks..but like i said im new to mixing and daw. im not recording vocals, i just want to be able to make my music sound fully better as im learning to mix ..my pockets are okay im leaning toward 200-300 hopefully black friday sales will help me make a decision from cubase, or studio one...im not sure. whats your opinion?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Do not include any spaces in your answer.
Image CAPTCHA
Copy the characters (respecting upper/lower case) from the image.