Imagine you want to start producing music for the first time, now what? Well, to begin with you will most probably need a good DAW in order to start making your tracks and beats. Choosing a music production software is a hard question for many new musicians, as the options out there are so many that many producers feel overwhelmed and have trouble choosing. Before going forward with how to choose one, let's first answer the most fundamental question: What is a DAW and why do you need one?
A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW for short) is basically where all the production magic happens, everything from drum programming to mixing, from vocal recording to mastering happens there. These programs can run on all modern Windows or MacOS computers with some of them also having smartphone friendly versions. To help you a bit with making this decision we have provided a list of the top 10 most notable DAWs out there, together with the different versions and the price range each one comes in:
1. Ableton Live (99-799$/ Intro, Standart, Suite)
2. FL Studio (99-799$/Fruity, Producer, Signature, All Plugins Bundle)
3. Logic Pro (199$/One full version only, MacOS exclusive)
4. Reason (399$/One full version only)
5. Pro Tools (Multiple subscription options and versions)
6. Cubase (302-552$/Elements, Artist, Pro)
7. Studio One (0-399$/Prime, Artist, Professional)
8. Reaper (60-225$/ Discounted, Commercial)
9. Bitwig Studio (399$/One full version only)
10. GarageBand (free/One full version only, MacOS exclusive)
Now that you know where to start, a good advice would be to try out the trial versions for some of these DAWs so you can get a better idea of the workflow each one provides. Once you have decided on the perfect program for your needs, you are ready to purchase it and start making music.To help you a bit we have asked some of our best selling producers on EDM Warriors to tell us about the DAWs the use and the features they like most in them:
“I've been using FL Studio ever since I started producing. I started when I was only 12 years old, so the simplicity really appealed to me. Every time a new update comes out, I can download it right away so I'm using FL Studio 20 now. A feature I really like is the stock plugin Newtone, it helps me change the melodies of vocal loops and other loops I download.”
“I work with Ableton Live. For me the best part in Ableton is the Session View. My music is strongly loop oriented, So I can start in Session View, make the main loop, and keep throwing in different ideas until I have like 90% of the music there. Arranging the track after having a lot of different ideas comes easily.”
“Since my start with music production, FL has been my main DAW.
The freedom of workflow is amazing! Everything is so free to move, navigate and zoom in and out… With other DAWs I felt kind of locked in the navigation process and workflow, but FL doesn't make me feel like that.
I tried to use Live once, just because it have more educational content available,
but I never left FL studio. I believe that it is important to know how to use other tools and DAWs, even Ableton Live which is the most popular in the EDM Scene.”
“I use Logic Pro X, I've used other DAWs, just to know them, but I don't recommend switching DAWs because you can achieve the same results in all of them.”
“I have been using FL Studio for 12 years, I like how convenient the automation manipulations are and also the native processing plugins”