Best Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs)

The Top Ten

FL Studio

Fruity Loops Studio is probably gonna be your best bet in the Digital Audio Workstation zone, if you are looking for a good, advanced yet simple one. I have used Fruity Loops since version 7, and it is very user-friendly, a good looking interface, easy and advanced at the same time type of Digital Audio Workstation you will ever have, now comparing this to Ableton, it's only what you can do better with either the two. But for my side, It's probably the best, and includes FREE lifetime updates, Performance abilities, several VST plugins that come along with it, and way too much more and more up with it. It is the best Digital Audio Workstation you can get.

NO MATTER WHAT, People will always disagree. If you like using a specific DAW, that is all that matters.

I have Pro Tools. I've used PT for 4 years now. However I've used FL for about 8-9 years, since version 6. There's a few things I much prefer in PT, but for my compositions and own song writing, its FL any day of the week.

PT I use to compose for films, or to record and produce other bands.

Given the option (please bear in mind this is my opinion and everyone is different so don't be elitist, you're no better than anyone else for using a specific DAW) I would use Fruity Loops Studio.

Why use FL Studio? BeCaUsE iT's LiT! Don't get me wrong, I think Ableton is j as good if not a little better, but to get a version of Ableton that allows you to have more than 8 audio/midi tracks in one song costs like $500, whereas in FL Studio, it's $200.

Awesome. My first DAW, and after trying a few others, I know I'll never use another Daw. Pure genius, everything works smoothly and is streamlined to perfection. Fully recommended

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Ableton Live

It's way way better. Fl study is good as well but audio to midi converter is all I need

Hands Down Best DAW so much flexibility. I started with Reason then Record the Logic, now Live.

I've used so many different DAWs over the years, with each having their various problems. Live is the only one that actually is able to keep up with my compositional pace. It's very intuitive to use, and unlike so many others that feel like they were written by coders, Live was something which came out of the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction stable of artists...meaning, it was created by musicians, and it shows! In its full Suite version with Max for Live, you have the feeling that you've tapped into raw sonic power with Live, and that if you can think of a musical idea, it can deal with it admirably. Having literally ridden the whole arc of digital workstation development from Studer Editech Dyaxis to the present day, trust me, this DAW is truly the pot of gold at the end of a very long developmental rainbow.

Has everything you will ever need to create and record music. If it had a few more sample instruments it would be the complete package.

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Open Labs StageLight

Pretty amazing even without considering price. Finally an app for people with touch screens. Absolute freedom from using a mouse which is impressive. But taking price into consideration, amazing software. I guess the idea is to sell sounds and features in app for making money? Sort of like games. I like it.

I'm using it for over a year and it's definitely easy (more like working with a tutor), advanced (considering the processing abilities) and literally affordable by everyone! The updates are very-very-promising as well!

Best product ever so glad I got it! It has completely changed the way I produce music! It is so easy to use plus in my price range! I'd highly recommend this product to all my friends and anyone who wants to create music easily!

I have used StageLight since it first hit the market. I can say hands down that this is the best software available right now and for the price it's an amazing deal. If you can find a more complete DAW with a more intuitive UI then I'll buy it for you! StageLight is my new standard and preferred product of choice. You can't go wrong with it!

Pro Tools

The layout being similar to old-school analogue interfaces is a great nostalgia trip for veteran audio engineers, but that's not all this DAW has to offer. Simply put, Pro Tools is a piece of software for audio engineers, rather than artists. While Ableton and FL are good for composition, and Ableton shines at live performance, for recording, mixing and mastering audio, Pro Tools is simply the best option on the market.

I am agree with tools is the best in one of these today for mixing and mastering.


Cubase is probably the strongest jack of all trades in terms of DAWs, specialising in MIDI.

The most complete DAW out there.

I am a composer and producer and I have had the opportunity to work with more than 5 DAW's, and I think Cubase has all the tools you need to compose, produce, mix and master music, in my opinion is the best profesional DAW in the marker.

Great Audio editing capabilities.

Propellerheads Reason

Although this is more of a production tool than a full DAW, it's the best on the market for those who want ultimate freedom to tailor sounds.
Where it excels is the real-feel workflow and profoundly versatile instruments:

1. If there's a sound in your head, you can make it a reality with without compromising on account of limited functionality. The instruments have overlapping but unique functions, and can accommodate ANY type of music creation.

2. You don't have 8 levels of windows to control the sound on one channel, it's all modular - so productivity stays high, the workspace clean, and everything is easy to monitor.

3. Routing audio and MIDI paths is almost mindlessly simple, like plugging into a sound board.

It's as if this DAW is a physical piece of equipment, it's a much more organic experience and can really change the way you produce.

Just love the interface! Three-level processing: 1. just create instrument/track, record, apply some basic settings and it sounds ok (for complete new-comers), not to mention the preset definitions, effects, etc. 2) Start tweaking the basing parameteres in the racks/mixer and you already sound cool (for those who know a thing or ten about mixing/sound creation/editing). and 3) is just... infinite tweakability, once you open the in-depth settings of sequencers, synths, effect parameters or you turn the racks around, to access simulating environments, rooms, miking, oscillator voltages (usable as side-chain parameteres for other effects, as well) or detailed synthesis of even wavetable sound instruments. Different built-in types of synthesis for synth freaks. Extremely easy midi hardware integration. Auto quantization of waves, etc.

Reason can do just about anything, if you know how to combine and chain racks, just as you would do in an analog studio. The downsize of that is that ...more

Extremely versatile DAW, gives advanced users the ability to create new original sounds and instruments that have never been heard before, though it takes a reasonable amount of technical understanding and a large amount of time. CPU load is among the best in the industry and it DOES NOT CRASH, EVER. From a production perspective its definitely my favorite though there are a few things that could be improved.

In my opinion (having used several DAW's) Reason manages to find the best balance between fun and inspiring workflow and in depth versatility. I rarely leave the environment. Especially since Midi hardware integration was added (in a brilliant way) since version 7. Oh and... I confirm.. Never crashes!. My premier wish for future developments would be to lay a broader focus on ways for use as part of live performance.

Apple Logic Studio

Apples Logic Studio is a great DAW!
For everyone who want's to play around with a software containing: professional mastered sounds / Plug-Ins, wide choice of "Apple Loops", good opportunities for mastering (even "top notch" mastering settings) and 100000 different kind of things!

It has a very user-friendly interface, is intuitive and has the Apple products quality. It includes tons of samples and a great collection of instruments. Above all, is compatible with almost all digital music formats (unlike the rest).

Logic is Pro Tools little brother (with Pro Tools being the Audio industry standard and Logic being the consumer friendly DAW) Anything you can do on Pro tools you can do on Logic and vice versa giving you the richest, fullest, most professional sound for your buck. Lots of instruments, lots of plug ins, User friendly, easy to read not overcrowded interface.

I own reason, logic and pro tools... And used to own fruity loops

Took me a bit to get use to the way things are done in Logic since I had used Pro Tools exclusively for about 10 years. (and the fact that I didn't even look at the manual :P) Once I got the hang of the way Logic worked it was very simple to make it do what I wanted.

Steinberg Cubase

Not complicated at all, large flexibility in workspace (you can tune up everything, even cursor behavior). Large amount of built-in VSTis. Ergonomic interface an mixer. And much more. Perfect for any kind of music.

This has it all you need nothing just this and hit it

Really great flow and easy to use in my opinion - it is THE first class professional DAW and an incredibly powerful tool if you know how to use it

Still the king of MIDI

Adobe Audition

I cannot find fault with it. Editing is its strong point. All the way from surround sound to spectral analysis. Not heavy on CPU usage. Multitrack functionality is good. Red book CD burning options are fantastic. Will use any plug in you can throw at it. Will use any hardware interface you can mention. I cannot find fault with it.

I got thousands of dollars just because of adobe audition.. Thanks adobe

good daw - now fully featured DAW

Great mixing/raw recording interface. Detailed and useful effects good workflow until CD lists, at least I've been having trouble with that.

PreSonus Studio One

Mixing? Check. Mastering? " check. VST 2.4 and VST 3 support? Check. User-friendly? Check. Drag-and-drop anything? Check. MIDI editing? Check. Piano Roll? Check. Exactly how many characters can I use for this comment? I have used Cubase SX3 and 5, FL Studio (which is more of a sequencer than a DAW, really, Ableton Live Suite 8, Tracktion 3, Audition, Sequoia, Acid Pro, Music Maker, Pyramix Virtual Studio, and just about every other DAW released for the PC. I really like Mixcraft 6 for its mixing capabilities, but I have to say the DAW I have always returned to after trying so many others to see if there is a feature I missed in Studio One, and can't find even the slightest comparison. I use a lot of Kontakt 5 stuff and really like V-metal, (after upgrading from Shreddage-X) and all it takes to create a dual-channel track is to click the Kontakt instrument in the instrument list in Studio One's mixer, and click the box for the next output. Nothing is easier to use than this DAW. ...more

I have all the Major DAWs. Studio One 3 spoils you by making it extremely easy to use with it's drag and drop features. I love how creativity doesn't get interrupted by the music stopping because you're audition different instruments. This the only DAW I know that doesn't stop the music.

It came with my Presonus Audio Interface and it does so much it will be a long time before I am done exploring the possibilities. I have used it for recording my band, mixing live performances, sequencing, composing,

Is there anything another DAW can do that Studio One can't do easier?

Love it! Works every time I open it and it takes 2 seconds to start with a template. So excited that I get to vote for this because I know that this software has a good following and a good crowd behind it! Thanks Presonus!

The Contenders

Cakewalk Sonar

I really like this Daw. It does everything I need plus more. I am currently on 8.5 producer. My only wish is that it was ported to the Mac.. I an sure it would work even better on a mac.. Unfortunately, Windows is the only thing holding this product back..

A DAW for anything.. I arranges music and Sonar has been my loyal companion since 2006. I'm with Sonar X2 now and will be upgrading to X3 soon.

I've always liked the robust combo of the audio engine and the midi. By far the best combo out there

Easy to use and does everything you need.. Lot more improvement in Design. Love the PRO channel.

Magix Samplitude

To be quite frank, in the day and age we live in, its all subjective. I for one think that in terms of audio editing Samplitude/Sequoia is second to none. Mastering Samplitude kills it hands down. Midi is well developed for the genre I'm doing, I started with FL Studio, then moved to Reason, at one point I was making beats on Reason and Recording in Samplitude. But today I use Samplitude for Beat Making, Recording, Editing, Mixing, Mastering and CD Authoring.

I have been working with this DAW for many years. I have to say, that I do not have a good comparison with an other DAW. But there was nothing I could not do with this DAW. It is super simple for newcomers and has a lot of features. And once you get used to it, you do not want anything else.

Magix Samplitude and Magix Sequoia are used by studios that are knows for I.E. The Vienna Symphonic Orchestra. And with a good reason. Samplitude's for professionals, it's fast, innovative and powerful like nothing else.

I have been using this DAW for over 15 years now also used to work with logic and with ableton live. Once you experienced its level of professional mixing and editing, I'm- and export features and mastering skills, these simply is nothing like it. Period.

Cockos Reaper

Started using this when I had the demo version for free, but paid the license fee because it was so good and easy to use. Having said that it is easy to use, don't underestimate how complex and comprehensive its features are. I am still learning more and more about it and finding new features the more I use it (about 3 years now).

I did also try some other DAWs when I first tried out Reaper, but mostly they just didn't have the features I needed or were very un-intuitive or were outrageously expensive. I could not find a better product in terms of quality and value for money.

If you want to digitally record multi-track multi-instrument music in a professional and quality manner with initial ease of use backed up by a range of sophisticated features, I can't imagine there is a much better product out there than Reaper.

Low priced and full of features that the other big household names have and then some. I've been using Reaper for the last three years and I'm still discovering new features that I didn't know existed. It's simply the best!

REAPER just works, solid/stable, best business model/cheapest, looks best/skinable, small footprint, most updated DAW ever, best support, great to rewire with FL Studio, Ableton Live, Reason etc... Most underrated likely because of its price. So funny how ignorant & set in there ways & easily lead by commercial advertising so many people are who think they are 'in the know' esp. When it comes to Pro tools, it really is a clear case of the blind leading the blind :P

Got a bunch... Always end up back at Reaper... JUST WORKS

Avid Pro Tools

If you want to play with the big boys, you've got to have the same toys, in professional music, it means shelling out big bucks for a Pro Tools System. Pro Tools is currently the industry standard tool used in countless popular contemporary recordings and music productions. And many will argue that Pro Tools is the best. Pro Tools has an intuitive interface that makes it suitable for amateurs and new comers, while at the same time it provides great depth and power for industry professionals. The downside however is its price and its limited compatibility and high hardware requirements. Still, if you want to have the best music production software that money can buy, you better check out Pro Tools and the range of products they offer.

Pro Tools is truely stunning! It is top of the line in all aspects of audio recording, music production, mixing and mastering, and so much more. However, Pro Tools (as you may be able to discern by the name) is directed more toward Professional musicians/producers. It is used by studios and big-name producers all around the world. However, though Pro Tools is mainly designed for professionals, it has an intuitive interface that makes it suitable for amateurs and new comers, while at the same time provides great depth and power for industry professionals.

When I discovered Pro Tools, my only previous experience with DAWs was with Garage Band, so you can imagine the overwhelming confusion that came with trying to learn how to use one of the most professional DAWs on the market after having such an amateur background.

I am by no means a professional producer/artist, but I would highly recommend Pro Tools to both Professionals and amateurs, providing that they already have ...more

Pro Tools 10 Rocks!
All the others can not hold a candle to it, it presses all the right buttons, very low learning curve but takes years to master has a class about it that other daws strive to catch up with and when they almost do, protools is off again reaching new heights of brilliance, suck it and see you will like the taste.

I decided to pull the trigger and give it a try as it is Avid's attempt to the 64 bit world.

I am glad I did. In the past I used to use PT 8 - and I will tell you what, PT 11 is damn fast!
Make sure you run it on Mountain Lion, if you're an apple user, that way you can take advantage of 64 bits features.


Mixcraft 6 is an awesome DAW, especially for using a MIDI controller to compose most of a song. I have Ableton live and it can't touch the midi power of Mixcraft. In fact, Ableton barely works with a virtual instrument without the CRASH or poping and hissing. Mixcraft is something anybody can it the ground running with and is very stable. I'm using windows 7 with a dell laptop and FireWire express card and it is seamless. Appleton, not so seamless. How do they sell mixcraft so cheap? It is amazing! It is the best kept secret of all DAW's

Most user-friendly I've used and I've tried numerous ones...really nice MIDI editor (piano roll), bundled with a lot of loops and VST stuff too. Not perfect (what's with the transport bar in the middle of the screen? ) but overall the easiest to learn and use, and has the best look and feel about it as well.

I've tried many DAW's, Ableton, Cakewalk, Magix etc. I gave up on them, and the money I spent. There is only one, that is user friendly, and that's Mixcraft! I recently looked at a "top ten" list of DAW's. The writer explained that it's normal to take a couple of days to get problems worked out and be ready to use the DAW's on the list. Which makes sense, since Mixcraft wasn't on the list. I guarantee you, install Mixcraft, and you'll be creating songs, instead of "getting all the problems" ironed out. There are no problems. Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio comes with Melodyne Essentials. Very Nice!

A DAW that is truly straightforward and easy to use, so it doesn't get in the way of your creativity.

Motu Digital Performer

DP has been in the shadows of Pro Tools for as long as I can remember, but it has always be the more flexible, full featured DAW. The most recent incarnation gives you tons of usable plug-ins, instruments and endless routing, editing, tracking and mixing possibilities. It is a studio workhorse, head and shoulders above any other DAW for scoring video. Totally undervalued.

This is the best DAW out there for film scoring!

Best Daw for me work flow is ok, steep learning curve but works for me, I'd give it 7 out of 10

DP has been and is my favorite DAW. It offers everything that has any DAW and makes it more elegantly and with more quality. Is incredible. DP is my choice for many years.


the best

Steinberg Nuendo

For me Nuendo is a super complete DAW. In it I can record, edit and mix up with the audio quality and efficiency. Besides having an easy to use interface. Leaves nothing to be desired as the others.

The only DAW for serious film design and production. Automation leaves everyone else in it's wake alone.

I have used other DAW as well. Nothing beats Nuendo. It's best for Mastering and production. You should have good gears. I switched to Nuendo 5 years back and doing great.Sorry for other DAW.


Been using Sony Acid since the late 90's back when it was Sonic Foundry. I find the audio recording & plugin support great and easy to use. I also prefer the midi editing. can't really compare it to other DAWs, but for me it does almost everything I need. I have recently been working with Propellerhead Reason 6, and that seems though handle everything and more that Acid can't.

Bad :
Midi sequencer, maps...Automatic knobs. Needs a lot of upgrades.

Good :
The Render of Mixdown takes too long than any new daw... But, the sounds is better than any of this list. Just try to mix the same parts in any'll see the difference. Sonic Foundry was one of the best company in the 90's. Trust me.

The XFX included plugins Need Serious Upgrading! They sound Too Digital and very Childish!
I personally wouldn�t use it for live recording, but as a Loop Base Music Production Studio
It�s the best in my opinion. For live recording I would use another program like Cubase, Protools,
Sonar or Samplitude. The new Izotope plugins work really well.

I've been using Acid Pro for a while. I disagree with the comment about the xfx plugins sounding too digital and childish. I do have a problem with the registration of these plugins. Sony's online registration tool is garbage and it needs to be fixed. I'm a loop based artist and for my money Acid Pro 7 can't be beat. For live recording I'd use Samplitude.

Single Cell Software - Caustic

Highly Innovative, Friendly User interface, suitable for all producers from Beginners to Pros, Anything is possible with Caustic, there are no limits. Free for Windows and Mac. Genius Mobile Version For Android and iOS only $7.99. Large online community where friendly users can share their songs and content. Caustic is incredible because it provides endless possibilities to the creative Producer. Great for sound design as well, easily create your own unique samples and synth patches. However, If all you desire to produce is beats or sample-based music, Caustic has you covered here too. Like I said there are no limits, create the most personal unique music designed entirely by you or make hits with industrial quality, it's up to you. If you want a high quality DAW for very little cost, Caustic is the correct choice. Great software at low cost saves you money for other studio necessities, choose Caustic, after making beautiful music in a relatively short amount of time the scales will ...more

The best daw on the market, easy to pick up, huge potential. There seems to be a lot of snobbery amongst daw users when it comes to products like caustic. Don't listen to these people, try caustic for yourself and see. Anything produced on caustic 3 will sound every bit as good as any other daw, and that is all that matters. Caustic gets the same results twice as fast and twice as easy as any other daw. Music making should be fun and intuitive not boring and complicated. What caustic has done is given us a daw that is both very powerful and capable, but still user friendly something the others are not. Also caustic, just like Cubasis is available on iPad which makes it the best and easiest way to make music. Also on mac and pc of course. A fantastic bit of software that just keeps getting better.

No other program that I have come across is as easy to pick up yet richly packed with features. It is simple, intuitive and easily approachable for a beginner to get started making tracks in the first few minutes.

I love this program. Without it my phone would be redundant. Amazingly well priced, intuitive, simple for music beginners and full of depth for those in the know already. The price? An utter bargain.


Will be number two or three in a few years time

Amazing new DAW with developers that are listening to the community. Ableton users will feel at home.

I have worked with 5 profesional DAWs, and I must to say that BitWig surprised me; is very intuitive, BitWig takes the best of Ableton Live and I can to predict that will be one of the best DAWs in the future.

Still in developement

NI Maschine

This is a great DAW, anyone can use it, even if you're just starting to make music. It will be twice as good after its upgrade next month.

This is such a great, and underrated DAW

This a great DAW, if you don't know about it, then look it up.

Great all around Daw system. I love the 16 pads and midi for keys. I come from the MPC world so this works great live and in the studio. The editing and sample capabilities are easy and awesome! Best price and great sounds!

Cool Edit Pro

Very reliable for audio recording with great effects and easy to use.

Best WAVE recorder with a perfect selection tool

Merging Technologies Pyramix

As a Mastering Engineer I used Mac based Sonic Solutions in the 1990's. The company went belly-up and the winner after that became Merging with the PC based Pyramix. It can do anything you can possibly dream of, except make coffee.

Power, Flexibility, Features, adapts to your style, a little longer learning curve simply because it does so much! Sonic performance second to none.

This is the most tranperent DAW


Been using since version 2, with all bugs and flaws of legacy design. Now with version 4 it is just brilliant. Name your price, from $1, or build yourself from source.

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