Our Favorite DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations)

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Although there are other options, digital recording is the easiest and most cost effective way to get started producing music in a home studio. This means you're going to need recording software, otherwise known as a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). There are many different DAWs available for different purposes, with a huge community of home studio owners keen to help you get started and learn how to achieve the results you're looking for.

We're not going to try to tell you which is the best DAW, because that will always create controversy. Ask any 10 home recording artists for their best choice and you'll get 10 different answers. In any case, there's no such thing as a "best DAW" because the choice will vary depending on your budget, requirements and preferences.

Our goal here is simply to give you a broad overview of our favorites, so we're not going to dive into the fine details. If we spark your interest, the chart below gives you links to the manufacturer sites where you can analyze the tech and workflow of each DAW in greater detail.

Favorite DAWs

Free DAWs:

DAWs less than $100:

DAWs over $100:

If you want to get a different take, click here to check out an interesting post from one of our Users.

Summary

There are a lot more DAWs that are worth a closer look, depending on your situation. Here's a summary:

WEB SITE OS PRICE (USD) SUMMARY
Image Line FL Studio PC/Mac $199 Very easy to use. Great starter DAW.
Propellerhead Reason PC/Mac $399 Rack-like view and CV routing. Generates some great results.
Steinberg Cubase Pro PC/Mac $549 Great all 'round DAW.
PreSonus Studio One PC/Mac $399 Fully featured DAW with intuitive workflow.
Magix Music Maker PC FREE Aimed at beginners and hobbyists.
Magix Acid Pro PC $149 Top choice for loop-based production.
Magix Samplitude PC $399-$499 Probably the most comprehensive set of features for any PC DAW.
Ableton Live PC/Mac $449 Great workflow for "on-the-fly" production.
Avid Pro Tools PC/Mac $699 Industry standard DAW for studio professionals.
Bitwig Studio PC/Mac/Linux $399 Similar to Live. Modular with regular updates.
Apple Logic Pro Mac $199 Popular if you're on a budget and have a Mac.
Cockos Reaper PC/Mac/Linux $60/$225 High quality DAW at a great price.