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.
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.
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.|