Within this article we will discuss what DAW is best for music production. There's no simple answer to this question as every producer is different and every DAW is different. The best DAW is the DAW you know inside and out. Which DAW do you use and why?
Firstly what is a DAW? DAW stands for digital audio workstation and is the piece of software most producers use to construct their productions. Without a DAW we would need to go back to recording with reel to reels. The invention of the DAW was revolutionary and paved the way for electronic music producers as well as live bands wanting to track in the digital domain. Within a DAW any number of jobs are possible. EQ, compression, sends to effects, gain staging, volume, automation, instrument emulation, digital synthesis and many many more possibilities.
So what DAW is best? No DAW is best, the DAW you know best is best. If you don't know any DAW's please read on. All DAW's come with a stock amount of plugins that come bundled with the software. Generally the plugins and instruments you receive with the DAW are perfectly fine to use and obtain a great sounding track and mix. As a sequencer all DAW's will do the same or similar thing. Some have more advanced features than others but fundamentally every DAW does the same thing.
As a new producer what DAW should I choose? Before committing to buying a DAW try and demo as many as possible. Find out what DAW works best for you whilst demoing each DAW. Some DAW's are easy to use. Some are highly complex and require a great deal of learning. Before committing to a DAW as a first time user check youtube for tutorials. Most DAW's come with video tutorials so you are able to learn the DAW inside and out. As a first time user this is very important.
Is there a best DAW for a specific genre? The simple answer to this is no. No one DAW is designed for any one genre. Some instruments that come free with the DAW may be more suited towards a certain genre but that really is as far as it goes. Every DAW is designed to produce every genre of music.
What's the best DAW to record music in? Now this is the only question you can sort of definitively say there is one DAW that is best. All DAW's are capable of recording audio at a good quality depending on your A/D converters of course. But hands down Protools is the better DAW for recording audio. The reason I say this is purely because Protools is essentially designed as a recording and mixing DAW and not a production DAW. You can of course use Protools to produce but there are a few drawbacks that I will explain later in this article. Protools is great for recording as it is so in depth with how you see audio. All DAW's show a visual of the recorded audio but I have never known one to be as detailed as Protools.
I'm a beginner what DAW should I seriously consider buying? There are a few to consider when you are starting out. The begineers DAW of choice I have found is Fruity Loops. It's cheap as a starter DAW and most products include a lifetime of free upgrades. So as a new Fruity Loops version comes out you can download it free. You can purchase Fruity Loops here. Fruity Loops is a relativly simple DAW to get to know. Which is why it has a certain stigma surrounding it that it's a kiddies DAW. Yes a lot of kids use it but that's because it is one of the best DAW's to get started on. It comes with a lot of helpful tools and really everything you need to make a great sounding track.
What DAW do Audio Animals use and why? We use 2 DAW's for different purposes. For mixing and mastering we will always use Protools. The reason for this is when it comes to mixing music Protools for us is hands down the best. We don't use any stock plugins so this choice is made purely on the DAW itself and how well it functions as a mixing and mastering DAW. For the way we work we find Protools to be as accurate to working on a live mixing console as is physically possible. Using the SSL Nucleus we are able to control every aspect of the DAW, which gives us that hands on feel we require in the box.
We don't however use protools for music production or compositions. The reason for this is Protools isn't designed to be a production DAW. Although it is possible to produce in Protools it's by far not the best. Some plugins are not compatible with Protools due to Protools using RTAS and AAX as their plugin platform. For this reason we opted to use Cubase 9.5. We find Cubase is much like Protools in the way it's designed and is very familiar to us having used it way back in the Cubase 2 days. Cubase supports the very popular VST plugin format which Protools doesn't. This means we can use plugins that have been developed in VST format including our own plugins we build for our sample shop here. Cubcase is fairly expensive compared to other DAW's but it comes with a ton of free plugins and instruments that really are great. More info about cubase here.
To Conclude...... No one DAW is better than another. They are all good in their own right. The best DAW is the DAW that works best for you. The DAW that is best for workflow is the best DAW for you to use. A DAW that takes you 2 hours to do a simple task is a poor DAW but that same DAW and same task in the hands of someone that knows it inside and out would take 5 minutes. The DAW that is best for you is the DAW you know and understand. If you have a DAW and don't know and understand it fully make a point of watching every tutorial available to ensure you know and understand it 100%. Stop with the my DAW's better than your DAW debate, it's silly. You believe your DAW to be the best because it is best for you and the way you work. I could sit here till I'm blue in the face telling you that Protools is the best DAW known to man but put a producer who is fluent with Fruity Loops in front of Protools he's going to be there all day.