Music Production: Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

Since the dawn of time, people have been looking for something to differentiate themselves from others. Think religion, political preference, your taste in movies, whether you use a PC or Mac, and nine times out of ten in music production it’s about the DAW you’re using.
Before you start arguing with anyone about why Ableton is better than FL Studio, remember that it’s not really about your tools. It’s about the person who uses them.
Still, the right DAW can make a difference for you as a producer or songwriter. Each program has its own characteristics and its own workflow. Are you just starting to produce? Any DAW will eventually work for you, but some might just be a little bit better. Almost all of them have a free trial, so use that!

Before you make a choice, ask yourself:

What genre of music do I mostly make?
• Will I mainly be working with live or virtual instruments?
• Do you want a program with many samples or do you prefer to record your own?

Still in doubt? Here’s an overview:

Ableton: Ableton is in its essence made for electronic music. With the session view you can quickly create a track from a loop. In addition, it is also designed for live performance. Of course, Ableton also has an arrangement view that allows you to produce a piano ballad just as well.

Logic: Like everything from Apple, Logic Pro X is incredibly intuitive. It has a clear layout, but under the hood are all the, if not more, functions that you want from a DAW. It is an Apple exclusive, but that means it works perfectly within the Apple ecosystem.

Pro Tools: Pro Tools is the industry standard. Probably nine out of ten studios in the world will work with Pro Tools. Pro Tools is mainly designed for live recordings and mixing. If you work with live instruments, you will find everything you need here.

FL Studio: FL Studio is a favourite among hip hop and EDM producers. With a built-in drum sequencer, the DAW leans a little more towards electronic music. Still, it’s a hugely intuitive and versatile DAW.

Reaper: Reaper is a DAW that you can completely set up to your preferences. You can adjust every function you see. Do you want to work in Reaper but want it wo work exactly like Ableton? Same shortcuts as Pro Tools? Reaper is extremely versatile. Be aware that Reaper does not come with virtual instruments. You will have to purchase those yourself.

Cubase: Cubase is a favourite when it comes to film scoring and music composition. With incredibly extensive midi functions, it is a favourite among film composers.

Don’t let your music genre rule your choice of DAW. If you’re into indie rock, but FL studio’s workflow feels best to you, go for it. Choose the program in which you prefer to spend all hours of your day!

To read more about Music Production and how to improve the process of developing, creating and refining recorded music visit our knowledge base page Music Production Education.