Ableton Live

  • For a long time, Ableton Live has been well respected as the best music production platform for creatives.

  • This acclaim comes with good reason, it very easy to audition loops and piece ideas together, making it a favourite among electronic producers.

  • Ableton is essentially the world’s best sampling looper—it includes incredible sampling and synthesis plugins that make it a sonic powerhouse.

  • Beyond its sampling and synthesis capabilities, the entire plugin suite holds its own with excellent EQs, delays, reverbs, compression and more.

  • Ableton 11 has expanded MIDI recall to make comping over ideas easier, syncing for live performance, a handful of new plugins and much more.

  • Ableton also offers deep compatibility with the insanely flexible Max digital signal processing environment with Live as Max4Live.

  • This makes Live one of the most versatile sound design tools out there—there’s a lot to love!

    • Pros:

      • Impressive MIDI comping

      • Great suite of plugins

      • Creativity oriented

    • Cons:

      • Interface can be confusing

      • Not suited as well for advanced production

  • PRICE:

    1. Intro - £70

    2. Standard - £320

    3. Suite - £540

 

Logic Pro

  • Logic Pro is Apple’s pro audio software product.

  • It’s a great DAW that shares its user-friendly design philosophy with Garageband. If you started with Garageband, you’ll find a lot to love in Logic Pro.

  • Impressive suite of bundled plugins and impressive flex time and flex pitch features, Logic has excelled as a one-stop solution for audio production.

  • Apple launched a huge update adding live looping, a better step sequencer, newly developed plugins and even an AI drummer tool!

  • Logic is highly capable yet user-friendly DAW that’s built for recording and production just as much as it is built for creation and song writing.

  • A great deal compared to other comparable tiers of DAW on the market.

    • Pros:

      • Well rounded DAW with painstaking attention to detail

      • Tons of great plugins and software instruments

      • Very fairly priced considering its features and add-ons

    • Cons:

      • Only works on Apple products​

  • PRICE:

    • LOGIC PRO - £170

 

Studio One

  • Studio One 5 is the newest edition of Presonus’ DAW product.

  • While Studio One is one the newer DAW platforms on the market, Studio One 5 comprises everything PreSonus has been working on since launch.

  • Studio One 5 works well and excels with arrangement and composition with its powerful ability to turn MIDI data into sheet notation.

  • The suite also features deep integration with hardware, making it easier to use outboard gear within Studio One’s workflow!

  • The workflow in Studio One is focused on creativity and inspiration.

  • Its “song writing first” design makes it easy to compose fast—you can even output printable scores and lead sheets from the parts you create.

  • Studio One may seem like a bit of an underdog, but that gives it a lot of space to innovate and the results are impressive.

    • Pros:

      • Highly oriented towards creativity but handles production work well

      • Powerful notation and arrangement capabilities

    • Cons:

      • Not as many included plugins and instruments as other paid DAWs

  • PRICE:

    1. ARTIST - £85

    2. PROFESSIONAL - £320

 

Bitwig Studio

  • Bitwig Studio was launched in 2014 by a group of former Ableton developers after an extensive testing period.

  • Ableton including its own non-linear workflow, but it has pioneered its own unique composition approach with its modular design.

  • Bitwig Studio 4 delivers expressive MIDI support, better audio editing and a handful of new plugins and software instruments.

  • Unique modulation options, strong hardware integration, and song writing-friendly tools make Bitwig a solid option for any creator.

  • Bitwig is easy to learn if you’re just starting out with recording software and gives you plenty of room to grow.

    • Pros:

      • Unique modular design workflow allows for some interesting customization

      • Great for creators

      • Easy to learn workflow

    • Cons:

      • Less suited towards recording, mixing and mastering

  • PRICE

    1. BITWIG STUDIO 16-Track - £17

    2. BITWIG STUDIO - £250

 

Audacity

  • Audacity was released in 2009 as a completely free recording software. And it’s still free today!

  • Audacity is compatible with all operating systems and easy to download right away.

  • It has everything you need to record audio on a timeline with no extra features.

  • It doesn’t record MIDI, so using virtual instruments like VST synths is out of the question—and plugin effects have to be applied destructively offline.

  • That means that Audacity might not be the best choice for a full mix.

  • But if you’re just getting started with the core ideas of digital recording, Audacity might be the perfect way to jump in.

    • Pros:

      • Fully capable audio production and editing software for free

    • Cons:

      • Doesn’t work with MIDI so software instruments are not compatible

      • Concerns over privacy and spyware after acquisition by MuseScore

  • PRICE

    • FREE

 

Pro Tools

  • Pro Tools is the industry-standard DAW. This is the one you’ll find in almost every professional studio.

  • Pro Tools was designed for traditional recording in a studio setting and it excels at every part of that process.

  • Pro Tools was designed for traditional recording in a studio setting and it excels at every aspect of that process.

  • Professional engineers love it for the speed of editing and the high-quality mixing environment.

  • It may have a slightly steeper learning curve than other DAWs, but it’s worth putting in the time if you ever hope to work in a professional studio.

  • Pro Tools comes in several configurations including the free, introductory edition Pro Tools First which is limited to 16 tracks.

  • The premium, hardware-accelerated edition is now called Pro Tools Ultimate and the standard native version is simply called “Pro Tools.”

  • Like other paid software, Pro Tools is transitioning to a hybrid subscription/license model with each subsequent edition named after the year of release (we’re currently on Pro Tools 2019).

  • Pro Tools also requires you to use the iLok hardware DRM platform, which may be off-putting to some users.

    • Pros:

      • The gold standard for audio production, recording and mastering

    • Cons:

      • Confusing pricing and overall higher price tag

  • PRICE

    1. PRO TOOLS - £25 (1-Year Subscription, Paid Monthly)

    2. PRO TOOLS ULTIMATE - £67 (1-Year Subscription, Paid Monthly)

 

GarageBand

  • GarageBand is almost a household name at this point. The free DAW developed by Apple has done more for democratizing music production than almost any other music software.

  • GarageBand is almost a household name at this point.

  • You may even be surprised to know what hit records have been made on it considering it’s a free program that comes with all versions of Mac OSX.

  • The helpful tips that GarageBand provides in-app are written in simple language accessible to all production skill levels—you can learn a lot that way!

  • Overall, GarageBand is a simple but effective tool for getting started with music production. And if you’re reading this on a Mac, you already have it. So make something today!

    • Pros:

      • All the essentials you need to start making music in your computer

      • Simple interface and basic plugins for audio production and editing tasks

    • Cons:

      • Only works on Apple products

      • Watered down features compared to its big cousin Logic Pro

  • PRICE

    • FREE (w/ Apple Mac)

 

Steinberg Cubase

  • Steinberg’s Cubase was one of the first commercially available DAWs and still has a strong following.

  • Cubase 11 is the latest version of the app and it’s packed with all the features you need to create a pro-quality track.

  • Cubase began as a MIDI only application and it’s MIDI editing capabilities are still among the strongest.

  • It’s audio and mixing features are no slouch either—this DAW can do everything the big names are capable of.

  • Steinberg pioneered the popular VST plugin format, so there’s great compatibility with free VST plugins, especially on Windows.

  • Cubase has a lot of great features, so it’s worth considering as you search for the best DAW for you.

    • Pros:

      • Strong MIDI editing features

      • Great for audio production, editing, mixing and mastering

    • Cons:

      • Includes advanced features but at a higher price

  • PRICE

    1. ELEMENTS - £85

    2. ARTIST - £284

    3. PRO - £499

 

FL Studio

  • FL Studio (formerly known as Fruity Loops) is a favourite among hip-hop and electronic producers for its no nonsense interfaces that can get you started making beats right away.

  • Many beatmakers got their first taste of creating loops and grooves with FL Studio and continue to use it to this day.

  • Many beatmakers got their first taste of creating loops and grooves with FL Studio and continue to use it to this day.

  • Version 20 includes extensive integration with AKAI’s FL Studio specific hardware and even a mobile extension of the DAW to keep you creating music anywhere.

  • It comes standard with a wide variety of native plugins including synths, samplers and virtual effect units.

  • Image-Line also offers free lifetime updates to the program. That means if you purchase once you’ll have access to every version from now until forever.

    • Pros:

      • Great step sequencer

      • Highly oriented towards beat makers

    • Cons:

      • Less optimized for music production tasks

      • Doesn’t come with many included plugins and software instruments

  • PRICE

    1. FRUITY EDITION - £76 

    2. PRODUCER EDITION - £153 

    3. SIGNATURE BUNDLE - £230 

    4. ALL PLUGINS EDITION - £410 

 

REAPER

  • REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) comes from the same developers as the WinAmp audio player and Gnutella peer-to-peer network.

  • It’s a powerful, comprehensive and adaptive DAW without any engineering compromises.

  • REAPER comes with a free 60 day trial, but an individual license only costs $60 USD—it’s the best value in DAW software.

  • There are no track types in REAPER—each track you create can do anything you need it to (audio, midi, video, bussing)—which makes arranging super simple.

  • REAPER is an equally good option if you’re just starting out or if you’ve had your head in a DAW for as long as you can remember.

  • Beginners can simply press record to get started and experienced users can take advantage of the advanced routing matrix or use ReaScript to program anything from a macro to a full-featured extension.

    • Pros:

      • Well built DAW platform with tons of capability

      • Very affordable

      • Changeable interface and open source code make it highly customizable

    • Cons:

      •  Comes with very few plugins or add-ons

  • PRICE 

    1. DISCOUNTED LICENSE - £45​​

    2. COMMERCIAL LICENSE - £167

source info credited to https://blog.landr.com

Prices compiled in Jan 2022

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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