DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. With it, you can record, edit, and unleash all the musical ideas in your mind. The current technology and tools available is astounding, so it can be difficult to choose which DAW to use. With this guide, we’ll give you the knowledge so you can find out which DAW is best for you.
But, let’s clear this up right now. There is no “best free DAW.” Producers and artists will give you their preference, but at its core, that’s all it is, a preference. Every top DAW fundamentally serves the same purpose, and there are a lot of good ones. It all just depends on your needs as a producer/artist and your level of expertise.
We’ll highlight what we regard as three of the best DAWs in terms of access, pricing, ability, and compatibility.
Ableton has been around a long time in the production world, since 1999 in fact, and has seen all sorts of improvements and adjustments over time. Albeton is both MAC and PC compatible, and offers unlimited track recording. It has a friendly UI (user interface) that allows for beginners as well as experts to make the edits they need. Although Ableton is not the cheapest of all DAWs, it is a worthy investment.
Avid Pro Tools
The main difference between Pro Tools and other DAWs is that Pro Tools is geared towards primarily professional audio engineers. It’s not widely used on the local level, and that’s because it takes some more advanced skills to interact with the software. But, it offers some of the greatest recording and editing tools available. Likewise, Pro Tools is also MAC and PC compatible. Summarily, it’s the industry standard when it comes to audio editing and mixing. If you have some experience and want to work on some more advanced technology, then this DAW is the one for you.
FL Studio is one of the most interesting DAWs around, since it’s notoriously well spread among bedroom producers and rising star EDM acts. Additionally, once you make the investment into the software, you are guaranteed access to lifetime updates. So if you end up making it out of the bedroom and into the big leagues, then you’ll have the latest software as it continues to get rolled out.
Hopefully this guide left you with an idea of what kind of DAW you might want to start out with. There are others out there, like Logic Pro and Cubase Pro, and you might want to explore those options, but these three presented are some of the best available free DAW out there.