Make music with anyone, anywhere, on any DAW.

Wait, what’s a DAW? Which DAW do I need? Which DAW is the best for recording music?

Sometimes we receive these questions from people just starting out with music production. The world of music recording has been expanding rapidly for decades and can often seem overwhelming to beginners. With dozens of DAWs available for recording music, which one do you pick?

Today we will cover these important questions ranging from DAW basics to the best selling DAW software options on the market.

What is a DAW?

DAW stands for digital audio workstation. A DAW is an electronic device or software application used for recording, editing and producing audio files. It is a critical piece of gear you’ll need when recording music.

There are many options and configurations of DAWs but the most typical are software programs you can use on your laptop or desktop computer. The ease-of-use and low price points on these DAW software options have helped make music production possible for everyone.

Software DAWs run on a computer are made up of four basic recording components – a computer, a sound card, a digital audio editor software, and an input device. These days DAWs allow for recording, editing, and playback and have lots of other capabilities.

Popular DAW Software

For beginners it is often hard to decide which DAW software is the best for recording.

People will passionately argue which DAW is best which makes it all the more confusing for new musicians and producers to choose a DAW.

Here at Musistic we are platform agnostic and you will find our team working on many of these popular DAWs.

In this post we’ve created a list of the most popular and best selling DAW options available right now. All of these DAWs are capable of producing professional results and can also be a good solution for new music producers. They all offer different versions at different price points to fit all needs and budgets.

Ableton Live

best DAW software for music recording - Ableton Live 9 StandardAbleton Live was originally designed as an instrument for live performances but has evolved over time into a complete recording package.

It still offers users a fantastic option for live performing and is considered one of the best performance based DAWs.

Ableton Live 9 is the lastest version of this top DAW with lots of new updates. You can instantly capture a performance, record automation directly into clips, and more.

Learn more and see prices:


best DAW software for music recording - Steinberg Cubase Pro 8Cubase from Steinberg was originally released all the way back in 1989, making it one of the older DAW software options available today.

Since it was released Cubase has advanced and improved the technology to become one of the best DAWs on the market. The latest version, Cubase Pro 8, has been updated as a powerful production environment with new audio tools and instruments designed to fit the many producers and professionals who love using Cubase.

Learn more and see prices:

Digital Performer

best DAW software for music recording - MOTU Digital Performer 8Another DAW that’s been around for decades is Digital Performer, which was first released in 1990.

For a long time Digital Performer was known as the Mac only option but has finally become cross-compatible with Windows in their most recent release.

Digital Performer offers complete desktop studio production for your computer letting you record, edit, mix, process and master polished recordings.  Digital Performer also allows you to customize the user interface look with preset and third-party themes to fit your personal workflow and inspire creativity.

Learn more and see prices:


best DAW software for music recording - Apple Logic Pro XLogic is one of the top selling DAWs in the world. Since it is made by Apple there is no surprise that Logic is Mac only and not compatible with Windows.

Despite that fact it remains incredibly popular since many musicians and audio engineers prefer working on a Mac. Logic users also benefit from guaranteed compatibility with any audio interface compatible with Mac OSX.

The most recent release of Logic Pro X has put electronic dance music and hip hop at the forefront with new beat-creation tools including 10 beat-making drummers, Machine Designer and other powerful tools.

Learn more and see prices:


best DAW software for music recording - Avid Pro Tools 12ProTools has become the industry standard for music recording and is used far and wide by everyone from students to hobbyists to professional studios.

The extreme popularity of ProTools and it’s position as industry’s first choice for composing, recording, editing and mixing pro audio for music, film and TV make it a great default DAW choice for anyone since you are sure to see again and again.

Learn more and see prices:


best DAW software for music recording - ReaperReaper is one of the most affordable DAWs in the top selling DAWs on the market. This cross-platform DAW offers complete multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering in an intuitive environment.

You can utilize Reaper’s full functionality at your home studio with just a computer and microphone or let it drive your professional recording studio. It works with almost any hardware and third-party plug-ins like Musistic.

Learn more and see prices:

Cakewalk Sonar

best DAW software for music recording - Cakewalk SONAR ProfessionalCakewalk’s Sonar is one of the top DAWs to consider that is compatible with Windows only.

Previously Sonar users had to worry about compatibility issues when working with Mac-loving musicians, but not since Musistic solved DAW compatibility issues. Now it is possible to record with Sonar and collaborate with users on any of the top DAWs – whether they use Mac or Windows.

With Cakewalk Sonar you can record with unlimited audio/MIDI tracks and an industry-leading 64-bit audio mix engine, mix on a professional quality mixing console with built-in EQ, and experiment with the Overloud TH2 SONAR Amp Simulator.

Learn more and see prices:

Studio One

best DAW for music recording - PreSonus Studio One 3.0 ProfessionalWhen Presonus branched out from selling affordable quality hardware to selling their own DAW, many musicians rejoiced. Studio One from Presonus was released in 2009 and has solidified a place in the list of top DAWs sold today.

Studio One is a favorite of many home studio producers thanks to the price and that fact that Studio One Artist is included for free in several interfaces. The quick drag-and-drop interface in Studio One is a favorite among many creatives who would rather focus on the music than the interface workflow.

Learn more and see prices:

These are just few of the DAWs on the market. Since we work with all of the top DAWs it is hard to pick favorites, but these have been proven over time to be both user friendly, capable and popular.

If you’d like to learn how Musistic works with these DAWs and others, check out our videos on how to send and receive audio between DAWs with Musistic.