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A digital audio workstation to an audio enthusiast is like a canvas to a painter.

DAWs are the best recording software to allow you to capture and create your music and advance your music production capabilities as far as your imagination lets you.

You can harness the power of editing features, audio format settings, high volume track amounts, effects inserts, automation controls, audio inputs, virtual instruments, digital mixing boards, online collaboration, MIDI controllers, professional experience, song composing and more.

The music recording capabilities of the best DAW softwares on the market are massive and virtually limitless.

DAW For Beginners

I wouldn’t say any one is the best recording software or DAW over the other, so you have plenty of choices and there is definitely an option that works for you at your budget; free and paid DAW. The free versions can be a good place to start if you do music as a hobby or if you aren't completely committed to pursuing music as a career. Top DAWs used by full time producers and engineers can cost a bit immediately, but using a professional DAW will do a few things for you:

  • Prepare you to work with professionals
  • Enable you to utilize the best plug-ins and features to make your music
  • Compatible with other professional music studios
  • Saves you time and money (If you don't make hits you won't get paid!)*

*I'm not saying a paid DAW will automatically make you better. What I am saying however, is that a free DAW will not give you all the features that professional producers have available to them. Which means, when making music with a free DAW, you may be at a disadvantage, and we can both agree that it would be in your best interest to work with the best DAW available for your needs.

The Best DAW Softwares In 2017

Let’s review some of the top DAWs, the computer requirements to run each option and what’s new with them so that you can find the DAW that offers the most value for you.

1. Pro Tools 12

Pro Tools at the time of this publishing is at version 12. It is best known as the industry standard, so being able to find Pro Tools in the majority of studios is expected, which makes transferring session files is expected, which makes transferring session files over to another studio other than the one you worked on a bit more convenient when Pro Tools is owned. Sessions can handle up to 128 audio tracks, 32 inputs and 60+ plugins. Pro Tools now comes with a 2 GB sound library and about 75 stock plugins to use right out the gate.

DAW Requirements to run Pro Tools 12 on a Mac and PC are:

  • Mac or PC Intel Core i5 processor
  • 4GB of ram
  • 17 GB of disc space
  • USB, firewire, or thunderbolt port

Some New Features:

Soundbase quick sound search

Loopmasters 2GB sound library

Project Revisions

Collaborate in the cloud

Freeze, Commit & Bounce

Batch Fades

I Pad Control

Find the cheapest price for Pro Tools 12

2. Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X is a widely popular and one of the best DAW, which is made by Apple. At the time of this publishing Logic is at Logic Pro X Version 10.3. With up to 255 audio channels, 255 Aux strips, 256 busses, 66 effects plugins, 21 software instrument plugins and more. The DAW has several cutting edge enhancements for music production, recording and editing audio. This is often the daw for Mac that most producers would go for, if they decide not to go for the best industry standard DAW - Pro Tools 12. Apple's Logic Pro X is a top DAW and if you got a MAC, this may be the best choice for you. If your budget doesn't allow you to go with Pro Tools, but you still want a professional DAW that will enable you to work at highest level in the music industry, Logic Pro X should be on your radar!

DAW Requirements to run Logic Pro X on a Mac are:

  • 4GB of Ram
  • Display with 1280-by-768 resolution or higher
  • OS X v10.11 or later
  • Requires 64-bit Audio Units plug-ins
  • 6GB of disk space.

Some New Features:

Enhanced Piano Roll Editor

Groove templates


True Stereo

Built-in arpeggiation and effects

Smart Control

Advanced automation

Real Time Fades

Upgraded mixer

Check the best prices for Logic Pro X here

3. Cubase

Branding itself as the most complete DAW on the market today, Cubase is an extraordinary DAW. It allows for unlimited audio, instrument and MIDI tracks. 256 inputs and outputs and 90+ effects processors.

DAW Requirements to run Cubase on a

Mac or PC are:

  • OS X 10.11 / MacOS Sierra 64-Bit Windows 7/8.x/10
  • 64-bit Intel or AMD multi-core processor
  • (Intl i5 or faster recommended)
  • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • 18 GB free HD space
  • 1366 x 768 display resolution (1920 x 1080 recommended)
  • Graphics card with DirectX 10 and WDDM 1.1
  • USB port for USB-eLicenser (license management)
  • OS-compatible audio hardware*

New Features:

Mix Console History

Cloud Collaboration

Zoning In

Groove Templates

Get the Cubase for less than $100!

4. Nuendo 7

Nuendo now at version 7 is known in music for one of the leaders in innovation for  modern TV, Film and Audio post production. Including high end film post production and automatic dialog recording (ADR), VCA faders for audio-post, multi band effects and more. 

DAW Requirements to run Nuendo 7 on a

Mac or PC are:

  • Mac OS X 10.9/10.10
  • Windows 7/ 8.X/ 10
  • 4GB Ram
  • 15 GB of Free HD space
  • Display resolution of 1920 x 1080 recommended
  • Display resolution (Minimum 1366 x 768)
  • Graphics card with DirectX 10 and WDDM 1.1
  • DVD-Rom dual-layer drive
  • USB port for USB–eLicenser
  • Internet connection for license activation

New Features:

Render in place and render export

VCA Faders

VST MultiPanner

Multiband Envelope Shaper

Pad Shop

HALion Sonic SE 2

Get Nuendo 7 for the cheapest price available

5. Digital Performer 9

Currently Digital Performer is at Version 9 and is known for winning the Electronic Musician editor’s Choice Award in 2016. Digital PerformerAllows for unlimited audio tracks, 99 Stereo busses, 20 sends per channel and Unlimited sequencer tracks.

DAW Requirements to run Digital Performer on a

Mac or PC are:

  • Mac 10.6 or later Windows 7,8 & 10
  • Mac or PC with Intel Core Duo CPU 1.83 GHz or faster
  • Multiple processors or a multicore processor is required
  • 2GB of Ram required (4GB recommended)
  • Display Resolution 1024 x 768 required
  • Display Resolution 1280 x 1024 or higher recommended

New Features:

Reduced Host Buffer Latency

Automation Lanes

Spectral Display

Mute Midi Notes

Customize track layouts

Music XML Export

Find the lowest price for Digital Performer 9 

6. Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a diverse tool for pre and post audio. Now at version 9 Ableton Live allows for unlimited audio and midi tracks, 12 send and return tracks, 256 mono audio inputs, 256 audio outputs.

DAW Requirements to run Ableton Live on a

Mac or PC are:

  • Mac OS X 10.7, Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 1024×768 display
  • Broadband internet connection for installation
  • 3GB free disk space
  • An Internet connection
  • An Ableton account

New Features:

New sampler modes and capabilities

Improved Waveform Meters and Colors

Wireless Sync network

New Filters and Instruments

Check here for the best prices on Ableton Live

7. FL Studios

FL Studios is currently at version 12 and known for its efficient work flow and creative tools. FL Studios allows for 103 external audio outputs and inputs, 103 insert and send tracks, 10 FX slots per track. FL is also famous for being the DAW used by Soulja Boy to make his hit song Crank Dat. 

DAW Requirements to run FL Studios

on a Mac or PC are:

  • Windows 8,7, Vista & XP
  • 2 GHz Intel Pentium 4
  • 1 GB of Ram
  • 1 GB Free HD space
  • Sound card with DirectSound drivers
  • ASIO/ASIO 2 compatible

New Features:

Multi-touch capability

Real-Time Stretching

Fruity Formula Controller

Redesigned look

Get FL Studio 12 for under $200!