Premium DAWs give us all the features and options to record songs. We can create any type of music and record any instrument.
Premium quality digital audio workstations come with built-in plugins and instrument libraries. You may never need a third-party plugin or VST instrument. The quality of these plugins and instruments is very high.
What Is A DAW
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is software that lets you record music. You install it, connect your instruments via the audio interface and you are ready to record music. It comes with all the features you need to record the whole song.
There are hundreds of different kinds of DAWs but at the end of the day, they all do the same job. The difference is between options, plugins, instrument libraries, and prices.
There are lots of free DAWs that offer the same features. However, they may have some limitations. Also, some premium DAWs have a free version that you can get for free and try.
Free DAWs are great for beginners or for those who are on a tight budget. But if you want to have all the premium features, you need to buy a premium digital audio workstation.
What Is The Best DAW?
In this post, you will find the list of the best premium DAWs. These are very high-quality products and the difference is only in prices and the number of features they offer. Also, some digital audio workstations are better for specific music styles.
Reaper is my favorite digital audio workstation. It’s amazing software that can do anything you want. And there is a number of reasons why Reaper is the best DAW for us. Although it’s not as well-known as other DAWs, it’s becoming more and more popular.
The first reason why Reaper is an amazing DAW is that it has unlimited options and features. Comes with countless built-in plugins. And all of them work perfectly. Also, it’s one of the lightest and faster DAWs on the market.
Another reason is the price. Cockos Reaper is perhaps the cheapest professional digital audio workstation. Everybody can buy it because it’s very affordable. There is no other DAW that has these many features in this price range.
Reaper is great for any music genre. You can record hip-hop, rock, metal, pop, or other genres. Works great with VST plugins and instruments. It’s very easy to use and great for beginner recording engineers.
- Very affordable
- Built-in plugins
- Lightweight and fast
- Professional and feature-rich
Reason is one of the best DAWs out there. It has an amazing interface and comes with awesome instruments and plugins. This is an all-one package meaning it has everything built-in that is needed for recording. But it supports VST and you can use your favorite plugins with it.
The interface feels very analog. You add effects and plugins in a rack and the visuals are great. Also, has a great, SSL-style mixer and amazing bus compressor. Working with Reason is like working with real gear.
It includes a huge library of instruments, effects, MIDI FX, and tools for mixing and mastering. Has one of the best compressor, EQ, and limiter plugins. It also has drum machines, synth plugins, piano plugins, and much more.
Reason DAW is great for anyone who wants everything in one package. You can record any style of music but it’s better suited for EDM, pop, and hip-hop artists.
- Beautiful interface
- Built-in plugins and instruments
- Huge sound library
3. Logic Pro
Logic Pro is an amazing DAW with industry-standard features. It’s one of the most popular software for music creation. The only downside is that it works only with Mac. Other than that it has no flaws and is one of the best DAWs.
It is very powerful software and includes every tool for recording and mixing. Has a massive collection of plugins and sound libraries. It’s really easy to record, mix, and edit tracks in Logic Pro.
Has a beautiful interface and options such as live loops, multi-touch mixing, key commands, sequencer, and more. Logic Pro has Apple quality. Other amazing tools it comes with are flex pitch, automation, track stacks, etc.
Logic Pro is suitable for every music genre and is very popular among the rock and metal communities. If you have a Mac, Logic Pro is the best premium digital audio workstation.
Logic Pro Features:
- Massive plugin collection
- Easy recording, mixing, and editing
- Apple quality
4. Ableton Live
Ableton Live is one of the most popular premium DAWs among musicians and engineers. The reason is that it includes every tool you need to create high-quality, professional-sounding tracks by yourself. One of the best DAWs for hip hop.
The plugin library of Ableton Live is huge. Recording and mixing are very easy with this software. It includes compressors, EQs, limiters, FX, and much more. Also, it’s a great tool for live performances.
Ableton Live has a very modern interface and it’s easy to understand. It’s the first choice for many beginner engineers and one of the most popular tools for EDM artists.
Another great thing about Ableton Live is that it works perfectly with famous devices such as MIDI controllers, launchpads, and mixers. If you mainly record EDM music, then Ableton is a great choice.
Ableton Live Features:
- Modern and slick interface
- Great for EDM
- Plugins and instrument libraries
Cubase is one of the oldest and very popular premium DAWs. Made by German company Steinberg. You can feel the German quality when you work with it. This is an industry-standard product with excellent features.
Built-in tools let you record, mix, edit, and master songs without problems. Cubase is great for any music style. You can record rock, metal, pop, hip-hop, or any other music genre. It’s a very versatile software.
Cubase is feature-rich software. Some f the best tools it offers are mastering channel strips, chord pads, audio export, score editor, key editor, chord editor, and much more.
And the great thing about Cubase is that it has different versions of the software. They all come with different features at different prices. So, depending on your budget, you can get the version you like and make music.
- Multiple versions
- Built-in plugins and tools
- Modern software
6. PreSonus Studio One
PreSonus is well-known for its amazing music recording gear. And their Studio One DAW is no exception. This is a great, feature-rich, and modern software for music creation. It comes with features and tools that make music production easier and more fun.
With Studio One you can do anything you want. The uniqueness of this software is in its drag-and-drop feature. It makes work much easier and beginner-friendly. You just pick a plugin, drag it and drop it wherever you want it.
Another reason why Studio One is a great DAW is the features and tools it offers. This DAW has several high-quality tools for composing, production, sequencing, mixing, mastering, audio editing, and much more. You get all the features in one box.
Like Cubase, Studio One offers various versions with different features and prices. This is great because depending on your budget, you can buy the version that is the best suited for your home recording studio.
PreSonus Studio One Features:
- Built-in tools and plugins
- Drag-and-drop workflow
- Industry-standard software
7. Pro Tools
Pro Tools by Avid is the most popular and one of the oldest premium DAWs on the market. Countless engineers and professional studios use it because it works great. The only biggest issue with it is that interface looks a bit old. Other than that, this is a great music recording software.
Pro Tools is a professional DAW with rich features and built-in plugins that work excellently. All the tools are very high-quality. Works great with third-party VST plugins and is perfect for any type of music genre.
Although it’s a perfect DAW for music creation, it may be not a good choice for home recording studios. First, it has a big price tag and also its heavy software. Pro Tools tend to crash if the PC is not powerful enough.
But if you want to try and understand how it works, you can try Pro Tools First which is a free version from Avid. Everything is the same but has some limitations. You can test it and decide to buy it after that.
Pro Tools Features:
- Most popular DAW
- Industry-standard features
- Packed with tools and plugins
8. FL Studio
FL Studio is another very popular music recording software. And one of the oldest ones. It’s popular among EDM and hip-hop artists because offers great features and tools for that style of music. It’s not a good choice if you mainly record instrument-based music such as rock, blues, or metal.
FL Studio offers a really beautiful and modern interface with a sequencer, mixer, and other sections. An additional great thing is that there is a mobile app version of FL Studio. You can create beats on your phone.
When you use FL Studio you have a huge library of plugins and presets. There are free and premium plugins. These tools include mixing tools, recording tools, VST instruments, effects, and everything you need to create professional-sounding tracks.
Like some other famous premium DAWs, FL Studio by Image-Line has different versions you can choose from. Also, you can use it for free with some limitations. This is a great option for those who want to try it out.
FL Studio Features:
- Great for EDM and hip-hop
- Modern interface
- Built-in plugins
9. Bitwig Studio
Bitwig Studio is a great digital audio workstation that works for every operating system. It’s a feature-rich software for any style of music and a great option for home recording studios. You can create high-quality, professional tracks with Bitwig Studio.
It offers linear and non-linear workflow, modular structure and flexibility, and a huge library of sounds and plugins. The sound library consists of over 10GB of content you can use. And the list of instruments and plugins is endless.
Bitwig Studio has tools for audio editing, recording, mixing, and more. Includes instruments and plugins such as filters, sampler, EQ, phaser, drum machine, pitch, etc.
But the biggest power of Bitwig Studio is in The Grid. It is a sound designer where you can insert effects and create your sound chain. Has a very modern and intuitive interface. Creating a custom sound chain is very easy with Bitwig and it’s one of its best features of it.
Bitwig Studio Features:
- Vector-based GUI
- Effects and instruments
- Awesome sound designer
Premium DAWs offer unlimited features and options for high-quality music recording and production. They come with awesome plugins, instruments, and tools that are needed for music creation. Some digital audio workstations offer various versions for flexibility.
If you have a home recording studio and searching for excellent and professional DAW, you can use any tool from this list and start creating professional and great-sounding songs. Also, you have an option for mobile digital audio workstations. They are great for demo purposes.