The Top 5 DAWs

The Best Audio Workstations.

Every year it another Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is released, and the flagships are upgraded. So which one is the best, well almost everyone has his own opinion, but I’m gonna list my favorites (yes I have used all of them on the list for projects). I’m not gonna list Mac DAWs like Logic because I only have PCs (although I love Logic when I get a chance to use it).

So here They are…

5. Live 7

Live 7 is DAW but is also designed to be used live (as the name denotes). Live 7 Features a drag-and-drop interface allowing you to browse and preview audio files, then drop them directly into your session. It also has full VST support and can handle most loop formats, Live also supports MIDI and has a video import/export feature. All editing in Live is done in realtime so you can undo any mistakes you may make. Live 7 also allows you to automate the tempo and it will adjust any loops or tracks for you.

4. Tracktion 3

Tracktion is the quickest to learn, and the quickest to use. All recording and mixing is done from a clutter-free, single-screen user interface. It has MIDI and VST support, and is capable of importing Acid, Apple and REX Loops. It places no limits on track count, virtual instruments, or plug-ins (though your computer can only take so much abuse). Tracktion also features a high-definition 64-bit/192kHz mix engine and QuickTime video support.

3. Sonar 7

Soanr 7 is slightly harder to learn than Tracktion and Live, but with it we also enter the more “professional” DAW section of the list. Sonar features full VST support, full MIDI support and has an unlimited track, bus, and effect count. It also comes with a large collection of very good VSTs (better than the plug-ins most DAWs ship with). It was hard to decide where this should go on the list, I really like this DAW, but it gives me a lot of trouble so it got third place.

2. Cubase 4

My favorite for years Cubase (2, 3, and 4) was the DAW I kept coming back to (I kept trying Sonar) and I still use it frequently. Cubase is a bit harder to learn than sonar, but it will reward you with exelent results. Cubase has full MIDI and VST support. It also comes with 52 VST plug-ins which are of at least fair quality if not good, but you will want to buy some plug-ins of a higher quality. Cubase Features a video import/export function. I would recommend cubase if you want a professional full featured DAW that will work with almost any soundcard.

1. Protools LE or M-Powered

Protools is the industry standard and if you want to get truly professional results this is a good start. Now Protools is very expensive so till LE and M-powered only pros could afford it. I only got protools (m-powered) about a year ago, and have had a good time making music with it. Protools LE and Protools M-powered require special hardware to operate, and do not support VST instead they use RTAS plug-ins (most plug-ins offer this as a choice when you install them, and there is a VST to RTAS wrapper on the market). With a limit of 5 effects per track they do slightly handicap you, but this makes you think before you apply an effect. Protools LE and Protools M-powered both place restrictions on the number of tracks which can be a help or a hindrance. Protools is the DAW to use if you are serious I highly recommend it give it a try.

In conclusion any of these DAW can give professional results in the right hands. Choose the DAW that suits your needs best, learn basic recording and mixing techniques, and you’re on your way.


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