What Is The Best DAW For Home Recording?

When it comes to choosing a Digital Audio Workstation  the beginner find themselves a bit overwhelmed.

Pro Tools is the best for home recording because it is built according to user-feedback specifications, This makes it a well adjusted DAW built to be fit the needs of the everyday music producer.

Here is a list of Alternative DAWs:

DAW #1: FL Studio

FL Studio is developed by Image Line.

it has a constantly updated unique workflow and has been around for over two decades.

The amazing thing about FL is that every version comes with a lifetime of free updates, so which ever one chooses to buy will be the latest version.

FL Studio System Requirements

The latest version of FL Studio, which is FL Studio 20 requires a minimum of 2 Gigabytes of free hard disk space and a recommended RAM of 4 Gigabytes.

FL Studio will work on windows 7 or higher (64 and 32 bit operating systems). For Mac users, it will work on MacOS 10.11 or higher.

For CPU, FL requires 2 Ghz AMD or Intel Pentium 3.

FL Studio Pricing

FL Studio Fruity Edition

Price: $99

FL Studio Producer Edition

Price: $199

FL Studio Signature Bundle

Price: $299

FL Studio + ALL PLUGINS Bundle

Price: $899

I’d recommend starting out with the FL Studio Producer edition because the FL Studio Fruity edition is pretty limited even the company does state this.

The FL Studio Producer Edition will allow you to compose, arrange, mix, produce and master a song, which is really all you need in a home recording studio setup.

But I recommend this as merely a starting point.

There are some cool features in the the FL Studio Signature bundle version that are not featured in the Fruity or Producer editions.

Depending on what kind of producer you are, this difference might spark an interest.

One of the features available in the signature bundle edition is a plugin

called Newtone which is a manual pitch correction tool that allows you to fix

any pitch errors in a vocal, instrument or any other wave form audio.

The other feature in the signature bundle is another plugin called Gross Beat,

which is a time and volume manipulation tool that is designed for repetition, gating and scratching, which is heavily used in hip-hop and EDM production.  

FL Studio is also available on Android and IOS mobile devices and can be purchased for $14.99.

Is FL Studio Worth it?

Yes of course, FL Studio is definitely worth it and an awesome DAW for producing music. Start out with the producer edition and see how well it works for you.

There are a lot of tutorials and courses that are available online that can teach you how to use FL if you’re a complete beginner.

DAW #2: Studio One

Studio one is digital audio workstation that you can use to record, mix and master music and other types of audio.

Its initial release was in 2011 and has been around for close to a decade now.  

Studio one has an intuitive and customizable multi touch interface and it supports all standard plugin formats.

Studio one system requirements

For Windows users

Studio one will work on Windows 7 (SP1 with Platform Update), Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 64 bit and this has to be accompanied by an Intel Core Duo or AMD X2 or X4 Processor or better.

It requires a minimum of 4 Gigabytes of RAM but the recommended is 8 Gigabytes or more.

During installation and product activation Studio one requires an internet connection so keep that in mind.

The display monitor of the computer has to be 1366 x 768 resolution [a high-dpi monitor is especially recommended].

A multi touch enabled monitor will be required if you’re to use the touch operation which is supported by the DAW.

It required 40 Gigabytes of hard disk space.

For Mac users

Studio one will work on macOS 10.11 or higher (64 bit only),

this has to be accompanied by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor (Core i3 or better is recommended)

It requires a minimum of 4 Gigabytes of RAM but the recommended is 8 Gigabytes or more.

During installation and product activation Studio one requires an internet connection so keep that in mind.

The display monitor of the computer has to be 1366 x 768 resolution [a retina display is especially recommended].

A multi touch enabled monitor with TUIO (Tangible User Interface Objects)

support will be required if you’re to use the touch operation which is supported by the DAW.

It required 40 Gigabytes of hard disk space.

Studio one Remote for iPad

Studio one Remote will work on iPad Pro, iPad 2, iPad mini, and newer models with an operating system of IOS 8 or later.

Studio one Remote for Windows

Studio one Remote will work on Windows 8.1, Windows 10 or later,

accompanied by a minimum of 2 Gigabytes of RAM (4 Gigabytes is recommended). The tablet must be X86 compatible and not ARM-based.

Studio one pricing

Studio One Artist

Price: $ 99.95

Studio One Professional

Price: $ 399.95

Studio One Prime

FREE

I’d recommend Studio One Artist as a starting point, then eventually upgrade to the Professional version of Studio One.

You can access tutorials available for this DAW on the official Presonus website.

DAW #3: Ableton Live

This DAW is commonly known as Ableton Live but ableton is the name of the company and Live is the name of the program.

In comparison to other digital audio workstations “live” was developed and designed to be an instrument for live performances as well as composing, recording, arranging, mixing and mastering

Live was developed by a company called Ableton.

The interface of this DAW is composed of two views, the arrangement view and the session view.

The session view is made up of a grid representation of all the clips in a live set.

The arrangement view is composed of a horizontal production timeline.

Ableton live system requirements

Windows

Ableton Live will work on Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 and this has to be accompanied by a 64 bit Intel (Intel Core i5 processor or faster)

It requires a minimum of 4 Gigabytes of RAM but the recommended is 8 Gigabytes or more.

Access to an internet connection will also be required for authorization of the DAW and downloading of additional content and updating Live itself.

Mac

Ableton Live will work on MacOS X 10.11.6 or later and this has to be accompanied by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor i5 processor or faster)

It requires a minimum of 4 Gigabytes of RAM but the recommended is 8 Gigabytes or more.

Access to an internet connection will also be required for authorization of the DAW and downloading of additional content and updating Live itself.

Ableton live pricing

Ableton Live Intro

$99

Ableton Live Standard

$449

Ableton Live

$749

The standard version is recommended by many people I’ve sat down with to discuss DAWs but you can always just purchase the Intro version just to sort of test drive the DAW.

Then when you’re ready to take a deep dive and actually get some serious work done, you can then just upgrade your license to either standard or suite.

You can find all the tutorials you will need on the Ableton official website. You can also outsource and sign up for another course on Ableton Live being offered by any third party educational resource.

DAW #4: Reaper

Reaper is a digital audio workstation developed by a Californian company called Cockos. It was first released in 2006.

Reaper pretty much covers all the bases that a stand DAW would be required to cover and compared to how expensive the more popular DAWs are, buying reaper is a bargain.

I still use this software to date and one of the reasons why I use it a lot is because it has an easily customizable interface.

I like to be able to be in control of my working environment; I like to be able to switch between colour schemes and basically build my own menus and toolbars.

Reaper brings scoring of video to the table whilst delivering audio and virtual instrument recording, real notation editing, production arranging and render.

Reaper System Requirements

For windows users

Reaper will run on Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 (32 or 64 bit)

For MacOS

Reaper will run on macOS X 10.5 – 10.15

For Linux (Experimental)

Reaper requires GTK+3 and ALSA. GTK+2 is also supported but with additional effort and supports x86_64, i686, and armv7l.

I’d recommend 4Gigabytes of RAM for both windows and mac users.

Reaper Pricing

A new reaper licence includes free upgrades through version 7.99.

The price of the licence depends on how you intend to use it.

Reaper Discounted License

Price: $60

Reaper Commercial License

Price: $225

Reaper is one of the most affordable DAWs and its developers describe the situations in which you would use a discounted license.

You may use a discounted license if

  • You are an individual that is just using reaper for personal use
  • If you are an individual or business using Reaper commercially and your yearly gross revenue does not exceed $20,000.
  • You are a non-profit or educational organization.

DAW #5: Cubase

Cubase is a digital audio workstation primarily intended for audio and midi recording, arranging and editing.

Cubase can be used to record audio from an external source and can host VST instruments and effects.

Whether you are an expert or beginner, Cubase is one DAW that you should consider because it will provide you with all the tools you need to be equipped with in order to make music.

Cubase is developed by a company called Steinberg and has been around for 31 years.

Cubase system requirements

Cubase will run on an Intel Core I series or AMD Ryzen multi core processor but an Intel i5 or higher is recommend. Minimum RAM requirement is 4 Gigabytes, but 8 Gigabytes is recommended and 30 Gigabytes free disk Space

For Mac users, Cubase will run on macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina, the recommended processor is Intel Core I series or AMD Ryzen multi-core. The minimu requirement for RAM is 4 Gigabytes.

How much does Cubase cost?

Cubase Pro 10.5

Price: 581.99 Euros

Cubase Artist 10.5

Price: 331.99 Euros

Cubase Elements 10.5

Price: 99.99 Euros

What is the best version of Cubase?

The best version is the Cubase Pro 10.5 because it offers full functionality and is geared to ensure that you take your music to the next level and make it as professional as possible.

I’d recommend starting out with the Cubase artist version for a home music studio. You can also invest in a course on how to work in Cubase to learn the basics and see if it is the right DAW for you.

DAW #6: Logic Pro X

Logic Pro is a digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software specifically designed for MacOS and is developed by Apple.

You can compose record and produce music fully in Logic Pro and it can turn you Mac into a professional grade recording studio that is able to handle even the most complex of projects.

Logic Pro system requirements

Logic pro will work on macOS 10.8.4 or higher and requires 5Gigabytes to install all the required content and an additional 35 Gigabytes to install all optional content

Logic pro requires 4gigabytes of RAM or more.

Logic Pro Pricing

Logic Pro X

Price: $199

I’d recommend purchasing Logic Pro X, and invest in some educational courses if you’ve never used it before.

DAW #7: Pro Tools

This is a common DAW and I’m sure almost everyone in the music production community has heard of it before.

Popular hip-hop producers like Jake One and Just Blaze have been known to use it and it is particularly one of my favourites when it comes to mixing and mastering tracks.

Pro Tools is digital audio Workstation created and developed by a company called Avid technology and is available for both windows and Mac.

It can be used for music production and creation, sound for picture, sound design, and audio post-production and mixing and mastering. You can create up to 128 tracks in pro tools.

Pro tools system Requirements

For Mac users:

Pro tools requires Intel 10.13.6, 10.14.6, 10.15.3 or 10.15.5

Specific version Qualifications:

Pro tools – Intel Core i5 processor

Pro tools ultimate – Intel Core i5 (specific models only) or Intel Core i7 processor and 16Gigabtes of RAM, 32 Gigabytes RAM being the more recommended and an internet connection for installation plus 15 Gigabytes disk space for installation.

For Windows users:

Pro tools will work on Windows 10 Home, Pro, and Enterprise 64-bit Editions 

Specific version Qualifications:

Pro tools – Intel Core i5 processor

Pro tools ultimate – Intel Core i9 (specific models only) or Intel Xeon processor-equipped machines and 16Gigabtes of RAM, 32 Gigabytes RAM being the more recommended and an internet connection for installation plus 15 Gigabytes disk space for installation.

Pro Tools Pricing

Pro Tools First

Price: FREE

Pro Tools

Price: $29.99 for 1 year subscription, paid monthly

Price: $299 for 1 year subscription, paid upfront

Price: $34 Monthly subscription, paid monthly

Price: $599 Pro Tools perpetual (buy it once and own it forever)

Pro Tools Ultimate

Price: $79.99 for 1 year subscription, paid monthly

Price: $799 for 1 year subscription, paid upfront

Price: $89.99 for monthly subscription, paid monthly

I recommend starting out with the Pro Tools version then later on you can upgrade to Pro Tools Ultimate depending on whether you turn out to like the DAW or not.

You could also invest in some quality educational material to help you navigate your way through the DAW.