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Top 5 DAWs For Music Production In 2024

As a music producer, a musician or an artist, you might have reached a point where you wonder what is the best DAW for music production. Maybe you’re new to music production and looking for advices, or maybe you’ve been using the same DAW for many years and for any reason, you would like to change. Whatever the reason, it is really important to research this topic. In this article, we’ll see together what are, in our opinion, the top 5 DAWs for music production.

Top 5 DAWs for Music Production

Each DAW has something interesting to provide to its users. It would be completely wrong to think that a certain DAW is better than another one. What will probably influence your opinion is their purpose : What are they built for ? Is there anything that the engineers wanted to put forward ? Is that supposed to be easy or complicated to use ? Is is designed for recording, mixing or music production ? All your answers will determine your final choice.

The top 5 DAWs for music production are:

  1. FL Studio 20
  2. Ableton Live
  3. Logic Pro
  4. Cubase
  5. LUNA

Now let’s see why we chose them for our top 5 and why you should put these DAWs in your priority list.

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1. FL studio

FL Studio

FL Studio comes in first place in this ranking. And the reason is pretty simple : This DAW is designed for music production.

Released in 1997, the brand new program (originally called Fruity Loops) took a few years to take its place in the top DAWs of the time. The interface and the workflow was totally different from what engineers, musicians and music producers had known before this date. FL Studio has been almost ignored in its first years of existence and was often victim of hacking and piracy. But Image-Line (its manufacturer) has worked really hard over the years to improve its DAW

In 2024, more than 25 years later, its special workflow, its ease to use and its speed makes FL Studio one of the greatest program for music production.

A. Sequencer (patterns)

This DAW has something that no other DAW has : An integrated sequencer. This probably represents the biggest reason why music producers choose FL Studio as their go-to DAW.

Drum Pattern in FL Studio

With this sequencer, you’ll be able to create different “Patterns” of drums and melodies and then drag them into your mix window. In your pattern, you can also adjust the enveloppe of each sample, reverse it, transform it,… It’s limitless!

B. Freedom in the workflow

A really cool feature with FL Studio is the fact that you can enjoy a complete freedom within your mix window. Whether your signal is MIDI or audio, FL Studio lets you put your blocks wherever you want. So useful! Be careful though, because it can quickly start to be messy if you don’t organize your session the right way.

C. Piano Roll

Another element that makes FL Studio the #1 in our list is the piano roll. For music producers, using a DAW that literally helps you create chords progression is incredibly important, and FL is probably the best to help you in that field. The MIDI editing options are limitless.

D. Price

The last thing that gives FL Studio a huge advantage is its price. 89$ for the “basic” version and 489$ for the most expensive version. It is pretty affordable compared to its competitors. And what’s really cool with Image-Line’s price system is that, as soon as you buy a license, you have access to all the future updates of your product, for the rest of your LIFE. We hope for you that one of your grandchildren will be a music producer…

But…

Often judged as a program for beginners, FL Studio has in fact nothing to envy to its competitors. But the only issue that you could potentially meet as an FL Studio user is the fact that the DAW is not really open to creativity but more to efficiency. Image-Line wants you to create music quickly and efficiently, which is cool. But with that principle, there’s a big chance that you fall into a sort of bad habit of efficiency, that would kill your creativity. Be careful!

2. Ableton Live

Ableton Live

Ableton Live (we should actually call it “Live” only) was created a little more than twenty years ago, in 2001. And something quickly caught the attention of the music producers community’s attention : Its extreme flexibility.

A. Flexibility

Each DAW is usually designed for one main purpose. For example, it is complicated to make any sort of mixing on FL Studio, as well as it can be really complex to produce some music on Pro Tools. But with Ableton, you can easily make everything : recording, mixing, editing, music production,… Everything sounds easy to do on Live!

B. Session View

Live also has something no other DAW has : Session view. But what is actually this session view ? It’s an interface unique to Live that allows you build your ideas not only in a the separate tracks but also directly in the clips. Going into explanations would make us lose the purpose of this article, but keep that name in mind if you choose Live as your go-to DAW, because it could improve your workflow exponentially!

C. MIDI Controllers

There’s one field where Ableton Live is unbeatable : Its ability to work efficiently with external MIDI controllers. Among all the DAWs on the market, none of them, apart from Live, is able to provide your so much tools to work quickly and easily with MIDI. And, trust us, your creativity and your workflow will be multiplied if you decide to use these 3 MIDI controllers : Ableton Push 2, Novation SL MKIII and Akai Professional Force.

The 10 Best Ableton Controllers

This is one of the biggest reasons why Ableton is so appreciated for concerts and live performances. With Ableton Live, you can literally play your music, and live it! Whether you’re in studio or on the scene, being able to use MIDI controllers that easy is a huge advantage.

E. Native Stuff

A very handy thing with Live, as a music producer, is the quality of its native plugins, MIDI progressions, samples, sounds libraries, etc… Just open the program, and you’ll see that you already have a solid foundation to start making quality music, whatever the genre you work in. And even if you decide to import new samples and sound libraries in your computer (what most people will actually do), Live will make everything easy to tweak them in your session.

But…

Ableton Live has something really annoying if you’re going to use it long term : The price of updates. Let’s say you’re on Live 8, and you’d like to use Live 11. Well, you will have to pay the full price for your new version. Just crazy!

Need a professional sound engineer specializing in pop and hip-hop mixing ? Great! Take a look at our services and let’s blow up your career together!
Let’s start now!

3. Logic Pro

Logic Pro

Logic was released by Apple almost 30 years ago, in 1993, and was originally called Notator Logic. The interface of Logic that we know today was released 10 years later. Why does Logic comes 3rd in our list ? Let’s answer the question now!

A. Interface

Yep, the interface! It may sound ridiculous, because it is not really a production feature, but the interface of Logic Pro is just amazing compared to its competitors. The interface is often something overlooked by the manufacturers, but Apple knows that a nice interface can attract a lot of users, and retain them! They made an incredible job in that field, everything looks fresh, clean, colorful and organized.

Logic Pro Interface

B. Editing features

If you’re that kind of producer that loves to record guitars, keys, synthesizers,… to include them in your productions, Logic is probably the first DAW you should think about. Because the editing features are really great and easy to use and to implement in your workflow.

C. Native plugins

Logic’s native plugins are probably the greatest compared to all other DAW’s Native plugins. Pro Tools and Ableton are maybe the only DAWs that could potentially compete them. The native plugins implemented in Logic Pro work so great that you wouldn’t even think about purchasing new ones : they look pro, they sound pro, they’re very intuitive,… everything’s made to help your music production production process.

D. Price

Logic has the most unbeatable price of this list : 200$. And you’ll have access to all the future updates, meaning you own it for life when you purchase it. Not sure that you want to spend 200$ in a new DAW ? Well, Apple got you covered. All you have to do is to try its free little brother, GarageBand. You will probably be able, after a certain time, to say if yes or no you need to choose Logic Pro as your go-to DAW. Very useful!

But…

Logic doesn’t have any uncommon or crazy features that brings out from the list. But everything’s simple, easy to use, intuitive,… you don’t need to check out 1000 tutorials to understand how this DAW works. The only problem is that Logic Pro is only available for Mac users, which means that you may have trouble sharing your sessions with collaborators. This can be a big problem if you work with a team.

4. Cubase

Cubase

Cubase was released by Steinberg in 1989. The first version was actually a MIDI sequencer. Cubase took a few years to settle into the top DAWs of the market, but it is now one of the most versatile and complete DAWs of the world. Let’s see why you should choose Cubase as your go-to DAW!

A. Advanced features

Cubase is not the most easy DAW to use, but there’s reason behind that. It has a lot of advanced features in all areas : mixing, production, editing, recording,… That’s a fact, no other DAW has so much advanced features than Cubase. This is exactly why a lot of professional producers decide to switch from Ableton, FL Studio or Logic, to Cubase : You will never feel stuck or limited.

B. Stability

Among all the DAWs available on the market, you have a big chance to get at least one crash a day, except with Cubase. The stability of this DAW is really remarkable. If you don’t love to be cut off from work, or to lose precious details, choosing Cubase will avoid you a lot of problems.

Cubase 11 Interface

C. Support

Good customer support is definitely not the first thing you think about when buying a new DAW. But honestly, it is important. If one day, for some reason, you can’t even your DAW to open and that you don’t have prompt support from the manufacturer, we can assure you that you will have one desire : switch to another DAW. But with Cubase, you will never run into those kinds of issues, because the customer support is incredibly good.

D. Upgrades

Among all the DAWs listed in this article, Cubase is the only one that, in 2022, continues to grow to meet user demands. Each upgrade has something special to offer its users. Also important, the compatibility between all versions of Cubase is very good. Which means that you can easily transfer a session from a Cubase 5 to your brand new Cubase 11, for example.

But…

Cubase is an audio standard for many professional producers and engineers. But if you want to make music just for fun, you probably shouldn’t choose Cubase. Like Pro Tools, this DAW is not easy to handle. When you master all the features, that’s cool! But if you don’t have enough energy to learn how to use a new DAW, you should choose another one!

5. LUNA

LUNA Logo

“Luna”, you say ? Yep, LUNA! If you’ve never heard of this DAW, you probably will, very soon! LUNA is the brand new DAW released by Universal Audio Digital (UAD), for one year now. Let’s see why this brand new DAW should be in your list!

A. Interface

Ok… the interface of Logic is cool, but look at this beautiful and modern interface. It sounds like UAD brought all the best designs together to build this interface! There’s no doubt, it makes you want to produce the next hit.

LUNA Recording System

B. Technology

UAD is known to be one of the greatest plugin manufacturers in history, and it still is! All their plugins are state of the art. They proved it again with this new software. The native plugins are top-quality, and the technology used to help you create your music is amazing. You can’t find it anywhere else.

C. Free ? Seriously ?

Yes, the software is completely free when you buy one of UA hardware products. Is that way to advertise a software that’s not worth it ? Hmm, honestly, no. All their new users are extremely satisfied with this DAW, and so are we!

We actually don’t have enough perspective to analyze this software with enough objectivity, but we tried it at IDeez Studio, and LUNA has nothing to envy to the biggest DAWs on the market. There’s a bit of Cubase, Pro Tools and Logic in LUNA, and this mix create a recipe of a DAW that may take the lead in a few years, we don’t know yet…

But…

LUNA is a new software. UAD may be one of the most trusted audio brands out there, but we all know that new software is never completely reliable. So if you choose LUNA as your go-to DAW for music production, chances are you’ll run into some weird glitches, crashes and issues that UA couldn’t quickly fix. We haven’t met any problem like that so far, but you are warned!

Need a professional sound engineer specializing in pop and hip-hop mixing ? Great! Take a look at our services and let’s blow up your career together!
Let’s start now!

Conclusion

We could’ve chosen other DAWs for this top 5, like Studio One or Reaper, but we’re convinced that choosing one of these 5 DAWs will improve your production skills. It always depends on what you’re looking for. To help you find what you need, we made a short list of questions you should ask yourself before choosing a new DAW.

  • Do I need a good interface ? Something attractive ?
  • What is my priority (speed, efficiency, workflow, flexibility,…) ?
  • What is my budget (short- and long term) ?
  • Will I work with a team in the future ?
  • Am I gonna work in the DAW only or with external stuff ?
  • Do I intend to do complex projects ?
  • Do I need a top-quality native package ?
  • Do I need a top-quality customer support ?
  • Are crashes and glitches an important issue for my efficiency ?

And here’s your ultimate guide to find YOUR DAW for music production :

Top 5 DAWs for music production summary
IDeez

IDeez (real name Gauthier Claude) is the owner and head engineer of IDeez Studio. He has been working as a mixing engineer in pop and hip-hop music for several years and collaborates with many artists and independent labels around the world. His goal is to provide quality online mixing services and to teach, through his blog posts, the principles and techniques of mixing in pop and hip-hop music.

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IDeez

About IDeez

IDeez is the head sound engineer of IDeez Studio. He studied BA and MA in sound engineering at IAD (Belgium) and has been a specialist in vocal mixing for several years, especially in pop and hip-hop music. His goal is to help artists, rappers and singers in their mixing process through online mixing services, tutorials, blog articles and e-books. Contact him for any information!

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