Best DAW Software 2018

6th Oct 2018

Best DAW Software 2018

Find Out & Compare The Best DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) 2018 For Mixing, Producing & Recording Music Featuring Ableton, Presonus, Cubase & more.

What is DAW Software?

DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation and is a general term used for modern recording software. Limiting the definition to ‘audio’ is slightly misleading – in reality, DAWs also feature MIDI, virtualinstrument and effects and often advanced tools like score editing and video support as well. A DAW is a complete music production environment that can fulfil every step of the process from recording, editing and arrangement to mixing and mastering.

The DAW started life as a MIDI sequencer, triggering hardware that was in turn connected to a mixing desk. Over time, software has developed rapidly and gained more and more features. First came MIDI and then digital audio. Later, virtual instruments and effects were invented and most recently, tools like elastic audio and pitch correction mean that it’s possible to have everything you need on your computer. That’s not to say that hardware is redundant, but the majority of recording systems now feature computer-based recordings of one sort or another.

There are good reasons for this. DAWs have virtually unlimited track counts, are easily upgraded and expanded and replicate the functions of a wide range of hardware tools in a good value package. The increasing power of affordable computer systems in the last decade has meant the average musician now has the facility to achieve things that in the old days would have cost a small fortune.

Main Features Of A DAW:

1. Ableton Live 10

Ableton Live 10 contains a range of new features and enhancements designed to improve workflow and boost your creative ideas. Explore the range of new sounds, loops and samples, ready to use and incorporate into your productions. The new Drum Buss is a one-stop workstation for your drums.

Add warmth and distortion with ease, shaping transients, compression, and your low end with the dedicated controls. Live 10 remembers your ideas, so when you're jamming and you forget to press record, Ableton 10 has you covered. Use Capture after you've played an idea, and Live will match your tempo and timing to create a perfect loop, perfect for those spontaneous moments.

Ableton Live 10 also offers a range of workflow enhancements including an improved browser, ability to create groups within groups, optimised Arrangement view for quick editing, multiple MIDI clip editing, and a cleaner and clearer interface, complete with a collection of new, ready-to-go sounds.

Music Matter Recommends:

Arguably the best DAW around if you are an electronic artist or wanted to take your DAW on the stage, it's session view is an amazing way to create news ideas on the fly.

Jump up to Live 10 Suite To Get More From Your DAW:

2. Steinberg Cubase 9.5 DAW Software

Cubase Artist 9.5 features a range of updates and enhancements to power your creativity, and speed up your workflow. There are now 16 insert slots for VST effects on each track, doubling the number that could be used before. Now included with a flexible pre/post fader, the insert section lets you adjust the position of the separator to give you complete control over your plug-in chain, and signal flow.

Adapt to Zoom automatically adjusts the grid to your zoom level, allowing you to purely focus on those precise edits. The new automation range tool lets you edit and adjust automation faster, and easier than ever. The ultra-precise automation curves allow you to create more precise automation much quicker, and with less clicks. The new FLUX wavetable synthesizer library features a collection of high quality presets for electronic music production, as well as a range of controls for creating your own unique sounds.

Music Matter Recommends:

Not many other DAWs come close to it's MIDI workflow & audio effects set up. Hugely popular in the professional music sector, a truly great all rounder.  

Jump up to Cubase Pro 9.5 To Get More From Your DAW:

3. Presonus Studio One Pro V4 DAW Software

Studio One 4 is a major update that combines the best of the traditional recording studio model with the modern methods of creating beat- and groove-oriented music. Thanks to flexible tools designed for creative musicians, Studio One 4 doesn’t dictate how you work—you do. You truly can work better, faster.

The new Chord Track with Harmonic Editing makes it easy to prototype songs, thanks to flexible transposition, key modulation, and chord substitution for note data and audio. The Impact drum module has been reborn as Impact XT, where you can create complete arrangements in a highly developed, sophisticated production environment. Patterns bring the concept of step sequencing into the 21st century with the fastest way yet to come up with drum and percussion parts. Sample One XT turns Sample One into not just a true sampler that can record data from anywhere within the program, but a powerhouse for slicing, dicing, and rearranging loops and beats.

With Studio One 4, you create music on your terms: Create without boundaries, produce without limits.

Music Matter Recommends:

One of the fastest growning DAWs of late, more & more people are switching to Studio One Pro V4 with it's familar interface, intuitive drag & drop design & it's intergration with VSTs. 

A bit Pricey? Try The Cut Down 'Artist' Version:

4. Propellerhead Reason 10 DAW Software

Reason is easy to get started with, yet as deep as you want it to be. And it comes fully loaded with the instruments, effects and sounds your music making need. Create, compose, mix and finish your music–Reason will help you along the journey, from inspiration to mixdown.

New sounds and new gear pave the way for new music, and Reason 10 is here with a rackload of new synths, instruments, samples and more. Grain and Europa: two massive, brand new synthesizers. Klang Tuned Percussion, Pangea World Instruments, Humana Vocal Ensemble: three new live-sounding organic instrument devices. Radical Piano: a top-notch acoustic piano. Synchronous: creative modulation device. Loop Supply and Drum Supply: a multi Gigabyte infusion of cutting-edge drum loops and samples. What music will you create?

Music Matter Recommends:

The easiest premium DAW to get your head around, it features really easy-to-learn controls, editing functions & arrangement overview. With Reason now allowing third-party VSTs it is hard not to look past it as a go-to DAW.

A bit Pricey? Try The Cut Down 'Intro' Version:

5. Image Line FL Studio 20 DAW Software

Image Line FL Studio 20 is everything you need in one package to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional quality music. FL Studio 20 is the fastest way from your brain to your speakers. Image Line FL Studio 20 Producer Edition provides the highest level of program functionality for FL Studio.

Audio editing and manipulation including pitch correction, pitch shifting, harmonization, time-stretching, beat-detection & slicing, audio warping and standard audio manipulation (cut/paste etc).

Music Matter Recommends:

The Perfect DAW for beat-making & also for general sequencing. It's also extremely affordable so anyone looking just to have a four-to-floor vibe can save a lot of money over using the premium DAWs.

Step up To FL Studio 20 Signature To Get More Out Of Your DAW:

5. Bitwig Studio V2 DAW Sofware

Discover Bitwig Studio 2, the innovative music creation and performance software for all major platforms. Experience seamless integration of linear timeline sequencing together with nonlinear, performance-oriented clip launching and an intuitive user interface that adapts to each step of your workflow.

Bitwig Studio is the single solution for realizing any musical idea across every stage of production. Includes over 70 devices, such as our suite of instruments and audio effects, as well as container devices and note effects. Enjoy a sound content library consisting of over 2,000 presets and 9GB of sound content: drum machines, acoustic drums, multi-sampled instruments, loops, sound effects and much more. Includes 12 months of free upgrades: perpetual license with 12 months of free updates and upgrades upon registration.

Music Matter Recommends:

Sharing the foundations of Ableton Live, creating clips & using it as a way to get ideas down fast. Amazing connection & intergration with it's quality networking.