8 best daw in 2021

8 Best DAW in 2021 for music producers, mixing engineers & sound designers

DAW is the short form for digital audio workstation. This is a software used for recording, arranging, creating audio and MIDI. A few decades ago, we used to rely on tape machines and humongous mechanical devices to store audio and retrieve, now with the help of computers and high bitrate, buffering, storage capabilities of SSD, RAM; producers can create audio, make overdubs and render it within a heart-beat. For recording sounds into the daw, one only needs a quality microphone input and an interface. For sound designers wanting to create fresh sounds, there is something called as virtual instruments. These virtual instruments/VSTs are addons to the DAW where you can design a variety of sounds. There is an endless debate going on about which DAW is the best, however in our opinion all DAWs have their pros and cons and each of them is more suited according to a specific type of workflow. Compiling and shortlisting from a large number of DAWs we have listed down 8 Best DAW in the market for music producers in 2021.

 

1. Ableton

Pros

+Sound design becomes a child’s play once you learn the in’s and out’s of this daw.

+Cutting edge editing functions

+Audio slicing and warping abilities are unparalleled

+Best in the market for live performances

+Fast looping and composing with session view

+The trusty choice of the pros even after making it in the charts

Cons

– Working environment can be a bit intimidating to beginners

– Not the best for scoring films

– Heavy pricing

PRICING: USD 99 TO USD 749

Verdict

Thanks to its ease of use and compatibility, Ableton is definitely our top pick for Best DAW in 2021.

 

2. FL Studio

Pros
+A very good option for beginners

+Easy to use, intuitive workflow

+Pattern sequencer is amazing for drum programming

+Great stock synths

+Automations are clever to use

+Best for hip-hop based artists

+Updates are free once a license is bought

Cons
-Users report frequent crashes and audio dropouts

-Interface can look a bit amateur

PRICING: USD 99 to 499

 

Verdict

FL Studio is a great option for music producers who are just starting out. The DAW is quite versatile and suited for seasoned beatmakers as well.

 

 

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3. Reaper

Pros

+Powerful multitrack functionality

+LUA based scripting for the ‘nerds’ out there for automating repetitive processes in sound design/ADR/Foley mixing

+Tons of skins available

+Excellent scoring/band recording capabilities

+Perfect for bands

+Cheap

+Sub project feature can be helpful for organization of sound design sessions

+Portable version is available

+Light on CPU

+Reaper has a free version

Cons
-Can be prone to crashing

-Sparse availability of built-in vst’s

PRICING:USD 0 to USD 60 (Individual use)/225(commercial use)

Verdict

Reaper is phenomenal when it comes to batch processing and editing, so if you need post-production work done, simply look no further than this.

 

 

4. Cubase

Pros
+Solid stability

+Automations, CC capabilities makes it the best in the market for scoring films and games

+Stock plugins and sounds are high quality

+Professional features available in all versions

Cons
-Shortcuts are tough to master

-Expensive

-Not so good for beginners

PRICING: USD 99.99 to 559.99

Verdict

Definitely one of the best DAW in 2021 for mixing & mastering because of its easy-to-use automations and user interface.

 

5. Logic Pro

Pros

+Stability of logic pro is unrivaled

+Strenuously well-crafted samples and well-built synth plugins

+Intuitive interface

+Industry standard for songwriters since the 90’s

+Auto tune features for singers built-in

Cons

– Lacks new features compared to other daw’s

-Like every apple product, logic requires a separate plugin format called AU

PRICING: USD 199.99

Verdict

Logic Pro is an all rounder. Be it synthesis, automation, recording or any other component of music production Logic Pro does a decent job in all sectors.

 

 

6. Reason

Pros

+ Many analogue based virtual instruments

+Versatile accurate live sampling capabilities

+Rewire integration with many daw’s

+Producers that want high-quality audio of analogue gears can look no further option than  reason

+Sound design capabilities are endless in this daw

+Unique built-in plugins

Cons
-Can be difficult to arrange the mixer and compose

-Complicated user interface

-Rewire setup can be daunting at first

-Reason’s extra devices and racks need to be purchased separately

PRICING: USD 399

Verdict

When it comes to sound quality and sound design, it’s quite tough to beat Reason. Definitely the best daw for sound designers in 2021.

 

 

7. Bitwig

+Very fast workflow and easy to use

+Quite have all the features of ableton plus modular emulating devices

+Stable workflow

+Sound design, Mixing capabilities are endless

Cons
-We feel its slightly overpriced than competitors

-Lacks some features of other daw’s

-User interface can be cumbersome

PRICING: 99 USD  to 399 USD

Verdict

Bitwig is one of the underrated DAWs at the moment. Most suited for people who like to dive deep into various technical aspects of the DAW as Bitwig has enormous potential when it comes to modulations, synthesis, mixing etc.

 

8.Pro Tools

Pros
+Provides ultra-low latency

+Called as the ‘Industry-standard” in every genre of sound may it be music/sfx/dialogue editing

+Heavily optimized work processes

+Plugins are well built

+Rendering and editing is butter smooth

+Powerful mixing and mastering options

+Stable and sturdy as a rock

+Decent set of synth and plugins

+Pro tools first is free

Cons

-Only supports AAX plugins

-Subscription based service can be non attractive and costly

-AVID-approved interface is need as an anti-piracy measure

PRICING: Free to USD 799 1 year subscription

Verdict

Pro Tools holds the position of the industry standard when it comes to post production, mixing & mastering.

 

 

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Image Credits: Apple Logic Pro