What’s The Best DAW In The World? (2012 Poll)

Best DAW PollWhat’s the best DAW in the world?

In 2010, Synthtopia readers voted Ableton Live the world’s best DAW.

But in the last two years, many competing digital audio workstations have received major updates, while Ableton has focused their development on bug fixes. And several new DAW’s have been announced since the last poll.

Here’s your chance to weigh in. Leave a comment below, too, and let us know the reasons behind your vote!

Note: To minimize vote stacking, the poll is configured to only allow one vote per person per day. The poll will be available through the end of the day June 15th.

211 thoughts on “What’s The Best DAW In The World? (2012 Poll)

    1. every DAW is overrated by its users. there’s no conspiracy out there pushing ableton onto people, so the fact that so many people like it means something, regardless of what you think of it.

    2. I use a mixture of Apple’s Logic 9 and Avid’s Pro Tools HD 9, i love them both (voted pro tools) a good friend of mine tried to get me onto this Ableton hype.. I don’t know if it was just me being stupid but i literally couldn’t get my head around it, and i’m hardly a novice (nor would i consider myself an ‘expert’) at the way DAW’s work, i went from reason to cubase to logic to pro tools with little difficulty… I hate the way it looks and find many of it’s functions irritating. It does have some seriously cool stuff though and i’m pretty excited about bitwig!!
      Shay does make a good point though, it is loved by everyone who uses it, i just personally can’t see why!

  1. Although I chose Apple Logic….I actually use Logic 5.5.1 for Windows with Logic Soundiver to control parameters on my collection of Kawai synths.

    Really….the best DAW is the one that works best for you….your mindset….your workflow….your creativity.

  2. i chose GarageBand, which is admittedly not the most powerful DAW, but Apple has done a great job of making it easy to use, which is very important to me. i’d rather play and make music than have to read a manual. I’ve got Logic Pro, too, and I hardly ever use it because it’s so much more complicated.

    1. while I understand your feelings and respect them and find them totally legitimate, I would still suggest just learning the basic functions of Logic like you would use in Garageband (which are all virtually the same) and then you can learn new tricks as you use the software in new ways. I find that many people get overwhelmed by the choices and want to learn the WHOLE software before they are comfortable with using it. 90% of my time in Logic is spent using (probably) 5% of it’s capabilities, but when I need an advanced tool, it’s there for me.

  3. Reaper starts with pricing model that at least allows nubes to get into it, although it’s UI is complex it facilitates a great deal, performs well and is the best £40 I ever spent. After using Ableton etc, I can’t see where I get twenty times the functionality from when they are twenty times the price.

  4. At my university, we have learned Logic Pro and I have tried Ableton Live, Renoise, REAPER, Reason, Cubase, Studio One and Garage Band.

    For my workflow, Ableton Live works best – even though I use it mostly in track mode. It works best, but I see it more as the least evil. There are so many things that keep annoying me – I still hope for Live 9 or maybe Bitwig Studio…

  5. I recently stared using Maschine as a full fledged DAW, works perfectly for what I do, I’m just happy with its MPC workflow…

      1. We added DAWs to the 2012 poll based on what the ‘write in’ votes were in the last poll and what new DAWs have received the most discussion from Synthtopia readers.

        This isn’t perfect and there’s probably no approach that will make everybody happy. We added Maschine, though, and will consider any other DAWs if someone comments about them today. Beyond that, we’ll add them next time.

  6. I find it ridiculous ig not fishy that samplitude and sequoia are not in this list, but presonus studio one, mackie traction, nanoloop, bitwig studio, swar studio , sony acid, renoise e.t.c are.

    Thus i am not taking part.

    1. Not fishy – just a reflection of our process.

      We updated the list of DAWs for the 2012 poll based on popular ‘write in’ votes in the last poll and what new DAWs have received the most discussion from Synthtopia readers.

      This isn’t perfect and there’s probably no approach that will make everybody happy. We added the Magix DAWs, though, and will consider any other DAWs if someone comments about them today. Beyond that, we’ll add them next time.

  7. seems like an odd question – depends what you mean by “best”. i mean, no-one (except a masochist) is going to use ableton to record multiple takes of an multi-mic’d orchestra with multiple headphone mixes, locked to picture.

    all the bits of software in the list are (objectively) just a little bit less than miraculous, but they all do different things differently well.

    if the question really means “what’s your favourite DAW?” surely it’s just whatever works best for you. basically, what silspok said.

    fwiw, pretty much all the composers i know use logic. a few use cubase. pretty much all the tracking engineers and mixers i know (including me) use protools. the people i know who do tour programming use digital performer (’cause you can load up all the tracks in a set and switch between them on the fly, no loading times and no giant 2 hour long sessions). most of the DJ’s / dance / electronic music producers i know use ableton or ableton rewired into logic. burial apparently uses sound forge. vince clarke (now on logic) used to use the UMI sequencer on a BBC Micro until very recently.

  8. I love Reason but at the same time it is great I can use Reaper when needed. We love playing that game every year or so but this is a very strange world we are in right now. It was cool to be a rebel and NOT do like the other dude next door. It was cool NOT to have the same guitar. Now I feel it is cool to be part of the Borg and to use the tools not everyone is using is almost a taboo.
    I never heard painters buying and using the same exact brushes and paint and feel good about that.

    Choices is good

  9. I’ve tried nearly every daw on this poll, and the ones I work with are FL Studio and Reaper. They’re the ones that fit my workflow best for their speed in getting ideas from your head laid out. I don’t think they’re the best, but DAW software are like shoes. One size does not fit all. Everyone will have different needs. No matter which modern DAW you use you’ll be able to lay something out through your own personal dedication, talent, and passion.

    Since Nanoloop is on the list you guys should have some iOS “DAW” software like NanoStudio, BeatMaker 2, Meteor, or MultiTrack DAW. They’re all great to sketch ideas on the go. Better than Nanoloop IMO.

    1. DJ Mike

      Good point on the iOS DAWs. We did debate including them this year. Doing that would raise a few issues, though, like whether we should include Android DAWs and whether it makes sense, at this point, to compare desktop DAWs to mobile ones.

      Our thought is that, for now, it makes more sense to do a separate poll, later in the year, that focuses on iOS DAWs. We’re open to your -input on this.

      No approach to this sort of polling is going to be perfect or make everybody happy.

      Instead, our goals for the poll are for it to reflect readers’ views and to provided an interesting starting point for discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of various DAWs.

  10. I started using Performer and consequently think Digital Performer is the best. I use a lot of MID and I believe Digital Performer has great MIDI implementation. I find the audio capabilities to be much more than I need.

    1. I completely agree on DP. It is incredibly powerful for MIDI work, the audio works well for me, the audio editor is ok, but could be stronger. It has built-in pitch editing (via graphic editor! a la melodyne) and it does a decent job with notation. I should at that it supports very intelligent scale, meter, click, quantization & transposition options that make others look pretty weak by comparison. There are aspects of the interface that could use work– as with Logic and Pro-Tools, it isn’t perfect, but it is really good and I like working with it.

  11. I wish I could choose Logic with Live/Reason ReWired. It’s such an amazing workflow for me as a composer who uses at least one mangled (or not-so-mangled) sample in every composition. I love the rack interface of reason for sound design, but logic also provides sculpture, ultrabeat, exs, etc. which are all amazing. Live is fantastic for easily editing samples, and then Logic is by far my favorite for recording audio and mixing the finished product. It’s also a good “command center” thanks to the Environment, the Score Editor, Hyper editor, etc. Then I bounce everything out, put it back into Live, chop up the audio and make a performance set. (Have been considering MainStage, but just don’t feel like learning a new UI.)

  12. I chose Garageband because it’s the best value. Free.

    No doubt it has limitations but I can still use it for almost everything.

    1. Garageband costs 11,99 € or a new computer, which means it’s free the way Windows is free – you pay for it in the price of the computer. But you are right about value for money. Personally, I still wouldn’t pay for it but that’s because I need more features for what I do.

  13. Why not use the grand daddy of them all SoundBlade. Originally sonic solutions from the Droid works in the late eighties. It is still the best sounding and most complete editing platform. Everyone else copied their work sometimes making improvements and other times complete garbage, like apple products.

  14. I use cubase, but I have been thinking of testing ableton live. The biggest reason I for not using ableton in my opinion is that it is so ugly. I would loose my inspiration just by looking at it. I know that looks should not have anything to do whith inspiration, but it does for me.

    1. I on the other hand chose Ableton because of the clean look. I hate overskinned production software and I passed Reason by because I can’t stand the rack-simile. If I can’t touch it, it’s not a rack. But I know what you mean. The Ableton look took a while to mature for me and if it becomes rock solid at some point, I will happily consider it the best DAW. I think you should definitely give it a chance!

  15. Wow. i guess there are just a bunch of young kiddies playing with ableton an remain isolated from the rest of the world’s innovation & history of music production technology. Ableton has to be by far the most limited audio tool that exists today. They cant even add features because they can’t figure out how to fix the bugs. Robert Henke and his staff made several comments on the users help forums and feature wishlists explaining that due to the way the engine was written they can not meet the users requests. One thing I notice most about Ableton is that they are credited to be the kings of time strecthing. I’ve compared all of their time stretch algorhythms against other DAW’s and i’m sorry to break the news, but Ableton is complletely destroying all your audio. U think maybe bitwig is just a secret plot to toss a bad engine for a newer better one? Just saying, something as simple as dual monitors and Ableton can’t get it right yet. What do I do with my other monitors? Oh, one more thing that is completely retarded about Ableton, they used CC74 for volume slider# 2 by system default, so ableton says you have to open a system config file, retype it, save it, relaunch ableton, but it never worked… I donno but, i’ve been using CC74 since 1988. If any of you new young producers want to attempt to learn a real DAW, try Reaper first. The customization is endless. If you are interested in seeing how awesome Reaper is and how slick i’ve customized mine, hit me up, I will email you the Theme.

    Oh, Reaper is free, they don’t believe in wrapping your music production tools with license software. You can tell, Cockos has a passion for what they are doing.

    [email protected]

  16. >Robert Henke and his staff made several comments on the users help forums and feature wishlists explaining that due to the way the engine was written they can not meet the users requests

    Ableton Live is not badly written, it’s PERFORMANCE ART.

    1. Phx-itch

      We’re not able to support your request for teledildonics input for this year’s poll, because there hasn’t been any interest in this from other readers.

      Also, it might be messy.

    1. Some of the most interesting discussions you can have start with asking someone what sort of music they like best and who are their favorite musicians.

  17. I didn’t know that there were so many of these and wonder who uses some of them. Tracktion? Sequioa? Never hear about any of those.

  18. Reaper works for me because it’s a neat step up from Acid Pro… it’s a bit fiddly to navigate sometimes but I find it easier than Ableton. Ableton’s on the list to get going with live gigs but for now Reaper is my baby 😀

  19. Been using Ableton, FL Studio & Reaper. I like FL Studio and the way I can make a song sketch in few minutes, but when it comes to bring FL Studio to the stage, that software can´t deal with such situation. On the other hand, Ableton can deal with a live situation, but I hate its workflow. Reaper is just for Multi-Track editing, little mastering jobs.

    If there is a good DAW there, why when anyone anounce a new DAW , people get very interested on it? (Bitwig case)

    All DAWs mentioned, in my poor point of view, have a lot of NICE features, that make music production in a cheap way, etc etc, but all have a LOT of things to complain.

    Sorry for the ignorant opnion, but the we should call the poll as: The less worst DAW instead the best DAW

    I think developers should focus the stage, not only making unstable tools for studio usage only

    1. i love the FREE FOR LIFE updates that ImageLine offers to the customers choosing FL Studio, that’s something every DAWmakers should think about it.

  20. How can you answer this question without having tried them all? The question most people are actually answering here is “Which DAW do you use?” … which in my case is Logic 8, though I used to be a Cubase SX user. 🙂

  21. I voted for Presonus’s Studio One and I believe it is the most underrated DAW in this poll. I switched from FL Studio 10 which I’ve used since the late 90’s and I find S-one-2 to be so easy to use and much more efficient for me. You guys should give it a chance, I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

      1. i use maschine standalone and orfcourse its no daw. no mixer, multicore, linear sequencing, audio editing…i love maschine and it is a lot of things but no daw.

        1. I still disagree…

          Maschine is all I need to write, play, record, mix, edit and produce my music, connecting all my digital and analogue equipment and all my plugins, or any other virtual instruments or FX, midi etc, it’s the heart of my studio. And I’ve used Logic and Garageband and many other DAW’s, so I know what a DAW is and you could be technically right (though I haven’t been convinced yet), but for me as a composer/ musician/ producer, there’s nothing missing for Maschine to be just that.

          A very fine intuitive working Digital Audio Workstation.

  22. Gargeband is absolutely amazing! I have Ableton Live Intro too, cool sounds but its workflow is a pain in the a** …and it crashes often!!!

  23. Use What ever work. The best daw is the one that allows your creativity to flow and for this i use Cubase with Ableton running in rewire. It works very well.

  24. When it comes to film and video-game scoring (my area of expertise), it’s Logic Pro + Digital Performer (honestly, when it comes to syncing to picture, DP7’s latency is second-to-none) all the way (voted Logic because I use it the most, I start every cue/track in it, and I can only pick one), with Ableton added in on occasion if I need fancy sample warping that Flex Time is too tedious for, or Reason if I want analogue-sounding synths. Not sure why, but Reason 4 and 5 have always sounded like old master tapes to me. Never struck me as digital or ‘too clean’. Then again, I don’t use it often.

    1. I’m interested in video and films. And I like that Digital Performer has been around for so long. But I’ve always thought Steinberg Nuendo was the software of choice for visual arts people who weren’t into Pro Tools. Do you have any experience with Nuendo, and is Digital Performer common in Hollywood?

  25. If Bitwig comes out full packed as promised, with all these mad features, before Ableton 9, I’m ditching the latter.

  26. Logic Pro for getting serious work done that involves complicated audio recording AND extensive synth sequencing and the best automation system in the world. Ableton’s workflow is horrible – I can’t imaging using Ableton for complex situations in many different settings. Great for live, yes but as best DAW it needs to be more than it currently is…. in my opinion.

  27. Reason is my favourite. Incredibly stable, optimized and a great all-in-one solution. Godlike powers of shaping the sound in any way you can imagine, by creating weird FX chains and connecting the devices manually. Takes time to learn, but once you’re familiar with the modular concept, you can do crazy stuff with it.

    The main reason why I love it is, that it is a great toy for a man. “Real” devices to play with, lots of buttons and cables to interact with and combining the devices to get the sound you want is a bit like playing with LEGO® 😉

  28. Its a bit of a silly question cause everyone will vote for the one they use.
    That in itself doesn’t make it the best.

  29. I use what I use, and if you use something different, you are a freaking loser because I am right and you are wrong. Idiots.

  30. stand alone DAW without any other plugs ins added or combinators or mods, i am going with reason because you can make nearly anything if you can think about how to make it. and second is FL studio because they give you alot of powerful software and features from the get-go many unusual and interesting was to create music.

    ableton has alot of powerful tools and gives you many features out of the box, but the interface still feels so performance based to me and personally it is uncomfortable to do many tasks in ableton that are production based because it isnt ergonometricly designed for production.

    just my 2 cents

  31. Reason, because they haven’t introduced “dongle extensions.” Yet.

    Honorable mention goes to GarageBand/Studio.HD/Multitrack DAW for iPad, because multitouch mixing is vastly superior to one-finger mixing with a mouse and negates the need for external gadgetry like the Korg iControl, etc..

  32. Once you get into Ableton it is really hard to even look at another DAW.

    Maybe BitWig will unseat it next year, but not this one. 32-bit bugs and all, Ableton’s workflow is still King.

  33. silly voting – everybody works different. ableton live is a great tools for ideas, but a really bad tool to arrange your stuff. cubase is a classic with lots of new features. after 6.5 I sold my ableton live 8 – I just miss some effects – everything else is also in cubase 6.5 😉

    1. It does support rack extention plug ins in 6.5, VST is virtual studio technology, ie, cubase….I think you mean plug ins.

      1. can i run alchemy or omnisynth in reason?
        you and eveyone else already knew what i was saying. lets not play semantics games.

    2. I think the fact that it’s a closed DAW is what attracts most of its users to it and for that reason it will never have VST support. The users like not having to worry about other VSTs or software everything they need is right there. I don’t use reason but I understand why people prefer a closed daw and I think it’s a completely respectable piece of software. They do a pretty good job of keeping the stock plugins up to date with anything you could want from any other VST

  34. Tracking: Pro Tools
    Live with software: Ableton ties with Reason
    Best with vintage synths: Digital Performer
    Best MIDI sequencing in Studio: Cubase in a tie with Maschine
    Best workflow: Mackie Tracktion ties with Dr. T’s
    Honorable Mention: Acid and Reaper
    Best Platform: Apple
    Best OS: Apple OSX (strangely, i find all their apps awkward)
    I haven’t tried everything on this list.

    I personally use Pro Tools (learning curves and latencies short). I want DP (but not the learning curve). I’d like Reason and Ableton, but life is too short not to build a Modular Synth.

  35. I’m working in Ableton Live with an APC40 and I chose this because I mostly get a decent tune going kinda quickly. This is an interesting survey but it only really finds out what DAW you’re on. Out of the 24 or so DAWS listed, I have tried five and can’t possibly weigh in on the other ones. Some of them I tried right around the time they came out and who knows what changes they have gone through?

  36. I voted for Live – but I really wonder what this list would look like if you ran it again after Reason 6.5 is out and Bitwig is released.

    Ableton seems to have been kicking back for a while, but other developers are still chugging along.

  37. Seems to me that the results will depend on the readership of Synthtopia so will (and looks according to current results) naturally be a little biased. I see Reason and Ableton Live taking the cake but where I live and the circles I work in I don’t know anyone that uses Live. Not a single person!
    I guess if you are a Synth/Midi/Live performer type user then Live and Reason are fairly good choices – some might even say the only real choices. Not sure that you can say that of a music recording, mixing etc studio so saying that you are looking for the BEST DAW in the world is probably a little ambiguous or incorrect.

    OK that said, as I am not a live stage performer, I have voted for a “Studio DAW” I have used a few and I have voted for one that I think has great features now and has huge potential. On this forum it is unlikely to win but that is OK. One has to weigh the forum/website focus agains the Poll results anyway!!

  38. Reason is about to change. Rack extension plugins with all the CV routing capabilities that fit in with the rack and workflow seamlessly is a big jump for software that was really starting to fall behind. I’ve struggled with Reason in the past. For me it always lacked good effects and even though I loved using it, I couldn’t get the sound I needed from it. Now I can pick and choose what effects or synths I need. Similar to the App Store, the shop is built in to the software so I can try out any effect I want as I work. This all depends on third party software developers producing great plugins but with U-he, Sugarbytes and Rob Papen on board I can imagine they’ll be pretty good. The great thing about reason is that with the routing options there will be some very unusual devices popping up, rather than the run of the mill effects you get with other DAWS.

  39. Ideally, it’s best to use programs in conjunctions with others. Personally, I think the combination of Reason and Ableton Live works a treat with soundforge for editing and mastering.

  40. I do most of my soundmaking outside of the computer, and i’ve found Audition to be incredibly efficient and useful for me for arranging and mixing my studio recordings, it is the perfect combination of a “DAW” and waveform editor, with a very well done interface.

  41. I do most of my soundmaking outside of the computer, and i’ve found Audition to be incredibly efficient and useful for me for arranging and mixing my studio recordings, it is the perfect combination of a “DAW” and waveform editor.

  42. I do most of my soundmaking outside of the computer, and i’ve found Audition to be incredibly efficient and useful for me for arranging and mixing my studio recordings, a perfect combination of “DAW” and waveform editor.

  43. I do most of my soundmaking outside of the computer, and i’ve found Audition to be incredibly efficient and useful for me, a perfect combination of “DAW” and waveform editor.

  44. Imo, ableton live… Since it came out until now, every updates has been brillant and because of its innovation with slot based arrangement… It is impossible to feel bored or run about of ideas… And their native plugins are really good too, maybe not as good as analogue desk and hw stuff but with massive signal chain, you can truly get a pretty awesome result.

  45. I think you are confusing “host” with “DAW”. A DAW is host+hardware. The performance of the host alone is not the same on everyone’s machine

  46. I think Live is wonderful, but I still voted FL Studio. I use both of them, but usually I make the best tracks with FL Studio, though it lags quite lot on my computer. Live does not. It’s much faster to MIDI map my Novation Impulse encoders and other stuff in Live, but…. I wanted to make a tougher battle between FL and Live 😛

  47. I think that the workflow in FL Studio beats everything else, (incl. Ableton) and the new Beta Live Mode has worked fine for me in three gigs so far. I also use Ableton, but I find it’s glitchy and the GUI looks horrible xD.
    Also FL Patcher rocks – much easier than my mate’s copy of Reason, or Ableton instrument racks.

  48. The folks dissing FL Studio are either people old enough to remember the limitations of Fruity Loops or too young to have used the program lately. Honestly. I’ve used all of the major DAWs and the workflow and flexibility of FL Studio beats the others hands down FOR ME. A lot of choosing a DAW is about personal preference, and great music can be made with all of them.

    Haters are gonna hate. I recommend downloading a copy and trying it out. Don’t read the incredibly good help file. Just use the program. I’ll bet you’ll have created something cool in under 10 minutes. Spend some more time with the program and you’ll begin to see how deep it goes. If you can’t, the problem isn’t the software. It’s not the hammer; it’s the carpenter.

  49. To those who still think FL Studio is bad, clearly havent tried version 10. I am using this program since four years and I have to admit, that in the past it wasnt that great in some cases, like the old patterns.

    Well, No DAW is the best. It simply depends on your personal preferences. And if you are talented, you can make good music with nearly any DAW.

    I had to use Logic Pro in my university and wasnt very happy with it.

  50. Even though there are still some things that need to be improved in FL Studio, but I still vote for it. I really like the flexibility and the workflow. The software’s interface may look “unprofessional”, but that’s one of the reason why I like it. Everything is clear and intuitive. I know what I should do the first time I use this software. Maybe that’s just me, but I still think that this software is really good.

  51. PreSonus Studio One overall is very userfriendly, and you’re able to create, drag and drop functions without having to think so hard about it.

    Second on my list is FL STUDIO, it has a slight learning curvce, but once you use the functions properly, your production and recordings will come out sounding right.

    It’s not the program, it’s always the user.

  52. Fruity Loops all day! I love the way it drives its engine around a step sequencer. I am a very percussion oriented person, I played drum set for 7 years and being able to create my music from timed, beat minded, boxes is really handy with my given music background.
    I find it funny that Fruity Loops has been the laughing stock of the musical software world for years, yet it is in the lead. We shall see how the tables will turn after this one. I would like to enter a music forum without being criticized for using it, even though I can dish out a complete tune with mixdown in under 8 hours.
    Pro tip: I noticed some people were complaining about Fruity Loops being laggy, turn on ASIO! If it is still laggy then I think it’s time to invest into a new computer haha.


  53. I own Ableton Live & love it. That being said if I had a pc I’d run Ableton & FL Studio for they both have qualities that I like. I’m seriously considering buying FL for my daughters new laptop.

  54. Presonus Studio One… Pound for Pound,the Best Daw on the market. I’ve worked with every major Daw available,and nothing beats the design and workflow of Studio One.

  55. Well I can’t say whats best for everyone, but for me its studio one pro. Drag and drop plugins, eqs, comps etc. I also like the integrated melodyne feature in ver 2 not only for vocals but drums, and other instruments.

  56. It’s gotta be FL 10 by far and I own Ableton, Reason, Reaper, Mixbus, Protools and Presonus which are good products.
    What is there that FL can’t do and I’m a Mac guy?
    The only thing I’m waiting for is it to come out on the mac so hurry-up image line!
    Ableton is nice easy to use daw but their draggin feet and it’s still a 32bit with no major upgrades so I’ll dump them if anything close comes out on the mac. Midi window get’s in the way etc..
    Presonus is cross between Ableton and Logic and protools.
    Reason I can’t really get into. Too much messing around with patching and the screens are too clustered even with 2 monitors.
    Protools is a rip-off..
    Mixbus, I don’t even use it what a waste 🙁

    1. i had been using fl studio since it was version 4 .. till to 10 version they upgrade and develop many things but when i meet with Studio One it Destroy everything in my mind ..if you are using fl studio because of easy to use ,making beats, writing melody and etc you should check studio one .. and the important thing is mastering with it … every daw is doing what other daws do but methods are different .. and the sound engine when you finish your track you should understand when you press play button fl studio eats low frequencies.. it s why i choose s1..

      and ableton live is really cool daw too. workflow is nice sound engine is nice when you mix your kick and bass you can understand the difference ..

      i havent used reason and logic but i hear too many comments good. same of protools ..

      cubase is mother of daws.. but workflow pff… windows in windows…..

  57. Someone should add Ohm studio to the list it I haven’t used it yet but it looks really interesting I’d be interested ot see how many people are using and liking the beta that’s out now.

  58. Clearly the number of votes bares no weight on the quality of a DAW. If that were the way all values were calculated, Justin Beiber would be the greatest singer in the world and Phil Philips would be the best new talent ever. We know this is not the case. Popularity means nothing.

    Pro Tools is the most formidable in the “Pro scene. I’m talking HDX of course. Sonar, Cubase, Logic all have equal footing in the semi pro market and Samplitude has a cult following with people who would swear by it’s audio engine’s “superiority”. I us Samplitude incidentally but don’t swear by it.

    Ableton’s Live! is a monster application for stage use in the electronica scene.

    The rest are cheap(as in inexpensive) and that makes for good sales. Does that make them better? Nope. Polls like this are for dopes.

  59. It’s a sad indictment on modern music when the most popular music-making tools are those geared towards manipulating loops, often of other people’s making. Clearly not many musicians around here.

      1. It is actually. Manipulating loops is there, but you can lay out your own notes and patterns. It’s pretty decent for pre-installed software, but it doesn’t really compete with anything on this list.

    1. Fruity loops initially started as just a loop based sequencer. Since FL Studio came out, it’s actually just like any other full-featured sequencer out there. I’m a Renoise user myself, so my response isn’t biased. I had the same mentality about FLS, until I did a little research on how it is like nowadays. 🙂

    1. Reason includes tons of devices and samples, whereas Reaper is pretty barebones. You can fire up Reason and write music without recording anything. It’d be quite difficult to do that in Reaper.

  60. … And this poll just makes me even more want to get back into FL Studio. I used it back in the Fruity Loops days but now I have a Mac and things have changed!
    Bitwig looks exciting though too. Let’s see what that’s like when it comes out.

  61. I think a poll like this one isn’t very representative.. There are so many DAW’s, each a little bit different than an other and you just have to choose the one that works best for you. I’ve been using FL Studio since version 7, so I know my way around it and get things done very quickly. I’ve been trying Ableton, Cubase and Logic, and they all seem less logical to me.

    Each DAW is a unique piece of software and artists can get the most awesome tunes out of them. So I don’t really get it why people hate on FL Studio so much. Yes it is quite simple for a beginner and it has a massive userbase, according to Youtube tutorials and remakes. Yet there are still a lot of great artists who are using FL Studio: Avicii, Orjan Nilsen, Afrojack, Arty, Porter Robinson, Deadmau5 and Madeon are a few to name. So when you can’t work with FL Studio, it doesn’t mean the DAW is bad, maybe you’re just not talented enough, or you’re just used to another DAW…

    1. I think people hate of FL because it has a armature feel and sound to it. Want a crappy hobbiest sound use FL and mix through the cheapest monitors you can get from Guitar Center “I got these KRK’s because I like yellow…” it amazes me that people act so frugal towards buying gear, never taking the time to learn it, then they ask all kinds of stupid questions that could easily be answered by reading past page two of the manual, and after they get their “rtfm” answer from some forum full of other armatures like them, they stomp around the Internet touting their new knowalge like they created the idea and they are the next Eno, criticizing people that have been doing their thing for years and know the gear they use… Wow you bought FL studio, the cheapest laptop, cables and monitors you could find then got on Craigslist and bought a some crappy midi controller, got online and some guy told you how to set it all up, now your a pro. Im not saying gear selection makes you pro, but shopping for gear at Best Buy could hurt your chances of ever attaining that coveted pro status, especially if you never take the time to learn what you invest in, how many people who voted for FL studio know about the panning laws of the program or look at the Fq response chart before investing in monitors or even shoot-out multipule monitors before making a choice? how many of these people realize the most important part of recording is the transducers at the beginning and end of signal flow? I feel that while it may be “fun” to argue the semantics of the Best DAW, in a forum where any uneducated moron can make multipule votes for what ever crap they feel is the best (most likely never having experienced anything beyond what they voted for) is kinda like going into a bar in Texas and announcing that you like obama, hate christianity and think people who don’t drink anything more flavorful than Budweiser are stupid hicks…. people arent going to think very fondly of what you have to say… If this was the AIR user-group it would be protools, if it were the liine, or ableton forums it would be ableton and so on… So, who cares how you make your music, I know the guy that steals your music only to listen once, doesn’t give a sh*t about your daw… I use Ableton Suite, ProTools, and a host of others, but my favorite “AW” is a Studer 2inch cut down to 16 tracks (better space for low-end on the tape) I’m just sayin….

      1. Kind of strange when FL comes out on top! I recently changed to MAC and got a Apogee Duet2, next was a new DAW. On PC i used Cubase and never been very happy with it. So b4 getting a new one i compared Logic 9, Cubase 6 and Presonus S1 Pro v.2 with a reference wav. S1 and Logic convinced me the most in terms of audioquality. I did not check on Pro Tools though, so i cant say anything about it, but i am pretty shure it’s up there too!
        After working with both Logic and S1 for some days i decided that it would b S1 for me. The workflow in S1 suits me better. SO far it went down once with a 64bit Waves-Plug, but this they fixed with the last update!! Logic 9 would have been even cheaper to buy then S1, but i went 4 S1 and am pretty happy about it!

    2. Agreed. I can’t choose. I use several of these tools for completely different reasons and purposes and none of them are interchangeable. Each of them was designed to do a couple things really well. Renoise–fantastic tracker great for sequencing and working on rhythmic ideas with lots of nice DAW features built in–but terrible for recording and producing a 20-piece band. Ableton–Great for mixing live samples and finding new interesting combinations (and other things but I prefer it for this). Pro Tools-Reaper–Great for recording, mixing, production and sound track work, fantastic editing features. Audition–Great for detailed destructive editing/tweaking/and hence sound design. Sometimes when you’re working you need a screwdriver. Sometimes you need a saw. It’s like asking what’s the best plugin in the world, the Oxford EQ or Waves IR-1 convolution verb or Amplitube.

    3. “Yet there are still a lot of great artists who are using FL Studio: Avicii, Orjan Nilsen, Afrojack, Arty, Porter Robinson, Deadmau5 and Madeon” – Everything that is wrong with electronic music right now. Let me guess something here you are a Big ” EDM ” Fan? lol. WTF I remember when the word EDM didn’t exist. AAA the good days.

  62. Consumer hobbiests weigh in… It’s a shame. I bet most of the frooty loops votes are from people who never stray from factory presets….

  63. lawl it cracks me up when these elitists start whining about factory presets and the unoriginality of loop based music. don’t hate cuz your shit don’t sound as good. lol peace.

    1. So your saying that the best sounds come from some duche at Avid, or Apple, or Sony? If that’s the truth what’s the point in being a musician or producer?

  64. Hey Synthtopia! … There are so many followers of your page from amateurs to pros …. and you know that discussion on the best DAW is stupid by itself and it only harms the producers, developers, who are (I believe) working on useful software and not on pictorial crap for masses.

    Please, if you want to support music, don’t do this, because it has nothing to do with music …

    1. silspok

      Thanks for the feedback.

      I run this knowing that A) we’re not going to please everybody and B) the results reflect the nature of the poll.

      Nevertheless, the idea behind the poll is to see what people are using, find out what platforms people are passionate about, take a measure of a DAW even is in 2012 and to create an opportunity for readers to discuss and debate these things. Given that the post has 148 comments already, it’s at least meeting that last goal.

      About the developers – the ones I know have thick enough skin to handle a readers poll.

  65. If you’re voting for a DAW other than PreSonus Studio One, its because you haven’t tried it and don’t like easy workflow

  66. Studio One is a newer DAW so it hasn’t paid dues yet but i think its top of the line, great look, crazy workflow and the stock instruments sounds highly professional and lastly sampling is easier than any other software… Thanx preSonus i will forever be faith to your products!!!!

  67. Rather than poll the general public as to what DAW they use, I think it would be a better service to the music community as a whole if you polled successful professional producers and engineers what DAW they use and why….. Just a thought. You know what they say about opinions, but at least a professional would have a proven reason for their choices, other than that’s all I could afford, or my friend uses this, etc..

  68. I went to vote for Logic first – it is really a great piece of software for a lot of reasons. But with Reason 6 I’m loving it Reason a lot now, and I am not really one to used factory loops unless I put them in some music that already has lots in it already and don’t really want to record another instrument and I don’t feel any more samples fit the track.

    Though I am beginning to get into Ableton and Studio One, they are very nice. Though Bitwig interests me a lot and seems to be great for such a young program.

  69. I have used all other DAW’s that really sounded good ,Cubase,Ableton live, etc, until i went to Guitar center and i was intruduced to check Presonus,i was blown away when i installed it.I said “that’s it for me” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  70. Ableton. I have tried Cubase, Acid, Audition, Reason and many more, but the simplicity of Ableton, (once you get over the learning curve) makes my life so much easier.

  71. Presonus Studio One is the One! I never thought I would get into computer based recording but decided to start looking into it after working on a project and couldn’t get the vocals I was looking for. I tried CakeWalk, it was anything but, ProTools, too expensive, Audacity,ehhh, Acid, Garageband, Propellerhead and a few others….(sigh). I came across Presonus in a comparison review and gave the free download a try and was blown away at how easy it was to use. Not only that but I can go back and forth between the computer and my multitrack. Studio One Thank You!! You got my vote!

  72. Haven’t used a lot of DAW programs. Mostly familiar with Nuendo and Pro Tools. I recently switched to PreSonus Studio One after getting sick of paying out the nose for Pro Tools updates every time I did something new to my computer. I also couldn’t stand the lack of support from Avid on their products, so I agree with the comment above: “Pro Tools sucks”. I love the PreSonus. Easy to use, is stable, and sounds infinitely better than Pro Tools. Plus, they have a telephone, and an actual human being picks it up when it rings. And they don’t charge $9.00 a second or whatever it is Pro Tools charges for support help if you ever do get through to them. My vote for PreSonus Studio One, no question. Great products, great company.

  73. I’m actually very happy to see my favorite DAW Studio One Pro 2 at the top 3…though it’s a new product and just got released couple of years ago, and already competing with the top DAWs…

  74. I started out with Digital Performer in the 90s. I went through phases of using Pro Tools and Reason, and I’ve found that a combination of Logic and Reason (THAT sounds funny) works best for me. Logic is incredibly musical, although the workflow could be better, and sound design is simply so much fun in Reason. Much of my work revolves around distinctive synth sounds, and Reason’s Thor and Malstrom are simply unbeatable for that-and a lot of fun to use.

    What on Earth do people see in FL is beyond my comprehension.

  75. Used Cubase from the beginning. Bought reason 6 and happy about it.
    I use ableton, logic and studio one when its come handy.
    But reason and cubase is where i pay for in the end.

  76. this voting is obviously a popularity contest
    FL is baby cereal compared to Cubase.
    Cubase wins no matter what, they just need to take some design notions from Ableton.

  77. Studio One 2 jest programem intuicyjnym, prostym. Co wa?ne bardzo dobra polityka cenowa Firmy Presonus. Bawi?em si? na ró?nych programach, ale Studio One 2 jest naprawd? numer 1 na ?wiecie.

  78. Well Presonus Studio One takes my vote hands down!!.
    I have, and when needed, use Logic ( my 2nd choice) and Protools and even Reaper when pushed to but my goto DAW is Studio One. Ok it is one the newer kids on the block but it is awesome. Its workflow and quality is great. The output is awesome. Its technical support is brilliant. It is growing better with every release. Presonus has a winner in this one and so have I as a studio owner and user.

    If you havent given it a really good try i STRONGLY recommend it to you.. And not just a fleeting go but try it thoroughly. You will be very pleasantly surpised.

    As a side note i am really surpised FL is tops at the moment. I just cant understand that!

    1. Because FL Studio is more than an audio workstation. It can be your major production tool or your audio swiss army knife as they both are able to modify sound in ways dreamed unimaginable.

      1. Quite frankly the same can be said for other daws as well, so I don’t think FL Studio stands out from that.

        Perhaps FL Studio makes those changes easier to implement than others ?

  79. I used to love FruityLoops Studio for hashing out a melody or a beat and looping is a cinch! Reaper is freaking awesome except for all the mending of various takes on the same track. ProTools…RIPOFF. Studio one is ok; great effects, ok workflow but really — regarding workflow — nothing even comes close to Ableton Live! It’s so incredibly intuitive. People talk about sound quality, that Studio One sounds better than Ableton or that it’s faster….really? Sounds the same to me and Ableton on a 64bit machine is blazing.

  80. Ableton is my current fav. I have used Sonar (Not the latest version) and FL studio and I just cannot get into FL’s interface.
    FL sounds amazing though, just didn’t come naturally for me, i should give it another try with all the updates as I own it.
    FL is great if your doing all electronics, but if you do alot of audio tracks, Ableton works better., at least for me. I admittedly haven’t really spent time in FLStudio for several years though, I love Vocodex!

  81. I was a long time ProTool user (HD) after their ProTool 10 release debacle I just couldnt take it anymore. I was sick to death of being used as a cash cow and not a valuable client. So I dumped them and switched to Presonus Studio One 2. I wish Id done this a long time ago. This DAW just rocks. Great workflow, intuative to use, love drag and drop, easy as hell to get around. im working 5 times faster on Studio One. I love the free updagtes and the melodyne inclusion. Love everything about it.

  82. FL Studio!? Hahahahahahhaha Yeah good one guys. I’m sure most people who voted for that also have Pirate Bay to thank for acquiring it. Smooth.

  83. I’ve been a Cubase guy, dabbled with Logic, but mostly done work in Pro Tools. Have to say, though I’m knew to it, Personus Studio One is the way to go. I’m sick of Avid’s bullsh*t attitude and the restrictions they put on PT Native, making you pay out the a** for CPTK or HD WHICH YOU DON’T EVEN NEED AND IS ENTIRELY OVERRATED. Personus is a company that listens to their costumers and actually cares about making a product for both the pros and the home users. It’s still young, but they are updating quickly. Avid has another competitor and should start getting scared.

  84. Studio One has an excellent workflow and outstanding features and sound quality. I am very impressed with the involvement of the Presonus staff and how they organize and share new information and tutorials.

  85. Hands down Ableton Live 8, followed by Propellerhead’s Reason. I wouldn’t say Reason 4, 5, or even 6 but with 6.5’s new Rack Extensions I feel it may surpass Live. Hate all you want, watch the people speak in the end. Wish the voting was still open??!

  86. I haven’t had the chance to try them all out. I think I’ll pass.

    But go ahead and decide. I bet you aren’t at all biased.

  87. I agree, what can be gleaned from this poll is probably not “What the best DAW” is, but what is most popular, at least reflected by the people who cared to vote in this poll. That FL Studio is coming out on top says something. I know some users that have posted above think its because all FL users have pirated their software. Sure that may be the case, but I know far more people running around with pirated Ableton than I do FL. I purchased the signature version of FL and do not regret it at all. It is a great DAW if you know how to use it. That being said, I also write in NI Maschine and Ableton, depending on my needs at the time. As far as sound quality difference I don’t think there is one. At least I can’t hear it. What did I vote for? FL. Why? I am not sure. I guess my vote was influenced by what I use the most. Does that mean I think it is the best? Nope. Does that mean I think others are better? Nope. Depends on the user I suppose.

  88. And so I ended up late but oh well…

    I would have voted “Other” because after 2 years I think its safe to conclude that there is no ‘best’ DAW, and I somewhat doubt that there ever will be.

    My favorite DAW on the other hand is Ableton Live. But when looking at how I normally use it… Max for Live (‘M4L’) for example gets started almost every time I work in Live. When I want to do some quick sound design which could require some very messed up routing then I fire up Reason (4). If my sound requires something fuller I often end up firing up Absynth 5 (wonderful synth!).

    So if they would combine Live 8, Max for Live, Reason 4, Absynth and maybe the (freely available) ReaPlugs as icing on the cake and present this as “The future DAW” then I might be tempted to vote on it as “Best”.

    But before that happens my take is “Other”.

  89. this poll is totally pointless:P protools and logic are the industry standard, if you went into any pro studio 90% of the time thats what they would use.
    that said it makes absolutly no difference what DAW you use, if your a good musician and have the time to learn the intricasies of sound design then you will make good quality music what ever software you use. if someone who had never played guitar picked up a £2k Gibson they would make the same awful noise as if they tryed playing a crappy strat copy they brought on ebay for 50 quid

  90. Studio One is just what I need. Sometimes it’s even fun to see friends having to go through workflows on other DAWs that take minutes, where it’s just some clicks for Studio One. Tight Melodyne integration is another key feature ot me. And they are developing fast, offering great support. All i need.

  91. I understand, and see why Fruity Loops won this poll. For making beats and for those types of music, it’s great. With that being said, I play rock music. I WOULD NOT use Fruity Loops to record my band. I use Cubase 5, and I do NOT like pro tools. Studio One is also good and MIXCRAFT hasn’t been mentioned, and its ok. All these are good in their own right. It just depends on what u want and need. So if your into Rap, Trance, Hip hop, Electronica, go with Abelton, Fruity Loops, Reason.. If your in a band, go with Studio One, Cubase, or Mixcraft. If your on a Mac, Logic 9, hands down. But for me, I like Cubase. I have the cc121 controller for it, and it does everything I need, clear thru the mastering stage to Cd. Anyone that thinks it sucks, just don’t know how to use it. The same for Studio One. Personus made a controller for Studio One as well. And they are affordable. These 2 are the clear winners in my book.

  92. well, i have FL studio, cubase, and ableton live, but my first and the only daw that i understand is FL studio, well it’s easy to use, and have a friendly interface, i tried the cubase and ableton, and it’s confusing for a begginer like me, well, i use FL to make all kind of music, from rock, pop, jazz, bossanova, funk, techno, any kind of music, i’m using vst plugin for all of this, and FL is great and easy to use with vst plugins. and when i tried audio recording, it’s not bad, easy to use and understand, well, when i want to try the other daw and i see FL is in the top rank, i won’t change my daw, for me, FL is the best.

  93. Presonus Studio One Pro is the daw I use most.
    The workflow just clicks for me best.
    Other daws I own: fl, sonar x1 , reaper, none of these is really bad.
    But all of these have one point that stops me having fun, so I’m happy to have an alternative.
    And for sure there is room for further great enhancements in studio one, Presonus, go ahead for these, but keep your focus on usability.
    At the end it’s the fun that counts when using a daw.

  94. It’s gotta be both Reaon 6.5 and Ableton live for the sound engine, ease of use, fun element, stability and most important of all, results. I haven’t used FL for about 8 years so can’t really comment. Cubase was king once upon a time but nowadays seems way behind in most things. Sonar and Logic are ok and Acid Pro is very good but no 64-bit and regularly crashes. I’m still to try Reaper, Presonus and Protools. To reitterate – Reason 6.5 and Ableton Live!!!

  95. Now that Reason finally has audio recording it has become my favorite. This is coming from someone who used everything from the original Creator / Unitor to modern day Logic & Ableton. I love Logic, and fully appreciate why Ableton is so popular, but nothing excites me as much as Reason. This is due to the built in instruments, audio recording, sampling capability, and mastering all-in-one. I particularly like the add-on pianos, drumkits, and other instruments available in both Refill and Rack Extension forms. While I like some old VST’s, I certainly do not miss the vastly varying user-interfaces and configuration issues I used to have. Of course my new i7 16GB PC does not hurt things.

  96. Satisfied with the results, my DAW is on the 4th place, I thought Logic users don’t give a shit about this polls, boy I was wrong 🙂

    For mac only, pretty good 🙂

  97. what the hell… you make a poll asking people??? what about technical specifications? FL has been around for ages and is on the pc of any teenage boy who wants to make music because you find it hacked all over the web and if you buy it it used to be dirt cheap.. thats not a poll, thats b*llsh*t

  98. I think it depends on your composing style. Not all DAWs are created equal for different types of music. …and Pyramix is not even listed as are several other professional music software.

  99. How can you say which DAW is the best?
    1. Each individual has their own wants and needs.
    2. Has everyone evaluated every DAW? I would say not as by the time they have, upgrades will have been made and new evaluation copies will be available so you would have to start again. Some don’t even let you evaluate or you can only do it once for a 30 day period say.
    3. What you may have in one DAW isn’t in another or what is there is inferior. Auto-Tune and Elastic-Audio are prime examples of this.
    I could go on ………….

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