The 10 Best DAWs In The World (2012 Synthtopia DAW Reader Poll)

What’s the best DAW in the world?

We asked and readers weighed in, with 10,152 votes and more than 190 comments.

Readers made clear that they are passionate about their digital audio workstation, debating the merits of polls like this as passionately as they defended their DAW of choice.

There is no ‘perfect DAW’ – because different people have different needs. And there’s no perfect way to compare them.

But the outpouring of votes and the quality of discussion suggest that, not only are today’s DAWs more powerful than ever, but that they are worth getting excited about.

Here’s how the votes stacked up……

The 10 Best DAWs In The World

  1. FL Studio
  2. Ableton Live
  3. PreSonus Studio One
  4. Apple Logic
  5. Propellerhead Reason
  6. Renoise
  7. Cockos Reaper
  8. Cubase
  9. Avid Pro Tools
  10. Cakewalk Sonar

Let us know what you think of the results!

192 thoughts on “The 10 Best DAWs In The World (2012 Synthtopia DAW Reader Poll)

  1. I’m surprised by Fruity Loops being No1. Agree with Ableton as that’s my choice. I use Reason so No5 is not too shabby. I’m not familiar with others. Has FL got special powers since i last looked at it, maybe 10 years ago.

    1. It’s because image-line always tell the people on their forums to go spam polls. if you go to their forum they probably had a sticky telling everyone to go vote for FL, that’s usually what they do to get these high rankings. Everybody knows the reality is Ableton is the #1 DAW right now. I don’t use it personally but I’m not oblivious.

      1. @wut: bullshit. FL did NEVER push anyone to vote for its software. Just take a look at the forums before accusing IL without any proof.

          1. lol presonus studio one told everyone to vote for them, renoise too, reaper did it too, ableton did it too. Free lifetime updates!!!! that’s why fl is number 1

      2. LOL because i am on the forums daily and havent seen one post about this poll at all.
        But im sure Abelton users visit The FL forums frequently as well huh?

      3. FL Studio is as powerfull as Ableton Live ! Stop saying ” Everybody knows the reality is Ableton is the #1 DAW right now ” That’s not true ! Every DAW is good, it just depends on you !
        I’m getting fed up with that DAW War…

      4. There is no way FL is as good as Ableton Live. FL is really slow and poorly coded. Live is super fast and just a dream to work with.

    2. 10 yrs ago?

      download the demo NAO.

      its fully functional, youll be amazed.

      if you can handle it, but thats the twist with everything. i acknowledge reason is an amazing DAW, i just hate it, so it might bethe same for you and fl. but all the DAWs in this ranking can do the same thing. YOU are the superpower ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I think the poll reflects the changing landscape that is the music business. From pro studios to in home studios…

    1. Thats because… Turn on your radio… You wont here anything original or anyone with real talent anymore. It all went to just selling a bunch of catchy beats crap, whatever is hot for the next 10 minutes. Now, listen to the top hits in the 70s. The artists back then had to use these things called instruments. What u here today is a plastic version of that. We are too lazy now a days to put effort into what we do. The industry cares nothing about talent or originality. “WHAT CAN WE PUT OUT RIGHT THIS SECOND TO MAKE QUICK MONEY.” Thats it bro. Thats IT!

      1. Ummmm… you do realize that this is a Synth forum yeah?

        Everything here is plastic!…and that’s how we like it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Definitely interesting to see Pro Tools so far down the list. I have dropped it completely from my studio in the past year as i feel Avid just aren’t doing the software justice anymore. They don’t seem to be implimenting any of the features which make the workflow on other DAW’s so much quicker. Nowadays, i need a DAW which is versatile and can be used in so many different ways, almost played like an instrument. Whether tracking bands, mixing & mastering, editing, live recording, DJ’ing, running events, composition or when i just feel like playing the piano or utilising it as a guitar effects rack, i now use Ableton live!

        1. All joking aside, you’re probably correct. It somehow is bad if software is considered “1990’s tech” yet this weekend we recored my bands drums (70’s kit) to analog tape, on an SSL, etc. etc and it sounds amazing. That was all “dated” tech too. Why the hell does it matter when something was made?
          Every studio I have been in has Pro-tools running and never has there been a moment where the room grew silent based on not being able to accomplish something. Now for a bedroom producer, yes, PT might not be the right fit. Yet, if you’re going into a studio and paying 1k for 10 hours, I would roll my eyes if the engineer brought up FL as the primary DAW.

    1. 1969 saw the release of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Yellow Submarine and on and on. BUT, do you know what the number one song was that year? Sugar Sugar by The Archies. Dont say “music was better back when…” The most popular songs have always been terrible. You are just looking back with rose colored glasses.

    1. Having followed this site for almost 2 years now (with some breaks in between) I have a very strong impression that they couldn’t care less about that. Even heated discussions like these (where some people DON’T get along) as doing them credit.

    1. I know, I know… YHBT.

      Sinatra could “wipe out” an entire audience by merely holding a microphone and some singing. Even without music. And he had even LESS than a crappy PC with a ‘daw’ in his childhood. Gee, hard to imagine how he ever “got up there” huh?

      1. Hey, girls used to scream and go wild for der Bingo, Bing Crosby! And “crooners” used to just stand there and sing! There’s magic in music, for the magicians who know how to make it happen.

  4. @Dwight– I think the poll is reflective of the synthtopia reader base, not the music industry as a whole, or rather, the segment of the base that stops to take a poll.

    1. the fact is that the “music industry” is mostly composed of old sound engineers using old school technology.

      but young producers aren’t stupid. why would they use some old fashioned fastidious DAWs such as protools or cubase when they can have the exact same result with modern DAWs such as FLS and ableton’s with much faster workflows and a better ergonomy (btw both have plenty of functions that are simply not available in protools, and it’s way less the case the other way)

  5. Never been on this site, but saw the heated debate in the comments (the whole my DAW > your daw bs)

    Let me just say this, theres different daws because theres PERSONAL PREFERENCE. In the end they can all make the same sounds. Believe it or not, but its the darn truth. There’s rich famous artists that use Cubase, FL, Ableton etc. simply because every daw can be manipulated in a professional manner.

    If you get less sound quality out of one than the other then your mastering is the issue.

    If you think real musicians dont use DAW’s, thats fine, youre entitled to an opinion. I know i can use multiple daws down to the T and cant play a guitar to save my life, but that doesnt make me talent-less. The huge DAW debate is like arguing over your favorite fast food.

  6. I have only used renoise, logic, and ableton . I am comfortable with ableton and that’s what I use for now, until bitwig arrives ๐Ÿ™‚
    How would I know which is “the best DAW in the world” ??
    which is why i did not vote at all .

    a better poll would have been “which DAW do you use?”

    1. Agreed. Once you become accustomed with one or two DAWs its pointless to keep expanding because thats time that can be utilized to dig deeper into one daw. Nobody has them all mastered, so the world can only vote onm which one they personally prefer.

    2. Quite frankly I don’t think there would be much of a difference between the outcome ๐Ÿ™‚

      I mean; wouldn’t most people favor the DAW they use (the most) ?

  7. Only reason FL won is because there are so many amateurs with pc’s who bought FL to try it out. FL doesn’t stand to Logic or Ableton or Reason.

    1. I disagree – I came to FL Studio pretty late, after extensive use of Cubase, Reason and Ableton. It won’t replace Cubase as my main DAW, but it’s fully featured and has a pretty interesting workflow. The snobby reputation that it’s ‘amateur’ is very backwards.

      Anyway, I suspect the VAST majority of beginners these days actually start off buying/pirating Ableton. From my observations, it has definitely replaced FL Studio as the default wannabe DJ/electronic musician DAW.

    2. Amateurs huh?

      No sneer, but that’s the same “stuff” us Live users have to put up with every time Live is used in a Dance club.. “Nah, you can’t make music with that; its used for DJ’ing for crying out loud. That’s for amateurs”. (near full quotes from some posts on the Live forums last year).

      Its not the tool, its the tool behind it making the music ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Being “amateurish” doesn’t necessary be a bad thing. Actually it just means that you don’t earn money with making music or mixing music. And then it’s true, FL is hardly used by any pro mixing engineers or pro musicians (although there might be some exceptions)

        1. Good point. And I usually prefer an “amateurish” sound to the over-compressed, greased up sound of “professionals” these days. It’s sad to have all those tools and use them to just choke the life out of the music.

  8. All these DAWS have their own niche market. Ableton is great because of the clip gird and warping. Protools is excellent with video and super quick to track out vocals with. Sonar is awesome with punches and comping takes… Logic is a live sound and midi monster… same with DP… FL is awesome for it’s immediacy and simplicity. They all have their place and will suit different different musicians differently. I voted for maschine because I am amazed at how the workflow fits me when sketching out a track… To each his own.

    1. Goku, you nailed it. All of these have their pros and cons. I was surprised not to see DP on the list, DP7.24 is a worthwhile alternative (and has / has had most of the features all the others have, sometimes better) and has a solid userbase. The learning curve and GUI on it isn’t the best, admittedly.

      Rewiring Ableton to another DAW is a lethal combo. I love it for the BEST and easiest audio warping and as a writing tool (the clip method) – but totally wouldn’t have it as my only software.

  9. I am, and judging by the state I’m in today (2 years after diving into this awesome world of sound), I guess I will most probably always be an Ableton Live die-hard (powered by Max for Live, IMO an important detail).

    Having said that….

    I honestly, truly, and respectfully think that Live couldn’t have lost to a better competitor. EVEN if people “cry out to vote” (Propheads have a tendency to do the same, same as my fellow Live fans) and even IF (this is no sneer, but I want to mention it anyway:) I don’t think there ever can be a “best” DAW (for the record; I’d have said the same thing if Live had won; Live may be my favorite, IMO its not the best).

    For the nay sayers…

    How can you say nay to a product which managed to get people to come up with a track like this one:

    That track ROCKED, that track saw the lights with FL Studio (as far as I know), and without trying to give the impression that I’m “dissing” or being negative concerning Live (which I’m not!): When was the last time Ableton came up with a hot track such as this ?

    So IMO this is well deserved.

    Live will be back on top soon enough ๐Ÿ™‚
    (sorry, can’t help it ;-))

    1. in regards to that FL 9.7 song, are you being sarcastic? I am so confused. some DAWs are useful but I can never find a bit of inspiration in them…

    Its like the guy way below me said, its like arguing over your favorite fast food.
    Hating on FL because its number 1 makes you a snob, your no better than Paris Hilton making fun of the rest of the world because we dont wear 700 dollar jeans.

  11. man… Logic and Reason were neck and neck on third for a while, im still glad to see Reason in the top 5 as much as so many people complain about it, they sure will vote for it in the top five!

  12. FL Studio has gone a long way, and is a very great and creative DAW. I was seriously thinking about turning to FLS, but then changed my mind, and went Reason 6 + Reaper as a sequencer.
    Flexibility/ tracking and sound engine of Reaper + creativity/ stability of Reason= bomb.
    If reaper introduced FX that are easier to follow, and more pleasing to eye, I’d just snap into orgasmic ecstasy.

  13. Funny how Bitwig Studio got 60 votes – it is not even released yet ๐Ÿ™‚ – it says a lot about this poll. But in general yes, Top 10 more or less shows how satisfied people are with their tools.

  14. Nobody seems to talk about one of the major differences.

    FREE Lifetime updates. Big game changer.

    IL keep pushing the line with their updates, keeping up with the likes of Ableton and then some.

    Really dl the demo before judging. I think FL is showing companies get rewarded for an attitude liek this,

  15. Theres a reason that they give lessons in DAWs like Ableton, Logic og Pro Tools at sound design educations, and not FL Studio…

    1. Sound design educations?

      I don’t know where you went to uni but its sounds like they don’t appreciate their students at all. FL studio is very popular among many of my students – And I learn from them everyday.

      I cant see anything wrong with teaching techniques in any DAW – What you are experiencing is the mere fact teachers are from a generation where A DAW was traditional and every studio had Pro Tools.

      I am so glad those days are over.

    2. A need to give lessons doesn’t mean the tool is better. it just means it’s not intuitive. That has nothing to do with capability, but is approachabillity.

  16. so FL is the most liked DAW on synthopia. this doesn’t make it the best DAW in the world bu is still an interesting result. funny how Logic still is quite popular, must be due to the dumping price strategy adopted by Apple. Great to see Renoise score so high! They deserve it!

    1. Interesting, I guess that would imply that most of the voters are using Reason 5 (before “dongle extensions” I guess.)

      It does make sense that (starving) musicians would prefer software that is available either cheaply or for free as “unlicensed” copies.

      Or perhaps you can’t easily copy *hardware* so you end up spending your precious synth dollars on it and then don’t have anything left over for software!

      Arturia may have figured it out: hardware synths are the ultimate in copy protection.

  17. FL FTW! Lets all switch, aaaah maybe not. lol Next time i’ll vote for my fav DAW with a HTTP script tool. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. FL Studio (including all plugins) [download] = $934.85
    Ableton Live Suite [boxed] = $849.00

    That alone makes Live the more attractive choice for me. Not only that, but FL Studio is Windows only (their OS X “port” has yet to see the light of day).

    I used Fruity Loops and then Fruity Tracks way back before they were combined into one product (FL Studio). The last time I used FL Studio was about a year ago (not counting the iPad version). I have watched several YouTube videos of DAW agnostic techniques where the presenter used FL Studio as his host.

    Unless they have radically changed the program within the past year, I don’t see how people can elevate it above Live (or Logic, etc.). The interface sucks up a large chunk of the CPU that should be used for actual production, and it uses MDI Child windows for everything. It’s a mess.

    I know that everyone has their own workflow, and that different software works better for different people. But I can’t see how FL Studio could be more popular than some of the others in this list.

  19. I am really surpised that Cubase is only 8th, topped by software like Reason and Fruity Loops, both of which don’t even have complete MIDI support. I guess most people who took part work completely inside the box or have a very limited workflow. Neither of which is a “bad” thing. Just surprises me a little. Would like to know how many people use two or three of these programs because using only one is not enough, and how many people use Mac OS vs. Windows vs. GNU/Linux. Without some more information and some numbers instead of just a ranking this result is pretty meaningless.

  20. I would have to say Samplitde pro X suite is my favorite Daw and my lease favorite is Reason. They are having so many problems with the new update Rack extensions and its just junk. Thats my opion

  21. FL Studio is like 5 years behind the technology curve.

    Still no 32 bit?

    Just shows you the uselessness of polls like these.

    It should be title who has the most fanboys willing to spam the polls?

  22. I think that I could totally live without the snarky tone that seems to creep in to these discussions. Maybe that is just life on the anonymous Internet, but it seems uncalled for and nothing more than bad manners.

  23. There’s a strong likelihood that most people voted for the one and only DAW that they have had experience with. They have nothing to compare it to, so they vote for it so that they can feel validated that what they’re using is the best. I agree that you can get powerful music out of any of these candidates. I feel like a better poll, given that this is Synthtopia, would be which DAWs are best suited for the production of electronic/synthesizer music right out of the box with no additional plug-ins. This isn’t Guitartopia or Xylophontopia etc…

  24. I read somewhere that Justice uses GarageBand. Seems unlikely, but maybe it’s true. Now that I have an iPad with GarageBand, I’m much more likely to start a session on the iPad over a few beers on the couch and pull it into Logic when I get something good going. I use Ableton Live A LOT (in fact each week I use it to make my podcast,, but GarageBand on the iPad has made me more inclined to learn Logic. I’m not nearly as proficient at Logic as I am at Live, but I’m getting better. I want to learn them all if only for the opportunities that offers. I don’t think any of us can afford to know only one DAW. And if you can only learn one DAW, I’d say learn Pro Tools as there will be a lot more work opportunities if you know PT.

  25. fl studio is pure crap, outdated and stuck @ 32 bit.
    about to sink with image-line who is about to go belly up.
    their products are all 32 bit and can’t float and keep up with cheaper better developed plugins.
    fl studio is for naive newbies that haven’t realized there are easier ways to do things without all the workarounds and poor workflow designs.
    the limited out dated 1990s plugins.
    the fact everything is demo and requires more money to upgrade.
    you aren’t really getting anything for free but a free cut down versions and bug fixes.

  26. I think that FL is cool and you will never pay for future upgrades.
    Image Line created the most powerful virtual synths on the planet. The FL demos are impressive, they sound as mastered records.
    The only bad thing about FL 10 is the GUI. You need googles to operate on the various buttons, check boxes and cursors.
    The sound routing is not easy to understand but with GURU tutorials you can discover how this software is powerful, hundreds hidden features.
    The most powerful thing is the handle of midi messages. You can turn on your washing machine if you want.

    1. Dude, check yourself man, you’ve been sucked into the fanboi zone, bro. you gotta get a grip on reality. fl studio is “ok” but it sounds like you just got into music production and haven’t used anything else…

    1. Yep. That’s a winning combo alright! I’m surprised there’s no more Reaper love in here. Admittedly the MIDI editing still has a way to go but some cool features like a 2-octave virtual keyboard and a smart media explorer have made it a great tool for me for working in the box.

  27. Guys! the topic about most popular DAW for users (not professionals) but not about best, because there no exist one thing for best.

    my rank is
    for electronic based music (rhythm orientation) and DJs – ableton
    for live bands and vocal is pro tools
    for anything – apple logic and even emagic logic
    for pain lover – reason ๐Ÿ˜‰ (sorry)

    this is my opinion
    sorry for my English I’m lame

  28. The butthurt in this thread is epic.
    Baaaaaaaaawwww all you oldfriends mad you been shown up by FLStudio.

    Go listen to some Porter Robinson, Madeon, Feed Me/Spor, Avicii.. And then tell me how bad FLStudio is and how the quality is low or whatever rubbish half of you losers think.

    FLStudio can host any 64 bit plugins, and can deal with 32bit float audio.. And it runs in 64 bit windows just fine. So WTF are you whingers crapping on about 64bit for? You think it somehow makes things sound better?

    Anyhow, congrats FLStudio for winning. Now carry on whining, losers. ๐Ÿ˜€

  29. I’m surprised that Mixcraft didn’t make the Top Ten. It’s more than enough for most users. The instruments and loops are really useful. The ease of use blows away Reaper. I’m also surprised that Logic is only #4, especially with the price reductions of the past year.

  30. everyone have his/her own favo. Dont break down others intrested. Just enjoy your work ,

    But cant help tp say Grats FL-Studio for taking 1st place

  31. How retarded are most of these kids/people on here/in the world these days? You’re saying “This” and “That” sucks — Get this.

    The DAW is ONLY as good as the user using it. They all have their beneficial points, but no matter what, whether your a film score producer or electronic music producer, the music is only as good as you physically make it. It has fuck all to do with the DAW, in the slightest bit.

    People are so delusional these days, they believe anything handed to ’em! Like I said, the stuff you make is only as good as your physical ability to produce. Hell, Daft Punk made good music with retro DAW and synthesis, why would a DAW of the 21st century matter? The thing is why people judge so much is because it’s too easy to get your hands on software; kids make a 4/4 beat, boom. Next thing you know he’s telling all his friends to like it.

  32. I went with FL Studio 10 because I bought it at an unbelievable student discount. I got the Producer Version for $100 and they never even asked for my student ID. Im new, and its been MORE THAN ENOUGH tool for me. I think Sytrus is pretty boss, and when I want to try something else, I use Massive as a plugin. The workflow I like, the piano roll often touted as a “best in class” feature. The windowing can get to be a mess, but its not as bad if you are using multiple monitors. I have been curious about Albeton, as I guess this is what DeadMau5 moved to (from FL Studio), but I don’t think spending another few hundreds bucks is going to make my stuff sound any better.

  33. No one seems to be discussing Studio One, which I guess is expected as it is not geared towards EDM (the apparent dominant genre of this website). Any Studio One users here? Anyone with an opinion about it?

    1. I’m a S1 user and I use it only for EDM! It’saffordable, has all features I need and imho a nice interface. For me it’s a rock solid DAW.

  34. this poll… is not the “perfect daw poll”… is the most popular daw poll… because its based on votes… every daw has a strong spot and a week one… it is basicly what fits you.




    1. No need to yell homie….You mad cause your DAW got spanked like a little b**ch? Don’t cry homie, don’t be scared. Have fun dropping hundreds of dollars on updates!

    2. This is true! Everyone knows Reason is the best DAW in the world! I’m learning to make sick phat hip hop beatz like Lil Wayne. You just put the loop in and then put like sound effects over it.

  36. To me it looks like a list that is the most common pirated software. Most of the big league producers/mixing engineers/mastering engineers don’t use FL Studio, haha.

    1. Wait, so Feed Me, Avicii, Madeon, Porter Robinson, Arty, Sidney Samson, and Afrojack, are small league shit producers?

      I can feel your anal pain from all the way over here.

      1. “Feed Me, Avicii, Madeon, Porter Robinson, Arty, Sidney Samson, and Afrojack”? ๐Ÿ™‚
        I think I’m too old for this. Those are all musicians who will dissapear when they’re out of fuel. I’m listening to Dance Music for about 20 years now and there are just a few artists who really are still popular.

      2. “Wait, so Feed Me, Avicii, Madeon, Porter Robinson, Arty, Sidney Samson, and Afrojack, are small league producers?”

        Hate to be the one to break it to you, but, yeah, they pretty much are… A handful of kids who’s sounds are unremarkable/interchangeable, with a few appearances and no major record label contracts are still “small league”.

        PS. I think the phrase you were going for is “little league”?

    2. That’s just a dum ass ignorant thing to say… Everyone in LA in the movie and Music industry is Bangin out hits with FL Studio…get w the times.

  37. There is no overall best, only what works best for you personally. It’d be more interesting to know the whys and the hows people pick the best than the what.

  38. LOL at the whiners. Cry some more because FL Studio spanked your lame DAW’s ass. Your DAW’s lost son! Man up and get with the time! FL Winning! Other DAW’s LOSING! You mad bro? You mad. LOL at the losers.



      1. I hope you are joking. WHY DO YOU ALL SOUND LIKE SNOT KIDS ARGUING ON A PLAYGROUND, SCREAMING IN CAPITAL LETTERS AND CALLING EACH OTHER ‘DOG’?? Is this a late 90’s drug-funded hood-rap gangsta DAW breakdance film on a synth blog that couldn’t convince the MPAA of an “R” rating?? I hope that you can get your AKAI MPC out of your puckered asses and actually debate like an intelligent person who truly gives a fuck about everybody’s DAW. They all have strengths. THEY ALL SUCK. Make them better by being helpful. And for the record, Image-Line is doing very well, and I will “SEE WHATS UP THEN’ when you tell me how to get to ‘CALI DOG’. Honestly, It’s not showing up on Google Maps.

    2. Yo, like, what is up sis?

      I’m happy you take fruity loops’s success in the poll as a personal victory, I doubt you’ll be having too many of those in life!

      Word, DAWg.


  39. I THINK DR DRUM should be the #1 DAW. It come with more samples and you can export to WAVE not mp3s like the other guys.

  40. Wow, FL ??? Really? Maybe it coincides with dubstep becoming super popular.

    I voted in the poll; I choose Logic Studio. Someday I’d like to give Live a try, it’s just pricey and I would rather spend my money on hardware than software.

    1. You’re gonna need at least a MIDI tool to use Live. A computer keyboard just doesn’t cut it.
      I hear the Novation Launchpad is pretty good, and it’s made for Live. It’s pretty hard to just pick it up and go on it though, I had no idea what I was doing with the trial, lol.

      My suggestion is you pick up the Trial and DON’T REGISTER IT. That way, you can see if you like it for as long as you want. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. You should definitely give Ableton Live a try and mess around with it. In my opinion it is by far the best on this list. Anyone who has a good amount of experience making music using any sort of DAW will appreciate the effort that has gone into the development of this program.

      I was using Reason for a few years before taking the step up to Ableton. Once you figure out how to use it correctly it honestly makes Reason look incredibly inferior….

      Any beginner can make a beat using Reason but it actually takes some skill and knowledge of musical composition to use Ableton.

  41. Holy crap. Most people here sound like they have never even used a DAW before. Seriously. One guy is saying one comes with more samples than another. Seriously, wtf?! Make your own loops you creatively baron losers.

    I have used and continue use Cubase 5.1, FL Studio 9 XXL, Reason 5, Live 8, and Sonar X1. A far more interesting discussion would be what VST’s people think are the best (Waves, Ozone 5 duh)…

    1. Also, who the hell said that export as WAV was a feature?!? ALL digital audio workstations can export to WAV dude. Seriously, I was doing this with $100 Guitar Tracks Pro 12 years ago lol.

    2. Well, no use to discuss, because there are only a few who really own any expensive VSTs like the complete Waves Series (which are a “must have” in Mastering imo). Why do I spend so much money on DAWs and VSTs when many others use pirated stuff? Buy the instruments you use. That’s my opinion!

    3. By “creatively baron” you meant “creativity-barren”, right? Or did you really mean to say that they’re barrons, and somehow creatively so?

  42. I think they can be compared very easily. You can compare many things like:
    – start time (if you have many VSTs then some of them starts very slow because of VST rescan [can be turn off])
    – VST plugin management (adding, sorting by type, FL really sucks here, mixing VST instruments with effects, no sorting or gruping by manufacturer ๐Ÿ™‚
    – type of arrangement (patterns, blocks, channels – here FL sucks as well because you have 1st pattern, then 2nd playlist “tracks” which are not connected to patterns until you decide (can be source of mess) nor connected to chanel mixers! and 3rd you have a mixer channels which are suprisingly connected to VST “channel” what is actually VST component. This is different approach in compare with other DAWs. Here one pattern may have many VST channels but usually you just use piano roll arrangement for one VST per pattern because you do not know at the start of building the song which VSTs/what notes will play together later. You also have 3 places where you can mute the sound – pattern channel, playlist track, mixer channel – why the hell 3 different places?
    – automation (creating, editing, arrangement of automation lines) – usually automation channels are visually connected/grouped with instrument channels but not in FL. One would say “what a freedom”, I say “what a mess”.
    – scale and chords – just for example how much time will take you to change midi arrangement from one chord into another (let’s say major to minor)? In Live you put chord component on the midi channel, set the chord type, create arrangement and if you don’t like the chord you just change the chord setup of the chord component to another. Just one click in Live. In FL? And what if you have to do it in more than one arrangement? ๐Ÿ™‚

    and so on…

    Don’t take me wrong, I’m really not a hater of FL Studio that’s just my opinion regarding the fact that this DAW ended as first and I do not think that it deserves the first position. There are so many things which are useless in FL or too different/difficult in compare with other DAWs. It’s for a long discussion and I’m not a very good english native speaker/writer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The best DAW? Not exist or mix of all DAWs. Take the best parts from all of them, parts which makes things easier and you get the best DAW.

  43. Guys ‘n’ Gals…
    It doesn’t matter what DAW is the best. It is whatever you produce with it, that counts, for all i care your DAW might as well be a double casette-deck where you consequently swap out both tapes and dub another track across the recording ๐Ÿ˜‰

  44. To all FL haters. I use FL since version 3… I release vinyl records, sold out ones… Tunes sound phat! You kids need to learn that brain & ears are the tools, not software… People made amazing beats on 8bit machines back in the days… Learn your DAW (whatever it is) and you’ll make it sound good…

  45. Oh a suck a d***, majority of the crackhead voters can’t afford Pro Tools so they opt for a cracked version of FL Studio. Tell me, in which Studio do you see them using FL Studio or Cock Reaper as their main DAW??? NONE.
    Pro Tools is the King of DAW’s
    Don’t Doubt It

  46. I use Propellerhead Reason 6 with Rack Extensions (mostly for Composing, Arranging, Programming), Apple Logic Pro (with additional VST Instruments via Rewire and VST’s for Mixing and Mastering) and Ableton Live for Live Play and Remixing. I don’t know FL very well, but I know, many have it. May they be happy with it. Many good stuff on Soundcloud/Beatport/etc was made in FL Studio.
    I think it’s important to know your DAWs by heart.

    Buy the instruments you use.

  47. I am surprised FL ended up at #1.

    I use FL and Live specifically because they were less expensive/more accessable when I was starting out. ProTools is next on my list to learn.

  48. If you’re serious about music production I urge you to get a free subscription to TapeOP magazine. Every month they interview professional music producers and do in-depth studies on gear and such. Throughout these pages you’ll get interviews with the producers of big name recording artists like Aerosmith, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello,Corosion of Conformity, Decemberists, etc. So I have faith when they tell me something.
    Every big-name Producer I’ve read about uses Cubase and Pro Tools because it offers them everything they could ever need and also gives them the features of NON-DAW studios. Even Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest uses Pro Tools.
    What I’m trying to say is… just because the kid next door got great results with DAWs like FL Studio doesn’t mean those who have been in the business for 30+ years use it. Quite the contrary. If you want to go pro and learn how to use the best, I urge you to get professional. Professional tools=professional quality work your clients will be proud of and keep coming back to you because of that quality.

    1. One has to know which DAW is better suited for the things you as a producer is trying to achieve. For recording rock and metal music live, PRO TOOLS could very well beat FL Studio, but if you are mainly electronic producer working with synths, samplers and various MIDI equipment, FL Studio could very well outperform PRO TOOLS.

  49. Why such animosity? It’s SOFTWARE. You use what fits your needs, workflow, budget, etc. As long as the result is good music, who cares?

      1. Studio One has a relaxing and intuitive work flow. I prefer it, use it, and agree it has had an amazing rise to popularity in a short time. It deserves to be here. I suspect it will move up once additional people try it. FL Studio is good for sequencing. It is great to have for certain things but it does not suit my personal style for the most part. I find it’s work flow sort of annoying. However, it’s why we don’t all choose the same clothing. It’s a matter of personal music style, work ethic and tastes. Studio one is one of the easiest I have used. Presonus is gaining ground quickly. Congrats to them and all the winners.

  50. FL Studio is not a DAW, and should never be used as such. It is a tracker/sequencer on steroids and should be used in conjunction with PROTOOLS/Cubase/Sonar X1/Nuendo/Sequoia/Reaper …..etc…..

    Use fruityloops to create way, way “outside-the-box”, not to record live instruments, patch external signal processing etc….

    Drop your FL results into your DAW or render directly to a DAW track(s) using FL’s VST’i (rewire)

    Remember, it’s an invaluable tool……….you “need” to have it in your toolbox.

    1. I think the term producers use when referring to production with a mixing console is “Out-of-the-Box”, and when producing with a DAW is referred to “In-the-Box” production. Not busting your chops, just educating you some.

  51. I think what’s common knowledge is that most of the users voting are young, home producers with limited budgets. So for $199, you can get FL vs spending $300-$1000 for other software. Ableton Live lite editions come bundled with just about anything these days. Studio One has a FREE versions. Etc.

    These kind of lists are based on user base and who is using what, not on quality of product. Not to say FL isn’t a quality product, it’s simply different for different users and styles. FL at the top of a poll doesn’t mean the pros use it or are switching to it.

    As far as I am concerned, Cubase, Nuendo, ProTools and Digital Performer make up the major production studios, recording studios and top composers.

    1. Well, it depends on what kind of music you are making as different DAWs fulfill different needs. FL Studio doesn’t have live recording as its strongest point so of course a lot of professionals are not using it for recording or mixing purposes, but it is a strong and professional DAW nonetheless, especially in electronic music segement. Also, have in mind that Cubase and Pro Tools had already taken over the professional studios before FL Studio entered the market as strong contender, and it is difficult to change minds of customers about a product especially if they are sattisfied with stuff they are already using.

  52. Don’t matter what daw you use
    What matters is that the daw you do use matches your workflow
    otherwise it will stifle creativity and vibe in your production

    brain and ears but first ideas!!!

    Thinking outside of genre or social classification and experimenting to create
    a NEW idea is what matters NEW IDEAS ARE EVERYTHING!
    Don’t be a mimic work out who the fuck you are then work out what the fuck
    your music should sound like

    write that down in stone and don’t you ever forget it.

    Unless of course your happy chugging out music that sounds exactly like the last
    boring minimal banger that never really go’s anywhere…

  53. Look, some of you get all pumped up if DAW you are using got low on the list, and I can dig that, especially because some of those buggers cost a lot. But the truth is that there is nothing wrong with any of these DAWs, and if you are good can make great music with any of them. If you cashed on Pro Tools that doesn’t make you a professional, to be a professional you have to have clients or be good in what you do, have good skills. These DAWs are different, and fulfill diferent needs, but in the end you can make quality music with any of them, you just have to know how to use them. One outperforms the other in some segments, but in other segments it can be sub-par. Nowadays we have great and cheap tools for music, more than ever in history, and still I like some of the old musicians the best, that is the sad part. The tools are better and more sophisticated than ever.

  54. well i feel like Ableton Live should be number 1 over FL, i’ve tried both and the features of FL compared to Live are WAY better, like stock sounds for one, then u r able to make a professional sound when you mixdown in Live, easier workflow, thats my take, but like a few ppl said b4, its not what you use its how you use it and your preferences so i dont knock FL, but i was never one to follow wat everyone else was doing lol so i just said i was not gonna bother messin around with FL, nor Pro Tools cuz i feel that Pro Tools is overrated, i think Studio One is a lot better

  55. I can’t believe that this is a topic for people to fight over. Use what you love and have fun with it. I started making music with a single keyboard/sequencer that nobody even heard of and achieved great results with it. Since then aka (Many years later) I now use many DAWs during the creative process. I start in Live and rewire Reason/Record and NI Maschine to get all of the sounds and tracks structured. Form there, depending on who the track is for, I will bounce everything to Logic or Protools to be mixed by my friend who is a grand engineer. Then off to mastering by another guy in another state. Point being, do what you do and don’t knock anyone else’s way. Worry about self and how to step from Jack of all trades to Master of one. I have also used FL Studio and I think it’s cool. I just don’t use a PC anymore and that’s a whole other argument! LOL! Make Music not Havoc. Peace!

  56. i simply use cakewalk music creator 5 and find it an excellent program. i still have a lot to learn from it about tweaking and mastering to create a professional sounding mix, but i can quickly lay down some beats and soft-synths to make something that doesn’t sound half bad….at least to my ears, anyway!

  57. I am a psytrance producer from South Africa. I have started off using darkwave studio (freeware) a while back and audacity. Now I am using ableton live. I still use darkwave for some of my wavs like my beats ECT. Then load it into ableton. Vst’s is important. I don’t know fL, I just know a lot of dubstep ppl are using it. I vote for ableton and darkwave studio.

  58. I work with Macs and use Ableton Live Suite 8 and Studio One, with plugins from Native Instruments and Arturia and I’m introducing iPad 2 into the early-stages workflow. I’m building up my MIDI controller collection and looking around for some hard analogue options.

    I am more creative using Live and iPad and prefer to mix and master in Studio One.

    Live 9 looks to have taken some big steps towards SOne, particularly with regard to automation.

    I have Logic Pro 9, but don’t like the interface. I have FL Studio 10 on a PC and like some its (unique) features, such as the Riff Machine. I’ve got Reason 5, but feel it’s a little too restricted and feels over-produced. but I like the rear view of the Rack, where you can go crazy with signal routing.

    So, a bit of this and a bit of that. Still working on the workflow!

    My 5 cents worth …

  59. Ive used a few of the daws on the list.
    They all do basically the same thing but each has their unique qualities.
    My favorite by far is Ableton. Such a fantastic tool for live and studio work.
    Like some people say it can be a bit confusing to start with but after a few hours with it you realize it has things the others just cant do……or at least well.

    Oh an Fl studio rocks too ๐Ÿ™‚


  61. Hi, i’m really new to music production, and using a mac and Logic 9, but i have made a few tracks with logic, though it took me a while to get used too. but then i want to get an mpk and another DAW, and step things up a bit…what do you suggest?

    1. Ableton Live…It’s the only DAW that works as an extension of the producer…it’s like an instrument. & Live has an incredible workflow that is super fast.

  62. Has anybody tried all the daws? I use ableton live, because is easy and fast to use. For my needs right now, is the best. I also use cakewalk sonar, as a secondary daw, because ableton doesn’t support 5.1 (at least the way I want to use 5.1). I really want to know if there is a daw that works better for me I mean something ableton with 5.1 support.

  63. Well I almost only use Fl Studio but Iยดve also tried the ….lets say more professional DAWยดs. Fl Studio without any Plugins ( actually like all other DAWยดs) like a dry, too long taosted, piece of bread in your mouth. If I would have more time do learn everything about, for example Cubase I would deffinetly do so! But Fl studio is powerful for beginners and has a more easy interface than the others( Just my opinion) You canยดt make a professional score with any those though…then you would have to buy an orchestra XD

  64. Ok lets be honest here, I can explain this top ten in detail. being I’ve been in the audio software biz for a minute. The reason you got the top 3 is because these top 3 apps are the most free downloaded apps as of right now. Doesn’t mean any of these other apps are bad but i can tell you Sonar being 10 is no surprise, I wonder how many people actually own the software in the top 3. I think this needs to be a little more along the lines of who paid for the software, Those are the votes that should count. I see a trend in this pole and it points out to FREE FREE FREE.. And points to alot of amatuers. I could go on but i’ll stop here.

  65. Hoping I can get some recommendations here. I am a keyboard player looking for a DAW that caters to keyboard players, is intuitive and easy to use, and has great audio recording capabilities. I’ve looked into several DAWs but found they were designed more for hard rock/ heavy metal and cater more to guitarists or drummers. I’ve been told to avoid Ableton, Pro Tools and Reason. Other DAWs seem to cater more to dance/ hip-hop and that’s not my genre either. These DAWs seem to be big on the MIDI side of things vs audio. I’ve had a couple people tell me to stay away from FL Studio, which I was looking into, for that reason. Now I’m looking into Reaper (which I’ve never used but is appealing), Sonar (which I have used in a studio, but had a lot of problems with lag, buffer time and freezing- I’ve also been told Reaper has probs with this as well.) Cubase was another option. I use some VSTs (Arturia, Spectrasonics, NI, Korg, 3rd party) as well as keyboards and need a DAW that can handle all that as well. Any recommendations?

    1. I would use either Cubase or Sonar if you are trying to get your feet wet. The reason that sonar lags is because it’s probably on the factory latency default. I love both programs, but I’m more partial to Sonar because TO ME it gives me a better workflow. Ultimately, you have to choose what works best for you. Try going to Guitar Center or any other pro audio store and use some DAW’s in the store. Most pro shops have set ups there that you can test drive before you throw wads of cash.

      Peace on the never ending journey.


  66. That list is almost right, But still fucked. But! The less they know, The less they can coroupt. Who are they? We know. (Smile)

  67. That list is almost right, But still fked. But! The less they know, The less they can coroupt. Who are they? We know. (Smile)

  68. That list is almost right, But still fked. But! The less they know, The less they can coroupt. Who are theyWe know. (Smile)

  69. I’m of the common belief that what you use is solely based on what you feel comfortable using. Personally, I construct all of my tracks in FL Studio and then export 24 bit stems to Sonar Cakewalk (X1) because I love the feel of mixing in Sonar, plus I can add extra stuff if needed because they have some awesome instruments and plug ins. Now someone else may hate that approach and thats fine. It’s about what works best for you, not me. I have clients and peers that swear by pro tools, since I don’t like the midi functions in protools I would never use it for producing by that’s MY preference. It’s all about what you like the best. There is actually no debate on the issue, it’s all digital so there is no sound difference other than the instruments but I can make the worst VSTi sound like a waves processed instrument. It’s about how you use it, not what you use. -Carry On


  70. When further processed, it can also be used to produce petroleum
    lubricants. It helps people suffering from depression because
    of its strong calming and soothing properties. I have been using jojoba oil for months
    and love the stuff.

  71. I’ve never used Renoise, but the rest of the list looks pretty good for the most part. I would have to agree with the dude who said that Ableton Live feels like a real instrument. The learning curve is pretty steep, but once you get it, none of the others can do what Ableton can do. Just my $.02

  72. SEQUOIA … is the best for Professional people only. Is not cheap, not for everybody… but is the best in the world.

  73. Pointless to argue. Compare, contrast, debate, but I’ve tried most of those and they all rock for different reasons. Everyone has different styles and taste. As long as I’m creating I’m happy, fl studio is not fruity loops any more and it kicks ass. I prefer reason but I wouldn’t down play any of them.

  74. Amazing how you’ve managed to get the list almost precisely the wrong way up! After trying them all X2 Producer is the clear No.1

  75. FL Studio is terrible. sorry. ive tried all the versions.. some of the worst sound ive ever heard apart from audacity

  76. Well i would have to say preSonus Studio one, less work around functions and it dosen’t tax you on power and its windows based have you up and going in seconds its off the hook many artist are switching over to it than Pro tools and Logic, But as the saying goes the proof is in the mix and what you like…

  77. They’re all good for different reasons.

    I use both Ableton Live and Reason. Tried FL, thought it was a bit overwhelming and quickly returned to Live and Reason.

    I’m not dissing FL, I’ve heard some amazing music come from that DAW. It all depends on the Producer and what he/she enjoys best. I really enjoy the full-house instruments that come in Reason and I really like Redrum & Combinator. Ableton is obviously great cos you get to use VSTs.

    Liam Howlett aka The Prodigy said he uses Reason as a ‘notepad’ to get ideas going. This tells you that Reason is sorta awesome for creating beats right away.

    As long as we’re creating and shit sounds good, that’s all it really matters. I started out with Sony’s Acid back in 1998 and eventually moved to Reason and Ableton.

    My advice for new music makers is to try all of them for a few months and find the workflow that fits you best.

    My votes go to Ableton Live and Reason 8…

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