What’s The Best Desktop DAW? (2014 Poll)

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

In 2012, FL Studio took that title, when over 10,000 readers voted in our DAW Poll.

Since our last DAW poll, the percent of our readers that use iOS and Android mobile devices has grown to over 33%. But, while mobile apps are popular, desktop DAWs are still the first choice for over 90% of electronic musicians.

So – what’s the best desktop DAW in the world in 2014? Here’s your chance to weigh in!

Leave a comment below, too, and let us know the reasons behind your vote!

Note: This poll will be open through Nov 15, 2014.

162 thoughts on “What’s The Best Desktop DAW? (2014 Poll)

  1. Ableton because of its versatility. I have the other major DAW’s but always find my way back to Ableton. It suits my workflow and inspires me instead of taking a dump on my Juices!

  2. The only peep’s that care about this poll are the DAW nerds who think they need all the DAW’s for their stagnant EDM sludge, and the “producers” who wouldn’t know Gsus9 without the help of Cthulhu.

    1. … or serious musicians who look to Bach, Debussy et al for chord progression inspiration, using Cthulhu’s huge classical midi library.

      1. Nah…I’ll read the charts I bought when I studied piano. The fastest way to learn the mind of a composer. Of course, your prefab drag and drop midi miles may vary.

  3. Reaper, cause its
    stable, small, fast, you can route anything to everything, has an internal 64bit float engine, a real and functional bridge to 32bit plugins(hello ableton haha), you can near all customize for yourself and many many more =)

  4. Certainly Ableton Live for me. I’ve been lucky enough to purchase and try out other DAWs. As always, some are suited well for certain people, but not for others. In my case, I agree with the other post… The workflow in Live works really well for me. What really gives it the advantage for me is that I’ve found that whenever I want to get an idea down quickly, no other DAW comes close to letting me do that as easily as Live. FL Studio is also excellent for that quick “draft”, if you will, but Live is just a tad better overall. Pro Tools or Cubase, I mean, it’s probably one of those things where they’re so powerful given their pro use that trying to just drop in a virtual instrument and draw in some midi notes seems like a lot more work than it has to be. Reason is a fun one and certainly takes the cake for having the best looking mixer screen, but again, too many clicks to just draw in some notes. Live has the best implementation of the clip concept and the traditional timeline workflow is comparable to the rest, plus it’s fun and easy to use…. If only it didn’t crash on me that much… (kudos to Reason for being rock solid in that department)

  5. I like Reaper because as far as features to price, it fits the best with my workflow. I also tend to work with more audio than midi, if that helps anyone understand my choice.

  6. These polls are trash. People vote what they use, not what they consider the best DAW as they haven’t had actual user experience with *each and everyone of them*. So name the poll: what do you use.

    1. isn’t that the best thou. What is the best is what is opinion. Its like anything. The best is what people like. Maybe its the first daw they ever use. Maybe they started using via a school project and feel in love with it.
      The stories are endless.
      We can have the same affection for certain brands as we can do for people.

    2. > People vote what they use, not what they consider the best

      Well I own Live, Logic, Cubase, Reason, Reaper and GarageBand, used to use ProTools, and have demoed Bitwig. I think I’m entitled to an opinion on an informal internet poll.

      Which is the best for my work? None of them. All are imperfect. A few are good enough. So I voted for the good enough one that I thought had the best value. And what is wrong with doing that. Nothing.

      1. thank you! precisely my thoughts… I own Logic, I use Logic with some proficiency… why am I going to vote Sonar? This poll should be “which DAW do you own?”

  7. Has to be ableton. I have all the other major DAW’s PT is good for recording and mixing. But ableton’s workflow is by far the best. Plus there are a lots things you can do in ableton that other daws can only dream of.
    Also the fact its audio engine has improved is a huge plus. So one day it may sound as good as cubase or protools. But for me still these other daws don’t even come close in terms as a production or sound design tool.

    1. I’m not sure if Ableton has improved their engine in any latest releases, but I think if people know what they are doing with warping etc, I thought at least the “sound” or “sonic” portions of it were just fine and equal with others… now pdc being another issue… But I like ableton and use it all the time…

  8. my bet is that the DAW voted best will be the one people use. I use Logic. I’m not going to vote for Sonar… hence the results of this poll are relevant only if the question is rephrased…”what DAW do you use”

  9. LOGIC Pro X, great workflow, best midi and audio instrument set up for writing and production, great audio recording and editing features, an amazing 50 gig library of sounds and samples, mix bus sounds great and last but not least………. it’s $200….. you can’t go wrong with this package!.

  10. This was a toughie for me because I have PT, Cubase and Cool Edit Pro and I use them all for entirely different applications. So for an all-rounder I went with Pro Tools. But after 33 years of doing this stuff I still and always will love good ol’ fashioned tape and a big f**k off analogue console. 🙂

  11. Really wish, i could say Acid. But older version i got would not sync to MIDI clock, only to timecode, so there goes that. I like to think i would like it, because it has three things i need: sampler, midi, vst support. And i have fond memories of it.
    So my new setup mostly runs trough Cubase. It’s not heavy, but feels so bloated.

    I mean, in mixing department, Cubase is ace, but for live studio composition work there is plethora of functions i never use. Maybe i should try Live and i see Reason also fixed MIDI out.
    Should really buy dedicated recorder/sequencer… oh, wait… have several. Slow workflow and cable mess.

    So, i don’t know… let’s say Cubase this year.

  12. Logic Pro 9 is my main work horse, like the support for 32bit plugs, when it doesn’t unexpectedly quit that is, environment helps to get around some limitations and has great plugs like es2, evp88, sculpture, space designer and pedalboard, worth the admission price alone. Also partial to auria with the nice psp channel strip and fabfilter plugs and mixbus, good metering, nice saturation and basic compressor on the channels and all round warm sounding.

  13. Well, Tracktion isn’t “Mackie” anymore. I voted for Mixcraft because it combines the simplicity of Garageband with the power of Logic – or ennough of the power for my needs. I like how easy it is to build preset layers of synths with effects.

  14. Funny how skewed this poll is. If this were a recoding engineer/post engineer-centric site, than Pro Tools would certainly be the victor. It’s no surprise that Ableton is receiving top billing here, and as it should. It’s such a powerful program, much more fun than Pro Tools will ever be. However, when I’m tracking bands, it’s always in Pro Tools. I recently started fooling around with Bitwig, and I do like the UI. Beyond that, I really don’t have a solid opinion yet, other than it feels like Ableton. Cheers!

    1. I think you have to read this poll as “What’s the best DAW for electronic musicians”, since that’s the sort of people that come to the site.

      I have no doubt that if Tape Op magazine did the same poll that Pro Tools would come out on top. Or maybe reel to reel.

  15. Digital Performer is packed with critical features that I use for serious composition and posting work.

    It also has incredible flexibility as far as workflow.

    It might not be suited for some kinds of music or work-flows, but it is for composers, engineers and other producers a very powerful and very mature app with one-of-a-kind features, and best-in-class sequencing.

  16. My vote goes to Bitwig because out of all the Daw’s I tried, Bitwig felt comfortable out of the proverbial box. The other Daw’s make me work to get things done (at least thats how it seems to me)

    1. Are you having good luck with it? Seems like a lot of people were saying it wasn’t stable when it first came out and I have not heard a lot about it since.

  17. Let the flame ware begin! Ableton. can’t beat hardware integration with Push and the super amazing M4L. It’s also the cleanest looking friendly DAW IMO.

    1. i see more and more using Ableton Live for performance and Logic Pro for everything else. Nobody has as good of hardware controller support as Ableton, but Logic Pro is the best bang for your buck DAW.

  18. I chose which one I would take with me on a deserted Island. I feel that Ableton would be my choice in that situation, even though I use FL Studio as well, I find that the recording capabilities and general workflow seems to be smoother and more intuitive in Ableton. Would like to try Bitwig but not sure I want to sacrifice limited creative time to learn yet another DAW. We are truly fortunate to have so many excellent choices in music creation, what a great time to be a musician.

  19. I don’t use DAW’s for my music anymore, not for recording, I do that on tape or hardware recorders, just some post-editing and “mastering”, I still use them for other people’s stuff, but still I don”t trust doing that kind of work on a computer too much these days.
    I used: Cubase (good but for some reason I dropped it), Logic (I absolutely DETEST IT), Nuendo (I had fun with it then I moved on to other daws), Pro tools (it made me wanna puke), fruity loops (I found it limited and boring), Ableton (seems great but I did not fully understand it at the time, I was working with different stuff, I should give it another go now), Garage Band (I like it, specially it’s fun on an ipad), Ardour and all the system on Ubuntu studio (potential seemed great, a little too complicated for my sheer stupidity), Acid (that’s what i started with years ago, still seems better than many current daws). I’ve been using sonar for a few years, I like it and I’m used to it, but I voted Reaper, because in a nutshell I think it’s better than sonar and any other DAW I’ve used. So it’s not true that People vote what they use, not what they consider the best, I voted what I considered the best, but i don’t use it. (Yet, i plan to start using it in the future, but now I don’t really wanna switch.

  20. Whoever says ableton hasn’t got a clue, you can’t properly mix on it – let alone the thin sound of its engine.
    Don’t get me wrong ableton is a great tool, but for professional mixing is not good enough

    1. Yet somehow Ableton Live meets most of the needs of most live performers you see these days.

      A lot of people are going to get shite sounding music out of whatever tool they use, and so there’s a lot of shite music made in Live.

    2. People still talking about DAW’s “audio engines” in 2014 🙁

      My issue with Ableton is that it’s crash prone, everything else about it seemed pretty good when I demoed it, but I crashed it the first time I used it and have heard it’s users talk about crashes for years

  21. What? no SAW!! (Software Audio ..er, Workstation)
    The all-assembler written program for PC that got 30-50% more out of your computer than any other!

    Only had a cracked copy that I tried out a few times, it was way quirky, but impressive in its way.
    Of course, then came Acid and showed a new game plan. You could play 60 time-stretched tracks in real time on a computer that could mix maybe 5-8 actual stereo files. That’s clever cheating.

    Those were the 90’s…

    And through all this time, ProTools was *the* best, since they add a specialized computer to crunch the numbers. At a commensurate price.
    Maybe still is for pro mixing, but workflow is more a concern if you make music.

  22. I virtually live in Reason ,
    1/ its is by far the best all in one Studio Modular system !
    2/ it is still has stable as a Rock.
    3/ if i was to just use its internal devices alone plus the Modular routing system , its capabilities
    of creating almost any sound the imagination can muster….. is endless.
    that’s without using the “new Re_System” . . . .

  23. For me Ableton, I’m so used to it that it’s second nature.
    But for recording other people I use studio one, comping is great, and its effects sound really nice.

  24. I voted for bitwig, because bitwig it’s like Ableton Live but better. The stock effect are better. I never could stand the panning added on each LFO. With bitwig you can apply an LFO where ever you want on any parameter you want, and you dont have to buy 10Go of useless samples. The stock instruments are really good. I really like the VA synth. IMHO Bitwig is like Ableton Live without all the little bugger and with some nice extra. And next version will still be better!!!

    1. Hopefully they’ll add Audio Unit support in the next version. The only thing that’s kept me from kicking tires on Bitwig is an unwillingness to reinstall all my plug-ins and store two versions of each.

      Anyone know any gossip on why AU support wasn’t in version 1.0? Cost? Laziness? Religion?

      1. I’m not a Bitwig user, but I wonder if this is because of their effort to have parity across platforms.

        It’s a downside for Mac users, but some people may really like the fact that you can run it on Linux, Mac or Windows.

        1. I’m not advocating for them to discontinue Windows or Linux support! Just don’t want to reinstall my plug-ins.

          Are you saying that it’s in the interest of document portability across platforms? Because that seems a little far-fetched, if we’re expecting to find the same sets of VSTs on different Bitwig installs across Mac, Linux, Windows.

  25. I think the best is to work with Logic linked by rewire with Ableton live. Logic for the best sound of rendering processing and Ableton live to make the loops, it’s very quickly.

  26. Logic has been, and always will be, for me. I’ve tried tons of times to get into Live but I just can’t get it. It’s like me trying to understand and get into “Big Bang Theory”: people rave about it and this & that but it just doesn’t work for me, I can’t find the connection. The thing that always has drawn me to try and try again with Live is that “clip” paradigm. I guess once you have that second nature thing with a DAW it endears to you. My big question is why they just can’t bring in the Mainstage GUI into Logic? I’m all about playing mutes to make up my musical ideas. I just don’t do the traditional, conventional linear composition sense. The midi pattern triggering (read: Touch Tracks) in Logic is a holdover from a time best forgotten (that is computer sequencers from the early nineties). The controller assignment functionality, I’m talking assigning CC’s to mute buttons, in the mixer window is a pain in the tush to set up as well. Sure, once you get it up and running its cool I know that. Another thing that sucks, IMHO, is that I can’t seem to assign CC’s to mute external midi instruments as well. The way I am doing it now is with all software instruments. Anyway, I am so happy with Logic regardless of my constructive criticism. And what a relief of spirit and faith that Logic is not abandonded, or dumbed down, as it’s alive loud and clear with Logic Pro 10 and the subsequent comprehensive updates. Thanks Logic team of programmers and project management for the hard work and clarity of mission with the software DAW that I love and CANNOT do without! Apple, please don’t flake out on us!

  27. For me, it’s FL Studio.

    I like how it works, it’s as simple as that

    All major DAWs are equal and have their own qualities and flaws, you just need one that you’re comfortable with and suits your needs.

    My personnal favorites in order are:

    1) FL Studio
    2) Ableton Live
    3) Studio One
    4) Reason

    I have tried some others but not long enough to to put them here

  28. Definitely NOT Ableton Live – some people here say it’s so versatile. Excuse me?!? Go and make an audio post production with Ableton, go and do an ADR session with it.
    I vote for Logic Pro X because I can do all audio post and music work with it. Live looping is better in Ableton (I also have it), but that is neither the ends of music nor of an audio work station.

  29. dunno i think workstations are pretty wanky. never used a hardware one and dont use software that way.

    maybe my whole computer and all the software on it if i had to call something a daw

  30. reaper uses less than half the same amount of “CPU” than ableton live, thats why i switched.. because i use tons and tons of VST plugins, and it handle it all with no problems – its lightyears ahead of ableton

    ableton is quicker in the UI use but ultimately less satisfying because of how limited it is, so reaper is way more functional, and you can customize everything to an insane level of granularity

    but just the cpu usage benefits, which are EXTREME, and also the ability to bounce out all tracks at the same time as separate stems.. thats what does it for me over ableton

  31. Pyramix from Merging Technologies is missing in this list, Pyramix is largely superior in terms of performances and reliability, compared to Protools.

  32. For me, it’s no contest — it’s Ardour, the greatest free-as-in-freedom DAW. it’s not perfect, it could use some UX love, and there are some important features that are buggy or missing, but its feature set is always improving, it’s designed with an engineer’s eye to audio and workflow, and there’s a community with a lot of passion supporting it. Thanks so much to Paul and the rest of the Ardour contributors for an amazing gift to the world.

  33. I use Sony Acid Pro 7 because it is the most user friendly DAW in the world. It never crashes and I haven’t found one thing I can’t do with it yet, the possibilities are limitless. Love it 100%

    1. I agree, up to a point. I’ve tried DAWs that make me grit my teeth and give up after a day or two. And I’ve used others that are simpatico with my outlook on how things should be done. But given that the latter group doesn’t appear in the top three it’s possible the problem lies with me and not with the technology.

  34. i work with ableton now a days but i’ve used almost every DAW (except for cubase)

    i think you cant say which sofware daw is the best.
    because every person works differently.

    What i experienced is with certain limitations and boundries you get within a DAW you will get creative
    within the proces.

    what it is with me after a certain time i get bored of the DAW because my workflow is the same and repetative so i will switch DAW and try something else.

    But to awnser your question its Ableton (for now) because of the Launch grid i can switch easily with a new arrangement/drum pattern/melody’s etc and dont have to stop the Audio.
    when i have enough variations and patterns i switch to arrangement mode and build the track.

    you can find my tunes on soundcloud/vincentpaolo (all produced in Ableton)

    1. As you said, it’s up to each of us which software chooses in which he moves better, for me it is FL studio, while I’m doing other genre but I like your job anyway.

    2. exactly, the limitations force you to be more creative.
      just see how creative people were on very limited machines like the amiga 500.

    1. if u like m4l.. u really should check out what Bitwig has planned and already done in they’re ‘modular system integrated into the application’. as all the devices are already built upon it and at some later point they’re going to open up the hood completely for everyone to fiddle around as to they’re own liking and wishes! ;p

      but i also totally agree with the likes of “wichever daw u put in the effort to really learn” and “theres lots of different daw’s for the kind of different workflows the people use” but in the end, people who do music tend to be more of the creative spectrum… and like Dennis very well said: “..the limitations force you to be more creative.” but it doesn’t hurt to find a solution you are really comfy with. and that being said, when i look over the poll again.. i’m happy that we got that much selection of good software to choose from. because in opinion more stuff to suit the peoples needs makes for more good music and thats what it is all about, isnt it?! =)

  35. Even though i agree on “whicever daw u learn best” , we still have to answer the question “which daw shall i learn best?”

    My answer: cubase

    Cubase is and has always been the master in the classical workflow of midi->vst/ext inst->channel paradigm and i always recommend it for someone who is starting out so they can graps the concept behind desktop music production.

    Why not protools? – Even though is a defacto industry-standard, unless you make serious money out of it (>5000€/month), its not as cost effective as cubase. Plus is not as userfriendly in gui terms.

    Why not ableton? – the workflow is so radically different from pro tools, cubase and logic and other , that it literally promotes uninspiring music most of the time (meaning loop-based stuff- no offense to anyone), because initially that was its initial purpose: a glorified sample-trigger , mostly for live use. Its gui for setting up connections etc its doesnt even look serious to my liking.

    Why not flstudio? Well , as my first ever daw, i have to say there were serious reasons i moved to cubase and logic. Its getting better every year but conpatibility isssues trouble me most and the fact thats not mac-compatible.

    Why not logic? I use logic sometimes, great daw, very usefriendly and i could easily have it as my daw of choice, but i believe cubase delivers better in flexibilty/userfriendliness ratio.

    This is not intended to flame against anyone. Just my 2 cents. And I worked with all these daws for at least 12 months on each.

    Ps: props to reason which decided to grow up and bitwig fills the gap for my linux friends!

    1. “Why not ableton? – the workflow is so radically different from pro tools, cubase and logic and other , that it literally promotes uninspiring music most of the time”
      That is total nonsense, there is loads of people doing great music with Live, at this moment it is one of the most used daws, specially in the electronic music community, so there is every kind of different stuff made with it. The times I tested for exemple Logic, the music I made with it was really uninspired and ugly, it wasn’t logics fault, it was mine for not knowing it well.

  36. Logic is the Best DAW but you gotta be able to navigate through it first
    Took me 3 months to learn be when you get a grasp of it,
    its the best

  37. Difficult to say which is the best, unless you have tried them all. But from all those that I currently use, Sonar X3 is currently my favorite (for now).

  38. Well, I am using Fl studio as primary DAW, and I can recommend it, it’s very easy to use and you never loose your point. Also I love the pattern option, in ableton e.g. I always end up with about 70 tracks in one project, which is quite annoying. What I do not like about FL studio is that some plugins just crash for no reason (I had some big problems using massive in FL but I finally solved it. Anyway FL is a great DAW, and it has got a nice Interface which makes it easy to be creative. Ableton somehow interrupts my workflow. In conclusion I can say, there is no best DAW, cuz everybody works different.

    1. I totally agree! When it first made its appearance as Fruity Loops in the late 90s, I was hooked. Admittedly (no regrets, just lessons), I was using crack versions for a number of years. When it became FL Studio, I gritted my teeth, took out my credit card and purchased the Producer Edition. Then Image Line announced lifetime free upgrades, which made purchasing the Signature Bundle a no-brainer for me!

      FL Studio has pretty much everything I need to exercise my musical creativity… I’m actually in the process of writing a blog, “Fruity Loops: My Not-So-Secret Love Affair”.

  39. Cubase for me, mainly because I’ve been using it since version 1.0 on the Atari ST (and before that Pro24 on the ST too). After 25 years the Steinberg way of looking at things is pretty thoroughly wired into my brain. I’ve done a few albums on Logic (and its predecessors Creator and Notator), but it has never felt as fluid and effortless to me as Cubase. But for anyone else, the “whichever one you’ve learned most thoroughly” answer is undeniably right.

  40. I cut my teeth on Digital Performer and then Reason. I switched to Logic when I switched to Mac and it feels very musical and organic to me. I absolutely love it.

    I am a trained keyboard player and I once tried programming the piano roll to get more of an EDM kind of feel to one track-and became desperate pretty quickly. I guess the implementation may be better on other DAWs but that’s not what I do. So at the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss, there may not be a “best” DAW for everybody, but everybody probably has a DAW that’s best for them.

  41. I have worked with many DAWs in the past decade. I use Logic and Cubase mainly nowadays for producing and Ableton for playing live but Ableton seems to lack quality no matter how much I try to use it for production it is difficult to get the same quality as I do with Logic or Cubase. Workflow and stability is excellent though. I love logic but Logic X seems a bit weird after using other versions of logic so I dont feel a need to upgrade from 9.

  42. Caustic bayb grrrrrrrr!!!!!!! What Desktop software, runz a desktop &&&&, ((( any desktop with mac as well vst’s. ((( mac don’t do vst’s it’s audio unit a.u. ))) Quite a few in this list. But we not just center herre with caustic but…. ))), and what company dat makes a software, can make mobile platform two work just equally for a type of phone platform.

    it’s idiocy two stay behind in desktop or laptop software design inna age of tablets and touch screen phones! If not least, the music industry has been involved in software Yester years old product. Now…. the artist has just as much control over there craft as these companies.

    So, what is the software company giants doing about mobile production? dat’s about two blow the roof tops off all this expression, from individuals knowing from there feelings much more creative they know can be!!

    I’ll tell u!!! First of all “fruitty loops” for mobile suckz doodoo stank ballz!!! It’s not even useable! U have two pay a overpriced app compare two others $2 or $5. Expecting with the price $20 for the app. Two be worth what u paid for but u don’t get all the files!!! U go two the website and u have as much frustration with the website from a mobile device as u would the app!!! Waste of time. 🙁

    Cubase ain’t nothing without its desktop so not a functionable app!! It’s only a remote control. For the app two work completely u have two have the d.a.w. this says so much about how much value they place the power of a mobile app two do or can do can be for dat matter.

    Unless i’m over looking no other company has made a mobile app why not? There individuals making imitation(s) of hardware for apps!! ((( mpc models ))) Copyright infringement yea’ the companies ain’t doing shit about making a mobile set-up i’m pissed about this!!!

    Cause all the mobility toward doing music is lock-down by mac i-phone pieces of crrrraaaaappp!!!! No such interface for android why not? Is there not enuff android made phones/tablets out as market?? Or is it the apps not widely done by companies but by comsumers??? This errk my nerves the level of incompetence two making thangs one sided!!!!! This ain’t a won sided world!!!

    But caustic is made and from an individual not a company. get it right!!! And it’s design structure for mobile is awesome. How come it runs free sample dat u can get and it has a vst from within the app!!! ((( connect within the forum u will find such very such thang cheaper than any software. Two trick out a mobile device. Full of samples. As data bytes of what hardware is doing these dazez. these big companies make of keyboards & drum machines some of them r data files sold ((( yes the “korg d50” is in app form. As well the “boss dr. Groove 202”. And others i would have gather my list of what i use but my favs is these. ))) big name companies have a mock up of there original machines with a data form of there orginal product and they all run smoothly within caustic. And if they have not allow these mock-ups then they needa get hip on what is hott as everyone wants most as two do music more efficient and as effective as possibility be.

    I love caustic i’m sure any non-professional as well professional alike could pick-up caustic and forget the dinasours of the past. And move forwar with caustic! Thank you and peace!

  43. I’ve been using Image Line’s FL Studio since 2003, when back then it was known as Fruity Loops 3!

    In that time, I’ve tried other programmes such as Reason 3.0, Logic in a box, Sonar, Live, Cool Edit Pro 2 (Now Adobe Audition, to which I’ve also used – no difference I can see in CEP2), Mixcraft Pro; and a few others not listed above, so won’t mention. But for the free lifetime updates, ease of use; endless features (that even I, don’t think have discovered them all yet), ability to hook-up hardware to work with it; and not to mention various VSTi’s that work within it, I cannot fault the current FL11 version. I’m trying out the 64 bit version at the moment; and although see some teething problems, it has a lot to offer. On top of the desktop version, we also have the joy to play with FL Mobile, what a lovely app; and because it’s virtually the same layout as the desktop version, the learning requirements to use it and make music are minimal as everything look so familiar! For me, I look forward to getting my hands of FL12 when it is finally released.

  44. I like the open architecture in FL Studio, because you can jump in to those things are you really using and close other that are you dont using… and surprisingly im working with external audio easily

    F1 key is your friend 😀
    Greetings from Chile.

  45. Mixcraft. It lets me get to the creative process instead of laboring over minutia. Skip the 3 year learning curve and play yer damn guitar with Mixcraft.

  46. I cant believe FL is ever CONSIDERED a proper DAW! Its a glorified drum machine for making whatever is popular at the moment! Before it was rap and hip hop. Now, its Dubstep…

    Logic was great till I couldnt find the most simplistic of functions. I cut my teeth on Acid Pro 4, and now am in love with Cuckos Reaper!

    And in response to “The Pros Use”. Deadmau5 uses Ableton, and Tycho has been using Reaper (Learned that from one of DM coffee runs!)

    Honestly, it comes down to how you play and record: If your a hardware player (analog FTW), DAWS like FL and Reason, are just massive amounts of overkill and useless options. Give me audio tracks, MTC, and a record button, hence Reaper and Acid and the like!

  47. FL’s great for ease of use, it took me a while to get my head around only because there are so many ways to create a track but at least you can throw one together really quick.

    The only problem with this approach is it’s tempting to throw them together too quick, then you have to go back and figure out what the hell you did wrong in order to get the sound you want nice and crisp.

    Ableton’s a little more confusing if you’re new to it. The layout and plug ins didn’t seem very intuitive for me initially but the time warping where you can stretch out a kick drum n turn it into a bassline for example is a great feature.

    For me FL + Ableton make a good combination. I’d like to try Reason and Logic sometime in the future but there’s no way I’m ever buying a mac the prices and the specs are just too ridiculous.

    Either way it doesn’t matter what you use so long as you get the sound you want at the end of it.

  48. So, Synthtopia, a genuine question, how did FL studio move from have just a handful of votes to over 2000 so quickly? I’ve been monitoring this poll out of interest for several days and Ableton was clearly in the lead (I don’t use Ableton very much and didn’t vote for it – so I’m not biased towards Ableton) followed by Logic, Presonus Studio One and Cubase. Then, suddenly, FL studio comes from behind with this big lead.

    Do you realize your polls are flawed and that people can vote more than once? Could well be you have the same people voting 10 times on different devices, different browsers, different coffee shops with different IP addresses for different DAWs. Probably really not worth much therefore as an accurate assessment. Might be worth considering changing your poll software.

    1. FL started getting more votes after the poll was linked on IL’s forums, and I would assume(don’t do facebook/twitter myself), social media. Not to discount vote stuffing either but it seems more likely that IL has drawn it’s users here effectively. They also deal mostly in digital distribution, probably have more people following them online than people that buy a boxed product, they also posted that SoS had left FL off their poll entirely and that was changed shortly afterward as a result of the outcry. Perhaps not actually the most used DAW(not sure if there’s any reliable statistics for that), but FL has a rabidly loyal following

  49. Not sure if other DAWs have the same feature but i love FL studios ability to dump every midi note played to the piano roll. you can play along until your happy then just copy/paste the section of notes from the midi log. No need to record ‘takes’. Also i love its simple integration with hardware. + i can use my droid tablet with il remote to build custom control surfaces that work with hardware synths etc. Gold

  50. Hi guys, for me Bitwig is the Best DAW in 2014.
    Why ? First of all it´s brand new, just released this year, NEWCOMER. 🙂 No honestly, i like the native Linux support, the Team behind has a great Vision how music should be created and they are working pretty hard, to make it come true. Another reason why i like it is, that i could start pretty fast, creating a new track, after i own it. Furthermore i like the steady improvement they can show up with, i didn´t know any software which receives so many fixes and updates in such a short time. I like it, just because u can open multiple docs @ a time, drag an drop samples and stuff u recorded already. But probably the main reason why i like it, it´s a German production,just joking, they listen to the users, trying to always catchup the “Needs” of the people who use their product. Quick reply if u got a question, just a great service. Bye the way it´s was a pleasure to talk with the Bitwig Guys @ Musikmesse 2014.


  51. haha wow, I’m impressed to see bitwig as a contender.
    anyone want to share their thoughts? what’s good about it?
    I’ve been on ableton for years but I’m tired of looking at the same thing every night. maybe it’s time for a change of scenery? 🙂

    1. It seems like it’s built with quickness and being intuitive in mind. Personally when I tried the demo it had issues with ASIO4All and wouldn’t make sound unless I used WASAPI…and even then it took some finagling to get it to work where every other DAW I’ve tried was simple. Will check it out again in the future but right now it’s just something that shows promise to me.

    2. i was curious about this as well. for as new as it is and to have gained so many votes says something. that is, unless the vote has been gamed like somebody else mentioned on here.

      1. the way you can modulate any part of any plugin to any other plugin is bananas. if they can add just a couple more must-have features… serious business. next year they will probably have my vote.

  52. and hold up a sec – FL Studio???? really? another surprise.
    being honest here, not to start an arguement, but I can’t think of anyone I know who uses it.
    maybe it’s more popular in other countries??

  53. I’ve used most all of the bigger names her but Tracktion 5 just simply blows them all out of the water. Simple, intuitive workflow, complete compatibility, amazing feature set, rock solid stability, CPU friendly and ridiculously inexpensive. If you want to create rather than struggle, try it. You won’t look back…

  54. Every Windows desktop PC in our round-up delivers decent all-round performance and value for money. We look for excellent build quality, a home-friendly design, and useful accessories and peripherals that let you quickly get the PC up and running out of the box. Preinstalled software is also appreciated.

  55. The two DAWs I love and currently use the most are Renoise (one giant instrument!) and, more recently, Tracktion 5. Tracktion’s workflow clicks with me, and I enjoy its small footprint, excellent performance, one-window approach, and that it is so actively developed. There’s an initial learning curve (I bought Groove3’s “Tracktion 5 Explained”, which helped greatly), but I guess every DAW has that. I also occasionally use FL Studio, Reaper (for recording, though Tracktion does this well now too), and MuLab (for its great modular design).

  56. Hi,

    I used to work in cubase since Atari st version back in 1993. I switched to logic 9 and now logic x. I need the daw to control my large midi hardware setup (50 synths, 96 audio channels, 32 midi devices) incl. mixing, effecting, Sysex control in real time, etc. I hardly ever use any instrument plugins. Logic is better in hardware integration compared to cubase (I do not mean integration with some stupid Yamaha motif crap, but the programmable environments) + the general sound and processing is better + basic plugins are sufficient for most applications, no need to spend extra money for basic plugs. Upgrade policy is friendly (I do not want to calculate the total price that I paid to steinberg over the years). I hate the new logic x graphics and library changes, but some of the new features forced me to upgrade, it is also littlle too “garagebandish” with all those presets setups, colours etc. L9 was clean and not disturbing.

    Any other tested daws were not hardware friendly enough for me.

  57. This year Bitwig Studio has impressed me the most.
    I am very happy to have a new solid option and I am in love with the workflow.
    Still find myself hopping over to Cubase for some things I’ve grown used to over the years. In the months since I made the purchase this has happened less and less. I see a bright shiny future using Bitwig, and it all began in 2014.

    1. Seconded.

      All the DAWs in this poll (and some not listed) have something to offer. It’s almost an embarrasment of riches.

      I cut my teeth on the MIDI Hell gear of the ’80s and early ’90s. As painful as that could often be, I got used to thinking in terms of wiring and configuring a mass of rack mount hardware synths and effects, and then controlling them from a hardware PC-based MIDI sequencer. Then I got into Cool Edit Pro – – > Audition, from which I learned software-based digital audio multitracking and mixing. Reason maps those paradigms to a single integrated environment so seamlessly and elegantly, I get chills every time I launch it. It’s not for everybody, I realize … (the Zimmer quote above is spot on), but speaking for myself, I count my lucky starts that I get to live in an era where I can own (er, license) and use such a thing as Reason.

  58. FL Studio.

    Not only does the app let you do whatever you want, however you want to do it, the plugins gol cranks out are amongst the best in class. They all follow a similar thread, which is to provide the user lots of freedom, yet keeping the controls relatively simple, and the interface pretty. The envelopes and mapping functions are genuinely innovative, for instance in Vocodex, which provides features and a sound quality only other vocoders can only dream of. Harmor is based on a lot of the principles FL established, providing control that is simply mind boggling, at a CPU hit insanely low for what it’s doing. That’s FL’s ethos; providing layer after layer of complexity, in a simple to understand manner. Other devs have yet to catch up to FL Studio’s methodology. A few a have mentioned the Piano Roll. Other vendors have had years to rip off FL’s Piano Roll, and the fact they haven’t keeps them lagging behind. Mouse wheel support and right-click functions are something FL virtually pioneered in the audio software realm.

    If you work in a way FL is designed for, it simply has no alternative. If you don’t, you’ll probably find it strange, and hard to work with.

  59. FL Studio is the one for me.

    I’ve tried others like Cubase, Orion, Cakewalk, Reaper, Live, Samplitude and Reason but always came back to FL. Probably also because I know it best and longest. I find it the most deep but easy to use daw, with which I can easily setup a composition and then tweak it endlessly to my needs. Even after many years of usage I still find new features or other/better ways to do things in it. And it has a very active community with generally very helpfull and kind people, where the dev’s also participate to enlighten and help out. Plus the lifetime free updates policy gives my wallet a solid peace of mind.

    I dare to state that the people who dismiss it as a serious daw have either only played with early version or have not played with it at all. It can do virtually everything any other daw can do too, be it in a slightly different way.

    These days, I find to my joy that more and more serious producers also use FL Studio. From Martin Garrix to Avicii or Deadmaus but more importantly to me also a lot of Dutch producers I know personally. Some now come to me for advice on the program, which is a nice experience 🙂

    To write it of as a loopcreator (which it stopped being years ago) or only suitable for dance or dubstep does not do it justice. I know from the forums it is used for many things like orchestral compositions, popsongs, movie sound fx, gamescoring, live recording and more.

    While the current version 11.1 is already very impressive and leaps ahead of many other daw’s and on-league with the major players, the future with the upcoming version 12 will be even brighter. They have half of the community already panting for the release of it.

    That said, in the present days many big daw’s are so similar in feature set and so professional, that in many cases it just comes down to taste and not quality, because they are all of very high quality. It remoinds me of a Youtube movie I recently saw depicting the birth of electronic music in the UK, only a meager 60 years ago. In those days, having a Digital Audio Workstation meant having very large room with many big machines with large knobs and countless cables, reel-to-reel tapemachines and giant mixers. Now, a mere 60 years later, we have a multitude of that power sitting in a small box under the table. Wanna see ‘What the future sounded like’ 60 years ago? Check this 30 minute BBC documentary on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KkW8Ul7Q1I

    regards, Frank

  60. Fl studio for me. Its big and complicated but I have been using for years. I also use ableton live. But it seem like a DJ tool,its more “fun” to play with. but when I really want to manipulate my sounds and feel like I’m not restricted FL studios is where I go

  61. I like cockos Reaper. It can take a while to learn everything it can do but it’s very flexible and capable. The scripting options make it into a very powerful tool. For example, with a small programming tweak I am able to transpose very midi track at the same time from a central point.

  62. ive used a few different DAWs over the last 10 years……. Presonus Studio One is my favorite and the only one I’ve used over the last 2 years…..very stable, great workflow, ease of use, and has great support teams…. If you haven’t tried it…give it a try…

  63. I started with Cakewalk Home Studio and moved to Mac and found Logic Pro. Since all the jam pack sounds come with it, the value is unbeatable. One you learn workflow, it’s all I need.

  64. Reaper is still my first choice, tho it’s un-fixed bugs & qurks from YEARS ago are still not adressed….thus the reason the the newest Traction is getiing a workout here…

  65. Logic Pro is my first choice, Bitwig Studio is my second. There is no DAW as feature/content rich as Logic. The built-in plugins/instruments are first class. Logic has got every turf in the audio department covered, eliminating the need for 3rd party plugins.

    Bitwig Studio has done tremendously well so far. It is simple, clean and provides high quality plugins; the best part is the fact that it supports Ubuntu Linux. Unix/Linux is the most stable platform there is, and this is the reason it runs on over 96% of severs worldwide. To have an excellent DAW like Bitwig Studio provide first class support for the platform, from the very beginning is marvelous. Right now the only issue is the lack of VST plugins available on the Linux platform, however Bitwig Studio has got 98% of the plugin turf covered with its included plugins and thus making this less of a problem.

  66. With the popularity of modular synths, one would think that the most modular DAW would be more popular. Reason lets you patch stuff easily. Every time i try another DAW, i end up wanting to use Reason. Using an LFO to control delay times ? Easy. Creating your own reverb using a vocoder and a noise source ? Not too hard. Adding other effects in a delay feedback loop ? Easy.

    Comes with a ton of very nice synths and effects, the whole lot is easy on the CPU and easy to use. The SSL emulating mixer sounds great too.

    1. I exactly know what you mean.

      I was a reason user for years. But now I am on Bitwig.

      Try the new 1.1 demo

      Want to LFO to any (vst or not) plugin parameter? Easy!

      Also can do containers an so on. It is what I liked from reason, the modular way.

      But in Bitwig also cando do all this. Plus one thing ever I missed on reason. In reason can’t do a combinator inside another combinator.

      In bitwig you can do containers inside a container all times you want

      The new 1.1 it is a complet DAW, I don’t miss anything.

      Reason it is rock stable, never crash, Bitwig has plugin protection, so can crack a plugin, but never Bitwig. This is important to me

  67. Logic Pro, for its comprehensive feature set and extreme OS integration, which equals a hit-it-and-go work flow. No driver insanity, no mismatches between products that fight one another, etc. Added regard to third-party entities like Rob Papen who offer AU versions of their goods. Other DAWs have their high points, but the only competition at this level is Reason, which also offers the means to live inside it and not really need anything else. Logic brought everything I needed the most under one roof.

    1. FL too many features? Funny, I always thought that about Reaper and Cubase 🙂 But I guess in this day and age, on toplevel, all DAW’s have what it takes to create stonking good music. The thing is, there are many different uses and users, all have their needs, demands and wishes. As no cook can serve for all tastes, no DAW will be the end-all solution. If I would have to buy software for a full blown studio, I’ld probably go for Logic or Pro Tools, if I would take my rig onstage I would probably be choosing Ableton Live (or may Bitwig, but I don’t know it yet).
      As for me, I got to know ‘Fruityloops’ together with Rebirth and Rubberduck (anybody remember Rubberduck?). And although I really tried to look around and get to know Cubase, Cakewalk, Orion, Live and Samplitude, I kept coming back to the ever evolving FL Studio. I love open systems where many workflows can be adapted and with a tool for everything right there. Currently working in my beta copy of version 12, and, pfew, still love where it’s going.

  68. Sonar Platinum – I use this software since their start as Cakewalk. The re-work with Sonar 3 was marvellous and their subcription model is a great deal between maintenance and new features. Love it

  69. i’m pretty comfortable with and seem to get the most joy out of using reason.
    all though i do have logic pro and it arguably superior in some ways, i find reason to be so much more fluid, especially for just getting ideas fleshed out very quickly. also every year now the whole rack extension thing they have going on gets a little better, i dont think it will be long now before they finally get the sdk to a level where developers can begin to realize some of their more ambitious rack extension ideas. it kind of makes me happy to stick around to see how it all unfolds 🙂

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