DAW software is a tough purchase to make as there are tons of options out there. To help make this an easier decision for you, we decided to make a DAW software comparison. To be 100% open and honest, most DAW software is not that much different from each other. It more or less depends on what you like the setup of and what fits into your budget.
One thing to note before we make this DAW software comparison, when I first began recording about 15 years ago, I got Sonar Home Studio. I used this program for years until I realized I was being overlooked to record with from potential clients because I wasn't using Avid Pro Tools. Pro Tools is the most known DAW software, and unless your potential clients know enough of recording to know there isn't really any difference, they will think the software has something to do with how established you are.
Choosing your DAW software is a very big decision as it isn't cheap, and it lays the foundation of how you build your studio from there on out. Rather then bombarding you with the very minor differences that may or may not be noticed, I am going to highlight the major pros of each program. Here is our DAW software comparison: (The following products contain affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you, I get paid if you click through and make a purchase)
DAW Software Comparison
Avid Pro Tools
Avid Pro Tools has very much become the industry standard in recording.
- Up to 96 different audio tracks
- Great stock plugins to make mixes without needing to immediately go buy additional plugin packages
- Low latency
- tons of forums online to learn new techniques or solve problems
- Can work without an audio interface if necessary
*Compatible with Windows 8 and 10 and Mac OS X 10.11.6, macOS 10.12.6 and 10.13.3*
My suggestion: Pro Tools is best for users who want easy access to many how-to tutorials and forums across the web. Pro Tools is the most common name in the recording industry for software. It has a higher price tag, but is worth the reputation.
- Cubase has a new, improved interface
- Has been around for a long time
- Large variety of different sounding instruments for using samples
*Compatible with 64-bit Windows 7, 8, and 10, Mac OS X 10.11 or macOS Sierra*
My suggestion: Cubase is best for users that like to use programs that have been around for a long time and proven they're not going anywhere. Cubase is a little bit of a pricy program, but the interface it has is well worth it.
- Suite includes a library of sounds over 50 GB
- Compatible with most controllers
- Titled live because it can be used in studio and for live performances
*Compatible for Intel Mac with Mac OS X 10.7 or later and Windows 7 and 8*
My Suggestion: Ableton Live is best for users who want to record in the studio but also want to run live sound. The price is a little higher, but if you are using it for both recording and live, it could be a great investment.
- Only requires 500 MB of free hard drive space and recommended 2 GB of ram
- Great loop manipulation
- Includes interactive tutorials to help beginners to experts
*Compatible with Windows Vista up. Not compatible with Mac*
My suggestion: Acid Pro is best for Windows users who's computer might be a little outdated as far as ram is concerned. Acid Pro is also a very affordable software if you are on a tight budget.