Oh, hey, guys! Are you looking for the best DAW for beginners?
Well, unfortunately, there is no such thing. Are there some bad ones? Yeah, but you have to do a lot of digging around the Internet to even find one!
Back to my point!
All DAWs are good, and you can make fire beats on any one of them. They are just different: unique design, plugins, workflow, and so much more.
On some of the less popular ones it’s harder to find tutorials, for example, but these days you can find literally anything on the internet, so don’t worry!
Alright, here is the best DAW software for beginners list, enjoy!
*There is no particular order (it doesn’t go from the best to the worst or the opposite)
I use this DAW since I was 16. Therefore, I am really comfortable suggesting it to you.
Fairly simple, but not the easiest to navigate through in the beginning interface. Very clean, especially since FL Studio 12. A lot of features you’ll have to google, but that’s how it’s gonna be with any new software, trust me!
Unfortunately, you can’t just press 2 buttons and get your track ready, it takes a while.
What’s good is that FL Studio DAW for beginners has a few built-in synths and generators (more in Producer and Signature editions) and FL Studio sample packs to start producing right away. Of course, I suggest purchasing more samples later, but in the beginning, it will be just fine!
Plugins that come with it are high quality, I still use some of them to this very day. Plus you can download a bunch of free plugins for hip hop off the Internet after, it’s pretty simple!
Okay, the pricing…
It comes in 4 versions, which are:
It’s the most basic version, you can’t even record a song on it. Yeah, there is no record function, how crazy is that? You could technically record through Audacity and insert the WAV files, but it’s going to be so much pain, trust me!
*Update: I actually went to their website to double-check, and you can’t even insert audio clips. Also, there are restrictions to a lot of plugins. Therefore…
Verdict: not worth it the price, lacks many features.
This DAW for beginners basically all you need for music production. You can record, use audio tracks, and do literally whatever you want.
It unlocks all the capabilities of FL Studio, besides a few plugins such as NewTone (Pitch correction), Harmless (VST Synth), and Pitcher (kind of similar to the best in the industry Antares Autotune, yet not the same).
Verdict: The most suitable DAW for beginners.
It’s identical to the earlier one with a few more plugins, that’s it. Has almost everything to it, except a number of synth plugins (Poizone, Sakura, Sawer, Morphine, Ogun) and so on.
Honestly speaking, it will come in handy if you already have some knowledge. It’s overwhelming as it is and all these new plugins you don’t know how to use will just add more stress.
Verdict: The best DAW for a user who has at least some experience.
FL studio + all plugins
It’s everything you’ve ever wanted in terms of plugins. Is it really worth the price, especially when you are just starting out and not making any money out of it? No!
Verdict: amazing bundle as a whole, a lot of useful plugins – best DAW for beginners if you can afford it.
Oh yeah, every single edition comes with lifetime updates, so you don’t have to renew the license every year, or pay to get the newest version.
There is also the free version which is identical to the Signature Bundle, but you won’t be able to reopen the files you saved. So you can check it out, see how the interface looks, tweak a few knobs, try out a couple plugins. Pretty handy, don’t you think?
Therefore you can try it out and if it doesn’t feel right, move on.
A lot of DJs such as Martin Garrix, Avicii, Afrojack, and so on are using FL Studio DAW for beginners to make their music.
I promise I have nothing to do with Fruity Loops in a financial way, just been using it since my day one.
A little nostalgic about it, you know!
I’ve heard people calling Ableton the alternative of Logic for Windows, due to it’s clean and simple interface. I have to admit, kind of simpler than FL. I’ve seen it do wonders and I’ve personally even purchased the Intro version just to see how it is.
It lacks a few functions here and there, but you can understand the general workflow pretty easily.
Moreover, I loved the stability of the software, especially the live shows.
It tends to be superb in how stable it is with the constant incoming signal on the top of which you apply VSTs. It makes sense though, as it’s been designed to be used by DJs to start with.
Ableton Lite, which is pretty much identical to the Intro version, comes when you purchase different hardware, such as midi keyboards, mixers, or interfaces.
You should ask when you buy, or check the product description, as it depends on the brand.
Personally, I’ve received the activation code when I bought my Focusrite Scarlett interface and my Alesis V49 midi keyboard. A nice perk, in my opinion.
Ableton comes in 3 editions:
It’s almost the same as Lite, which you can get for free when building a music studio and purchasing certain studio gear. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the only difference if that Lite lets you use 8 audio and midi track, while intro lets you use 16.
Both are more for learning about the interface, workflow, and plugins and not the actual music production.
Verdict: not worth your money, very few features for the price.
Okay, you know how you usually pick something in the middle, cause it’s usually the best bang for the buck? Well, that’s the case with Ableton DAW for beginners also. Why? The Standard edition offers you everything to produce entire songs, EPs, albums, and whatever else you want to produce.
All the functions are unlocked, you got a bunch of instruments, audio and midi effects – fantastic choice as a DAW for beginners.
The only difference is the number of those instruments and effects. If you are like me, you probably want it all, but do you need all this stuff? I am pretty sure you don’t.
You got over 1800 sounds in this package, tell me how many do you need to finally start producing?
Verdict: Pretty pricey for a DAW for beginners, but the cheapest version of Ableton to be able to actually make music on it. With all the freebies included, it’s the best bang for the buck.
Oh hey rich boys, let’s talk about the top tier edition! Double the number of midi effects (went from 8 to 16), twelve more audio effects (from 34 to 46). Hold on, what’s that?
Triple the instruments (5 to 15) and sounds (1800+ to 5000+)?
Well, take my money already!
But seriously, if you have extra cash laying around and you ready to commit to making music for at least a few years, Suite is the best DAW for beginners package option.
If buying all the perks separately, it can add up to a few thousand, so if you feel like you need it, go for it!
Verdict: Very pricey, but if you know a thing or two about Ableton DAW for beginners and feel like you can make a living off this, it will be a great choice.
You’ve probably heard of it at some point in your life. If not, shame on you! C’mon, it’s been around forever, since 1989. One of the very first DAWs for beginners released, it has changed dramatically over the years to keep up with the modern workstations.
Nothing, but respect for them as they were the ones to invent VST plugin format, which is probably the most popular format these days.
Have you ever heard of ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output)?
That thing you use that decreases latency when you record instruments and vocals. Well, they created it too.
Oh God, have I told you they have this neat feature called VST transit? You can collaborate with another Cubase user anywhere in the world. Like how amazing is this?
To be honest, sometimes I think of giving up on FL just because of this little feature!
So futuristic! Even though Pro Tools DAW for beginners got a similar feature, it comes at a bigger price. Exchange sample kits, plugins, and other stuff during the jointed session.
So no matter what, without them, the music industry would’ve not been the way it is. Enough talk, let’s get to the point already!
It’s been around for so long, I sometimes meet people who used it before I was even born.
Therefore, no wonder still owns a fair share of the market. It’s the best choice for someone who wants to make more complex melodies with a lot of instruments, as it’s pretty much midi and VST instrument based workstation.
If you are just looking to make trap beats with one or two melodies, Cubase is probably not for you. I mean you won’t be using it to the fullest potential, so why pay for it, you feel me?
It comes in three edition:
It’s pretty much a “Great Value” version of it. You can still make music on it, as opposed to the budget edits of the previous two (FL Studio and Ableton DAWs for beginners). You only get 16 tracks on the mixer, most of your plugins are not available.
In a few words, you can make this work if you want to save money, but I wouldn’t call it a bang for a buck.
Verdict: Not worth the money, as it doesn’t provide necessary functions to produce a full-track.
It has pretty average settings, a lot of cool plugins. You get access to around 5 hours of tutorials on YouTube. Oh, I forgot to mention that you can collaborate with other people.
I still can’t believe it’s the only DAW that lets you do this. I can’t emphasize enough how cool and potential this idea is.
Verdict: Worth the money, but a better version is required to produce professionally.
It offers a lot of extra features on the top of Cubase Artist, such as VST Connect SE (a unique remote recording plugin) and Profile Manager (you can keep your settings and preferences and recall them when needed).
Moreover, you get enhanced downmixing quality and so-called “control room”, which lets you create performer mixes and monitoring setups.
Verdict: outstanding features which will help you step up your game. If there is no game though, and you are only starting out, go for a more budget DAW for beginners more budget.
I couldn’t write this list without mention this DAW, mostly because I feel like the developers who created are so principled and genuine. Why? So here is the deal, they offer you two licenses: discounted and commercial.
Before you buy the DAW, they suggest you use the trial version first to evaluate it, which is 60 days.
And after that, they don’t just block the access to it. They just ask you to buy it, but you can always click “keep evaluating” and keep using it for free.
At some point you feel like they brought so much value to you, so you go and pay the $60. Yes, that’s how much it costs. No add-ons, no extra features if you pay more, and no, it’s not a yearly subscription. It’s such a power move, I am speechless.
Reaper is heavily user-feedback based, so the updates come every few weeks.
Hundreds of high-quality effects for midi and audio, a bunch of cool plugins, ability to fully customize the user interface.
To me, just feels like the most personal and friendliest DAW, nothing flashy or above the roof, just things you need with a moderate design.
Verdict: not the biggest shark in the tank, maybe not the smartest shark either, but still a shark. The biggest bang for a buck you can get when buying looking for the best DAW for beginners, with all the necessary features.
The biggest drawback, for now, is the number of people using it, which is actually growing because of the passionate fan base and cheap pricing.
It’s famous for its clean, very straightforward, and user-friendly interface. As everything else Apple makes, it got this nice touch to all its native plugins and features. Also, you can think of it as a little brother of Pro Tools.
It’s is only available for Mac users, so unless you install Mac OSX on your PC, you won’t be able to use it.
Some people say Apple is too busy focusing on new fancy and colorful plugins and not really necessary features such as integrating the touch strip into the Logic workflow, instead of fixing the actual bugs in the software.
I can see how they try to make their new devices integrate with Logic Pro DAW for beginners even better, which kind of makes sense. If you bought a MacBook with the touch strip, you want to use it, but I feel like they look the wrong way.
Unfortunately, you don’t get lifetime updates.
When they release a new one, you better get your wallet ready again. This is no problem for bigger studios and self-made producers, but if you don’t make any money from it, this can be a problem.
It’s being used by David Guetta, Hardwell, Armin Van Buurtn, and other big artists. So hey, look into it as well, especially if you own a Mac.
Verdict: As expected from Apple, Logic has one of the most intuitive workflows, which comes at a price of overlooking underdeveloped, yet necessary features – one of the greatest DAWs for beginners.
Well known and fancy, easy to navigate, simple to browse, very user-friendly. It’s the so-called industry standard, which I understand to an extent.
If you are looking into audio engineering, Pro Tools is the way to go for you.
The features being offered are the best on the market, no doubt. It also comes in 3 packages though, so the more you pay, the better and higher quality plugins, generators, and the perks you get. Let’s look!
Pro Tools First
Hopefully you’ve noticed already that the budget version doesn’t offer much. 16 tracks on the mixer again, no advanced tools whatsoever. Pretty much something to play around so you can tell people you use Pro Tools.
Verdict: not worth downloading – no ability to grow.
It’s moderately priced package (By Apple standards!). A lot of features are still unavailable, but good if you are just starting out. The price for it doesn’t sound like anything for beginners though.
It’s one of the priciest on the market.
The option to work in the cloud is enabled, so that’s something. Remember how excited I was about it when writing about Cubase DAW for beginners? Well, the two are at completely different price points.
Therefore, even though it’s such a great feature in Cubase, I feel like more should be included in this package of Pro Tools.
Verdict: honestly, it’s a great DAW for beginners. The workflow, the plugins, everything you would want.
Pro Tools Ultimate
When someone refers to Pro Tools as an industry standard, they refer to this particular edition. It literally has everything you’ve wanted and more. Think about something you wish the best DAW for beginners had… That’s very possible the ultimate package has it. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention one little thing.
The price is astonishing!
More expensive than any other workstation out there, plus it’s a yearly (or monthly) subscription. I realize that some people want all the quality they can get and they don’t care about the price.
Or they make money with their music already, so they try to upgrade to make even better music. I understand that. I also respect that. It’s not for the beginners though.
Verdict: leading DAW for beginners on the market. Quality plugins, insane features, advanced automation, audio and video editing. Everything you asked for pretty much.
Now let’s look at something free, after all these hundreds of dollars DAW for beginners – Garage Band. Even though not as advanced as the previous ones, it’s probably the simplest ones.
If you have an iPhone, you can even use it on your phone (even though it’s such a pain to actually write something good, trust me).
Again, it’s for Mac Users only.
It’s probably the easiest to start, but you can only go so far! It offers premade drum packs, instruments, some plugins. Nothing too crazy, but enough to make your first beat maybe?
The interface is so simple you will have a hard time switching to the more advanced ones though.
Verdict: to keep it short, offers a lot for its price (free). Basically a sandbox to play in. Good DAW for beginners who don’t want to invest big money at the start.
PreSonus Studio One
PreSonus hasn’t been around for as long as the most DAW for beginners on this list, but it sure has made a ton of producers fall in love with it.
While there are better digital audio workstations out there in terms of functionality and flexibility, PreSonus has been maturing and getting better every year.
A few functions of PreSonus are only available to the user of the new DAW for beginners.
For example, it gives you a unique feature called “harmonic editing.” It lets you edit audio tracks, mono- and polyphonic, and MIDI tracks.
How Can You Use Harmonic Editing?
You’ll be able to automatically shift the elements of a song or the entire track to assigned keys. On top of that, you’ll have the full control of chord progressions of your track with little prior knowledge.
The workflow has been modified in the last update to make editing and recording even more straightforward.
Verdict: Worth every penny. The developers have been coming up with fantastic new features regularly, making this DAW for beginners stand out in the crowd.
If you still haven’t bought a DAW and can’t spend $100s, then PreSonus Studio one will the best fit for you!
BandLab has been through a lot in the past few years. From being discontinued by CakeWalk in 2017 to being bought by another company, BandLab, at the beginning of 2018, it has sure been a crazy couple years for this DAW for beginners.
A ton of paid features and plugins that used to come in a bundle with this digital audio workstation are now gone because BandLab made it free and stripped it down a little bit.
Verdict: If you are new to producing and own a PC, this free DAW for beginners will do wonders for you.
Reason is well known as one of the best all-in-one DAW for beginners that producers all over the world have been using for years. Even though early versions have been limiting the artists from audio recording features.
Beatmakers didn’t mind that so much, but this sure kept a ton of producers away from the Reason.
That was a while ago before version 6 was released if I recall correctly. Since then, tons of changes have been implemented, as more competitors have entered the market.
In version 6 of Reason, it’s been combined with Record, and the ability to properly record has been finally added.
Later on, a ton of new instruments, effects, and various digital gear have been added to the Reason DAW for beginners.
From then on, producers have been able to purchase the plugins and add-ons they needed from the Propellerhead store. One of the last versions finally (and I mean finally!) introduced the compatibility with VST plugins.
The pressure from other DAWs for beginners prompted the developers to make this happen. Now you are free to integrate tons of VST plugins, both paid and free, to all your projects.
Moreover, since then Reason has introduced synths, instruments, and digital gear to increase the productivity and flexibility of producing every session.
In the last versions, a lot of new features were implemented to improve the workflow that users have been asking for. The fact that developers of Reason DAW for beginners follow through on their promises means a lot to every producer!
Verdict: Reason DAW for beginners is well worth the money, especially after the release of the latest version!
By no means, these are the only ones you can use. There are tens of them on the market, these are just the most authoritative and respected in the industry. Moreover, they’ve been around for a while.
I am sure there are new ones being released with even better features, but it’s a long way for them to beat the industry giants.
After a long research, I tried to put as much information into this as possible.
If it was any more detailed, you would’ve probably skipped all the technical parts, as they are usually the hardest to grasp, especially in the beginning.
I hope you found this helpful and learned something new today! If you want more articles and educational posts, make sure to share on social, so more people can learn this!
Let’s make the music industry a better place together!
Are thinking about building your own home studio to save costs in the long run? Do you want to make high-quality beats and records tracks in the comfort of your own house?
Well, there are few things you need to know when building one from the ground up, but no worries, I gotcha!
Check out my very in-depth article to learn how to build a music studio, where I describe the hardware and software you need in an easy step-by-step manner.
Last update on 2023-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API