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Top 10 DAWs in 2021

When entering the world of music production, it's very hard to choose the perfect Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). There are many amazing DAWs available in 2021! There are many paid DAWs as well as many free DAWs. This list is a mix of some great DAWs available right now (both paid and free). If you're on a budget, I would recommend you to check out the list of amazing free DAWs in 2021 here.


So, without wasting any time, let's talk about some amazing DAWs available in 2021!


1. FL Studio

Price: $99/$199/$299/$499 - Lifetime Free Updates

Platform: Windows/Mac

FL Studio from Image-Line is a popular choice between beatmakers and home-studio producers all over the world. The best thing about this DAW is its user-friendly interface. Also, unlike other DAWs, it is very affordable and provides lifetime free updates to all its users. Yes, you don't need to pay them for any future updates (even the major updates). You only need to pay once (price depending on the edition you choose) and you will receive all the future updates. Also, it's very easy to learn and there are a ton of tutorials and support available online! So, if you are looking for a user-friendly DAW, FL is perfect for you!


Check Pricing On Imag-Line Website.


2. Ableton Live

Price: $99/$449/$749

Platform: Windows/Mac

Just like FL Studio, Ableton live is also a popular choice among home studio producers. Its user interface is also great for everyone. You can learn it easily. However, unlike FL Studio, Ableton does not provide free upgrades. You have to pay for every major upgrade (for example, from Ableton live 11 to Ableton live 12). Apart from that, it's an awesome DAW and you may not regret buying it!


Check the price on Ableton's website here.


3. Pro Tools

Price: $299 Per Year

Platform: Windows/Mac

Pro Tools from Avid is known as the industry standard in the music industry. Most of the recording studios, producers, and mixing engineers use Pro Tools. The reason behind this is its awesome integration with Avid's hardware and its support for the different audio formats. Most of the professional audio hardware is compatible with Pro Tools. However, its pricing system is not very budget-friendly (especially for small producers and home-studios). Pro Tools is based on a subscription-based system. To keep using Pro Tools, you need to keep paying a monthly or a yearly fee. If you do not pay, you cannot use it. Apart from that, Pro Tools is a great piece of software, especially if you're planning to use a lot of analog hardware.


Check the price on Avid's website here.



4. Logic Pro

Price: $199.99

Platform: Mac Only

Logic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation from Apple. Just like Pro Tools, Logic is also considered as the industry standard. The main highlight of this DAW is its awesome integration with Apple's hardware. This main highlight is also its greatest weakness. The problem is that it does not support any other operating system. It only works on Apple's hardware. So, if you're a Mac user and if you're looking for a great DAW, you should definitely try Logic Pro. It's quite affordable and its upgrade price is also relatively cheaper than other DAWs.


Check the price on Apple's website here.


5. Cubase

Price: $99.99/$370/$559*

Platform: Windows/Mac

Cubase is also a popular choice in the music industry. If you're looking for something that fits somewhere between FL/Ableton range and Logic/Pro Tools range, Cubase is a great choice. It's a great choice for intermediate producers. Also, it's packed with amazing quality plugins from Steinberg. So, that's a plus. Just like Ableton and Logic, you need to pay for major upgrades.


*Check the latest price on their website here.


6. Reaper

Price: $60/$225*

Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux

Reaper has a soft corner in the heart of every producer. We can easily say that reaper is a perfect choice for everyone. The fact that it's cross-platform makes it more likable. You can run it on Linux too! Most of the DAWs do not work on Linux. Its user interface seems too basic at the start. However, it's very customizable and that's why producers love it. You may think that some features are missing at the start but once you start exploring, there's nothing that reaper can't do. It's a feature-rich DAW that can easily compete with other DAWs. Also, it's free for 60 days and you can buy a discounted license for $60 if you cannot afford the full license.


*Check the latest price on their website here.



7. Studio One

Price: Free/$99/$399*

Platform: Windows/Mac

Studio One is an awesome DAW from PreSonus. It comes with some awesome plugins from PreSonus. Also, it has a free version (with some limitations) which you can use forever. However, its user interface may seem a lot cluttered, especially for new users. It's too intimidating for new users to use it. Apart from that, once you get a hang of it, it's a great DAW.


*Check the latest price on their website here.


8. Cakewalk by Bandlab

Price: Free

Platform: Windows Only

Cakewalk by Bandlab is my favorite free DAW available in the market! It has everything you need to start producing awesome music. Although it's free, it has a lot of features and can easily compete with other professional DAWs. Under the hood, it's based on Cakewalk SONAR. Cakewalk SONAR was bought by Bandlab and now it's free! The only problem is that it's available only for Windows. Also, the user interface may seem intimidating for beginners.


9. Bitwig Studio

Price: $99/$399*

Platform: Windows/Mac/Linux

Bitwig Studio is an amazing cross-platform DAW. Its user interface is also quite colorful and attractive. The best thing about this DAW is that it's cross-platform. So, you can use it on Mac, Windows, or Linux! It's very easy to learn which makes it perfect for everyone.


*Check the latest price on their website here.



10. Garageband

Price: Free

Platform: Mac Only

Garageband is the younger brother of Logic Pro. Its user interface is very similar to Logic. Technically, it's the free version of Logic, just with a different name. It's perfect for anyone who wants to make music on a Mac. Yup, just like Logic, it's not available for any other operating system. However, it's quite powerful and comes with some amazing sounding instruments and effects plugins. Also, it's very easy to learn and there are a ton of tutorials and support available online.


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