What’s The Best DAW For Electronic Music?

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Best Daw For Electronic Music

Well, I have to say this: no DAW is superior to its competitors. It’s just a matter of taste. The best DAW is the one YOU feel most comfortable working with. Sure, every man vouch for his favourite music making software and keeps telling it’s the only choice for this-and-that type of music. But like I said, it’s all just a matter of taste and preference.

What you need to do is to download the demos and test them throughly. That’s the only way to find out which DAW is the best.

However, I’ve been in the electronic music scene for some time now and IMO there seems to be four music making software that electronic music producers favor quite a lot: Logic Pro (only for Mac) and Ableton Live are probably two of the most popular DAWs in many professional electronic music studios. Majority of well known artists seem to use either Logic or Live.

Also, lot of people use FL Studio & Reason as well so I would suggest to check out these four DAWs first.

I personally use FL Studio (been using it for 10 years now). I also know lot of popular producers use FL Studio (EDIT: as with always, you can’t be 100% sure with these “who’s using what DAW” -type of things. Only the producer himself can tell you for sure. Be noticed that I base the following “claims” on what I’ve read from the net on various different sources): BT9th Wonder, Boi-1da, Basshunter, Deadmau5 (EDIT: FL at least to some extent (?) alongside with Ableton Live and other DAWs), Mike Oldfield, Tim Berg (AVICII), AfrojackAudiojack to name a few. It has also been voted as best DAW by MusicRadar users in 2011 and 2012 and I could give you thousand reasons why FL Studio is the best DAW,  but that would be just a my opinion. It may work for me but not for you.

I also use Ableton Live (but not that much though). Lot of DJs use Ableton Live on stage (and for podcasts, etc) so it’s an awesome “live” tool, but also very good for music production as well. Many big name artists use Ableton Live for production: Daft Punk, David Guetta, Gabriel & Dresden, Pete Tong, Rennie  Pilgrem, Richie Hawtin, Sasha, Skrillex, Knife PartyArmin Van Buuren (alongside with Logic Pro) and the list goes on and on.

(ADDITION: it doesn’t actually matter who’s using what.. what’s really important is what YOU feel comfortable working with)

Reason is popular too. But there’s one major flaw in Reason: it doesn’t support VST which is a standard in most modern DAWs. That means you’re not able to use any additional virtual synth plugins or effects in it. However it has some pretty good virtual synths and effects built in so you can definetely create high quality electronic music with it.

Then there’s Cubase which is one of the oldest DAWs and still used widely and Pro Tools which is broadly used by professionals throughout the audio industries for recording and editing in music production, film scoring, film, and television post production.

Other popular DAWs are Sonar, Presonus Studio OneSony ACID Pro, Synapse Orion, Reaper and Adobe Audition.

Check out some of the free and open source DAWs as well such as Ardour or Rosegarden.

For more alternatives, look at this list of digital audio workstations.

As you can see there’s quite a lot of choices. You really need to download the demos and do some testing. When you find a one that works for you, learn it inside out. That’s the best DAW.

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79 Comments on "What’s The Best DAW For Electronic Music?"

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Andre Lefebvre

The best DAW I find is the one that makes your workflow fluid…

BTW, you may also want to add Reaper to your list: http://www.reaper.fm/

Cheers,

Andre

Petri Suhonen

Hey Andre, thanks for reminding me the Reaper… I though I had it there already lol.

Alistair Wressnigg

Did you add it twice for amusement? lol

Petri Suhonen

wut?

Tikor

You have Reaper 2x in your list.

Petri Suhonen

Thanks for pointing it out. Fixed it. 😎

laiba

i want to make a software of music
can you teach me

Aung Myin(DJ Cosmo)

Hi Petri,
I’m Aung Myin. I’m from Myanmar.
I’m also an Electronic Music Hobbyist like you.
Greets from Myanmar!!!!!!

Regards,
Aung Myin

Petri Suhonen

Hey Aung, and hello to Myanmar! Welcome to my website and you’re also welcome to join our forum as well 🙂

Andre Onate

Hey, Adobe Audition is always left out of this arena for whatever reason!! I use this program and I’ve used many others as well. For me, Audition is the best audio editor of them all. I think Audition is used mostly for t.v. and radio commercials and movies even, but it can most definetly still rock an electronic track!!

Petri Suhonen

I’ve always tought Adobe Audition is some sort of video -editing software with music production possibility… Thanks for bringing this up – I will add the Audition to the list.

Andre Lefebvre

Audition used to be CoolEditPro. A very nifty and richly featured program indeed…

Petri Suhonen

Looks like it has a decent set of features indeed..

Maladroid

Mmm been using Fruityloops for years now too but it’s only recently that I have started really getting serious with music making. Yeah the thing with reason and VSTs is both a blessing and a curse. Its exclusivity to its own plugins make it more straightforward which is conducive I think to creativity and workflow. That’s always been my problem with FL, the availability of VSTs these days, its hard for me to focus on just making music and not wasting hours on finding that perfect plugin

Petri Suhonen

Good and true point. I’ve been personally experiencing the very same thing with the vast supply of all the VSTs, but in these past months I’ve been focusing mainly on the FLS native plugins and I have to say I’ve been learned to do quite a lot things with only a handful of plugins.

Richard

I’ve been using FL for almost 15 years. It’s great and I know it like the back of my hand. However, I always have a hard time getting a good mix without clipping. Either the volume comes out too low or I peak and clip like a SOB. Can’t seem to find an in between.
I did just go out and throw down on NI Maschine Studio and Komplete 10 Ultimate and I’m finding my music quality greatly improved, though I’m still having that same issue. Is it the DAW?

gavask

No, there is nothing wrong with the DAW. You need to learn more about mixing.

Richard

Do you recommend a good website or tutorial that goes into elaborate detail, but is geared towards fl studio, so I’ll know what I’m looking at? I’ve already scoured YouTube to the best of my ability. Didn’t find anything I didn’t already know. (Limiter/Compressor, mixer channel equalizer)

mory

ONLY
FL STUDIO

enflans
Hi, Your post helped a lot since I am deciding which one to buy on a limited budget. However, as much as I would like to produce electronic music (specifically electro house), my other love is acoustic/hard rock as well. Could you give me some advice on which DAW would likely be able compensate best for both electronic production and instrumental recording (ex. Guitar/Vocal plugin, rock drum beats)? I’ve done some research on popular DAWs for studio recording such as Pro Tools and Cubase but I don’t want to be compromising the electronic production aspects as well. I am thinking… Read more »
Petri Suhonen
Hey there, That is a good question… Personally, I dont do any instrument recording when I produce by myself – it’s all digital with soft synthc and sampels and I rely on FL Studio. However, I do play in a band as well, and we use Zoom H4 and Zoom R16 to record our material and when I go to mixing stage, I still rely on FL Studio and so far it has worked great for such use as well. So as for me, FL Studio is working very good! I’ve seen comments people saying FLS is not good for… Read more »
Rob

I do both live music and electronic music. Reaper is REALLY good and easy for rock music. Especially on the mac. It’s cheaper than the alternatives and easier to use. I also use maschine, which whilst tailored to electronic music, I have been using it for a bit of folk, with really good results.

Petri Suhonen

Thanks for sharing your experience, Rob! I too have heard some really positive things about Reaper.

David
Hi! A really good post and extremely helpful for me since I’m about to buy my first daw :). I’ve been playing keyboards and arranging some compositions but I want to explore the software production aswell, since I find really expensive buying new gear according to my needs when I can have a powerful setup in my computer at an affordable price. I’m kind of in the same situation than enflans. I love both acoustic and electronic music (specifically trance and deep house). I know that there isn’t a “all in one” daw that covers every genre but I just… Read more »
giorgio

Good article, only some clarifications:

Logic and Ableton are the most used daw from the pro producer. The other daw as FLStudio, cubase, reason etc. are not diffuse between pro producer as Logic and Ableton.

Many pro producer use Ableton for podcast and in live but use Logic for production as Armin.

Deadmau5 doesn’t use FL but Ableton

ProTools is not generally used in production but for the final stage (mix & mastering)

Petri Suhonen
Hey Giorgio and thanks for your clarifications. However, I did a little more in-depth research on couple of things: It seems Mr. Armin Van Buuren does use Ableton Live for producing as well and not just for his weekly radio shows. He’s using it WITH the Logic. Check these: http://www.ableton.com/armin-van-buuren http://www.clubzone.com/news/357/interview-with-armin-van-buuren.html Also, Deadmau5 does indeed use FL Studio in his productions (EDIT: at least to some extent (?) though can’t be 100% sure.. needs to be confirmed from the artist itself), but he use it alongside with Ableton Live. Looks like he’s using Cubase and Reason as well. Check these:… Read more »
fizpop

dude, he got paid to say that. yeah he probably did start using FL back in the day, but now he definately does not. the FL sound engine doesnt sound great at all, compared to pretty much any other DAW

Petri Suhonen

“he got paid to say that” ?

Sorry, but I don’t buy that.

“he probably did start using FL back in the day”

True.

“but now he definately does not”

You can’t be sure unless you don’t know him personally. I saw an interview where he said he’s doing some “things” in FL.

“the FL sound engine doesnt sound great at all, compared to pretty much any other DAW”

With all due respect: that is gibberish.. http://flstudio.image-line.com/help/html/app_audio.htm.

Pawan Pattery

I agree with Petri..

Just have to check the tut’s on this page to know the quality., It’s all just about how you use your tools..

regards,
Pawan Pattery (from India)

zackmau5

Plus if you look into the project files that come with Fl studio you will notice deadmau5 has made a track.

MasterHolten354
Hi, i really liked your article and it did help point me in the right direction, but im still only slightly uncertain as to which DAW’s would my definitive choice although i have a good idea but would like your opinion in the matter. I want to make electronic music (maybe some jazz in the future) making mostly ambient techno, illbient, acid techno, some dnb, glitch and house. From what i mostly read and studied, FL Studio seems to be very commonplace for electronic production as well as Logic and Cubase (i think) and I also know well of Pro… Read more »
Petri Suhonen

Hey there,

In my opinion – while that does sound like a good set of tools for all those different purposes – you have a quite a steep learning curve ahead of you with three different DAWs…

Of course its your choice, but I would recommend to pick only one DAW for starters and play around with it for a while to see if it fits for you for the type of music you’re producing.

You can record, edit, mix and produce with Ableton and FL Studio as well.. maybe pick Ableton or FL for starters?

Just my two cents! 🙂

MasterHolten354

I happen to have the FL Studio 10 demo and i like it…might try the Ableton Live demo to see how i like it…also have Pro Tool Se lying around, might get started with it this year 😀

andre

I’m looking into taking advantage of the FruityLoop promotion and can’t decide between the Fruity Edition of the Producer Edition. I will be using it with VST instruments like Synthogy as well as CamelAudio Alchemy or other of their samples.

Thanks!

Andre

Petri Suhonen

Go with the Producer Edition! 🙂

fizpop
deadmau5 and avicii most certainly do not use fl, they both use ableton live. deadmau5 plays live with ableton. in my opinion ableton is the best by far. almost every electronic music producer uses it (many also use logic now to) i have never heard of a top producer/performer using FL, ever. with that said, FL is a great start, but find 1 you like and try not change from that. you will find that for electronic music, ableton has so many possibilities, its endless. in my opinion, go for ableton, the ease of use and possibilities for electronic music… Read more »
Petri Suhonen
The thing is, as always with “debates” on who’s using what, you can’t never be sure… Only the artist himself can tell you what he’s using (that’s why I think I need to edit a little the “artists who use this and that DAW” -section in my article). Anyway, where do you base your claim that DM or AVICII most certainly do not use FL anymore? And what do you mean by that? Do you mean that they don’t use it at all (at any extent) or not as their main DAW? Or course, I can’t be 100% sure either… Read more »
fizpop
I highly respect you for your reply, and i totally agree with you when you said: “However, remember that its not important who’s using what……….I think every man vouch for his choice of DAW, but in the end, all that matters is what kind of music you are able to create with your chosen DAW.” its not about who uses what, as long as you get what you want from your DAW, i just said that because i really like ableton and its features. you defenately do your homework and you seem to know your stuff (unlike alot of crap… Read more »
Petri Suhonen

Thanks, mate, I appreciate that! Cheers!

Teddy
Look Petris comments have been the most insightful and substantiated. This might be random but I reckon what matters more is YOU, the person that uses the DAW and not necessarily the DAW itself. Sure you might want to have the best DAW out there but that’s pointless if you’re not any good yourself. I personally use FL studio as it is exactly what DAW stands for a Digital audio Workshop. I could go on and praise its capabilities but that wouldn’t answer your question fairly. The best advice would be testing each DAW individually, as mentioned and finding what… Read more »
enflans

i saw in an interview with deadmau5 where he claimed to be using FL studio but the final production always ends up with ableton.. I saw it on the net too but can’t seem to find it for now.. but definitely it doesn’t matter what DAW anyone uses as long it gives the desired results

n00bz

Avicii uses FL n00bs

Lootius

Yep he sure does, no midi controllers atm either.
Keyboard maestro!
Sorry C-DJs, he is a laptop DJ but he is playing his own stuff! Not bad for a headliner!

Myself, FL Studio Producer edition for arranging, Ableton for the polish and mastering.

Amit

Sequoia is one of the best sounding daw in the daw world now and also Samplitude both these softwares are manufactured by the company Magix.

Petri Suhonen

Hmm.. for some reason I forgot to add them to the list. Thanks for notifying!

Lozaristo Prince

Any Daw is gud as long u understand the way of communicating wit its, i uses fl9 bt i wanna learn pro tools cause its gud for mixing, as for midi editing i go wit cubase.

Petri Suhonen

I agree. Producer should choose/stick the DAW he/she feels most comfortable working with.

hazir

hi petri.i am using fl studio too,i started age before,and i learned so much,fl studio is really good software and i produced two sounds,but i have never tested other DAW s,i think i will download demo of cubase 6 or ableton live.and i think that is very important whose producers use daw prograams,producers who uses FL studio climbed up to first place on dj mag top 100 list :D(like afrojack,avicii,dead mause,arty)thank you for this theme.

Hazir from Bosnia (balkan)

Petri Suhonen

Hey Hazir,

Thanks for your feedback!

luke
hi there. i use flstudio for many years and i feel perfect with that, producing all kind of music: from tekno to trance, from dnb to heavy dubstep and flstudio never misses the point ,) btw in these years i tried also ableton live, which i prefer for live performance than flstudio that seems to be more studio oriented. im using the combo ableton + flstudio rewire too and it rocks! i also make some pieces of songs in flstudio, than i record all the stuffs into ableton and i continue in that… the last steps, mixing and mastering, are… Read more »
Petri Suhonen

I’m using FL and Ableton side-by-side as well (for producing) but the ratio is like 95% FL and 5% Live for me. Even so, Live is very good DAW, but I’m just sooo into FL’s workflow and Piano Roll 😀

Joe Howard
What annoys me about certain articles you read referring to FL Studio, is that its nearly always “I use it as a tinker tool and transfer it into something else”. As a hobbyist, I find this annoying. Yes most professional studios are not using FL Studio so transferring WAVs into LOGIC or whatever must be commonplace, but FL Studio, particularly version 10, is spectacular in my opinion. I’m not even using 25% of its capabilities and its still amazing. I tried Reason, and it is limited and complicated. The left to right approach of programs like Cubase is appealing (I… Read more »
luke

FL Studio since ver.9.0 rules!!

Petri Suhonen

Well said, Joe!

Nicholas

I know for a fact deadmau5 is primarily FL Studio.

Alex Dickson

FL and Cubase 6 are my current musical weapons of choice

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