The Top 18 Best DAWs - Digital Audio Workstations Or Multi-Track Recording Software

Updated On
23-Mar-2020
By
Ken Theriot
Reaper DAW - multi-track recording software
Reaper

[This list of DAWs was compiled in 2013. I think most of them are still valid. And I still use Reaper.]

Audiofanzine listed the top 18 digital audio workstations (DAWs), otherwise known by the names audio/MIDI sequencers, multi-track recording software, etc. This is always an interesting thing. Not only do people love "top" lists, but I like to see whether the software I use s my primary DAW, Reaper, is on the list. It is:). Why wouldn't it be?

But it's also cool to check out what else is on the list. Who knows? You may see something you've not heard of before and want to try it.

I don't know why they chose 18 as their "top" number. Why not top 10? My guess is that there are too many good programs out there that are just as good as many of the others.

One note about their list is that they focused only on music production programs, as opposed to the more expensive broadcast-focused ones like Nuendo (1,900 bucks), Sequoia (2, 975 bucks), and Pyramix (2,962 bucks).

Reaper is number 11 on their list, interestingly right after Pro Tools at number 10. I say that's interesting because Pro Tools is widely regarded to be the industry standard. But lists like this are subjective for sure. They (Audiofanzine) even admit this right up front. Maybe that's why they chose Sony Acid as number 1. I'm thinking it's possible the list may not even be in rank order. Maybe they just randomly through up the top 18 in any order.

Anyway, here is the page with the list and descriptions of each program.

As I said, sequencers/DAWs are pretty personal. But it may be worth trying a few to see which ones you like best. If you would like some free videos from our Reaper course (my favorite DAW), click in the banner below:

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These video tutorials show you step-by-step, in plain language how to record multi-track audio in Audacity AND Reaper software.
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7 comments on “The Top 18 Best DAWs - Digital Audio Workstations Or Multi-Track Recording Software”

  1. Yeah, they aren't actually numbered, so I don't think they actually ranked acid as #1. Maybe #18.

  2. Hi
    I would like to ask you few questions.
    Currently using nuendo 4 with rode m2 condenser mic and Focusrite 6 USB.

    Can't find enough air while recording vocals especially bass vocals.

    Should I change to protocols or should I change the distance for holding mics.

    An early reply would be highly appreciated.
    I am a novice trying to get into voiceovers.

    Regards

    Sandeep

  3. Hi Sandeep. If I am understanding what you mean by "air," then it has to do with the space around your voice, which is largely affected by the room you record in. If the room is not ideal or treated (which is typically the best way to get the sound you want when the mic and the voice are good), then you can try to eliminate as much of the room noise as possible (use the cardioid setting and get very close to the mic). This will hype the lows though, due to proximity effect. So back off as far as you can without getting too much of the bad room sound, and then use EQ to try to get close to the tone you're looking for. To me, "air" suggests frequencies around 10KHz to 12KHz. Try boosting by just a few dB in that zone. You may also want to experiment with cutting some low frequencies too. But easy does it on the EQ. A little goes a long way and a common rookie mistake is to overdo it. And you really can't add something that wasn't there to begin with, which is why it's always better to get the tone as close as possible when recording. But EQ can help bring out tones that are close to what you want.

    Hope that helps.

    Ken

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