Tools go a long way in enhancing the beauty of art. The ideas for music come from the musician, but the tools help them bring their ideas to life. Musicians and EDM producers are particular about their instruments and equipment because they know the difference the right tools can make.
As a musician, you would already have the setup ready at home or work. From a computer/ laptop to a MIDI keyboard, top-class speakers, and a microphone (or two), one would connect the equipment and make it ready for use. The only thing missing here is the DAW software. The Digital Audio Workstation software allows you to seamlessly mix tracks, create new music, and edit existing works to suit your taste.
The DAW software plays a vital role in music mixing and makes your work easy. Luckily, there are various software options available in the market. But it’s up to you to choose the best music production software for your needs. Investing in the right DAW software is as important as buying the best music production laptop or a computer for the purpose.
That’s why we got down to do the job and tested different brands’ leading music software solutions. So we compiled this list to help you understand the pros and cons of the best music production software in 2022.
Roundup of the Best Software for Music Production
|Overall Best Music Production Software||Soundtrap|
|Best DAW for Beginners||Ableton Multitrack Recording Software, Green (Live 10 Intro)|
|Best DAW for Mac Users||Garageband|
|Best Free DAW||Cakewalk by Bandlab|
|Best Music Software for PC||Image Line FL Studio 20 Producer Edition Mac/Windows|
|Best DAW for Hip Hop||Reason Studios AB Multitrack Recording Software|
|Most Powerful Music Production Software||Avid Pro Tools 11|
|Best Music Production Software for Professionals||Logic Pro|
|Best Music Production Software With Multiplatform Compatibility||Bitwig Studio|
What Is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)?
A DAW or a Digital Audio Workstation is a digital interface with a combination of software and hardware components to record and edit audio files. It is the second-most important music production equipment. The hardware consists of computers, laptops (or Mac), MIDI keyboards, speakers, microphones, filters, etc. The software components include music production software, virtual mixers, audio/ media editing apps, file management tools, etc.
Traditional DAWs mainly relied on hardware. The computers weren’t advanced enough to handle complex technology. But now, digital audio workstations are usually software-based. A majority of the work happens using the software. And if the software you chose doesn’t have a feature, you simply use a plug-in or integrate a third-party application to the software and complete the task.
Almost every music producer uses DAW software, be it a beginner or a professional. Some rely exclusively on the software, while others go for hybrid setups. Either way, you cannot separate the DAW software from music and music makers.
Things to Consider Before Choosing Music Software
Choosing the right music production software requires a careful and planned approach. It is as important as following the best tips for music production. Unfortunately, not all software solutions work with every operating system or computer/laptop. If you already own a computer or laptop, you need to choose DAW software compatible with your existing hardware.
Are you a Windows person or an Apple fan? The music software you choose should be perfect for the operating system you use. For example, Logic Pro is a natural choice for Macbook Pro. Though many DAW software work with both, they deliver high performance when used with the right OS.
MIDI is an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It allows the devices to connect and control sounds by communicating with each other through MIDI messages. Fortunately, most DAW software allows MIDI support and seamless music mixing during live performances. Live performance requires more connections and interfaces to blend, mix, and play the tracks in real-time.
Naturally, this is an important factor to consider. As a beginner, you would want a free/ cheap version with a user-friendly interface to help you learn and understand how the features work. Starting with a pro version and extensive features will only overwhelm you. You can invest in better (expensive) software as you practice and improve your skills.
At the same time, you have to plan for the long term. If you intend to dedicate more time to learning music mixing, you will become proficient faster. It doesn’t make sense to keep buying different DAW software frequently, right? You can start with a mid-level model and move on to the advanced level once you feel confident.
So, consider your current expertise level and your future plans before buying the first music production software for your use.
Budget and Usage
Yes! How can we not talk about the budget? Digital audio workstations are an investment. So make sure you know exactly what you want and why. Thankfully, most software solutions come with lifetime support, upgrades, and add-ons so that you can use the same software for years.
In fact, the more you get used to a particular software, the better it gets. Watch tutorial videos, join online communities, and learn more about every software feature. Just make sure not to fix things that don’t need to be. Moreover, it is better to invest in a worthy software than follow the trial and error method by buying multiple ones. Try the free versions if available, but invest in the right one.
Top 9 Software for Music Production
Overall Best Music Production Software
- Designed for beginners and professionals
- A great collaboration tool for teams
- Offers different price plans to suit different budget requirements
- Rich sound library and features
- You cannot save the WAV files in the free version
- Random loading issues
Soundtrap is the best overall music software with extensive features, multiple pricing options, and a user-friendly interface. Beginners and professionals can use it.
Firstly, Soundtrap is cloud-based freemium software that works online. As hardcore fans of DAW software that runs on a computer, we weren’t sure how much we’d like this one. But Soundtrap surpassed our expectations in most ways. It is easy to use and suitable for mixing tracks, live performances, and podcasting. Yes!
Secondly, the software is designed for collaborations. It was never so easy to work with a musician from another part of the country in real-time. The built-in mic does the recording at a sample rate of 96kHz. This is the industry standard and suits us perfectly.
In conclusion, Soundtrap, with features like AutoTune and presets, loops, and beats already available without additional licensing, is a great choice for music producers. Moreover, Soundtrap is compatible with most third-party plug-ins. The only issue is that you need a stable internet connection to use the software. It runs on the cloud, after all. We tried the free Android and iOS mobile apps and found that they were decent enough. We prefer the browser version, of course. All in all, Soundtrap is indeed the best music production software available for affordable pricing.
Check Here: Soundtrap
2. Ableton Multitrack Recording Software, Green (Live 10 Intro)
Best Basic DAW
- Entry-level DAW software
- Comes with 1500+ sounds and 29 effects
- Record multiple tracks
- Capture MIDI and edit multiple clips
- Good for live performance
- Not extensive enough for professional use
- Not as good as the Live 10 Suite version
Ableton Multitrack Recording Software (Live 10 Intro) is the best free DAW in the market and has been developed for beginners and newbies.
Firstly, let’s clarify that this version falls between the Lite and Suite. Live 10 Intro has more features than Lite but is not equal to the Suite version. It was something we expected, so we are happy to announce that the software delivers what it promises.
Secondly, this music production and recording software works well with macOS and Windows (10). We didn’t notice any glitches or jerks when it ran on either operating system. The sound templates aren’t great, but the effects are really good. We could create a new soundtrack using the effects and a boring track, so that’s worth a mention.
To conclude, Ableton Multitrack Recording Software is easy to use ad mix multiple tracks without getting confused. The interface is clear and has an arrangement view that sets up the project’s tracks in neat sections. Moreover, we could automate the mixing without much effort. The Capture MIDI feature made it easy to match the tempo and timing for live performance. The loop was perfect. Live 10 Intro by Ableton is a good starting point for music-making.
View on Amazon: Ableton Multitrack Recording Software, Green (Live 10 Intro)
Best DAW for Mac Users
- Multiple track manipulation
- Can export MP3 files in different sizes
- User-friendly audio editing software
- Great for beginners
- Suitable for musicians and podcasters
- Project files turn out to be large
- Random glitches that affect the performance
GarageBand is the best DAW software for mac users. It is a built-in music software with macOS devices and is suitable for beginners, small-time musicians, podcasters, etc. You can learn how to use GarageBand really quickly and easily.
Firstly, we love the sound library with its various presets, tracks, and effects. We tried making music with virtual instruments and real instruments. The results were super cool. We just had to drag and drop the tracks to sync them while editing. Adding effects and mastering audio files was so easy.
Secondly, the visual implementation is clear, and as you can expertise, you can edit the track even without listening to it. The sound recordings don’t have any noise or disturbance. The vocals sound neat and clean, making this software a perfect choice for radio themes and podcasts.
In conclusion, GarageBand is good for various creators, though it may not be suitable for professional use. The iOS app isn’t as good as the macOS version, though. We found it easier and quicker to work on MacBook. However, the files take up too much space, and the Mac tends to overheat if we use the software for extended periods. Compared to the advantages, these are minor issues, so go for GarageBand if you want an exclusive production software for Mac.
Check Here: Garageband
4. Cakewalk by Bandlab
Best Free DAW
- Completely free to use
- Comes with extensive feature
- MIDI controllers and plug-ins
- Highly customizable
- Built for beginners and newbies
- Works only with Windows
- Not great for live performance
Cakewalk is a free DAW offered by BandLab and is the best music production software for beginners and works on the Windows operating system. Its name was Sonar before BandLab Technologies acquired the company in 2018.
Firstly, Cakewalk is indeed a cakewalk, even if you have no idea how to use the DAW software. We are totally impressed by the help module that explains the interface in a clear and precise manner. Moreover, we can customize the interface to suit our tastes. Finally, we changed the themes and display settings as per our convenience.
Secondly, there’s a 30-day free trial for Melodyne as an add-on pack. Yep, the same software used by major music studios worldwide. Though Cakewalk works only with Windows 64-bit OS (7 or higher), it has almost everything a newbie music producer would need from DAW software.
In conclusion, Cakewalk offers a mixing console and EQ curve that can easily compete with the leading traditional DAWs in the market. It is that good. What’s more, the features are all available on a single processor, which saves time and energy. So it took us less time to create a track in Cakewalk. And why not? We just had to drag and drop the plug-ins in the FX Rack as required. Oh, we could also automate track parameters using the Automation Write option. The MIDI controllers are good, too, though we won’t call this the best software for live performance. As for the rest, Cakewalk is undoubtedly the best beginner recording software for Windows.
Check Here: Cakewalk by Bandlab
5. Image Line FL Studio 20 Producer Edition Mac/Windows
Best Music Software for PC
- Designed for professional use
- Has time stamp markers
- Lifetime free upgrades
- Solid platform for music-making
- Powerful yet flexible
- Not beginner-friendly
- The user interface can be less cluttered
Image Line FL Studio 20 Producer Edition is the best DAW software for music creators who prefer to work on a computer. It is now compatible with both Mac and Windows OS.
Firstly, FL Studio (previously known as Fruity Loops) came a long way from being a loop sequencer for Hip Hop and EDM realms to a complete DAW software for professional use. It is among the best in the industry and gives a tough fight to Ableton and other high-level digital audio workstations.
Secondly, FL Studio 20 comes in four editions: Fruity, Producer, Signature, and All Plugins Bundle. We obviously went for the highest because we wanted to see all the software’s features. Needless to say that we are highly impressed by its performance.
In conclusion, Image Line FL Studio 20 Producer Edition is built to handle a heavy workload and is flexible enough for music creators to experiment with their tracks. Unfortunately, the interface is a bit overwhelming, and it doesn’t help that a beginner will feel lost when using the software. That said, with some tutorials and practice, FL Studio users can have loads of fun. Oh, did we mention that the plug-ins are great for MIDI tracks?
6. Reason Studios AB Multitrack Recording Software
Best DAW for Hip Hop
- Works as a plug-in and standalone software
- Compatible with both PC and macOS
- Unlimited audio
- Good controls for experimenting
- Access to various effects and instruments
- Have to upgrade to suit version for more features
Reason Studios AB Multitrack Recording Software is the best music recording software for Hip Hop. It is affordable, easy to use, and works with both Mac and Windows devices.
Firstly, we love the versatility of the software. It worked wonderfully well as standalone software and as a plug-in to the existing DAW software on our computer. The collection of instruments, effects, synthesizers, and unlimited audio gave us a lot of flexibility to mix individual tracks and try new stuff the way we wanted to.
Secondly, the interface and features were designed with care. Even a novice can use the software without being confused or making a mistake. The software also offered features like automation, equalizer, and more. We tried the Reason Rack and the Reason Sequencer and are so impressed by the results.
In conclusion, Reason Studios AB Multitrack Recording Software is worthy of DAW software that allows us to work with MIDI tracks with great ease. Though this version is not as extensive as the Suite version, it still has various features to make music production a lovely experience. We would have preferred if the box contained a CD of the software instead of the code to download it. But that’s a minor issue. There were no issues with the code or installation. You can check out the YouTube videos for detailed tutorials if necessary.
View on Amazon: Reason Studios AB Multitrack Recording Software
7. Avid Pro Tools 11
Most Powerful Music Production Software
- 64-bit application
- Faster offline mix bouncing
- Requires fewer system resources
- HD video editing
- 12 months of upgrade/ support
- Doesn’t yet work with all plug-ins
Avid Pro Tools 11 is the best and most powerful music production software in the industry. Pro Tools is a highly popular software and a known name across the globe.
Firstly, we don’t have to say it, do we? It’s Pro Tools, guys! Almost every music producer has used some or another version of this DAW software in their career. This latest upgrade from the previous versions is more of an overhaul and a must-needed move. It’s fantastic.
Secondly, Pro Tools 11 is finally in 64-bit. It works on the latest macOS and Windows operating systems and requires a minimum of 8GM RAM to prove its potential. The best part is that musicians using Pro Tools 10 can import all their files to this version and continue working without restarting the computer.
In conclusion, Avid Pro Tools 11 is faster, more efficient, super friendly, sleek, has offline bouncing, and offers advanced features a music producer expects from the DAW software. If you own Avid audio engine (AAE), Pro Tools make it easy to push to the limits and beyond. Though it currently accepts only specific plug-ins, we are sure it won’t be long before it can work with any third-party tool. This is that one music production software every aspiring and professional musician should own.
Check Here: Avid Pro Tools 11
8. Logic Pro
Best Music Production Software for Professionals
- Can be integrated with third-party plug-ins
- Wonderful MIDI controllers
- Dolby Atmos and Spatial Audio mixing tools
- Industry-standard design for professional use
- Vast audio library
- Takes a while to understand the interface
- Switching between views is not easy
Logic Pro is the best DAW software for professionals and another famous software in the music industry. It works seamlessly with MacBook Pro and is a great choice for music editing and live performance.
Firstly, Logic Pro has a free version and unlimited audio tracks. It may not be beginner-friendly, but it is easy once you understand the interface. We have been using Logic Pro for a while and love all it offers.
Secondly, Apple calls it the next generation sound mixing software, and we wholeheartedly agree. The software improves with every upgrade. The latest version is optimized to handle 1000 stereo tracks in a single project, along with another 1000 instrument tracks and 1000 auxiliary tracks.
In conclusion, Logic Pro is powerful DAW software that can easily handle the workload of a professional music producer. You don’t need any hardware or software projection to download and use a copy of Logic Pro. You can use it without any issue if you are signed in to your Apple account. The upgrade from free to the paid version is cost-effective given the advanced features. Love Mac and music? Logic Pro it is.
Check Here: Logic Pro
9. Bitwig Studio
Best Music Production Software With Multiplatform Compatibility
- Works with Mac, Windows, and Linux
- More randomizing controllers
- Good export and import options
- Make cycle recordings
- Drag and drop features
- Need better keyboard shortcuts
Bitwig Studio is the best DAW software that works with different operating systems. The brand has released its 4th version with some promising features.
Firstly, Bitwig Studio has all features you need to complete an audio track from start to finish. We love that it works great for all genres, be it hip hop, rock, or metal. There’s an automation lane in the MIDI note editor to make changes without closing the window. Cool, right?
Secondly, the 4th version has Operators, a new set of randomizing controllers for MIDI and soundtracks. The four functions are so, so good that we wonder why it took this long to add them. The Clip Launcher makes it simple to work on multiple track consolidation and tweak them faster.
In conclusion, Bitwig Studio has upped the game by allowing more options to import and export the audio tracks. We could also select the bit rates for each extension to adjust the file quality and size. Importing data from FL Studio and Ableton Live is an easy task. The interface can be a little tricky for newbies. Take time to learn how it works, watch YouTube videos and tutorials and enjoy this music creation software.
Check Here: Bitwig Studio
Frequently Asked Questions About Music Production Software
You can make music by learning more to create a tune and use the DAW software. Write the lyrics, record the song through the software or write it directly within the software. Edit the audio files, and use the tracks from the sound library. Fine-tune the track, play it, and save it.
To make beats for music genres like hip hop, people use Beat Machine. The latest beat machines are hybrid or software-dominant and use digital sequencing to produce beats. People use sampler keyboards, synthesizers, MIDI controller, and audio interfaces to make and add beats to the soundtrack. More software instruments are added using different plug-ins.
Apart from a computer, you need digital audio workstation software, an audio interface, speakers or headphones, and a microphone if required. Load the DAW software on the computer and learn how to use it. The audio interface handles the input and output aspects of the recording. You need a good pair of speakers to listen to the tracks as you mix and edit them. The mic is necessary to add audio files (vocals) from your side. Save the audio track once you are happy with how it sounds.
Programming is where you create the sounds using musical instruments, synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, etc., in the music coding language. The sounds are produced from scratch using real or virtual musical instruments.
We hope you have all the information required to choose the best music creation software for your requirements. Also, we recommend Soundtrap as the best and most affordable cloud-based music production software for beginners and professionals. We also recommend Apple Logic Pro for Mac users, Bitwig Studio for multiplatform compatibility, and Avid Pro tools 11 for high-level music mixing.
However, take your time to consider the options and compare the features before making your final decision. Drop a word in the comments about the DAW software you picked.