# 15 Good DAWs

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To be honest, when it comes to making music, I've just stuck to Ableton. I learned the ins-and-outs at university, so I've grown fairly attached to it, and it allows me to make music fairly quickly and intuitively. I've definitely wanted to use other DAW's, I'll probably monitor this thread so when I've got some spare time after my current project I can use some others. (:

Oh, I almost forgot, I have had a fair bit of experience with Pro Tools. I think that's another one that is useful for anyone to learn as it's industry standard.

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When it comes to music, I'm a Sony fan. I'm currently interested in Sound Forge Pro 11, though I know that it will set me back a little bit. But the suite is loaded with features and tools. Acid Pro 7 is also a good option and a little cheaper. Both offer a 30-day free trial, but I'm not really sure if that is long enough to really test out the software. Thoughts? Is anyone using either software?

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I don't know anyone who uses Sound Forge these days - it was the go-to editing tool a decade or so back, if I remember correctly, but for musical purposes I would have thought one of the more mainstream choices would be better. But 30 days is long enough, providing you can make the time to use it. It's hard to make an assessment without comparing it to something else, though. For years I was a Cakewalk/Sonar guy, and I was very productive with it, while learning to work around its weaknesses. But recently I felt the weaknesses were too much, changed DAWs, and have been amazed at the increase in my productivity.

Example 1: editing drum performances in Sonar. They posted an official blog entry (or 3) about it that showed how laborious the task is - yet forum readers loved it because previously they thought it was basically impossible! Compare that to Reaper, where you download one set of input macros and then the whole task can be summed up in 2 lines of text - because it's literally that simple.

Example 2: cutting/pasting/moving data in Sonar. Sonar is, these days, aimed at the recording engineer. They expect a user to record a musician playing a take through an entire track, then they tweak it, and the work is finished. The actual process of songwriting has been largely sidelined, which means that anyone who tries to use Sonar as a scratch pad, writing pieces and then shuffling them around in the track view, runs into a ton of problems - unwanted crossfades, superfluous take lanes created, the lasso not always picking up all the bits you want to move, etc. They know the situation is bad so they promised ripple editing back in June as a way of being able to move things about reliably. 5 monthly updates later, still no sign of ripple editing or any fixes to the editing situation. Meanwhile, I moved over to Studio One 3 (not the catchiest name) where the Arranger Track lets me move things so easily I am literally 10x more efficient at trying out new arrangements than I was with Sonar. Even when they add ripple editing, it won't compare to that. But if I'd never tried Studio One, I could have been grateful for the fix, without realising how much better things could be.

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You're right, a trial is only really as helpful as being able to compare the software or product with something else. So you would recommend checking out Studio One then?

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The best answer will depend on what kind of tasks you want to perform - i.e. what sort of music you'll write, which instruments you'll use, whether you'll record live performances, work in staff or tablature view, automate synths and effects, whether you write in the DAW or outside of it, etc. If you have an idea of your answer to those questions then the link in the first post in this thread should help you at least narrow down the decision.

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I'm all about Logic! For me it's a perfect blend of being able to compose, and mix in the same daw.
The workflow in midi is absolutely fantastic! Automation is as easy as it can be.

One thing I must note though, is that Studio One 3, and especially after the new 3.5 update, is becoming my main thing for mixing, and mastering. That daw is simply just fantastic for that purpose! They are gonna replace Pro Tools for audio editing no doubt.

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On 17/08/2012 at 11:39 PM, nsmadsen said:

I'm not going to get into which is the "best" but this is a good starting list for anyone new to music/audio production and wants to know what options are out there. Most (if not all) of these programs feature some kind of trial or demo mode and I HIGHLY recommend taking a few out for a spin to see which jives with you the best.

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