Most of the famous packages like Pro Tools and Logic have been around for decades.They've grown incredibly powerful, and as a result have user interfaces that are as complex as…well, professional mix consoles. To help with this task, we went out and tested the most popular DAWs.In each of our reviews, we did our best to approach each product as a whole, rather than devoting the majority of the space to just the latest features that were added in the most recent point update.Before we get to the specifics, the simplest program for audio editing is a two-track editor; probably the most famous example here is the free Audacity.Do your tastes lean toward the electronic and synthesized realm?Both FL Studio and Ableton Live are inspired choices with plenty of built-in synths, though you can produce electronic music with just about any of these programs.If you need something more sophisticated, though, read on.It helps to think about the kinds of projects you want to create.
If you were on a budget, you'd probably stick with a tried-and-true Tascam or Yamaha four-track tape recorder and Alesis compressor, get used to bouncing tracks in mono, make peace with tape hiss, and remember to clean the tape heads every week.And you'd be sharply limited in the kinds of projects you could produce.The only easy multi-track recording you could do at the time was with MIDI, with hardware synthesizers or samplers, and maybe with a Mac or an Atari ST computer attached as a sequencer. Software packages that cost a few hundred dollars now deliver hundreds of audio tracks and incredibly flexible editing. You can create as many instances of effects plug-ins as you want, including spot-on emulations of compressors that cost several thousand dollars each, and attach them to as many mixer channels as you want. So from the standpoint of someone recording 20 or 30 years ago, using a DAW today is like a giant candy store; it's as if you can do almost anything.Do you plan on tuning the pitch of vocal performances?Working out the answers to these kinds of questions up front will help you narrow down your choices.