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This guide is your go-to resource for choosing the best beginner DAW in 2023. It is possible to find the best music production software for beginners, but with so many options it can be overwhelming. This article will help you figure out which of the simpler, more beginner-friendly DAWs would be the best for you.
Here are the best DAWs for beginners 2023:
- Cockos Reaper
- Image Line FL Studio
- Harrison Mixbus
- Apple Logic Pro X
- Avid Pro Tools
- Apple GarageBand
- Steinberg Cubase
- Acoustica Mixcraft
- Ableton Live
1. Cockos Reaper
The best overall beginner DAW
Reaper is a more basic DAW, but that means it is beginner friendly. It is set up like a normal DAW and has plenty of features that are simple enough for a beginner to use and figure out. Reaper is not a very big DAW in terms of size, so it is light enough to put on a portable hard drive or flash drive and run off of it without any problems.
As Reaper is a normal DAW, it is capable of recording and playing back, and it is easy to mix multiple tracks, both MIDI and audio tracks. Reaper may be a lightweight DAW, but it supports rendering and exporting at many different sample rates and bit depths, so when you record and export the files, they will be as high quality as if you had recorded and then exported with Pro Tools or another major DAW.
On Reaper you will find the capability to use many virtual instrument plugins as well as audio effects plugins, both ones that are built into Reaper and third party from external sources. Reaper also has built in tools for you to create new effects with. The stock plugins in Reaper are quite good quality for how cheap the DAW is.
This music production software also features automation capabilities, the grouping of tracks, modulation, the ability to use MIDI control surfaces, surround sound mixing, and there are plenty of custom skins you can use to change the look of the DAW.
Reaper is also good for live performance if that is what you need it for, it is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux, and it is good for many genres of music.
|Image credit: Reaper by Cockos Check Reaper||
If you want a DAW that is a good balance between something suitable for basic users but also has enough capability and a design similar to some of the more expensive DAWs, Reaper is definitely the best DAW for beginners overall.
2. Image Line FL Studio
The best DAW for beginners in hip-hop and R&B
If you are into hip-hop and R&B music and want to start producing your own beats and songs, FL Studio is your best bet. There are plenty of bedroom producers who have been able to make it big in the music industry, and they use FL Studio.
That being said, whatever DAW you use does not matter as much as how you use it. Many talented producers use FL Studio, but many talented producers use other DAWs too.
FL Studio features multitrack recording for mixing and recording multiple tracks at the same time, easy sidechaining capabilities, mixer channel linking and routing, and you can rearrange the user interface’s windows to your liking. Since it is a multitouch interface, you can also use it on an iPad quite easily if you find that working on a computer is difficult for you.
As for editing features, pitch shifting and time stretching can be done by sample or done to a whole track. You can easily record automation tracks as well. Since the DAW is good for hip-hop, there are many plugins (over 80 that come with the standard version) fit for that genre, and plenty of plugins for chopping up and re-sampling beats and songs.
I do not necessarily suggest that you use the stock plugins, they are very hit or miss aside from Effector and GrossBeat. The EQs are fine but if you are going to work in FL Studio, especially as a beginner, it may be more beneficial to use third party VST plugins. FL Studio is compatible with Mac and Windows, mainly good for hip hop and R&B, and it is good for live performance use.
|Image credit: Image Line Check Price on Sweetwater||
Take FL Studio for a spin if you are wanting to start with bedroom production. While it has a lot of features and can get cluttered at times, there is an incredibly large amount of tutorials online (mainly YouTube) where producers use FL Studio to make beats. Check out the Resources section of this guide for more information on that.
3. Harrison Mixbus
The best DAW for beginners used to live mixing
Harrison Mixbus may look intimidating to you if you are an absolute complete beginner, one who has never used any type of music gear in their life. For those of you who are already into sound engineering, especially those of you familiar with analog soundboards, Mixbus provides a smooth transition between analog gear and digital gear.
The Mixbus DAW is modeled after the famous Harrison analog mixers used in many studios across the world. It was designed to sound exactly like one of those mixers, so if you use it to record and mix your music, you’re going to be capturing the same sound that from the vintage analog soundboards from the 60’s and 70’s.
The layout of Harrison Mixbus is very straightforward, with one knob per function, so it’s a very good music making software for beginners. As far as audio effects plugins go, Mixbus comes with EQ, compression, filter, and analog tape simulation. On every track there is a 3-band EQ, polarity, input trim, compression, and 8 mix bus sends. The stereo master bus features tone controls, tape saturation, various meters for detecting volume and stereo balance, and a limiter. The editing tools provided include a ‘smart tool’, ripple edit, and configurable keybindings.
Recording operates similarly to old fashioned tape recording and you can punch in just like when using a real tape machine. You can also easily compose with MIDI.
Harrison Mixbus works with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, allows you to have an unlimited amount of tracks, and is compatible with many third party plugins. If you like that analog sound with your music, use it for whatever genre you wish. I imagine it would sound best, however, with rock, soul, hip-hop, R&B, or funk music.
|Image credit: Harrison Check Harrison||
If you have any experience with live sound engineering or engineering in a studio and you want to take things to the next level and start actually producing music yourself, Mixbus by Harrison is a great choice. If you aren’t experienced with live sound engineering and just want to try it out, I highly encourage you to do so.
4. Apple Logic Pro X
For those who want something more complex than GarageBand
Logic Pro X is the big brother of GarageBand. Logic is a great DAW that has tons of capability and a great set of virtual instruments. New plugins and virtual instruments include ChromaVerb, an updated Space Designer, Step FX, Phat FX, a collection of vintage EQs, Mellotron, and Retro Synth.
Aside from the great plugins and instruments, Logic Pro X has easy to use editing tools like Flex Time and Flex Pitch, MIDI quantization, and also features things like Smart Tempo Analysis and the ability to record MIDI retrospectively.
Logic Pro X also has nice storage features where you can relocate the Sound Library to external storage devices to save room on your computer, and the new and updated Loop Browser for easy access to your loops and samples, as well as an updated history browser.
The simple yet modern interface of Logic Pro X makes it a great choice for beginners, and you can color code everything to stay organized. It’s only compatible with Mac, but Logic Pro X makes up for it by being ideal for any genre you can imagine, and is perfect for live performance.
|Image credit: Apple Check Apple||
If you want to get into music production and you’re not a fan of how limiting GarageBand is, Logic Pro X is the DAW for you.
5. Avid Pro Tools
The most complex beginner DAW
Pro Tools is an industry standard that is renowned for its amazing sound. It brings a ton of efficiency to your workflow and many features that really assist you in getting the most out of the DAW.
Pro Tools offers tools like QuickPunch recording and Elastic Audio to record efficiently and time stretch as needed. Everything in Pro Tools is able to be automated, including every parameter of the stock audio effects plugins as well as any third party plugins you may use.
There is a large amount of virtual instruments (a drum machine, bass, strings, horns, etc) and the stock audio effects plugins (like EQs, reverbs, and dynamic plugins) are at a studio standard level, so even as a beginner your music will have a professional sound – even more so as you learn to use the DAW and learn to edit and mix properly.
Pro Tools is compatible with MIDI controllers and plenty of other multi touch controllers, so you’ll have no problem writing in MIDI. The interface is pretty simple to navigate through, but learning the keyboard commands may take a bit, and there’s a bit of a learning curve. Pro Tools is compatible with Mac and Windows and it’s not really suitable for live performance, but it’s good for any genre.
|Image credit: Avid Check Price on Sweetwater||
If you want to get right into production and skip all the basics and the free DAWs, you might as well just start with the best there is: Pro Tools. You’ll have a harder time learning on it but there are plenty of resources for beginners (check below).
6. Apple GarageBand
The best free beginner DAW for Apple users
GarageBand is pretty much the basic version of Logic Pro X. It’s probably also the easiest DAW to use for beginners. A big feature of GarageBand is its Live Loops. These are loops that can be triggered with the touch of a button, which make the DAW perfect for live performance.
The sound library for GarageBand is quite large, so if you prefer to use loops to make music, you’ll have no issue doing that. With Smart Instruments and a virtual drum kit, even if you don’t have much skill playing instruments, you’ll sound like a pro.
GarageBand has MIDI capability so if you do have a MIDI keyboard or controller, you can write in MIDI and use the large library of virtual instruments they offer, like Alchemy or virtual guitars with stompboxes included.
The beat sequencer feature is also pretty nice, but depending on how complex you make your beats, it may leave you wanting a bit more. GarageBand also has multitrack recording, so you can play and record live and not have to record multiple times.
As for audio effects plugins, all that is offered is EQ and compression, but if you also have purchased Logic Pro X, you can use Logic’s plugins inside of GarageBand, as well as third party plugins. GarageBand is only compatible with Mac, but it’s good for all genres and great for live performances. If you’re looking for free music making software for beginners, GarageBand is it.
|Image credit: Apple Check Apple||
If you’re planning on sticking with using MacOS and intend to use Logic Pro X later on when you’re more skilled at music production, start on GarageBand. The switch from GarageBand to Logic Pro X will be much smoother and you shouldn’t have any problems.
If anything, you will find it even easier to use Logic Pro X, as it has many more features than GarageBand. You might have to learn about certain plugins a bit more, but you will be able to learn much faster than if you had not used GarageBand before using Logic Pro X.
The best bare-bones DAW
Audacity is technically considered a DAW, but it’s not exactly a DAW, so I’ve included it as a wildcard. Audacity is more of an audio recording program. While it does have basic features that enable you to use plugins, it’s a very simple program that doesn’t have a lot of the features that your typical DAW would have.
Audacity features a very easy recording toolbar with playback controls, a drop down menu for audio effects (things like noise reduction, a basic EQ, pitch shift, compression, etc), and some other very basic editing controls. You can create multiple recordings and import multiple audio files from elsewhere on your computer and have them all play at the same time.
Audacity has a very limited track volume and pan control, but it does have them. Also offered is the ability to cut, copy, paste, and shift sections of recordings around. You can import and use third party audio effects plugins, although the program can be picky with the ones it accepts. There are also a couple different spectrograms provided for EQ frequency spectrum analysis.
Audacity works with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It’s free to download and use, and it can be good for any genre if you know how to use it.
|Image credit: Audacity Check Audacity||
If you are very computer illiterate or wanting to start off your music production hobby or career extremely slow, consider Audacity. It isn’t laid out like a normal DAW, but it has all the tools you will need, for the most part.
People on YouTube have taken up the challenge of trying to create songs on Audacity, and while it’s not a very intuitive piece of music production software, it’ll do the job if you just want to learn how to record things and don’t care too much about the editing and mixing part of the process.
8. Steinberg Cubase
The best beginner DAW for Windows users
Cubase is a step up from Reaper but it’s a small step down from Pro Tools. If you want something with just as much capability as Pro Tools but don’t want to deal with learning a ton on how to navigate through everything, Cubase is simple enough yet powerful enough to do everything you need beyond what Reaper can do for you. It’s also optimized to work best with Windows so you don’t get bogged down with CPU problems, and you can monitor latency too.
It has a lot of composition features, including an advanced score editor, a chord assistant, chord pads, and an arranger track to keep your song arranged properly. Cubase offers all of the typical recording features like punch-in recording, retrospective recording, and an advanced metronome for weird time signatures.
It’s good for beatmaking because there’s a drum editor, chord editor, a map for the drums if you use a MIDI controller, and quick controls that help you to navigate easily while sequencing drums. The basic audio editing tools like slicing, copying, pasting, audio alignment, quantizing, and time stretching are available too. A sample editor allows you to mix up samples and loops and really get creative with things. Once you get advanced at mixing, there are plugins like Control Room and Channel Strip to help you mix to your fullest potential, aside from the usual tools like a history window, a loudness meter, surround sound capability, and sidechaining.
Cubase also has a ton of stock plugins and instruments that are high quality, like Padshop, Groove Agent SE, and plenty more. Cubase is compatible with Windows and Mac, good for live performance and suitable for any genre of music.
|Image credit: Steinberg Check Price on Sweetwater||
Cubase is an all around solid choice for making music, whether it’s just beats or you’re recording vocals too. It has a powerful mixing suite and is simple enough to use without getting overwhelmed; a great choice for beginners who want more than what Reaper has to offer.
9. Acoustica Mixcraft
The best GarageBand-like DAW for Windows
Mixcraft by Acoustica is known as the DAW for musicians, not producers. It is definitely a step up from GarageBand but not quite at the level that Cubase or Logic Pro X is at. With Mixcraft, it’s incredibly easy to make music and also use it for live performances.
Mixcraft features an enormous loop library (over 7,500 royalty free loops, sound effects, and samples), so you can get started creating as soon as you open the program. You can record loops into the live performance section of the DAW and play them with a MIDI controller, or record songs as normal.
Mixcraft offers a large number of virtual instruments that you’re able to play through your computer keyboard or a MIDI controller, including classic synthesizers, organs, and pianos. As for plugins, basic audio effects plugins like EQ, compression, and reverb are available, as well as the popular pitch correction plugin from Celemony: Melodyne, and many other fantastic effects plugins.
Additionally, Mixcraft has score composing capabilities, so you can write in music notation as well as create soundtracks to videos while they play in the video window of Mixcraft. Mixcraft allows for lane and clip-based automation that can be written with a mouse or a MIDI controller, and mixing and mastering is a breeze. Mixcraft is great for many genres, suitable for live performances, and compatible with Windows.
|Image credit: Acoustica Check Price on Sweetwater||
If you want to use a program that’s a lot like GarageBand, or if you’re switching from using MacOS to Windows and want a good alternative to GarageBand, Mixcraft is the best alternative, and even more flexible.
10. Ableton Live
The most flexible beginner DAW
Ableton Live is one of the more intuitive DAWs on this list. I am a bit biased because it’s my DAW of choice, but it really is a fantastic DAW with so much flexibility when it comes to editing tracks, flipping samples, and sound design.
Ableton Live is another lightweight DAW that won’t clog up your hard drive or overload your CPU. Ableton allows for maximum organization with track grouping and the ability to assign colors to each track so you can more easily differentiate between them.
Along with these features is Session View and Arrangement View, which are two different screens with different purposes. Session View contains the mixer and it’s also where you can loop clips for live performances, and Arrangement View is where you do all your recording, arranging, and editing.
Aside from these features, Ableton Live offers retrospective recording through MIDI (called Capture), integration with the Ableton Push gear, plenty of easy to use audio effects plugins that are great quality, a host of virtual instruments (mainly synthesizers), a multitrack editor for recording multiple tracks at a time, and groups where you can loop different clips (which is also a feature in FL Studio).
Ableton is compatible with Mac and Windows, it’s great for all genres of music but especially electronic, and it’s definitely made for live performances.
|Image credit: Ableton Check Price on Sweetwater||
Ableton Live is more complex than a lot of the DAWs on this list, but it is flexible enough that once you get the hang of it, it will be easy to navigate through. It’s very intuitive and if you can get the keyboard shortcuts down, you’ll be able to use it within no time, as its interface is very easy to navigate.
What is a DAW?
A DAW, or digital audio workstation, is the piece of computer software in which you record, arrange, edit, mix, and master your songs.
What is a DAW used for?
Depending on what DAW you have, your DAW may be used for many different things. Along with the standard recording music, arranging songs, editing and mixing tracks, and mastering the final outcome, DAWs are also used for composing music, scoring films, narrating videos and movies, and creating soundtracks for games.
Parts of a DAW
Track arrangement window
Different DAWs call this area a different name. In FL Studio it is called a Playlist, in Ableton Live it is called the Arrangement View. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s the area of the DAW where you record individual tracks, comp tracks (select the best takes of each track and put them together), and arrange the sections of the song.
In the arrangement window you can also edit tracks by slicing them, adding fade ins and fade outs, you can cut, copy, and paste, and also add automation of different parameters like track volume or a certain parameter of an effects plugin. In the track arrangement window, you will also find the playback controls to play, rewind, skip forward or back, and loop the song.
Depending on the DAW you’re using, you may also be able to add effects plugins, processors, virtual instruments, and change the volume and pan of each track.
The piano roll is made for one main thing: working with MIDI. The piano roll window is where you enter in MIDI notes into a MIDI track. You can then use these MIDI notes in the track to play through a virtual instrument.
Here you can either draw in the notes with a pencil or pen tool using your computer mouse, or you can record them in by hitting the record button in your DAW and then playing your MIDI keyboard (or other instrument) as normal.
In the piano roll window, you are usually able to edit the velocity of each note, quantize the notes or make them match up with the time grid so they’re on beat, and you can usually also edit the notes by extending, slicing, copying, and pasting them.
In a DAW, you are able to undo and redo changes you’ve made, just like in a word processor, for example. In most DAWs there is a history window where you can view the last several changes you’ve made, whether it was drawing in automation curves, deleting a section of a track, or bringing in a new virtual instrument.
Because it has kept the data of the last several (probably around 100 or so) changes and clicks you’ve made, you can skip back to any of those changes rather than having to click the undo button a bunch of times. Hopefully you won’t have to use it too extensively, but if you do, it’s there for you to use.
File browser window
Along with the history window is usually a file browser window. Here you can access folders that contain your samples, loops, and any other files that you may need for your productions.
Sometimes the history and file browser windows are the same window with the ability to view either one, and other times they may be separate windows; again it just depends on the DAW that you have.
Audio effects and virtual instruments window
The window for audio effects plugins and virtual instruments will list all of the effects and instruments you have that you can use, and from there you’ll be able to drag them into your audio and MIDI tracks to use them. If you try to import a 3rd party plugins, if they’re not compatible with your DAW they won’t show up in the plugin window.
Sample editor window
The sample window offers similar editing tools as the track arrangement view does in that it lets you fade in, fade out, slice, copy, and paste, time stretch audio, etc.
However the difference is that it applies the changes directly to the audio file that’s saved on your hard drive, rather than changing the track in the track arrangement window.
The mixer often looks similar to analog soundboards, and here you can monitor the volume levels of each track, change the volume and pan, connect each track to a channel in the mixer, and depending on the DAW you are using, you can edit the audio effects plugins on each track in the mixer area as well.
The mixer usually includes sends, buses, aux channels, and inserts. It is where your effects plugins are ultimately processed with your tracks. Usually when you add a new track in the track arrangement window a new channel in the mixer will be created as well. In some DAWs (FL Studio, for example) you have to manually link them but usually it does that automatically.
How to Choose a DAW?
Choosing a DAW is something you should take seriously. There are several things you need to consider when choosing a DAW:
Your type of computer you have
This is what is your first deciding factor in what DAW to get, as certain DAWs work with certain operating systems. A DAW that works on Windows computers may not work on a Mac, and vice versa.
Your computer’s tech specs
If you have an older computer with a slower processor you’ll need a simpler DAW that doesn’t have as many features or as much capability; one that doesn’t take as much processing power.
Your level of experience
Consider how skilled you are at using a DAW. If you’re not an experienced producer yet, or even an intermediate producer yet, if you’re just starting out and wanting to learn how to use a DAW, you’re not going to need something with a ton of features and audio effects plugins and a bunch of editing tools.
I strongly suggest you get a Lite version of a DAW if you’re a beginner, as they’re usually free or very cheap, and while they won’t have all the features you need, they’ll have enough for you to test out the DAW and determine whether or not it’s a good fit for you.
What your needs are?
Certain DAWs are better at handling certain genres and doing certain tasks. FL Studio is better for hip hop and R&B, Ableton Live is better for electronic and EDM. Consider the following questions to determine what your needs are:
Do I plan to record many vocals?
If you plan to record a lot of vocals, Pro Tools is easily the best DAW for vocal processing, but pretty much any DAW will be fine.
Do I plan to record live instruments?
Do I plan to make beats?
Do I plan to use third party audio effects plugins or stock plugins?
If you plan to use stock plugins, Pro Tools, Reaper, Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, Cubase and FL Studio should have decent stock plugins. If you plan to use the other DAWs, definitely use third party audio effects plugins.
Do I plan to use third party virtual instruments or stock virtual instruments?
If you want to use stock virtual instruments, stick with Ableton Live, Cubase, Logic Pro X, GarageBand, Mixcraft, and Pro Tools. If you want to use third party plugins, any of the DAWs on this list will be fine for you to use.
Do I plan to have a lot of tracks in a single project file?
If you do, I suggest using a DAW that is a little easier on your CPU, unless you have a monster of a computer or at least one that is quite powerful. Reaper, Ableton Live, Cubase, GarageBand, Audacity, and FL Studio are the ones that should be easier on your CPU. If not (or if you have a very powerful computer), Pro Tools and any of the other DAWs should be okay for you as well.
What genre will I be producing?
Many DAWs are good for many different genres, but some DAWs shine with specific genres. See our post on the best DAWs in 2023 for more information on which DAWs are best for certain genres. The ones not covered in that post (Harrison Mixbus, Audacity, GarageBand, and Mixcraft) should be fine for use with any genre.
How in depth will I get with editing?
Do I need help with creating chord progressions?
If your answer is “yes,” consider Studio One (not featured on this list – check out our article of the best music production software in 2023 to learn more about Studio One), as it has plenty of tools to help you come up with chord progressions. Also check out Cubase for this purpose.
How easy is it for me to use a computer in general?
If you struggle with using a computer and its basic tasks, you may want to stick with using a simpler DAW like Reason, or even Audacity. Video tutorials will help you a lot, so don’t forget to check them out.
Will I need to use a DAW for live performances?
DAWs like Ableton Live, Cubase, and Logic Pro X are great for live performances if you need your DAW to work in live performance settings or on the fly.
Based on your answers here, you can determine what DAW would be best for you. Always remember that it has everything to do with how powerful your computer is and what operating system you use.
Choosing the wrong DAW
If you end up choosing a DAW and use it for a while and then decide you don’t like it, that’s okay. You’re bound to choose one you don’t like. I’ve gone through Pro Tools, Logic Pro X, Reaper, Samplitude (not listed), Studio One (not listed), and FL Studio before arriving at the conclusion that Ableton Live is the DAW for me.
How long do I test out a DAW for until I make a final decision?
If you’re testing a Lite version, you’ll likely have a period of time given by the software to test it. If you’ve bought the DAW already, I’d say a month or two of consistent learning and using it is a good window of time to figure out if you like it or not. It really depends on how quickly you learn and how much time you have to dedicate on working with the DAW.
How do I determine if the DAW I’ve chosen isn’t a good fit for me?
You’ll probably know on your own, but if you find yourself:
- Struggling to finish songs or beats.
- Becoming frustrated with the DAW.
- Getting unorganized in your project(s).
- Working very slowly, even after learning the controls and feeling comfortable with the DAW.
- Never feeling comfortable with the DAW, even after using it for an extended period of time.
However, you may also just be a slow or thorough worker and/or learner by nature or may not be comfortable and familiar with the DAW’s controls and features yet. If you are a beginner who has no prior experience with making music, this can especially be the case. It can take time to adapt and learn new things, so take as much time as you need.
How will I know when I’ve chosen the right DAW?
You’ll know you’ve found the right DAW when:
- You are able to work efficiently and quickly.
- Navigating through the interface has become second nature to you.
- You frequently finish songs or beats.
- You feel comfortable using the DAW in all its aspects.
- Learning new things about it doesn’t feel like a chore.
How do I know what DAW to try next?
Take a look at the features offered, and reconsider the questions mentioned above. You can do this process as many times as you need to in order to find the right DAW. I suggest making a list of all the ones that are compatible with your computer, and then narrowing the list down based on your needs. Keep the list in case you need to consider a different DAW.
Saving money while looking for the right DAW
DAWs are expensive, and if you’re struggling to find the right one, you may not want to or have the budget to shell out several hundred dollars if trying the Lite version of a DAW isn’t working for you. If you have any friends who make music, ask them if you can try out their DAW, or look into seeing if any DAWs have a ‘try before you buy’ offer or a discount.
Setting Up and Using a DAW
All DAWs are pretty standard in the way they operate, but I’ll break down a quick explanation of the typical way to set up and use a DAW and the production process.
How to set up a DAW?
Usually there are only a few steps to set up your DAW after you purchase it online and have downloaded and installed it onto your computer:
- Open the DAW.
- Enter the license authorization code.
- Import your third party audio effects plugins and virtual instruments.
- Add your folders of samples and loops to the browser window in the DAW.
- Connect microphones, audio interfaces, MIDI controllers, and other necessary gear to your computer and set them up properly in the settings of the DAW.
From there you should be good to go if everything goes smoothly.
How to use a DAW?
Using your DAW is also quite simple. Once you’ve got everything set up you are able to use the DAW by:
- Inserting new tracks.
- Arming the tracks for recording or MIDI writing.
- Recording or writing the MIDI.
From there, you are able to add various audio effects plugins and continue the music production process.
Basic music production process
Very briefly, the music production process goes in this order:
- Writing a song.
- Recording instruments and vocals.
- Editing instruments and vocals.
- Arranging the edited tracks into the proper sections of the song.
- Processing the tracks with audio effects.
- Mixing the tracks.
- Exporting the song.
- Mastering the song file.
Of course, you can always go back as needed as well or do some of the steps in different orders. Everyone works differently. You’ll find your flow as you learn.
Here are some great resources for learning how DAWs work and how to use music production software for starters:
- Consordini – Our YouTube channel with lots of guides and tutorials for different DAWs and VST plugins.
- Internet Money – This YouTube channel features the producers of the Internet Money producer collective who focus on making tutorials for hip hop beats in FL Studio.
- Busy Works Beats – BusyWorksBeats is another channel that provides tutorials for mainly FL Studio, but all of the concepts he teaches can be applied to any DAW out there.
- imamusicmogul – A good channel for music production in Logic Pro X.
- Behind The Speakers – Pro Tool tutorials for producers of any skill level!
- Harrison Consoles – Videos on how to use Harrison Mixbus and get a great sound out of the DAW.
- Beat Academy – Ableton Live tutorials from a great teacher.
- Jef Gibbons – Tutorials for Reason, Cubase, and many more DAWs and hardware controllers.
- Point Blank Music School – Tutorials for GarageBand, Logic Pro X, and many others.
There are many DAWs that are good for beginners, it just takes a bit of looking. Take as much time as you need to search for a DAW. Try different ones out and experiment. The right one for you will maximize your workflow and you’ll feel comfortable using it. Good luck on your search!