Looking for the perfect DAW for electronic music production? Guest-blogger and home-studio-coach Ben Van Essen highlights some of the most popular options on the table and helps you pick out the software pack that suits your needs.
The Beating Heart of Your Studio
Since a DAW (digital audio workstation) forms the core of your studio, it’s essential to pick the pack that doesn’t just suit you but suits the styles of music you’re operating in. Today, I’m going to highlight a few DAWs that have been specifically developed for electronic music.
The Right Tools
In theory, any DAW can be used to whip up beats. In the end though, it’s about the ideas and music you put in, and some jobs only get easier if you have access to the right tools. As such, the scope of this blog is limited to DAWs that meet a number of prerequisites, like built-in drum machine and synth sounds, a fast and intuitive workflow, and the option to add plug-ins and effects.
Image-Line FL Studio
If you’re talking about DAWs suited for electronic music, Image-Line’s FL Studio is a top contender. Great for styles like house and hardstyle, this software pack is the go-to for most EDM artists and producers. FL Studio is also available in various editions so you can pick the version that matches your needs: the entry-level ‘Fruity’ edition, for instance, offers solid tools for EDM and can be used to combine virtual instruments and effects to produce entire tracks. Want more options? Simply upgrade to one of the more extensive versions for access to an even fatter stack of sounds, effects, samples and loops. FL Studio also comes with free updates for life, so the latest functions are always available. All that being said, if I have to include one drawback of FL Studio, it’s that the interface gets quite cluttered when you’re using a lot of the tracks at the same time.
If there’s one software pack that really gets your creative juices flowing, it’s Ableton Live. Essentially an expansion of your own musicality through the seamless integration with controllers like the Ableton Push, this DAW can be used to edit samples, playback loops and control virtual instruments. Ableton Live is perfect for beat-weaving and sample-injection and offers a built-in mixer and plug-ins so you can finish stage-worthy productions. Also, the name of this software pack wouldn’t include ‘Live’ if it wasn’t intended for live performances. Combined with a laptop and a compatible controller, creative deejays and producers can treat their crowds to on-the-fly remixes and crazy beats. With this DAW, the options are endless, and so is the creative potential.
PreSonus Studio One
Over the past few years, there’s one DAW pack that’s only been getting more popular: PreSonus Studio One. This seriously complete software pack has risen to the top in no time and sets you up with options to record, produce, compose, mix, master, publish and perform – all accessed via a clear and user-friendly interface. Effects, virtual instruments and loops can all be dragged and dropped into projects with smooth ease while, thanks to the Score View and Arranger functions, arranging and editing songs couldn’t be more flexible. Tracks can be mixed using the comprehensive mixer section, enriched using professional plugins, and accessed via the Project page for a little first-rate mastering with tools like an M/S processor, EBU Loudness metering, equalisation, and compression. In short, Studio One has everything you need to deliver fully polished EDM tracks and upload them straight to your streaming platform of choice.
What’s your go-to DAW for EDM? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below!
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