Tech Tips - Top 5 Budget DAWs for Beginners / 1210

Top 5 Budget DAWs for Beginners

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So you’re thinking of producing your own music or perhaps wanting to try out a new DAW but on a tight budget?

Look no further, we’ve got you covered as Protoculture’s here to check out his Top 5 and look at some of the pros and cons.

Food for thought and definitely worth checking out before you decide to splash your cash on something that may not be right for you!


Nice round up of what’s available on the market :wink:

Waweform from Tracktion could be an interesting one as well, they have a free version and it’s running on Win, MacOS & Linux ( and even Raspberry Pi and tablets ).

Again, no subtitles :frowning:

Hey there @Sapphyr

Not sure to understand what subtitle feature you would like to have on the tutorials videos.

Aren’t you an English native speaking ?? :wink:

Subtitles would make sense if the videos were in another language than English or vice-versa IMHO.

English, please

Great overview! I use Studio One 5, love that DAW!

Well, still don’t get it, the videos are already in English :wink: I’m a French native and I find the courses easy enough ( language wise speaking, not the content ) to follow with the narrative audio, I’m not sure if subtitles would help, except if they will be in French of course :blush: Next to that, no clue how easy or not it would be for S.A to implement subtitles into their videos.

Some of the shorter videos like this are available on the Youtube channel too… I’m also not following why you’d need English subtitles for this but Youtube should add them automatically if you really need it.

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I hopped around a lot
I actually started in FL Studio Producer Bundle and just found the workflow annoying with all the renaming I had to do and color picker. I found most others can select multiple tracks and change it all in 1 go. Also the pattern workflow wasn’t for me.

Ableton I moved onto but over time I found myself more working in session view instead of actually making anything.

Reaper… Hmmm it’s good and has a really nice workflow but I found some of the menus to be hard to understand and work with especially with routing

Studio One 5 is great and is something when I don’t think it can do something it most certainly can. I like a number of the features and the hardware integration for many control surfaces and stuff.

Recently been giving Reason 11 Suite a try as I got it on a big discount. REALLY loving the workflow of how fast I can route certain things and make really interesting sounds.
It also has a melodyne like engine built right into the sequencer so time stretching anything is pretty smooth, not as accurate at melodyne but in the mix it probably wouldn’t be too noticable.
The up front nature of Reason is what pulls me in the most as I can see everything at a quick glance and see all the routings in a “physical” way where I know where my kick is routing to all the compressors or adding LFOs to modulate things you normally wouldn’t.
Now the DAW side isn’t as feature rich but I think it makes up for it in a more simplistic “It just works” sort of way.

Bonus to the Reason DAW is that the console is a SSL9000K emulation and has all the immediate phase, gain, EQ, compressor, ect. on every channel you make without needing to add in a ton of plugins. Also delay compensation doesn’t kick in from adding compressors like it does in Studio One 5

Great round up Nate
I was using Reason suite until they released Reason +, and I felt as little let down by it. I was always interested in Cubase and partly due to watching your tutorials on SA. I tried the demo, but the price put me off, especially as I had invested so much in Reason.

The I discovered the Presonus Sphere and Studio One… tbh I have not looked back, it looks and feels much like Cubase - and the slick look of the UI is very smart. It’s certainly a very capable DAW, and already have had some fantastic results with it.

The added benefit is I can use Reason plugin inside Studio One, but tbh, I haven’t felt the need to yet.

TBH if I wasn’t so invested in Cubase I’d totally be in Studio One too. There’s a few pro features like the post production and music to picture features in Cubase which it can’t compete, but very few DAW’s can and chances are you won’t need that for music production in general.

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Um, anybody tell you Nate, that you strongly resemble that Marula Music guy?? insert laugh emoji’s with tears streaming here

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I have been playing around with Cakewalk for a while and it seems to have most features I need at my level, definitely need to BYO instruments and I’m not sure the effects are great either but I haven’t used them heaps yet. I’m using it as a way to make myself prove that it’s worth investing in a more fully featured DAW if I use it enough, rather than buying Ableton and barely touching it like I’m sure many do! Nice to have lots of options, thanks for mentioning them in this video.

Great Tutorial