Which DAW to try?

I’m asking for recommendations please if you use one DAW more than any other (pc only please).

I have Reaper and Waveform but, recently getting more and more dishartened with Waveform purely on gfx errors like these.

Trial software




I haven’t really used Reaper and to be honest, probably because it’s so cheap. I know, I’m a snob lol…

Do you have a DAW that doesn’t have issues with most of you VST/s/3

I’m quite disgusted that these plugins work fine in almost free software vs a suposedly Pro DAW.


Use Reaper, it’s great…

I use Reaper. Only for making backing tracks at the moment. I like it. As I am probably only using 30% of it’s capability, I find it easy to use.

Rachel, don’t be deceived by Reaper’s relatively low price and license model. It is reliable and good quality, used by many here, including myself. And a recommendation from Kasper is significant, he being one of the most proficient and experienced players in the Community.

I have not had problems with VST plug-ins. The video tutorials are also an excellent aid to learning and getting the most from it.


I’m struggling to see the issues you are posting about in the images on my phone.

But, from my experience with the Open Source DAW, Ardour, (another DAW you should consider) the rendering of the plugin GUI is usually a function of the plugin itself, not of the DAW.

Here’s a (rather old) post from the Ardour community:



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Plus one for Reaper, great DAW, great value. :sunglasses:


Plus 2 for Reaper. Solid, highly customisable, good workflow. And if ya get stuck, just ask Kenny!

Cheers, Shane


I’ve tried Ableton and Reaper. Ableton Lite came free with my Focusrite, Reaper I paid for and did some tutorials with. I got my skills in Reaper roughly equivalent to my Ableton skills - which is a basic but working ability.

I’m back with Ableton. Reaper is fine but I find it ugly and non-intuitive. Ableton is a bit more intuitive.

I was finding that I had to manually tweak settings or add plugins/sounds for the most basic stuff in Reaper - even to get an actual metronome click! Whereas Ableton has tonnes of stuff built in. Sounds, virtual instruments, effects, etc.

What I will give Reaper is that it loads heaps faster than Ableton.

Ableton costs plenty more than Reaper, although I haven’t needed to upgrade yet. But I will at some stage.

I know I’m in the minority here of being an Ableton fan. Reaper is ok but I think much of the fan base behind it is because of the price.

Having said all that, if I had a Mac I’d use the Apple stuff. Looks awesome.

I also didn’t get on with Reaper when I tried it, and went back to Ardour.

That’s not that Reaper is worse than Ardour, it mainly because it didn’t do anything for me that Ardour couldn’t. And I have been using Ardour on and off since around V2 or 3 (and it’s now up to v8.1).

In my view, a huge amount is about familiarity and, although most DAWs work vaguely the same way, and have the same core set of features, they often have different workflows, and the way the gui is laid out is different from other DAWs.

A great example of this is Ardour (fully Open Source) versus Mixbus 32C (closed source, commercial product, but highly based on Ardour code with a bunch of proprietary capabilities added).

Now Ardour and Mixbus look very similar and, because the baseline gui is the same, it’s mostly very easy to move between the two. However, the workflow is quite different.

Mixbus is designed around the workflow, control, and audio characteristics of the renowned Harrison 32C analogue console, used by Michael Jackson, Abba, Queen, and many others.

One of the primary characteristics of Mixbus is that it emulates analogue mixing systems to give you a sound closer to classic analogue studios.

Interestingly, Harrison have just released a new physical 32C analogue console which is designed to maintain that workflow and analogue feel whilst integrating into a modern DAW environment. If you have a spare $90,000 and a high-end studio to fit it into, that is.

But I digress…

Back to DAWs, Ardour 8.1 was released recently and features improved tempo mapping which is really great for aligning the grid to performances which aren’t recorded to a click-track, and also some nice section editing capabilities.

It also has some Ableton-inspired clip launching capabilities which are great for building background tracks (it comes with a large library of drum parts and beats, as well as chord sequences and basslines) as well as cues that let you integrate clips into a conventional recording timeline.




Hi all, Interesting reading, lots of support for Reaper it seems. I think I will have to try a few of these over the next week, See how they feel and record.

@Majik , yes I can immagine it wil be, the images are GUI errors on the top images vs correct images below in dfferent DAW’s. really tiny on a phone screen ,Anyway…

Of the list below only Waveform failed with Addictive Keys, Addictive Drums, BiasFX, Bias Amp and MEA-2, All the others DAW’s worked just fine. If theres something else happening here I cannot say.

I’m going to do a test this week of Reaper, Ardour, Studio One, Ableton Lite and Waveform with the fist few bars of the accoustic piece I recently learnt using the same settings on any used plugin.

I think I may post these as a Blind test with each DAW.
Could be interesting…


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It could be something like a missing library which is stopping the GUI rendering properly in Waveform, I guess.

It’s unusual though, and I didn’t see any general complaints about plugin GUI rendering with Waveform when I searched.

If you use the same recording and export it from one DAW into the others and apply the same plugins and settings, they will sound identical.

The only DAW I know which has a genuinely different sound is Mixbus 32C, and that is by design (as I said, to make it sound more like analogue).

I think the main difference between the DAWs in practice will be workflow and how you get on with the GUI. That’s more a matter of personal opinion and whether you are used to similar tools or not.

Of course, with all these tools there’s a learning curve and if switching from one to another, there’s going to be some reorientation and relearning to do.




I intended to record from each DAW, do you think they would sound different ?


Only in as much as your performance will be different each time (and, potentially, things like distance from the mic).

I suggest you try recording on each, simply so you understand the workflow and recording setup and options.

But I don’t see any point in a blind test as most DAWs are completely neutral when it comes to audio quality and sound.

If you get the gain staging the same on all the DAWs you mentioned, use the same plugins, and same plugin settings and mix levels, they will all sound pretty much the same.




By the way, I did find this:



Thank you everyone for you great input on this topic :slight_smile:

Ah yes this thread reminds me to get acquainted with Ardour :smiley:

I use reaper and I’m kind of used to it now.
For it’s price, it’s a broad and versatile software but I often even use Audacity because it just does some basic things a lot easier;
cutting, pasting, noise reduction or simply splitting stereo into mono.

Yes, as a basic audio editor (what it was designed for) Audacity can be very quick and easy to use as it has many built-in editing capabilities at your fingertips without having to load up a large DAW application and worry about plugins.


Keith in