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How to Make Good Music

10 Best DAWs for Beginners in 2024

a stand alone computer with Best DAWs For Beginners
a stand alone computer with Best DAWs For Beginners
a stand alone computer with Best DAWs For Beginners

July 8th, 2024

Arib Khan

Are you an aspiring music producer looking to make your mark in the music industry? Do you often wonder, "How To Make Good Music" without breaking the bank on expensive software? If so, you've come to the right place.

In this guide, we'll dive into Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and help you explore the complexities of choosing the best one for beginners in 2024. Whether you're a budding musician, a seasoned audio engineer, or looking to create beats for your next hit single, this post is for you. Let's get started.

Are you ready to take your music production skills to the next level without sacrificing quality or breaking the bank? Musicfy's AI Voice Generator is here to save the day. With its intuitive interface and powerful features, you'll create professional-sounding tracks quickly.

Table Of Contents


What Are DAWs?


man mixing music with Best DAWs For Beginners


Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) are comprehensive software applications for recording, editing, and producing digital audio. They serve as virtual studios where musicians, producers, sound engineers, and audio professionals can create, manipulate, and arrange audio tracks with precision and flexibility. DAWs are pivotal in modern music production, offering many tools and functionalities that streamline the entire workflow from initial recording to final mastering.  

DAWs enable users to arrange and organize multiple audio tracks into cohesive compositions or projects. They feature intuitive interfaces where tracks can be layered, overlapped, and synchronized according to the desired structure of the piece. This capability extends to nonlinear editing, where users can freely manipulate the arrangement of audio clips and segments to experiment with different musical ideas or storytelling techniques.

Beyond basic recording and editing, DAWs offer a vast array of virtual instruments and effects plugins. These software-based instruments emulate the sounds of traditional instruments like pianos, guitars, and drums, as well as synthesizers and samplers that can create entirely new sounds. Effects plugins enhance audio tracks with reverbs, delays, EQs, compressors, and more, allowing for creative sound design and high-quality audio production directly within the DAW environment.

Collaboration and integration are also key features of modern DAWs. They support file sharing, project syncing, and real-time collaboration over networks or cloud services, enabling musicians and producers to work remotely on the same project. Integration with external hardware, MIDI controllers, and other software applications further enhances their versatility and compatibility with existing studio setups and workflows.

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The Role of DAWs in Music Production


man infront of laptop - Best DAWs For Beginners


Recording


One of the primary functions of DAWs is to capture audio recordings from various sources, including microphones, instruments, and MIDI controllers. DAWs provide a digital environment where musicians can record multiple tracks simultaneously or sequentially, ensuring each performance is captured with clarity and fidelity. Advanced recording features such as punchin recording, multi-take management, and real-time monitoring enable artists to directly achieve precise and professional quality recordings within the software.

Editing


DAWs excel in audio editing, offering robust tools for manipulating recorded audio tracks. Users can edit audio clips by adjusting timing, pitch, and volume levels and applying effects to enhance or transform the sound. Key editing functionalities include cut, copy, paste, trim, and crossfade, allowing for seamless transitions between audio segments. DAWs also support nondestructive editing, where changes can be made without altering the original audio file, providing flexibility for experimentation and refinement of musical arrangements.

Mixing


In the mixing stage, DAWs enable users to blend and balance multiple audio tracks to create a cohesive and polished final mix. Mixing tools within DAWs include EQ (Equalization) to adjust frequency responses, compression to control dynamics, reverb and delay effects for spatial enhancement, and automation to create dynamic changes over time. 

DAWs provide visual representations of audio waveforms and mixing consoles where tracks can be routed, panned, and adjusted precisely. This allows producers and engineers to sculpt the music's overall sound, ensuring clarity, depth, and emotional impact in the final mix.

Mastering


While primarily focused on recording, editing, and mixing, some DAWs offer basic mastering capabilities or integrate with specialized software. Mastering involves the final processing of the mixed audio to optimize its overall sound quality for distribution across various formats and platforms. 

This may include final adjustments to EQ, compression, stereo imaging, and loudness levels to achieve a cohesive, professional-sounding master that translates well across different playback systems.

Significance of Choosing The Right DAW For Beginners


man testing out Best DAWs For Beginners


Ease of Use and User Interface


For those just starting out, the user interface is absolutely vital. How important is the software for them? When they're learning, will they be able to figure it out quickly, or will they struggle? It's essential that they can move through the software with ease. It can't feel daunting or hinder their learning ability. 

They need something intuitive to focus on what's important: their creativity. If the software is too complicated, it will take them a long time to learn, which can be a problem if they want to move quickly in their learning process. They need something that will allow them to learn as they go. If they have to spend a lot of time learning the software, it will slow down their progress.

Learning Resources and Community Support


A strong learning resource base is important, especially in music production. Having tutorials and guides available can be a huge benefit. This way, they have a range of resources to pull from. They can learn from someone who knows the software inside and out. The community can also provide them with feedback on their work. They can learn from the people who are already doing it and get their feedback. That's going to be incredibly beneficial for their learning process.

Versatility and Compatibility


Having versatile software is key. They need to be able to try out different genres. They need to be able to experiment with all different kinds of sounds. They can't be limited. They need to have the ability to try out different things. They also need to be compatible with a range of plugins and instruments. It's essential that they can experiment with different sounds. If they don't have that ability, it can be limiting. They won't be able to experiment as much if they don't have that flexibility.

Affordability and Scalability


It's important to note that they don't want to spend much money initially. They need to find affordable and scalable software. They're just starting out, and they need to have access to something affordable. They also need to be able to scale up in the future. As they learn, they're going to need more features. They need the software to grow with them.

Creative Inspiration and Workflow Efficiency


The software needs to inspire them. They need to want to spend time with it and use it. Having features that drive their creativity can be a great benefit. If they feel inspired by the software, they will be more inclined to spend time working on music. It's also important that the software is efficient. They need to be able to work quickly. They don't want to get bogged down by a slow program. If it's inefficient, it will slow down their creative process.

Personal Preference and Comfort


At the end of the day, they need to like the software. They won't want to spend time with it if they don't like it. They need to feel comfortable using the software. They have to have confidence in it. They need to feel like they understand it. They won't want to use it if they don't like it. They need a program that aligns with their preferences and workflow habits.

Growing Accessibility of Music Production Tools For Beginners in 2024


man recording a song - Best DAWs For Beginners


Affordability and Availability


Music production tools have become more affordable, offering entry-level versions and subscription models that cater to beginners' budgets. This reduces financial barriers to entry and allows more aspiring producers to access professional-grade tools.

Moreover, there's a growing availability of free DAWs, plugins, virtual instruments, and sample libraries that provide essential functionalities without cost. This democratizes access to powerful production tools, enabling beginners to experiment and learn without upfront investment.

UserFriendly Interfaces and Learning Resources


Modern music production tools have user-friendly interfaces that simplify recording, editing, and mixing tasks. This intuitive design reduces the learning curve, allowing beginners to focus on creativity rather than technical challenges.

Online tutorials, forums, and educational platforms offer many learning resources for beginners. These resources empower newcomers to learn at their own pace and develop their skills systematically, covering everything from basic techniques to advanced production tips.

Mobile and CloudBased Solutions


Mobile apps and cloud-based platforms bring music production capabilities to smartphones, tablets, and web browsers, offering accessibility anywhere. This flexibility allows beginners to work on music projects anytime, anywhere, fostering continuous practice and creativity.

Cloud-based tools facilitate collaboration by enabling users to share projects, tracks, and ideas seamlessly. This collaborative environment encourages beginners to connect with peers, receive feedback, and learn from more experienced producers globally.

Integration with Virtual Instruments and Effects


Music production tools increasingly support integration with virtual instruments, audio effects plugins, and external hardware. This integration expands creative possibilities by offering a wide range of sounds, textures, and production techniques that beginners can explore and incorporate into their projects.

Community and Support Networks


Online communities, social media groups, and forums allow beginners to connect with fellow producers, share experiences, and seek advice. This supportive network fosters collaboration and encourages continuous learning and skill development through peer mentorship and constructive feedback.

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What Features Make a DAW Suitable for Beginners?


a work desk with Best DAWs For Beginners


An intuitive user interface is crucial when selecting the best DAW for beginners. With a user-friendly design, it becomes easier for newcomers to navigate the tool, reducing the learning curve and allowing them to focus more on creative aspects such as recording and editing. A DAW with a clear visual layout, straightforward menus, and logical organization makes it simpler for beginners to locate and use essential tools without extensive prior knowledge. 

Built-in Tutorials and Help Resources


The presence of built-in tutorials and help resources in a DAW can significantly aid beginners in mastering the software. These features guide users through basic functionalities, essential techniques, and common workflows, enabling them to get started quickly and build confidence. Offering interactive guides, contextual menus, or explainer videos, DAWs that provide onboarding support ensure that beginners can easily access and understand the software's various functions. 

DragandDrop Functionality


Draganddrop functionality is a powerful tool that simplifies audio and MIDI clip manipulation, making arranging and editing more intuitive. By allowing users to move elements around the workspace effortlessly, beginners can experiment freely without diving into complex editing techniques. This feature facilitates creative exploration and workflow efficiency, enhancing the user experience.

Wide Range of Builtin Sounds and Instruments


A diverse library of built-in sounds, virtual instruments, and sample packs is an essential feature in a DAW for beginners. It encourages creative exploration by providing access to different musical styles and genres without immediately requiring additional plugins or external sound libraries. With a wide range of built-in sounds, beginners can experiment with various sonic textures and expand their musical horizons.

Robust Customer Support and Community Engagement


Strong customer support and active community engagement are vital for DAW beginners. These resources offer valuable assistance, guidance, and inspiration, helping beginners troubleshoot issues effectively and accelerate their learning process. By providing access to responsive help desks, online forums, and experienced users, DAWs can foster a supportive environment where beginners can seek advice, share their work, and receive constructive feedback.

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10 Best DAWs for Beginners in 2024


multi screen setup with Best DAWs For Beginners


1. GarageBand


GarageBand offers an intuitive interface that's easily accessible for Mac users at no cost. Its built-in lessons, a wide range of loops, and user-friendly recording and editing tools make it ideal for beginners exploring music production.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Virtual instruments and an extensive sound library

  • Simple user interface perfect for newcomers

  • Integration with other Apple products

  • Builtin music lessons for skill development

Pros and Cons of Using GarageBand

 
Pros 

  •  Free for Mac users

  •  Simple and intuitive interface

  •  Good quality sound output

 Cons

  •   Limited advanced features

  •   Available only for macOS

  •   Restricted third-party plugin support

2. FL Studio


FL Studio's versatile interface appeals to beginners interested in electronic music and beatmaking. Its step sequencer and pattern-based workflow make it easy for novices to start creating music quickly.

Key Features and Benefits

  •  Wide variety of plugins and builtin instruments

  •  Loopbased composition tools

  •  Multiple editions to suit different budgets and needs

  •  Lifetime free updates

Pros and Cons of Using FL Studio

 
Pros

  •   Lifetime free updates

  •   Large online community and tutorial resources

  •   Ideal for electronic music production

 Cons

  • Potentially overwhelming interface for absolute beginners

  •  Higher cost for advanced editions

3. Ableton Live Intro


Ableton Live Intro offers a user-friendly interface with strengths in live performance and electronic music production. Its unique Session View allows for easy experimentation with loops and clips.

Key Features and Benefits


  • Realtime audio manipulation

  • Builtin effects and instruments

  • Integration with hardware controllers

  •  Extensive library of sounds and samples


Pros and Cons of Using Ableton Live Intro


 Pros

  •    Highly flexible workflow

  •    Strong support for live performance

  •    Good value for beginners

 Cons

  •    The higher learning curve for traditional recording and editing

  •    Limited track count in the Intro version


4. Cakewalk by BandLab


Cakewalk offers a comprehensive feature set that is free for Windows users. It's suitable for beginners who want a professional-grade DAW without initial cost.

Key Features and Benefits


  • Unlimited tracks

  • Integrated instruments and advanced mixing tools

  • Support for VST plugins and MIDI control

  • Professionalquality features at no cost


Pros and Cons of Using Cakewalk by BandLab


 Pros

  •   Free of charge

  •   Professionalquality features

  •   Supportive user community

 Cons

  •   Available only on Windows

  •   Potentially complex for absolute beginners


5. Reaper


Reaper offers a customizable interface and extensive functionality at an affordable price. It appeals to beginners interested in a DAW that can grow with their skills and needs.

Key Features and Benefits


  • Full MIDI and audio recording capabilities

  • Extensive editing tools

  • Supportive online community

  • Lowcost license with professional features


Pros and Cons of Using Reaper


Pros

  • Extensive customization options

  • Powerful editing tools

  • Small program footprint

Cons

  • Steep learning curve

  • Less polished interface compared to some other beginner DAWs


6. Studio One Prime


Why Is Studio One Prime a Good Starter DAW?

Studio One Prime offers a user-friendly interface and strong integration with PreSonus hardware. It's free and easy to use for beginners exploring music production.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Draganddrop functionality

  • Builtin sampler

  • Unlimited tracks for audio and MIDI

  • Support for third-party plugins


Pros and Cons of Using Studio One Prime


Pros

  • Free of charge

  • Intuitive draganddrop workflow

  • Comprehensive support resources

Cons

  • Limited built-in effects and instruments

  • Need to upgrade for more advanced features


7. Logic Pro X


Logic Pro X balances user-friendliness with advanced features, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced users. It's valuable for Mac users seeking a long-term DAW solution.

Key Features and Benefits


  • Extensive built-in instruments, loops, and effects

  • Powerful MIDI editor

  • Advanced recording and mixing capabilities

  • High-quality sound libraries


Pros and Cons of Using Logic Pro X


Pros

  • Comprehensive feature set

  • Good integration with macOS

  • High-quality sound libraries


Cons

  • Higher initial cost

  • Available only for macOS


8. LMMS (Linux MultiMedia Studio)


LMMS is an open-source DAW suitable for beginners interested in electronic music. It's compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Builtin synthesizers and sample libraries

  • Support for VST plugins

  • Customizable interface

  • An active community providing support and resources


Pros and Cons of Using LMMS


Pros

  • Free and opensource

  • Strong focus on electronic music production

  • Cross-platform compatibility


Cons

  • Less polished interface compared to commercial DAWs

  • Limited support for traditional recording


9. Tracktion T7


Tracktion T7 offers an intuitive single-screen interface, appealing to beginners who want simplicity and functionality. It's free and suitable for various music genres.

Key Features and Benefits


  • Unlimited audio and MIDI tracks

  • Builtin instruments

  • Draganddrop editing

  • Compatibility with third-party plugins


Pros and Cons of Using Tracktion T7


Pros

  • Free of charge

  • Ease of use

  • Single screen workflow reducing complexity

Cons

  • Fewer advanced features

  • The learning curve for those unfamiliar with DAWs


10. Audacity


Audacity is an open-source platform for audio editing and recording. It's suitable for beginners interested in basic recording, editing, and audio manipulation tasks.


Key Features and Benefits


  • Multitrack editing

  • Wide range of built-in effects

  • Support for various audio formats

  • Simple interface


Pros and Cons of Using Audacity


Pros

  • Free and opensource

  • Straightforward for basic audio tasks

  • Extensive tutorials and community support


Cons

  • Limited capabilities for MIDI editing and composition

  • Dated user interface


Tips for Selecting the Right DAW for Beginners


man using Best DAWs For Beginners


Budget


If you're on a tight budget, consider DAWs like GarageBand (Mac), Cakewalk by BandLab (Windows), LMMS (Windows, macOS, Linux), and Audacity (Windows, macOS, Linux). For more affordable options, FL Studio (various editions), Reaper, and Tracktion T7 offer flexible features at a reasonable price.

Type of Music


Different genres may require specific features or workflows. For electronic music beat making, FL Studio, Ableton Live, and LMMS excel due to their loop-based beat making and FL Studio, Ableton Live, and LMMS excel due to their loop-based workflows and electronic music features. On the other hand, DAWs like Reaper, Studio One Prime, and Logic Pro X are suitable for traditional recording and editing tasks.

Features


Depending on your needs, you may prioritize built-in instruments and sound libraries (GarageBand, Logic Pro X, Ableton Live) or third-party plugins and effects support. Consider your workflow preferences and choose a DAW that aligns with your music-making style.

Compatibility


To avoid technical issues, ensure the DAW you select is compatible with your operating system (Windows, macOS, or Linux).

Learning Curve


Consider the learning curve associated with each DAW. Some, like GarageBand and Tracktion T7, are beginner-friendly, while others, like Ableton Live and Logic Pro X, may take longer to master due to their advanced features.

LongTerm Goals


Consider your long-term goals and choose a DAW that can grow with you. DAWs like Reaper and Studio One Prime offer scalable features and upgrade paths to more advanced versions as your skills advance.

Create Viral Music In Seconds For Free with Musicfy's AI Music Generator


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One of Musicfy's standout features is the capability to use text-to-music. This feature allows users to describe a music style and instrumentals and leverage AI technology to instantly compose an entire song, from vocals and beats to all the elements that constitute a song. Imagine the possibilities. You can narrate the music you envision, and Musicfy transforms your description into a fully realized musical composition in seconds.

Musicfy offers a flagship feature that enables users to mimic the sound of an instrument using their voice. With a voice-to-instrument functionality, you can imitate the sound of a guitar, for example, and Musicfy will craft the exact guitar sound for you in seconds. This remarkable capability empowers users to experiment with various instrument sounds and enhance the quality of their music productions.

Musicfy is a game-changing tool for musicians, content creators, and music lovers seeking to explore new frontiers in music creation. The platform's AI-driven features, including voice cloning, text-to-music, and voice-to-instrument functionalities, provide unparalleled creative freedom and flexibility. Are you ready to harness the power of AI music generation? Dive into the world of Musicfy and start creating your next musical masterpiece today!

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Arib Khan

Author

Arib Khan, Founder of Musicfy

Arib Khan has been featured on Business Insider, VICE, and more. His passion and drive to help musicians is unbounded. He is on a mission to help anyone, from all walks of life, to create music with ease using AI.

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