Your recording software is what you will use as the motive for all of this other gear. Without it you can’t record a track, make a beat, or do much of anything! It’s the link between your ideas and the realization of those ideas.
A lot of people like to use the word DAW very loosely. Your recording software, coupled with your computer and audio interface is what makes up your Digital Audio Workstation. That said, there is a ton of recording software out there. Truth be told, no one program is tangibly better than another. It all comes down to personal preference, or simply what you have tried and enjoyed. All that matters in the end is the sound you produce.
For me, 3 programs have served me remarkably well over the years:
- Image Line’s FL Studio
- Propellerhead’s Reason
- Steinberg’s Nuendo
- Audacity (free!)
As a sample based producer, I can easily lay down tracks inside of FL studio. The program lends itself very well to this style, and proves to be remarkably versatile when it comes down to mixing, EQing, chopping samples, and sequencing loops. I simply don’t have a need to switch!
As a producer who also crafts original beats, Reason is by far the easiest and most satisfying program I have ever used. In fact, if it weren’t for the less than stellar ReCycle option for slicing samples, I would probably use Reason for all of my beats. The feeling you get from banging out a loop or melody inside here is unmatched.
When it comes to vocals, Nuendo gets my vote. It’s super easy to use, and the interface is clean and organized. Even when I knew very little about recording vocals and editing them, I was able to open this program and lay down a track.
If you are hell bent on using other programs, by all means you should. There aren’t any awards for best software program, and for good reason. There is no best. It all comes down to how much effort you put into learning one.