Cheap (but great) DAW software

Below you will find a list of affordable Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software with prices between 5 and 100 US$. These DAWs are not really listed in a particular order but the most interesting and recently updated software packages are at the top. Check out the whole list, click on the links, read the reviews, they all have their own speciallity.
A great TIP is that some of them have the option to try them for a certain periode like 30 days, that is always a good thing to do. You can also install more than one DAW, and find out which one works best for you. It is fun to do.
If you have found any additional software or you have some comment on the existing list, please contact us through the comments page of our website.
Take a special look at DAW software that can grow with your skills. There are several brands that offer different versions with special upgrade pricing.


Ableton Live 10 Lite (windows - mac)

AbletonLive lite10Ableton Live 10 is the most used DAW by DJ's so this Lite version is a great opportunity to learn how this DAW works before you step up to one of the bigger versions. Lite is much more restricted than the other versions and only available with authorisation from a third party product purchase. But it is a good way to start learning the software. It sends you into the Ableton ecosystem; it puts you on the upgrade path to fuller editions of Live. Signing in to your account should tell you what you need to know about upgrades. You can add more content in the form of Live Packs, and all of Live’s instruments are available as individual purchases. Lite isn't fully loaded with instruments and effects, but it's compatible with AU and VST plug-ins, so you can take full advantage of the many plug-ins from other providers. Check out the video of Live Lite.

Website: ableton.com/live-lite
Price: 5 US$ (licenced with TriqTraq iPhone app)
There is an Ableton Live Lite licence bundled with some hardware, but also with a cheap iPhone app called TriqTraq.

Seven steps to get the 5$ licence:
1. Buy the ‘triqtraq - jam sequencer’ from the Apple App Store for 4.99 US$
2. In the triqtraq app, tap on MENU at the right bottom
3. Select EXPORT
4. Select Export as Ableton Live Set
5. Tap on ‘Don’t own Live? Get Ableton Live 10 Lite’
6. Fill in your email address and tap Submit
7. You will receive an email with ‘Your Ableton Live Lite Licence’ with the licence code and a download link

What others say: musictech.net - residentadvisor.net
Versions: ableton.com/live/compare-editions
Tutorials: ableton.com/live/learn-live


Steinberg Cubase LE 10.5 (windows - mac)
Cubase LECubase is a great professional DAW, around for many years now. The latest version is Cubase 10 but is not available as LE version yet but the other versions are all available as version 10. Cubase LE 9.5 offers you all the basic tools for recording, editing and mixing everything from the initial musical idea to the final track. Cubase LE assists you during the creative process, whether you are a songwriter, guitar player, vocalist or electronic music producer, Cubase has the right tools and features at hand. It supports 24 MIDI, 8 instrument, 16 audio tracks and 8 physical inputs with up to 24-bit/192 kHz.

Website: steinberg.net/cubase LE
Price: 20 US$ - Licence for Cubase LE 9.5 on eBay
What others say: musicappblog.com - sweetwater.com
Versions: Elements 95 $ - Artist 305 $ - Pro 544 $ - steinberg.net/cubase/compare-editions
Tutorials: Cubase LE Tutorials (15 videos)

 


Ableton Live Intro 10 (windows - mac)

Ableton Live IntroAbleton Live Intro offer much more than the lite version. It can hold 16 audio and MIDI tracks. You can use 4 software instruments with over 1500 sounds, 21 audio effects and 5 MIDI effects. If you are in need of a great, inexpensive digital audio workstation, (DAW), then you are going to love Ableton Live Intro. Withing minutes of setting up Live, you will be playing some of the great stock sounds within Live. Live Intro is great for someone who is just getting started in pro-audio. The price is great, and the capabilities that come with Intro are fantastic.

Website: www.ableton.com/live
Price: 94 US$
What others say: musictech.net - residentadvisor.net
Versions: ableton.com/live/compare-editions
Tutorials: ableton.com/live/learn-live

 


Steinberg Cubase Elements 10.5 (windows - mac)
 
Cubase ElementsCubase Elements 10 is the cheapest of the Cubase versions you can buy but it still has lot to offer. With it's low price (under 100 US$) you buy one of the best software DAWs there are available. The audio engine of Cubase is really of the best quality so if you want to create the best sounding music, you should go for Cubase. Elements can handle: 48 audio tracks, 64 MIDI tracks, 24 VST instrument tracks. It has 3 VST intstruments with over 100 sounds and 45 effect plugins. Check out the versions link below.

 

Website: steinberg.net/cubase
Price: 99 US$
What others say: keyboardmag.com
Versions: steinberg.net/cubase/compare-editions
Tutorials: Cubase Elements Tutorials (6 videos)

 


FL Studio 20 Fruity (windows - mac)
Fl Studio FruityImage Line FL Studio 20 Fruity Edition is a full-featured melody and loop creation environment. This production software's Mixer includes effects chains, audio sends, sidechain control, advanced automation, multi-touch support, and more. Its feature-packed Piano Roll makes arranging and sequencing a breeze. Beyond that, its flexible Playlist allows you to use Audio, Automation, and Note data in any combination. Benefit from a super-fast workflow, thanks to FL Studio's Browser. Use third-party VSTs to bolster its already impressive selection of built-in plug-ins. For loop building, editing, and mixing, FL Studio is an innovative music-making tool.

Studio One 4 Artist (windows - mac)
Studio One 4 ArtistPresonus Studio One 4 Artist provides an efficient, creative companion from initial inspiration to final export. Its efficient, single-screen interface houses an unlimited number of tracks, intuitive editing tools, and advanced virtual instruments, you spend your time creating music, not wondering what to click next. The 32-bit mix engine is state of the art, while the smooth, analog, superior sound quality of the virtual instruments comes from proprietary techniques that provide much higher controller resolution.
Intuitive single-window work environment with quick and easy drag-and-drop functionality and multi-touch support. Unlimited audio and instrument tracks, advanced automation features, virtual instruments, buses, and FX channels. Pristine sound quality with native 32-bit floating point resolution and support for up to 384 kHz audio. Exceptional new virtual instruments: Impact XT and SampleOne XT for powerful beat or loop-based composition, live sampling, and robust sample editing. Patterns allow for intuitive drum and melody composition via familiar drum machine/sequencer style UI.

Pro Tools (windows - mac)
 
Pro ToolsPro Tools offers extensive features and good user support. It has a good sound library and offers cloud collaboration, so your audio projects can easily be worked on and shared with multiple musicians. This software is ideal for editing audio post-creation as opposed to creating new beats or music directly in the software.
A major highlight of this software is its organization. Tracks can easily be compiled into one master recording, and all tracks are grouped into a playlist. This provides easy access to multiple recordings for one project. There are also a host of key commands so you can easily switch between playlists on a given track or move overlapped clips to another playlist.
Pro Tools comes with over 60 virtual instruments, thousands of sounds and a 2 GB loop library. You can also download additional sounds or purchase them from the Pro Tool store.
Pro Tools also supports over 60 plug-ins and access to 17 bonus plug-ins, depending on what plan you choose. The only supported plug-in format, however, is AAX. The type of plug-in you need may already be included with Pro Tools, but if you're looking for a software that supports many different plug-in formats, Pro Tools may not be your best bet.
Pro Tools is backed by Avid, a company that offers extensive support for its products. In addition to phone support, an online community forum, a knowledge base with frequently asked questions, a YouTube channel with tutorials, and official Pro Tools courses, Avid also provides a marketplace to connect with other musicians using Pro Tools. This can help you meet other Pro Tools users, troubleshoot problems, or connect and collaborate on a project.

 

Website: avid.com/pro-tools
Price: 25 US$ (paid monthly) or 299 US$ for the first year
What others say: business.com - soundonsound.com - g2crowd.com
Versions: avid.com/pro-tools/comparison
Tutorials: Pro Tools Tutorials (21 videos)


Magix Music Maker EDM (windows)

Magix music makerMagix Music Maker EDM is ready to produce your own electronic music. Thousands of cheering fans, sold out festivals and a whole lot of bass: Produce electronic music simply via drag & drop. With easy operation, crazy drops, pushing synthesizers and a whole lot of good vibes to boot.Drag & drop the Bass: A Soundpool offers everything you need for your next EDM production. Powerful basslines. Catchy vocal loops. Festival-ready melodies. And a whole lot of drops! Easily drag & drop to combine the audio building blocks. All loops are optimally calibrated to match your track. In the EDM edition, you get to choose up to 3 Soundpools for free. Activate your favorite instrument in Music Maker, choosing from more than 30 synthesizers, basses, strings and drum machines. Control software instruments using the keyboard, mouse or MIDI controller.

Website: magix.com/music-maker/edm-edition
Price: 30 US$
Versions: there is also an 80's edition, a trap edition and a Hip Hop edition for the same price.
Tutorials: Music Maker Tutorials

 
Magix Music Maker Plus (windows)


Magix Music Maker PlusMusic Maker Plus edition gives you the room you need to bring your ideas to life. And now you can even customize Music Maker Plus to fit your personal style. Simply pick one of the Music Maker editions and select the sounds, features and instruments which matter most to you. And no matter what you choose, your Music Maker is guaranteed to come equipped with a new professional sound engine and free updates. Sounds, features & instruments worth a total value of $299.00. Includes multicore support, one Soundpool Collection of your choice ($100.00 value), one Complete Soundpool Bundle of your choice (a value of $19.99) and 2 preset packs + 4 software instruments of your choice.

Website: magix.com/us/music/music-maker
Price: 60 US$
Versions: magix.com/music-maker/version comparison
Tutorials: Music Maker Tutorials

 
Samplitude Music Studio (windows)

Samplitude Music StudioSamplitude Music Studio offers artists and musicians everything they need for comprehensive music production and for making creative ideas a reality - from composing and recording to mixing and mastering songs. And all at the highest level and in outstanding audio quality. Tons of professionally pre-produced sounds, loops and instruments and high-quality effects and tools are included within the program. With powerful 64-bit technology, multicore support and multi-track recording in 24-bit/96 kHz, Samplitude Music Studio enables users to accomplish even complex productions. Samplitude Music Studio - enables unlimited creativity.

Website: magix.com/samplitude-music-studio
Price: 99 US$
Tutorials: Samplitude Music Studio Tutorials

 


GO TO LESSON 13 - SOFTWARE - DAW THE PRO CHOICE 


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