A DAW (digital audio workstation) is a computer program or mobile software (i.e., an iOS or Android application) used by your favorite recording artists, music producers, film composers, sound designers, and audio engineers as a virtual environment to create intellectual property so that you as a listener can enjoy all that stuff on your earbuds, headphones or your smartphone's speaker as you do your household chores or in the gym, etc.

Umm, so the standard functions used in a music sequencer (i.e., a DAW) include but are not limited to:
  • To record audio (e.g., vocals, instruments, and sound effects)
  • To compose music (e.g., film scores, soundtracks, instrumentals, or beats)
  • To mix music (i.e., to enhance sound recordings or fix audio recordings that are bad)
  • To master music (i.e., to add mojo (secret sauce) or rejuvenate bad mixes at the last minute)
Below are examples of popular music production software programs used in contemporary times:

Audio software developer​
Desktop version​
Supported OS​
Mobile version​
Image-Line SoftwareFL Studio (previously called Fruity Loops)macOS and MS WindowsFL Studio Mobile
Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH.Cubase Pro, Nuendo, WavelabmacOS and MS WindowsCubasis
PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc.Studio One ProfessionalmacOS and MS Windows
Apple Inc.Logic Pro, GarageBandmacOS only (it's Apple, duh!)
Cockos, Inc.REAPERLinux, macOS, and MS Windows
Avid Technology, Inc.Pro ToolsmacOS and MS Windows
AbletonAbleton LivemacOS and MS Windows
Reason StudiosReasonmacOS and MS Windows
Bitwig GmbH.Bitwig StudioLinux, macOS, and MS Windows
Harrison ConsolesHarrison MixbusLinux, macOS, and MS Windows

Q: What is the best studio software?​

I know nobody likes this answer, but it depends.

So here is the thing, if you are a bedroom beatmaker, a bedroom mastering engineer, or a bedroom whatever; best believe you can pretty much use any music software you are comfortable with since at this novice stage it really doesn't matter which DAW you decide to use.

And what you are currently doing it's probably still a hobby; it's not like you are running a business with strict deadlines to meet. You might even quit music production altogether. Hence, a word to the wise is don't rush spending your hard-earned money on audio software plug-in bundles or music recording products.

However; if your ultimate goal is to work in the music industry with already established people who know what they are doing, you may want to seriously learn how to use Avid Pro Tools, especially if you have to start off your career as an intern or an assistant mixing engineer.

But for instrumentals (i.e., making beats), you can stick to whatever audio software you are familiar with because after you've rendered all the audio tracks in your project, that stuff is most likely going to end up in a well-known mixer's Pro Tools session assuming you now at a stage where you find yourself working with household names. In other words, your main focus in this situation is beat-making and not mixing or audio mastering. Therefore learning Avid's Pro Tools is optional—you don't need it.

Q: What DAW has a steep learning curve?​

Cubase—it's not beginner friendly, to say the least. It's one of the oldest music production systems, and with that said, some of its more advanced features you may either find them as mindblowing or simply bloat because, unless you get used to it, Cubase's workflow can be incredibly daunting. Again it's not for the faint-hearted, but if you need something with advanced functionality you ought to buy it. It's a good music business investment.