• 10 Best DAWs UK 2022 Guide | Logic, Ableton and More 1
  • 10 Best DAWs UK 2022 Guide | Logic, Ableton and More 2
  • 10 Best DAWs UK 2022 Guide | Logic, Ableton and More 3
  • 10 Best DAWs UK 2022 Guide | Logic, Ableton and More 4
  • 10 Best DAWs UK 2022 Guide | Logic, Ableton and More 5

10 Best DAWs UK 2022 Guide | Logic, Ableton and More

Whether you're in a music studio or your bedroom, a good DAW is essential for arranging and mixing vocals, guitar and other audio. Short for Digital Audio Workstation, this software allows you to record, reorganise, layer and edit audio tracks for a range of professional and amateur projects.


In this article, we compare the 10 best DAWs in the UK, including Pro Tools, Ableton and Logic. From industry-leading workstations for professional mastering, to free open source software that's ideal for beginners, read on for our recommendations for both PC and Mac. 

This Article's Contributors

mybest Editing Team
  • Last updated: 06-04-2022
Table of Contents

Compare the Best DAWs

For those after a quick look, here are some of our picks:


  1. Apple - Logic Pro for £174.99
  2. Ableton - Live 11 for £330.00
  3. Avid - Pro Tools for £94.00
  4. Audacity Team - Audacity for £0.00
  5. Apple - Garage Band for £0.00

For a more in-depth look at the comprehensive top 10 selection, make sure to read on to learn more about the different types of DAWs available and understand how our ranking was determined.


This article's chosen EC site price listings are reflective of its publishing date.

Image
Apple Logic Pro 1

Apple

Ableton Live 11 1

Ableton

Avid Pro Tools 1

Avid

Audacity Team Audacity 1

Audacity Team

Apple GarageBand 1

Apple

PreSonus Studio One 5 1

PreSonus

Image Line FL Studio Producer Edition v20 1

Image Line

Reason Studios Reason 12 1

Reason Studios

Bitwig Bitwig Studio 1

Bitwig

Steinberg Cubase 12 1

Steinberg

Name

Logic Pro

Live 11

Pro Tools

Audacity

GarageBand

Studio One 5

FL Studio Producer Edition v20

Reason 12

Bitwig Studio

Cubase 12

Features

Popular DAW for Beat-Making, Editing and Mixing on Mac

Professional DAW Optimised for Live Performance

The Industry Standard for Professional Audio

An Open-Source DAW That’s Free to Download

Accessible, User-Friendly DAW for Beginners

Easy Workflow With Integrated Mastering Capabilities

Collaborate on Projects Between Windows and Mac

An Optimised DAW for Sampling With Customisable Controls

Advanced Comping Bundled With a Free Copy of XO

An Award-Winning DAW With Audio Resolutions up to 192kHz

Price£174.99£319.00£94.00£0.00£0.00£79.00£153.00£459.00£322.00£499.00
Best For Production, mixing, compositionProduction, live performanceComposition, production, recording live musicMusic production, podcasting, audio recording Music and audio production, songwriting and composition, mixing Mixing, audio mastering and productionMusic production, mixing, live performanceMixing and samplingAudio recording, composition, liver performance, music productionMixing, professional audio production, live recording
Key FeaturesDolby Atmos tools, Logic remote, 3D object panner, Live Loops, step sequencing, multi-touch mixing, flex pitch, flex time, smart tempoLinked-track editing, tempo following, comping, note and velocity chance, audio to MIDI, audio-slicing, Max for Live120+ plugins, cloud collaboration, Avid Play, audio track automation, clip gain control, track quantisationSupports 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit, easy editing, unlimited sequential Undo and Redo, Spectrogram view mode, frequency analysis Apple Loops, Drummer, visual EQ, virtual instruments, autotune and pitch correction, flex timeDrag and drop workflow, integrated mastering capabilities, Audioloops library, Groove Extraction, Groove Delay, Fat Channel XTMulti-touch, MIDI learn, live DJ control, video effect visualisation, real-time audio effects, plug-in delay compensationMimic Creative Sampler, Humana vocal ensemble, Kong Drum Designer, ReGroove Mixer real-time groove console, advanced exporting, delay compensationComping, Operators, Expression Spread, Anti-Loops, The Grid, Ableton LINK Audio to MIDI chord conversion, MIDI controller integration, Scale Assistant, 64-bit digital engine, Audio Alignment
LevelIntermediate - proProProBeginner - intermediateBeginner - intermediateIntermediate - proBeginner - proIntermediate - proProIntermediate - pro
Compatible WithmacOS, iOSmacOS (High Sierra 10.13 - Monterey 12) , Windows 10macOs (Big Sur 11 - Monterey 12), Windows 10, compatible app for iOS and AndroidmacOS (High Sierra 10.13 - Big Sur 11), Windows 10/11, GNU/Linux and moremacOS (Big Sur 11 or later), iOS 14macOs (High Sierra 10.13 or higher), Windows 10, iPad (OS 10 or later), Android (6.0 Marshmallow or higher)macOS (El Capitan 10.11 or later), Windows 7 or latermacOS (High Sierra 10.13 or later), Windows 10 or latermacOS (Mojave 10.14 or later), Windows 7 or later, Linux (Ubuntu 18.04 or later)macOS (Big Sur - Monterey), Windows 10 or higher
Minimum RequirementsmacOS 11 or later, 6 GB available storage space for minimum installation or 72 GB for full Sound Library - iPadOS 14.0 or later - iPhone iOS 14.0 or laterIntel® Core™ i5 processor/AMD multi-core processor/Apple M1, 8 GB RAM, 3 GB disk space M1 or Intel® Core i5/7/9 (depending on version), 16GB RAM, 15 GB available disk space, PCIe slot for HDX or HD Native card2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)4 GB RAM, 20 GB available storage space (macOS only)Intel Core i3/AMD A10, 4 GB RAM, 2.5 - 32.6 GB available space (dependent on version), Monitor with 1366 x 768 resolution 4 GB RAM, 4 GB available spaceIntel/AMD multi-core processor/Apple M1, 4 GB RAM, 5.5. GB available spaceDual-core AMD or Intel CPU/Apple Silicon CPU, 64-bit dual-core processor, 4 GB RAM, 12 GB available space8 GB RAM, 70 GB available space
Audio Plugin FormatAUAU, VST-2, VST-3 RTAS, AAXVST (AU via plugins manager)AUVST-2, VST-3, AU, ReWireVST, AU, ReWireVST-3, AU, AAXVST-2, VST-3VST
Trial Version AvailableYesYesYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYes
UpgradesNoYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYes
SubscriptionNoNoYesNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Link

What Is a DAW?

What Is a DAW?

A digital audio workstation, or DAW, is a useful tool for musicians, composers and producers of all levels. DAW software provides users with a graphical interface for music creation, typically in the form of a multi-track recorder and mixer window, that can be installed on your computer, tablet or smartphone.


The number of different DAWs on the market is practically endless, making it relatively easy to find a suitable one for your primary focus and preferred working style. Fostering the perfect environment for audio creativity, DAWs can be used with external hardware, including audio interfaces, recording equipment and mixing desks.

How to Choose a DAW in the UK

Key Points to Consider

  1. Consider Your Focus and How You Plan On Using a DAW
  2. Make Sure Your Hardware Meets the Minimum Requirements
  3. Check the Format for Audio Plugin Compatibility
  4. Start With a Free or Trial Version to See Whether a DAW Is Right for You

1. Look For Features Based on Whether You Want a DAW for Composition, Audio Production or Mixing

1. Look For Features Based on Whether You Want a DAW for Composition, Audio Production or Mixing

Realtime and Step Sequencing Is Ideal for Music Composition

Composers will want to look for a DAW with practical functions for writing music. For example, having access to a library of virtual instruments will make it easier to write scores and more complex compositions. 


You may also want to look for a DAW with a real-time sequencer if you are already familiar, or more comfortable with live recording. Using the metronome, your MIDI input is recorded in real-time as you play. This can then be quantised for more detailed editing later on.


Choosing a DAW with a step sequencer is useful for fine-tuning and editing notation. This lets you draw notes or chords by hand, allowing you to compose a bar or phrase without the need for a MIDI keyboard – or even the ability to play the piano!

Composer, songwriter or musician? Check out these MIDI keyboards

Seek Out Pro Software With High-Quality Mastering for Music Production

Producers should prioritise DAWs that ensure high-quality audio mastering. You'll want to have as much control over your audio files as possible, whether you're working with live recordings, samples or MIDI instruments.


Even if you're just starting out, opting for a professional DAW can have its benefits. Although not essential, pro software often allows access to a more extensive sample library, lets you layer a greater number of tracks, and comes packed with features.


That said, when selecting a DAW for production, the most important thing to consider is the type of music you are making and for what purpose. This will help you to identify which specific features will be the most practical for your needs.

Tools That Let You Modify Tempo Are Great for DJs and Mixing

If you're a DJ, having a DAW with specific controls for beatmatching is key. Look for features that let you easily identify and modify tempo to manipulate and alter the BPM of tracks. If you're after a DAW that's optimised for live performance, you'll want to be able to trigger loops and sounds on the fly, for real-time mixing and seamless transitions.


However, make sure to check whether it's compatible with your controller, as not all DAWs are universal. This is especially important if you use jog wheels or MIDI pads. You may instead want to consider using a DAW to mix tracks and a specialised DJ software, such as Serato DJ or Traktor Pro, for live performance.

Ready to get mixing? Here are the 10 best DJ controllers in the UK.

2. Mac, PC or Tablet? Make Sure Your Hardware Meets the Minimum Requirements

2. Mac, PC or Tablet? Make Sure Your Hardware Meets the Minimum Requirements

There are DAWs for pretty much every operating system, whether you use a computer, tablet or smartphone. So, you'll need to consider processing power, portability and the hardware you already own


DAWs designed to run on a desktop or laptop computer are going to be the most powerful, due to the higher specs of these machines. You will, however, need to check whether it's compatible with Windows, macOS or Linux, and the minimum requirements for your chosen version.


DAW apps for Android and iOS are going to be somewhat pared-down, but shouldn't be written off entirely. Not only will they allow you to make music on the go, but you may find the user interface more intuitive than on Mac or PC.

Try using acoustic foam to improve sound quality when recording audio at home.

3. Check the Format for Audio Plugin Compatibility

3. Check the Format for Audio Plugin Compatibility

To ensure your chosen DAW will be compatible with your setup, you will need to check the audio plugin format it's designed to work with. Whilst you may come across other plugin formats, such as AAX and TDM, the three primary ones to familiarise yourself with are VST, AU and RTAX.


  • VST: Virtual Studio Technology was first created in 1996 and is a popular industry standard. This plugin is compatible with most DAWs for both Windows and macOS, and both 32-bit and 64-bit versions are available.

  • AU: Audio Units is a native plugin format to macOS. You can expect faster processing speeds if you are using AU with an Apple device as this plugin is built into the operating system itself. Just be aware that you cannot change the plugin file path.

  • RTAS: Real-Time Audio Suite is a plugin used specifically with Avid Pro Tools. It's important to note that RTAS is only supported up to Pro Tools 10.3.8, and all subsequent versions will use AAX (Avid Audio Extension). This is because RTAS can only run in a 32-bit environment, whilst AAX is compatible with 64-bit versions of Pro Tools 11 and above.

4. Start With a Free or Trial Version to See Whether a DAW Is Right for You

4. Start With a Free or Trial Version to See Whether a DAW Is Right for You

You will quickly notice that DAWs are often available in multiple versions. Many companies will even offer a trial version that you can sample before committing to buy. We recommend starting with free software or a trial version if you're a beginner or you're not already familiar with a specific DAW.


The only real drawback of entry-level or trial DAWs is that you may find you are limited to 8 or 16 tracks. This isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on how you prefer to work. However, some may find this restriction limiting in the long run.


Remember, when it comes to DAWs, more expensive doesn't always mean better! So, it may be beneficial to try out various software packages to find the right fit. Even if you opt for a free or earlier version of a particular software, you'll likely have the option to upgrade later should you wish to.

10 Best DAWs in the UK

This ranking has been compiled by the writing team at mybest UK via careful evaluation of the points made in the buying guide and thorough research of each product and comparing multiple verified customer reviews across the EC sites used.

AppleLogic Pro

£174.99

Best For Production, mixing, composition
Key FeaturesDolby Atmos tools, Logic remote, 3D object panner, Live Loops, step sequencing, multi-touch mixing, flex pitch, flex time, smart tempo
LevelIntermediate - pro
Compatible WithmacOS, iOS
Minimum RequirementsmacOS 11 or later, 6 GB available storage space for minimum installation or 72 GB for full Sound Library - iPadOS 14.0 or later - iPhone iOS 14.0 or later
Audio Plugin FormatAU
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesNo
SubscriptionNo
Best For Production, live performance
Key FeaturesLinked-track editing, tempo following, comping, note and velocity chance, audio to MIDI, audio-slicing, Max for Live
LevelPro
Compatible WithmacOS (High Sierra 10.13 - Monterey 12) , Windows 10
Minimum RequirementsIntel® Core™ i5 processor/AMD multi-core processor/Apple M1, 8 GB RAM, 3 GB disk space
Audio Plugin FormatAU, VST-2, VST-3
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionNo
Best For Composition, production, recording live music
Key Features120+ plugins, cloud collaboration, Avid Play, audio track automation, clip gain control, track quantisation
LevelPro
Compatible WithmacOs (Big Sur 11 - Monterey 12), Windows 10, compatible app for iOS and Android
Minimum Requirements M1 or Intel® Core i5/7/9 (depending on version), 16GB RAM, 15 GB available disk space, PCIe slot for HDX or HD Native card
Audio Plugin FormatRTAS, AAX
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionYes

Audacity TeamAudacity

£0.00

Best For Music production, podcasting, audio recording
Key FeaturesSupports 16-bit, 24-bit and 32-bit, easy editing, unlimited sequential Undo and Redo, Spectrogram view mode, frequency analysis
LevelBeginner - intermediate
Compatible WithmacOS (High Sierra 10.13 - Big Sur 11), Windows 10/11, GNU/Linux and more
Minimum Requirements2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
Audio Plugin FormatVST (AU via plugins manager)
Trial Version AvailableNo
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionNo
Best For Music and audio production, songwriting and composition, mixing
Key FeaturesApple Loops, Drummer, visual EQ, virtual instruments, autotune and pitch correction, flex time
LevelBeginner - intermediate
Compatible WithmacOS (Big Sur 11 or later), iOS 14
Minimum Requirements4 GB RAM, 20 GB available storage space (macOS only)
Audio Plugin FormatAU
Trial Version AvailableNo
UpgradesNo
SubscriptionNo
Best For Mixing, audio mastering and production
Key FeaturesDrag and drop workflow, integrated mastering capabilities, Audioloops library, Groove Extraction, Groove Delay, Fat Channel XT
LevelIntermediate - pro
Compatible WithmacOs (High Sierra 10.13 or higher), Windows 10, iPad (OS 10 or later), Android (6.0 Marshmallow or higher)
Minimum RequirementsIntel Core i3/AMD A10, 4 GB RAM, 2.5 - 32.6 GB available space (dependent on version), Monitor with 1366 x 768 resolution
Audio Plugin FormatVST-2, VST-3, AU, ReWire
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionNo

Image LineFL Studio Producer Edition v20

£153.00

Best For Music production, mixing, live performance
Key FeaturesMulti-touch, MIDI learn, live DJ control, video effect visualisation, real-time audio effects, plug-in delay compensation
LevelBeginner - pro
Compatible WithmacOS (El Capitan 10.11 or later), Windows 7 or later
Minimum Requirements4 GB RAM, 4 GB available space
Audio Plugin FormatVST, AU, ReWire
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionNo
Best For Mixing and sampling
Key FeaturesMimic Creative Sampler, Humana vocal ensemble, Kong Drum Designer, ReGroove Mixer real-time groove console, advanced exporting, delay compensation
LevelIntermediate - pro
Compatible WithmacOS (High Sierra 10.13 or later), Windows 10 or later
Minimum RequirementsIntel/AMD multi-core processor/Apple M1, 4 GB RAM, 5.5. GB available space
Audio Plugin FormatVST-3, AU, AAX
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionNo
Best For Audio recording, composition, liver performance, music production
Key FeaturesComping, Operators, Expression Spread, Anti-Loops, The Grid, Ableton LINK
LevelPro
Compatible WithmacOS (Mojave 10.14 or later), Windows 7 or later, Linux (Ubuntu 18.04 or later)
Minimum RequirementsDual-core AMD or Intel CPU/Apple Silicon CPU, 64-bit dual-core processor, 4 GB RAM, 12 GB available space
Audio Plugin FormatVST-2, VST-3
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionNo
Best For Mixing, professional audio production, live recording
Key FeaturesAudio to MIDI chord conversion, MIDI controller integration, Scale Assistant, 64-bit digital engine, Audio Alignment
LevelIntermediate - pro
Compatible WithmacOS (Big Sur - Monterey), Windows 10 or higher
Minimum Requirements8 GB RAM, 70 GB available space
Audio Plugin FormatVST
Trial Version AvailableYes
UpgradesYes
SubscriptionNo

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Written and researched by Wren Mann

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