jrmasteringsmall

In this article, I will discuss the best music recording software and best music production software for your DAW home recording studio in 2020.

 

Since 1990, I've worked with every one of these recording software programs to some extent and have solid advice to offer on each one.  

I limited this review to only 5 programs because this article is titled "the best" music recording software.  A program like Reaper can record and produce music very well, but you wouldn't open up a recording studio with a $60 program as your main DAW software!

FYI - ALL of these programs are pretty difficult (time consuming) to learn.  It might take you two hours just to figure out how to play ONE NOTE on a music keyboard!

But with practice and a few free YouTube instructional videos, you could become very proficient in a few months.  Just be patient and learn step-by-step.  Don't get discouraged.  Realize that even the best sound engineers and producers in the world had to start somewhere and learn from scratch.

 

1. PRO TOOLS

Pro Tools HD Music Recording Software

See Current Price - Avid Pro Tools HD Native

PROS:  
The top recording software and still industry standard at the highest level.  This means if you needed to change studios, you could easily hand the whole project session over to them and they would be able to work with it.

The hardware accelerated version is the most stable of all the software choices for Pro Tools and on this page.  You can throw a lot of tracks and plugins at this software and the powerful hardware makes sure it won't blow up as easily as other programs.  But this stability and power comes at a price... $$$  

FYI - DAW software does occasionally freeze, blue screen, etc. on export or when pushed to the track and plugin limit.  This is probably why Pro Tools is still the industry standard.  You can't keep going blue screen when the client is paying $1,000 an hour!

CONS: 
Very expensive for the entire hookup.  Even some of the exact same plugins cost more, just because they're "Pro Tools" compatible.

CONCLUSION:
Since this is mainly a "recording" software article, Pro Tools has to be #1.  The fact that so many studios use it as their main DAW software is too great a factor to ignore.  Not to mention the rock solid stability.  You get what you pay for...

 

2. CUBASE NUENDO OR CUBASE

Cubase Music Recording Software

See Current Price - Cubase 8.5

PROS: 
Very user-friendly with tons of options that help you create a great workflow.  

Record, mix, master, compose it does it all very well!

CONS: 
Regular Cubase is a little less stable than Cubase Nuedo with a few less feature, but a very good choice.

Nowhere near as stable as Pro Tools.

CONCLUSION: 
Cubase is my personal DAW software of choice.  It has more options and is just as smooth as Pro Tool on the recording, mixing, and mastering end. But destroys them when it comes to music production.  It's by far the best "all-around" DAW software.

 

3. LOGIC

Logic Music Recording Software

See Current Price - Logic Pro

PROS: 
It's the #1 choice of Apple computer users, and it's also compatible with Garageband.

A lot of big music producers use it.  Lots of features to quickly create songs.

Great Midi control of external instruments.

CONS: 
I've never seen Logic on a PC and believe it's Apple computer only.

When mixing, the workflow is good, but not as good as Cubase.

CONCLUSION: 
Logic is an amazing software.  It's the Mac's version of Cubase!

 

4. ABLETON LIVE

Abelton Live Music Recording Software

See Current Price - Abelton Live 9

PROS: 
The very best software for looping, stretching and sequencing music.  Allows you to quickly create music on the fly.

It's a great program for someone who doesn't need all the technical options, and just wants to pump out song compositions fast.

CONS: 
When it comes to mixing, it doesn't have the "must have" options that some of the other programs do.  Options that make the mixing engineer's life easier.

I've heard many complain about lesser sound quality coming from the Ableton engine, though I have not confirmed this.

CONCLUSION: 
Ableton Live is a great music production software.  There are better choices out there for recording, mixing, and mastering.

 

5. SONAR

Sonar Music Recording Software

See Current Price - Sonar Professional

PROS: 
It's stable.  It's cheap.  The pro version is only $199.

CONS: 
The mixing board layout is crap, as you can see above.  It's the opposite of easy workflow!

Everyone has moved on to bigger and better DAW software.

CONCLUSION: 
Sonar is the upgraded "renamed" version of Cakewalk from back in the 90's!  I never really liked Calkwalk, and when other programs came out that were better, like Cubase, I stopped using Sonar.
{article 163}[layout]{/article}

My Best Mixing & Mastering Articles

17 Common Mixing Mistakes To Avoid!
common mixing mistakes to avoid
 
These are the top 17 most common mixing mistakes to avoid.  Correcting them will greatly improve your audio mastering results, and make your music sound professional and radio ready.
 
 
Read more ...
How To Prepare Your Songs For Mastering
preparing mixes for mastering

In this article, we'll show you how to prepare your mixes for mastering.

 

Read more ...
How To Prepare Your Songs For Mixing
prepare songs for mixing

In this article, I'll show you how to prepare your songs for mixing.

 

Read more ...
John Rogers - Danceur Magazine Interview (July 2018)

Since the begining of his solo career in 2008, I mastered over 80 songs with the top French recording artist NYLS.  Great pop dance music with a lot of remixes.  During his entire career (as of now), I mastered most of if not all the song he released.  It was a great pleasure working with NYLS and Nico at Icon Records!

Read more ...
My First Music Video!

Here's the first music video I directed, Mahalin Muli by JAI, released on July 10th, 2018.  I also wrote more than half of the script. 

Read more ...
Audio Mastering Software Processors

Here are the series of audio mastering software processors I've used on the over 30,000 songs I've mastered since 1999.  In this video, I use mostly izotope ozone plugins because it's easier to explain using them.  In real-life, I do mix in a few hardware pieces, and a waves plugin.

 

Read more ...
A/B Comparison In Mastering
In this video I do a quick A/B comparison of a few songs.  In my audio mastering secrets video series, I get a lot more in-depth into exactly what you are trying to achieve sonically for your genre/style of music.
 
Read more ...
Mid Side EQ In Mastering

This is a quick video on how a mid-side processor works, and how to check the stereo field of your mix using a mid-side processor equalizer.

 

Read more ...
Fixing A Bad Mix With Mastering

A lot of mastering engineers are afraid to make drastic changes to a mix they are working on.  That, or they're stuck in the familiarity of always making only small changes. 

In this video I show how you can turn a weak mix (definitely wouldn't call it bad) into a great sounding master, simply by pushing your levels a little more than you might be used to.

 

Read more ...
Mastering Compression Techniques

This video shows one of the more imptotant compression techniques I use in audio mastering.  In my audio Mastering Secrets Video Series, I explain everything you need to know about audio mastering.

 

Read more ...
Go to top