Before you decide on the best DAW, you have to know what you’re working with. There are certain things to consider before you pick a DAW so you know you’re picking the right one.
First, make sure the DAW is compatible with your operating system. For example, some programs work with macOS and not Windows, and it’s important to know that.
Next, you’ll want to look at the audio plugin capability. There are three main formats for plugins: VST (Virtual Studio Technology), AU (Audio Units), and RTAS (Real-Time Audio Suite). These aren’t the only ones, but they’re the most common.
The AU format works with macOS and some DAWs that work on macOS. RTAS works only with Pro Tools DAWs. And VST plugins work with any DAW on any operating system.
Once you know your OS and what types of plugins you can use, it’s time to look at your budget. Many capable DAWs are free or very inexpensive, which I’ll go over below.
And last of all, make sure the DAW you choose best fits what you want to do. For example, certain DAWs lend themselves to EDM Producers while others are better for acoustic Singer-songwriters.