Which free DAW is best?
The fullest featured DAW that’s completely free to use is Cakewalk by Bandlab. It’s an entire studio with no compromises on the quality or the feature set. A similar idea comes from Waveform Free from Tracktion Corporation which, like Cakewalk, is a complete studio package but using a version that’s a few years old. You cannot go wrong with either of these possiblities.
Does it matter which DAW you use?
It can do, yes, as some DAWs are much better at some things than other. Pro Tools for instance is excellent at audio recording and real studio environments but is less go at dealing with loop-based music. Ableton Live is fantastic with loops and live arranging but doesn’t have the depth of tools for tracking bands. While every DAW can do all types of music you’ll find that some tackle your sort of music better than others.
Which DAW is best for mastering?
Studio One Professional from PreSonus is undoubtedly the best DAW for mastering. It contains an entire suite of mastering tools, plugins and software designed expressly for mastering. It’s presented as a separate process from your song creation and operates in a completely different window as if it’s a different product. The tools, processes and monitoring in there will have you mastering like a pro.