A Digital Workstation (DAW) is the software used to record music and sits at the heart of a rapper’s music creation. Beginners, especially, find it a tough decision when choosing the best recording software that will help them achieve their musical goals.
To find the best software for rappers, consider the software compatibility with your computer’s operating system, audio plug-in, and how the hardware requirements can affect the software’s performance. Another consideration to make is your experience level, music goals, and budget.
To help you find a rap recording software that will conveniently help you achieve your music goals, we have created an in-depth guide covering the best 9 DAW’s in 2021. These DAW’s are pretty closely matched in their performance. Take your time and carefully consider your options.
Image-Line FL Studio
Image Line’s FL Studio is considered the number one DAW choice for Hip-Hop, EDM musicians and DJs. This recording software is a complete DAW with all the features you need to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix, and master quality music.
FL Studio is available for both macOS and PC, and licenses are shared between the two operating systems. System requirements for PC are Windows 8.1, 10 or later, 4GB storage space, 4GB RAM while those of Mac are macOS 10.13.6 or later, 4GB storage space, 4GB RAM.
FL Studios best features include:
- Mixer. FL Studio’s mixer comes with features such as effect chains, audio sends, sidechain controls, and plug-in delay compensations to help you create your music to the highest standards.
- Piano roll. The piano roll is known as the best DAW piano roll as it has a range of tools to help in complex score editing and manipulation. The piano roll is also used for sequencing.
- Flexible playlist and browser. The playlist sequences all elements of the project to come up with the final song. Place your data anywhere on the playlist and use the browser to organize them. The browser helps you free your time and mind.
- Plug-ins and Instruments. This recording software has over 80 instruments and effect plug-ins, making it easy to come up with almost any musical creation. Additionally, FL Studio supports all VST standards, thus giving you access to a wide range of third party plug-ins.
FL Studios has four levels. Click on each version for an overview of features and price:
If you are wondering which version will be best for you, watch this you-tube video for guidance.
Once you purchase any FL Studio version, you are entitled to free lifetime updates.
There is also a mobile version of this recording software known as FL Studio Mobile. The mobile version is available for Apple, Android, Windows, and FL Studio users.
- The software is perfect for EDM and Hip-Hop producers
- You gain a lifetime of free update
- Can install on both Mac and PC
- Versions to choose from depending on your experience level, musical goals and budget
Watch the you-tube video below to learn eight amazing reasons why FL Studio is the best DAW for rappers.
Ableton Live 10
Ableton Live has established itself as both a recording program and a live performance instrument. The software has also influenced the development of many desktop and mobile apps. Live 10 is compatible with both PC and Mac.
System requirements for PC include Windows7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, 64-bit Intel or AMD multi-core processor, and 4GB RAM. On the other hand, the system requirements for Mac are OS X 10.11.6 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo.
Once you know what you are doing and have mastered the software, Ableton is the simplest DAW to navigate and do your recording. The program has a part oriented arranger that makes your live performance, creation, and improvisation simpler.
Live 10 has drawing commands that allow you to resize the interface to your desired size. For example, if you want to switch to Ultra UHD display, you can set the interface to 150% or tor legible size.
Another feature that DJs like about this software is audio warping. Audio warping means manipulating the rhythm, tempo, and pitch of audio (MIDI). Warping can be used to match tempos of dance songs, to fix timing problems in recorded performance, and to extract or apply grooves to audio material.
Ableton DAW supports VST instruments and plug-ins. The built-in instruments, sounds, effect, and MIDI editing are excellent. Ableton Live has three versions: Intro, Standard, and Suite. These three versions have common features. However, Standard and Suite have extra features, instruments, and packs.
Click on the versions to see how different they are from each other and their prices as well. You can also watch this YouTube tutorial to help you decide which Ableton 10 DAW version is perfect for you.
- Fast and creative workflow
- Great built-in devices
- Resizable interface
- Excellent MIDI editing
- Easy to use software
- Perfect for live DJing and electronic musicians
Cockos Reaper 6
Cockos Reaper 6 is a powerful DAW that is compatible with PC, Mac, and Linux (though still at the experimental stage). The System requirements for PC are 32-bit: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10, 12MB storage space; 64-bit: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 x64, 13MB storage space.
System requirements for Mac include: 32-bit: OS X 10.5-10.13, 18MB storage space; 64-bit: OS X 10.5-10.14, 20MB storage space
Cockos Reaper has tons of tutorials available online to help you get started. This software allows you to customize the layout and functionality to match your workflow. The program is quite responsive to all actions, including scrolling, zooming, and item editing.
The Reaper incorporates all kinds of tools you need to make your recording and post-production experiences productive, fast, and enjoyable. For example, you can edit your recordings when a mistake is made, change arrangements after recording or re-record a section that was not done well.
Furthermore, this program is incredible for recording, editing, mixing audio, and MIDI to bring out the best of your musical creations. The MIDI controllers have exceptional interactivity with the DAW. All you need to do is to understand how the program works.
Use this DAW’s metronome to adjust your tempo without affecting other recordings. The metronome also helps you stay in time, change pitch, EQ out the rumble, and compress your mix.
Cockos Reaper 6 is a single version DAW (Standard), with 30 days’ free trial period after which you pay for the license. The license goes for $60 for personal use and $225 for commercial requirements.
- Perfect for beginners
- Powerful DAW at a fair price
- Customizable interface
- Superior MIDI capabilities
Read more information about Cockos Reaper 6 on their website. Here is also a tutorial to help you get started.
Apple Logic Pro X
Apple Logic Pro X is only compatible with Mac. To get started, you need a recent Mac enabled OS X v10.14.6 or later and 6GB of free space to hold the base program. However, you need 72 GB of storage to get all features, including the packaged synths and instruments.
This software offers high-quality audio-editing, multi-track recording, sound design, and film scoring. Additionally, Logic Pro has several virtual instruments, audio loops, and effects.
These features make it a complete package for rappers looking to record multiple audio tracks at the same time and also to perform and produce their music.
The software comes with over 80 studio-grade plug-ins, more than 1,000 instruments, and 20,000 Apple Loops.
The Step Sequencer facilitates the programming of beats and melodic lines and includes pre-designed patterns to help you get you started. In the library, you can view categories on the left and patches for the selected categories on the right. You can search, create, save, and delete patches from the library.
You can also choose your routing options here.
If you need to use a Drummer track, you can select the drum genres and drummers in the library. Furthermore, the Drummer Editor allows you to preset settings for your selected drummer.
The Logic Pro main window has a lot of features including:
- Quick Help button – Gives a brief description of what the functions of everything on the screen
- Playback transport – To start or stop your song or recording
- LCD window – for changing the tempo, key, or time signature of your song. You can adjust the size of this window. For example, to make this window bigger, click on the dropdown menu on the right and select “Beats & Project (Large).”
- The File Menu – Here is where you can start a new project or save a current one and to also bounce your track. Bounce means to export a project to a regular audio file.
- Audio Preferences window – In this window, you can change your input and output devices. These devices are what you are using to record and listen through. In case you are recording with an audio interface, select your interface as the input/output device. However, if listening through your computer’s speakers, remember to select the speakers as your output device. You can also change your buffer size from the Audio Preferences window.
Visit the Apple Logic Pro website to learn more about this exclusively mac enabled recording software.
- Perfect for users of every skill set, both professional music producers and learners.
- A large number of instruments and effects are available
- Capable of high quality and professional recordings
- Allows for separate and simultaneous track recording
Steinberg Cubase 10.5
Steinberg Cubase is a grand old DAW that has been around since the advent of audio recording and other major DAW developments. It is Cubase that introduced both VST plug-ins (1991) and VST instruments (1999), which were industry standards for a long time.
Today, Cubase is still as relevant as it was back then and is the industry reference standard DAW’s.
This music creation software is compatible with both Mac and PC. System requirements PC include; 64-bit: Windows 10, Intel Core i series, or AMD Ryzen multi-core CPU, 4G RAM, 30GB storage space.
On the other hand, the System requirements Mac are; macOS Mojave, macOS Catalina, Intel Core i series, or AMD Ryzen multi-core CPU, 4GB RAM, 30GB storage space.
Cubase is a powerful DAW with a range of flexible tools, including virtual instruments, effects, and thousands of sounds. These tools allow you to quickly and intuitively create any kind of music.
Cubase is perfect for both professional and new music producers, and any genres of music.
This program allows you to create your music from start to finish, i.e., composing, sequencing beat making, recording, audio editing, and mixing. Watch this video to learn how to produce your music into Cubase.
Steinberg Cubase 10.5 has some of the most powerful features that make it incredible to use:
- Spectral Comparison EQ — Provides excellent visual feedback to help identify and get rid of frequency collisions and resonances in your project.
- Import Tracks — You can import audio and other data from saved projects on your computer. This feature has made exchanging data between projects easier.
- Combine Select Tools Mode — This tool allows you to combine multiple parameters to edit one or multiple tracks. You don’t have to keep switching between editing tools to get your work done.
- Colorized Mixer Channels — This is an organization tool that helps you declutter your workflow. Assign a color to your mixer channels to help you quickly locate the tracks you want.
Cubase 10.5 comes in three versions. All versions share the same sound quality and usability. Your choice of version depends on your desired features, the size and complexity of your projects, and your budget. You can upgrade at any time should your needs change.
The three versions are Elements, Artist, and Pro.
Click on the versions to read more on their different features and prices. You can also watch this YouTube video explaining their differences to understand which version would be best for you.
- Perfect for professional songwriters, composers, and conductors
- The Safe Start Mode allows you to start without loading any third-party plug-ins
- The colorized Mixer Channels helps you speed up your workflow
- Has a set of 8 outstanding instruments and 3,000 plus sounds
PreSonus Studio One 4
PreSonus Studio One 4 is an all-round DAW compatible with both PC and Mac. The system requirements for PC include; Windows 7 (SP1 + platform update), Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 x64, Intel Core Duo or AMD Athlon X2 processor (Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X4, 4GB RAM, and 40GB storage space.
System requirements Mac are; macOS 10.11 or higher, Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB RAM, and 40GB storage space.
Most DAW recording software has been around for some time, and their developers have been upgrading the programs to create new designs and functionalities.
However, this is not the same for Studio One as it was built from scratch. The software is, therefore, perfect for someone looking to try something fresh and original.
Studio One is a single-window setup where you will find Studio One’s advanced virtual instruments, an unlimited number of tracks, and intuitive editing tools. You can do everything from this one window instead of constantly switching between screens.
The window has powerful drag-and-drop functionality and multi-touch support. The screen has three paths with one goal; to be your best creative companion from beginning to end.
The Start Page is where you open your project, set the required parameters, and check for updates and guidelines.
Record, arrange, edit, and mix your music in the Song Page. This Page has virtual instruments, effects, and arrangement tools to help you with your musical creation.
The Song Page is linked to the Project Page. The Project Page is where you assemble and master your creation. However, should you need to make a change, just switch to Song Page and make the desired changes, then you will automatically get back to the Project Page.
Another great feature of this DAW is its sound quality. The program can support audio to 384 kHz, giving it a perfectly clear sound. Furthermore, it has a variety of unique sounds, effects, and samples.
Visit the Presonus Studio One website to read more on the features of this amazing DAW.
There are three versions of this music software:
- Studio One Prime (free version)
- Studio One Artist
- Studio One Professional
Click on each to learn its differentiating features and how much it costs to get the license.
- Fresh and original design
- High-quality audio sounds
- 37 effects and two virtual instruments
Watch the following YouTube video as well to understand everything that you need to know about Presonus Studio One 4.
Propellerhead Reason 11
Propellerhead Reason 11 is available for both Mac and Windows. Recommended system specifications. Mac OS X: Intel Mac with a multi-core processor, 4 GB RAM, 4 GB of storage space, Mac OS X 10.7 or later (64-bit). System requirements for Windows: Intel or AMD multi-core processor, 4 GB RAM, 4 GB storage space, Windows 7, or later (64-bit).
Reason 11 is a stand-alone program that offers more than an average DAW. Reason works as a suite of virtual instruments and can be used in combination with other DAWs.
Therefore, it is easy for electronic musicians to collaborate with producers working on any platform. You can either use Reason 10 as a plug-in with another DAW or produce your music in Reason stand-alone.
This software is a powerful collection of synthesizers, drum machines, samplers, MIDI effects, fantastic instruments, and creative effects.
These features will help you create endless great sounds and music. Reason boasts of 17 instruments and 29 effects.
The program has an intuitive setup. This kind of set up enables you to spend more time producing tracks and less time figuring out what to do next on the software.
There is a virtual rack where you craft the sounds that you need for your music. You can do this either from scratch or get them from the program’s sound library.
Reason 11 comes in three versions. Click on each to view features and prices:
- The rack plug-in is amazing
- Unlimited audio recording and virtual instrument
- The software is easy to use and creative
Avid Pro Tools
Avid Pro Tools is an integration of software, hardware, and control surfaces that work together to create a record, and mix your music. Pro Tools is compatible with both Mac and PC.
System requirements (PC): Windows 10, Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM,15GB disk space for installation System requirements (Mac): macOS 10.13.6 or later, Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB RAM, 15GB disk space for installation.
Avid Pro has had recent updates that improved its workflow. This software now allows you to update your tracks and timeline sections during playback. You are, therefore, able to experiment with effects, presets, and loop points without stopping your music. Your creativity flourishes uninterrupted.
Folder Tracks organizes your tracks into collapsible folders. You are then able to perform your work productively and creatively without being distracted by numerous tracks on the screen. You can also put a group of folders in a single folder, which you then color code for easy identification.
The Avid Cloud Collaboration makes it possible to collaborate with another artist, songwriter, or producer on a project even when you are far apart. Just ensure you all have Avid Pro audio-production software and reliable internet connectivity.
Avid Link allows you to find and connect with other music creators and audio professionals. You can, therefore, collaborate with them to expand your creative opportunities.
AvidPlay gets your music heard on Apple Music, and other streaming outlets.
Watch this YouTube video tutorial to help you get started with Avid Pro Tools.
There are three versions of Pro Tools available. They are:
- Pro Tools First, which is a beginner version and totally free.
- Pro Tools standard, recommended for independent rappers
- Pro Tools Ultimate, which is the professional version, offers many more features than the other versions.
Click here to read more on Avid Pro Tools, what features differentiate the three versions and their prices.
Acid Pro 10
Acid Pro 10 is a PC enabled DAW, and its basic features can be fully controlled and run even on low-performance computers. Minimum system requirements: Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7 and later, Processor: 1GHz, Hard drive: 700 MB for program installation, up to 16 MB storage space.
Acid Pro is a powerful DAW for super music creation. Some of its features include; comprehensive MIDI sequencing, multi-track mixing, home recording, and legendary loop manipulation.
Acid Pro is Vista compatible. Installing this recording software onto your Vista is easy and comes along with extra features, including over 3,000 loops, 1,000 MIDI files, and 90 DLS instruments.
A horizontally arrayed mixer is at the bottom of the GUI. With just a click of the button, you can see the various combinations of your track such as MIDI, audio buses, soft synths, and assignable FX. To view more, click on the “show all” option.
The zoom function allows you to adjust the size of all tracks simultaneously with just a single slider.
The Stem Maker 2 helps you take your sampling and remixing to a new level. Stem Maker 2 extracts vocals, drums, and music stem from songs with perfect quality.
Experience a faster way of rearranging sample chops and lay down patterns with the MIDI Playable Chopper. You can play samples, Acidified loops, or your recordings with any MINI keyboard.
You can get creative with the Acid Morph Pads by assigning audio tracks, instruments, or busses to a pad and play around with Acid Pro intuitive controls to mold and shape them. You can explore new sonic frontiers without limitations.
Acid Pro has a refined and straightforward loop-based music production workflow. You can automatically match loops to your project’s tempo and key.
The software package contains interactive tutorials to help you get started as soon as possible. Visit the Acid Pro Tools website to read more on its features, watch the tutorials to learn how this software works and get the price.
- Low system requirements
- Flexible mixing and routing
- VST enabled
- MIDI Playable Chopper that’s allows you to play extracted samples, ACID-ized loops, or your recordings
- Interactive tutorials to get you started
The question that most beginners struggle with is whether to get a free or paid version (full or intermediary). The advice would be to choose a DAW that you can afford and one that matches your needs.
You don’t always have to go for the most prominent version; neither do you have to settle for the free version just because you are a beginner.
Avid Pro Tools, for example, has three versions. Pro Tools First for beginners and is free, Standard for independent rappers and Ultimate for professionals.
If you are a beginner, Pro Tools First may seem the best option for you. However, have it in mind that most free DAWs have limitations that won’t let you create professional and polished up sounding tracks.
If you hope to be a professional someday, you could start with Pro Tools Standard and upgrade to Professional in the future.