Do you think different DAWs sounds different?

Literally it. I mean fl studio sound more warm round i say analog like if there is Drive knob embedded. sound more commercial than for example Reaper. ???

The native plugins of different DAWs are somewhat different from eachother, in the sense each set of plugins favour certain settings over others, and have been programmed subjectively by their creators.

So, if you use native plugins without consciously setting every control according to personal prefferences (which isn’t always possible), the “sound of the DAW” will colour your overall sound.

If you - on the other hand - use “3rd party plugins” exclussivley (using only the same plugins on different DAWS), the difference is - in my opinion - negligible.

One major exception to this, is the way different systems handle internal overload. If you run everything in the red, some systems are more fool-proof than others and use “behind the scenes limiting”, - which can create recognisable types of distortion.

But, if you stay within reasonable sound levels/gain-staging, the difference is hard, if not impossible, to hear.


the difference is easily audible even to an unprepared viewer.

Thanks for the reply.

I thought something and think that I will not use fl studio.

lol… wrong


Not really imho. Some DAWs might have some compression/limiting/dithering built-in, for instance IIRC Reasons projects always comparatively sounded huge without doing anything because of some combinator module in the standard template some years ago. But apart from stuff like that, if I put my stems into Bitwig or Ableton doesn’t make a difference for the sound afaik…

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Harrison Mixbus sounds different.

…but it’s designed to >_>

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Not sure they DO sound different but different DAWS make me work differently which in turn affects how my stuff sounds.

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When people do the side-by-side comparison I always think, “Who cares? I like my DAW(s)”. Then again, I don’t really care much about the technical details that most people do. For better or worse, I just like the way things sound.

This is the main thing for me as well. I think using different DAWs for entirely different purposes has become so normal to me for inspiration purposes that I can’t even compare DAWs anymore.

@st3aLth You could technically load up your stems into whatever DAW you want (they all have trials now that basically let you do everything outside of saving) and see for yourself. Bust out whatever meters you want and likely it’ll be pretty similar, if not identical. But will it matter? That’s your call.

FL Studio also maps a limiter to your stereo bus by default with certain templates, so make sure you check your master for their custom ‘wizardry’ that you can likely do without when you’re mixing.

i know limiter is there. Thank you anyway

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uh… you can turn the limiter off in fl studio. there is one in FL ASIO, if you are using it, but you can turn it off. Otherwise, unless there is a limiter on the master channel, there’s no limiting.

I just think not using software because of its “sound” is a bit ridiculous.

the forever ongoing thread :sunglasses: … normaly it’s only a 1 or 0 batch of data & calculated or summed as 1 or 0 so the sound should always be the same but i’ve always spotted a huge difference between, let’s say protools & ableton, these 2 i use the most have for me a huge sound difference but i’ve always been bashed when said it loud :grinning: you find some articles on the net about this abyssal subject. Some professional mastering engineer say that it’s possible & some don’t. In my case, in the range of accuracy & respect of the original signal, i would rank my daws like this …

1 Protools
2 Digital performer
3 Cubase
4 Logic pro
5 Ableton Live
6 Reason 10
7 Renoise

… for the other i don’t know i haven’t used them.
IMO … the worse sounding daw is Ableton Live … & therefore the one i use the most in my creation process … the master bus summing in Live is 1 of the worse i’ve ever experienced, but still my favorite creative tool.
The best sounding summing daw is & always be Protools for me.

Are you sure what you experienced is not due to some Ableton import and playback options? I think the default is that all audio clips have the short volume fades, destroying transients of samples directly imported into the main timeline if not deactivated and it normally plays back stuff in reduced quality when the sample rate is different from the project sample rate (instead of when Hi-Q mode is activated). And warp is activated in default for longer samples. Some of this stuff can make a real difference.

Also, if there really are summing differences, wouldn’t it be easy to end the debate by just providing an audio example of some signals summed up in Ableton versus Protools? I never used Protools, so I really have no idea, but that would be a really easy proof if someone would also provide the stems. I would think some DAW dev would already have made it just to show that their DAW is different/better than other DAWs…

my import settings are = no warp, no fades, always the same sample rates from samples & or session, HQ always on …
& for the summing difference i will post a doc & audio files (with the same tracks of course) from all my daws, just to compare & to make sure it is not a psycho acoustic suggestion of my brain … who knows :joy:

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I do! another reason is because pushing audiotracks into the red via the mixer in one DAW can sound different compared to another DAW. I normally use GClip though if I want to clip a signal

i always leave 12db off headroom on every tracks, the master is always around -15 to -12db before i start the mix process so no … i think ableton has some kind of dry summing maybe, i don’t know.

I’m talking about sound design via the daw in this case, not mixing. some artistic sound design may involve clipping and brickwall limiting, but it’s not a dominant point in this subject

No, I use Reaper. Because I work very quickly in it.

But then again fl studio sounds awesome !!!

I conducted a test and I can say that there the sound is somehow rounded and the synthesizers sound differently in different DAWs. 100% sure

Step 1 is to do a null test (export the same thing in both, import both into a new project, flip phase on one). Either you get silence or you don’t. All this “things sound more rounded” can easily be tricks our stupid brains play on us (confirmation bias, etc) and there have been plenty of examples of pros “hearing” differences when the exact same file was posted 3 times in a row.


I think that part of what causes this, is that we change as we listen.

You could say, that the same person cannot listen to the same recording twice.

Re-visiting a record after a long pause, can sometime make this obvious: “I used to love this album, but now it just sounds silly to me”, or: “I used to think country music was terrible, but now I seem to love it”.

“You could not step twice into the same river.”



Very true, though you’re talking about a longer time scale. Just doing a simple A/B properly is pretty difficult and a delay of a second or two is enough to lose the character of your A compared to the current B.

There’s something else at play here. Have you ever solo’d a channel and then accidentally pulled up a plugin for a different channel. Then spent 5 minutes doing surgical moves until it sounded just right? Yeah, we are a dumb species. Our stupid brains have this desire for a consistent reality, so it just fills in the blanks to make sure it is at all times. You have this EQ in front of you and you know if you push this bell curve by 3 db you should be hearing some difference. So you do…