I use ableton live. It is a great DAW with VST support. I feel it has everything. It works as a pattern looper, a sampler, a midi tracker, a multi-track recorder, audio arrangement (like acid pro – you can do cuts and stuff with the audio), and much more that I haven’t even dove into. Plus if you combine it with VSTs like Nexus, Battery, and Sampletank… you get a wicked amount of power out of it. There is a learning curve, but nothing compared to some other applications I’ve used. The sounds will either sound very dinky or highly professional, it all just depends on how good you get with the application. I think this is true for most of the programs though… I know fruityloops can make some wicked tracks (I used this one for many years too), but I’ve also heard stuff that was way bland come out of it…. often times people blame the applications… it’s not.
My top picks (in order):
Reason (together with ableton through rewire, even better)
Fruityloops (again, together with ableton is even better. FL has a VST plugin.)