Ableton Live 9
Fl Studio 12
Sony Acid Pro
Avid Pro Tools
Motu Digital Performer
You are on the right path to know how to become an electronic music producer but you don’t know how to make electronic music online or what is the best audio production software out there…. NO PROBLEM!
I will give show you around Top 10 audio production software or in other words DAWS ( CFR Digital Audio Workstation ) on the market and hope this will help you on making a choice on the DAW that is best of you.
If you are not familiar with what a DAW is or you want to know where to start before choosing a DAW, please read:
Ableton Live is probably one ‘the most’ popular DAW software out there and we might sometimes forget that it was created initially as a tool for live performances (as the name suggests).
Some of the most famous producers using Ableton are Daft Punk, Richie Hawtin, Ben Frost, Diplo, Gabriel & Dresden, John Digweed, Kaskade, Lexer, M83, Sasha, Armin Van Buuren,… and I pass!
Why use Ableton?
It is the perfect DAW for beginners due to its accessible interface and its clip-based sequencing is catered specifically towards electronic music production.Ableton Live is my principal DAW and I use in combination with Push (more on that later).
Ableton 10 is currently under development and highly anticipated within the production community. It recently updated to version 9.2 adding a new tuner and improvements to wrapping and latency.
‘PC & Mac’
$99 – $799
When I started out producing electronic music I started with FL Studio and I am still using it as rewire on Ableton live.
FL Studio is probably the most downloaded DAW on PC and has built a strong reputation as an audio production software over the years. Although it has a reputation of being the best software to make EDM , FL Studio is an overall excellent DAW to produce any genre.
Some of the most famous producers using FL Studio are Deamau5, Avicii, AfroJack, Martin Garrix, Madeon , Porter Robinson,… and many others.
Why use FL studio?
I loved working with FL studio and I am missing some of the features that it has to offer. It is great DAW for producing Beats and drum loops and it is easy to use, even for a beginner. You can get the hand of it quickly and start producing good sounds in no matter of time. Fl Studio also offers lifetime free updates on their products and that is a very good reason to invest in FL Studio.
Good question. I bought a Mac because it suited better my ambition to become a professional music producer. Producing Deep House, Tech House and Minimal, I knew that Ableton was the most used DAW in that specific genre. I tried Ableton and I was amazed by the workflow I had with Ableton so I stuck to Ableton and even invested in Ableton Push. The second reason is that sadly ,even though a Beta of FL Studio exists on Mac I think the features are limited and I can’t get the hand on the workflow I used to have on PC. Though still using it as a rewire as I love the piano roll and some VST Plugins coming with FL Studio and not with Ableton.
Fl Studio came up with it’s latest version FL Studio 12 and has made a complete ‘more user-friendly’ make-over and added a lot of new features.
PC & Mac’ *
*Mac ( FL Studio 12.1 BETA version is now available for testing ) FL Studio is NOT a Mac product and even though FL Studio is working hard on that issue and a Beta version is available for Mac I wouldn’t recommend it as a lot of features aren’t working correctly and it’s limited in its use. But they are working on that
Logic Pro or THE Digital Audio Software from Apple. Originally it has been created by Emagic and has been bought by Apple in 2002. It is one of the most widely used DAWs in the world since it is associated with Apple and is used by many artists in and out the electronic scene.
Some of the most famous producers using Logic Pro are Franz Ferdinand, Depeche Mode, Chemical Brothers, Josh Wink, Coldplay, the Roots,…and much more
Why use Logic Pro ?
The recent updates coming with the new release of Logic Pro X last year and + the redesigned compressor, the new synths and drum tools have been acclaimed by the many critics it received before, especially concerning the work flow.
Personally, I use Logic Pro only to do some mastering because of the quality of the tools out there but I don’t like the workflow and it is very difficult to start working with , even when you have experience with other DAWs. I wouldn’t recommend it as a beginner but it is great for mastering.
With the new version of Logic Pro, 10.2 comes a new powerful tool to make electronic music with Alchemy, a next-generation synthesizer with diverse and inspiring sounds . Alchemy works hand in hand with all the beat-making and music-production features introduced in Logic Pro 10.1 to create all types of music, including EDM and Hip Hop.
Cubase has been created by Steinberg (The man behind the VST plugins as we know them now) in 1989 and has initially been developed for Atari. Cubase has, since then, been a reference in music production and has been able to maintain its status of one of the best DAWs on the market keeping in mind the needs of producers of the modern days.
Some of the most famous producers using Cubase are Hans Zimmer, Kraftwerk, Boris Brejcha, Chase and status, Dominik Eulberg, Flux Pavilion, Gabriel Ananda, Gregor Tresher, Justice, New Order and many more,…
Why use Cubase?
Cubase is an old timer into music production software , nevertheless, it managed to keep up to date and kept on evolving with the newest technologies and demands.
Cubase Pro 8 & Cubase Artist 8 Offering new audio tools, a greater productivity and more creativity, Cubase Pro 8 and Cubase Artist 8 united technical innovation and artistic inspiration and brought a powerful and accessible environment.
Nuendo 7 Providing unique features for game audio production, TV and film post-production workflows ( more on Nuendo 7 soon…)
‘Pc & Mac’
Reason has been released in 2000 and is an ‘All-in‘ virtual studio. It can be used either as a complete virtual music studio or as a collection of virtual instruments to be used with other sequencing software in a fashion that mimics “live” performance.
Some of the most famous producers using Reason The Horrorist, Liquid people, Rocco, Tortured Soul, and many others
Why use Reason?
Reason offers a multitude of features compared to other DAWs and is easy and fun to work with. The virtual instruments can be used with other Daws and makes is easy to collaborate with producers using another DAW.
Reason 8 was released 2014 . The newest feature in version 8 is the improved file browser that can accompany or completely replace the rack window. Sound files, loops and instruments patches can now be dragged from the browser right to the rack window or the sequencer allowing improved and faster workflow. There are 2 free rack extensions , a guitar and a bass guitar amplifier emulator.
Acid is a creation of Sony started off as a loop‑based music production tool, Sony’s addition of further mainstream DAW features makes version 7 a credible alternative to the likes of Steinberg’s Cubase and Cakewalk’s Sonar.
Why use Acid Pro?
Sony’s addition of further mainstream DAW features makes version 7 a credible alternative to the likes of Steinberg’s Cubase and Cakewalk’s Sonar. Acid Pro has always offered a powerful and creative platform for loop‑based music creation and thus is a good choice for producers using loops in their productions.
The new release offers The fully featured audio and MIDI Mixing Console window. Aside from the usual channel fader, level meter and pan controls, tracks now include slots for insert effects and sends. Acid Pro 7 PC as included a Freeze option for MIDI tracks. This simply renders the soft synth output to a WAV file, hence reducing the CPU load when working with a project that is stressing the host computer.
Cakewalk Sonar Has been around for a decade and a half. It was one of the first DAWs to really get behind digital audio recording and it has consistently been at the forefront of technological development on the PC.
Why use Cakewalk Sonar?
It is one of the top DAWs to use on Windows and has nothing to envy to Ableton or Cubase. A very goos choice to consider when using Windows.
Sonar Platinum looks the same but added some interesting features such as the Control Bar that can now be scrolled from side to side to reveal more of the functions you’ve opted to display. Also, the Gobbler module/feature has been ditched entire and the new to the Control Bar is the Mix Recall module, which controls Sonar’s newfound ability to save and recall entire mix setups at a click. You have some control over exactly what sort of information is saved, with a checklist that includes Track controls, automation, effects and more. The VocalSync which analyses your vocal and tracks and instantly aligns them with any other track of your choice.
Avid Pro Tools has been a standard in music production for years now and is used in home based studios as in professional studios (mostly outside electronic music).
Some of the most famous producers using Pro Tools Dr. Luke, Trent Reznor, Rick Rubin, Pharell Williams, Kanye West,..
Why use Pro Tools?
Pro Tools is a standard in music production, especially to record vocals or live instruments and is one of the most used DAWs outside electronic music. It has an easy workflow, even for beginners. I wouldn’t really recommend it in Electronic music as there are some better DAWs out there specifically for electronic music and the MIDI sequencer is not as good as any you will find elsewhere.
Pro Tools has recently updated to version 12.
‘Mac & Pc’
$599 / you can also subscribe monthly (Price starting at $29/month)
MOTU is an engineering-driven music technology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Why use Motu Digital Performer?
Even though it lacks a decent soundbank, and you need MIDI and audio tracks for your instruments , Motu is a good choice fro it’s beautiful interface and provides a sophisticated environment for working with MIDI and audio recording.
Motu Digital Performer 9 is now shipping and includes MOTU’s powerful MX4 MultiSynth, plus five new plug-ins, automation lanes and spectrogram display in the Sequence Editor, Retina display support, MusicXML notation export and other new features. There’s something for everyone in this major upgrade.
‘Pc & Mac’
Bitwig Studio is a newcomer but has already gained a lot of attention in the world of music production.It has been developed by engineers that used to work for Ableton and there have been some issues abut ‘cloning’ the exact same product. Although Bitwig Studio developed some personal features and is gaining in credibility.
Why use Bitwig Studio?
An accessible, modern interface and a refined workflow make you think of Ableton but it will sure find its marks in the future and will be able to compensate it’s lack of maturity in the years to come. Bitwig has two features which are potentially significant. One is a modular audio and synthesis environment and the other is a facility to network multiple computers to collaborate on a single project, in real time.
Being quite recent, Bitwig Studio music production might be something you wouldn’t consider as there haven’t been enough reviews on it and it will need some time to reach its full potential. Although some promising updates are on their way and Bitwig Studio has a promising future and is worth a try. As to say whether to use Bitwig Studio vs Ableton Live, it’s a bit early to say…
‘Pc & Mac’
I hope my post on the top 10 audio production software helped you make a decision !
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My name is Angélique. I am a full-time music producer and blogger.I created Children of the Electronic Revolution to give you all the tools you need to help you become the successful music producer you dream to be !