Now this is where the magic happens.
You know what separates your awesome music ideas from actually manifesting? A solid music making software.
If music is your passion then mastery of a professional music production software will turn it into a skill. Soon you’ll graduate from a beginner to a pro. Trust me, the learning curve is a year tops if you learn from the pros. Then it’s just practicing.
This is where 99% of people quit. You know why? As learning a music software and honing your skills takes time. It’s not even the time thing as some learn faster then others but it’s actually real ‘WORK’!
So if you are serious to take things to the next level, let’s get started . . .
A more technical term for a music software is DAW or short for Digital Audio Workstation. It’s good to get familiar with this now because in the future, when you collaborate with other artists or producers, you will hear this a lot.
What In The World Is A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
A digital audio workstation acts as the foundation of your electronic music production. Once you have your studio monitors, an audio interface and a midi keyboard or a Roli if you’re really lucky, it’s time to get a DAW.
The DAW is a computer program designed for the purpose of editing, mixing and mastering, and recording.
A DAW is your toolkit – some are standard, and some come with a variety of different tools, and you can acquire other tools separately to add to the collection. Your choice of DAW will impact what you produce.
With it, all you need to bring to the table is your own sounds and creativity. There are many options for what you can do with your recordings. These include rearranging, splicing, and adding effects. These will lead to the finalization of your song.
Regardless the DAW today is the most important tool in the production process.
Choose The Best Daw Software
Selecting the right DAW is a lot like deciding on what wine to have with dinner. No decision you make is definitively wrong (contrary to what some connoisseurs might say), but taking into consideration the different factors effecting you will either make or break your experience.
Here are some things to take into account when selecting a DAW.
Can You Afford It
You will invariably always need to consider this, and for that reason it is always at the top of our list. A DAW is an investment meant to last you as long as a car. I’ve been using my DAW for just about three years and will continue to use it (Logic Pro X). Yes when it comes to getting a DAW, you do need to spend properly (Don’t worry, they are not expensive).
With that in mind, if you need to set aside a few hundred dollars, consider it worth the wait for the long-term pay-off. Something to also note is that many of the companies that you’ll find below offer a free download. Which is a great way to see which DAW would work for you.
What’s Your Style
The DAWs today are very similar so if you can accomplish one thing on a certain DAW, you can do the same on another. The best way is to try them all out and go with your gut. Also, the type of music you want to make matters too.
Begin with a software that makes it FUN for you to produce music. I like Logic Pro X because I’m a visual person. Plus I’m a mac fan so it was easy for me to learn it.
Think Long Term Bud
A beginning producer should take into account their current circumstances. Yet it is also important to look to the future. Make sure you invest in professional equipment right from the bat. Two things that must be on point is the Music software that would learn to eventually master everything and a good set of studio monitors.
The more accustomed you become to your software of choice, the swifter your progression will be. With increased confidence, your musical growth will have nowhere to go but up.
Hold off the temptation to switch software so that you can really improve.
After all, this is an investment not just in money, but also time.
So don’t worry, STFU and just MAKE MUSIC! PRACTICE!
Also remember, you’re not on your own . . .
Even as a beginner, you have nothing to worry about.
No matter which DAW you will choose, you will have support and education at your finger tips. Forums, message boards, and free online tutorials on Youtube are available for any DAW you decide on. Plus the course we recommend are absolutely stellar.
The ONLY 4 Music Software that matter
Here we have our top 4 music creation software available to you. You know what to consider: your current level of experience, where you want to take your new skills into the future, and what sort of features you want to see in your DAW. You can visit the product websites or click on the purchase link we’ve provided for more information about these software. We hope this guide will be a good place for you to start on your creative journey. Feel free to leave any comments and questions to find out more!
(We also have a list of smart device DAW’s available! Check them out our best music making apps.)
Ableton Live by Ableton
It has a standard multi-track recording system – this means that there is an unlimited amount of audio and MIDI tracks for songs. Ableton Live also features cut and paste, and splice features.
However, the most significant aspect that gives Ableton Live broad appeal, is its seamless MIDI sequencing software and hardware. This is opposed to other DAW’s, which feature MIDI controllers that are especially challenging for beginners. In our experience, switching to Ableton has provided much smoother production sessions. Ableton Live also includes sound packages, containing 23 sound libraries, making up 50 GB of sounds. It is ideal for beginning music producers who want to make music right “out-of-the-box.”
To summarize, this explanation justifies our claim that Ableton is the best music software specifically for live performance. Glitches are absolutely minimal, and Ableton has collaborated with other brands to create programing gear. This way, interfaces can be made to match the software, doing away with the issue of compatibility. If you read our best MIDI controller for Ableton, you will see how this comes into play. Ableton is ideal for any combination of skills in producers.
My two cents: Almost EVERY EDM Producer uses Ableton. It’s the MOST used DAW by electronic dance music producers.
Logic Pro X by Apple
2nd most used DAW in the world. Logic Pro is an excellent choice of software for Mac users, but unfortunately it is not compatible with PC. One feature that stands out is the very advanced interface, which involves consolidating (meaning you can stack tracks,) and layering instruments. It also has a mixer that is intuitive and that you can control via plug-in, and a “score editor.”
I am a Logic Pro user and if you are a mac user, there is not better DAW.
The score editor allows you to create your own MIDI. This is possible with the nine MIDI plug-ins that allow you to transform sounds. You can control the range of velocity, and you an combine multiple plug-ins together. You an also transform the tracks with just your mouse.
Logic Pro DAW’s have virtual drummer features. The virtual drummer has an interactive drum set so that yo can also see how your drumming is implemented, and has a more natural sound. The arpeggiator, which turns chords into arpeggios, is also more sophisticated and user-friendly on Logic Pro, compared to other DAW’s.
Logic Pro DAW’s also have their own sound libraries. Logic is more recommended for more experienced music producers, due to its many features (not to discourage any newcomers to music production – just be prepared for a steep learning curve!). Logic Pro has a widespread community ready to help you in this learning process.
Logic Pro comes at an affordable price compared to the other DAW’s we have listed, so there is not as much risk in this investment. If you want to find additional gear to use with Logic Pro, you can also check out our article on the best MIDI controller for Logic. Don’t forget, though, Logic Pro can only be used with your Mac computer. Despite this, Logic Pro is said to still be superior to Pro Tools as far as cost value.
For this reason, we recommend using Logic Pro if you want to use something that’s similar to Pro Tools, but don’t have the funds or the time to take a course on how to use the software. However, if you want an interface that is easier to use, I would suggest you check out Garageband – the simpler Apple DAW that also happens to be free.
My two cents: 2nd most popular DAW in the world. Used my TONS of EDM producers and others. If you are a Mac person, this is the DAW for you.
FL Studio by Image Line (Also known as Fruity Loops)
Fruity Loops is a standard software of Image-Line’s list of products. It’s known for being one of the best DAW’s for totally new, and maybe even a little cautious, beginners. One of their most popular software, it meets your typical expectations with pitch shifting, time-stretch, cut and paste, correction, and so on. Its interface is also ideal for novice music producers.
All that it really require is a bit of research and patience. If you prefer learning with visual aids, there are plenty of YouTube video tutorials available, even going back to 2005. The latest version of Fruity Lops comes with more than 30 synthesizing software for a similar out-of-the-box production style as Ableton Live. Essentially, you can begin playing with it right away, before you begin investing in other tools.
With MIDI keyboard, a microphone, and the tools required for standard editing and mixing, you have virtually everything you need as far as software is concerned with simple interface. Fruity Loops also comes with a collection of more advanced tools, allowing you to progress your skills without having to make any additional investments right away.
Using Fruity Loops in combination with a MIDI and other tools increases the versatility of an already user-friendly software. It’s budget-friendly, and it’s compatible with both PC and Mac, making it ideal for younger learners and budding producers. One of the main factors for Fruity Loops’ fame is the fact that the one and only 9th Wonder still uses Fruity Loops as his choice software.
My two cents: Almost all rap bangers are produced by this one. A popular choice for EDM producers too.
One of the first and possibly one of the most powerful DAW software available, Studio One has a 64-bit engine, and a wide variety of editing tools. While there are challenges in getting used to the software (including a crowded interface), these issues are relatively minor. There is also a free version of Studio One that is known to be something of a blessing for musicians with low funds.
Personus Studio One has some innovative features. The drag-and-drop MIDI mapping allows for quicker function compared to other DAW’s. Personus is known for excellent audio quality and an unlimited number of tracks.
That it can store input/output configurations with every song is a useful feature — the song you create can be transported to any other Studio One interface, and it will still recall those original configurations.
The “arrange view” function displays waveforms with the option of color-coding, which lets you see the overall effect of your song. User-friendly features, the drag-and-drop capabilities, and the inclusion of 19 plug-ins (containing varying sound effects), make the Studio One interface a great tool for any producer prepared to spend a long time learning and enjoying their DAW.
My two cents: Personally haven’t tried it but Headhunterz switched to this from Ableton.
They are all awesome and can do what you want them to. Pick the one that suits your style and STICK to it until you master it.
STICK TO IT and MASTER your DAW!