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At first, I never taught of writing a solid guide on the best music recording software, but when I tried searching for a detailed guide on the best music making software. I wasn't pleased with the information I found on the web.
Having said that...
I am glad you found this website, I will take you through proper steps in selecting the right Daw or perhaps the best professional music recording software.
Whether you plan on setting up a bedroom studio or a professional one, and you want to choose the right music recording software, you will learn the nitty-gritty of selecting the right music DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
I will make this guide detailed, and to the point, I will also add workflow videos for all the music making software, making it easier to judge what best fit your need.
Jump to any link using the table of content below
Don't buy any DAW without Reading the Helpful Guide & Tip (Use The Table of Content).
- My Top 3 Picks!
- The Top Best Music Creation/Daw Software
- Helpful Guide & Tips!
- One Last Thing!
My Top 3 Picks!
The Top Best Music Creation/Daw Software
Below is the list of the top ten music production software, please note that I am categorizing the Daw by ease-of-use, interface and features.
I will be adding the Pros and Cons of each Daw on the list
As promised, I will be adding video overviews to judge for yourself if it fits into the category of what you are looking for.
Let's get rolling...
...First on the list
1. Fl Studio 20
No doubt, Fl Studio formerly known as fruity loops, is one of the most downloaded Daw's, and world's most popular music production software or DAWs out there.
Fl studio 20 has a super intuitive user interface, and immensely easier to learn if you have no prior experience. Fl is quite different from other DAWs in terms of workflow, and one of the ways it helps you when you are getting started is if you're creating beats or drum loops with the step sequencer.
Let me quickly give you a brief of a Step Sequencer:
Fl studio sequencer breaks down beats into steps, and each step is editable and customizable to fit your beats or song.
For example, if you break up a loop with 4 bars (in standard 4/4 time), it will have 16 steps (known as beats).
The beauty of the step sequencer is once a sequencer clip is created, you can copy it, duplicate it (known as a clone in Fl), add new sounds to clone and none clone sequences, swing it, add velocity, and also add it to your playlist window to create your track.
You can see Fl studio workflow is different, you can achieve the same in other DAWs, but you won't have an option for a step sequencer, most times, you will have to use a third-party Vst Plugins or work with the audio clips directly.
You can use drum rack in Ableton to achieve this, but Fl's own is much cleaner and more accessible.
That being said, having multiple ways to achieve a task is a great joy for music producers, in Fl, there are several ways you can go about a different task, choose whatever you love, and stick with that.
For example, instead of adjusting your audio samples volume in the mixer, you can do it directly from the step sequencer, I account for this a lot, perhaps because I love to work in multiple of ways.
One of the most exciting part about this Daw progam is that you get lifetime updates for free for any bundle you buy, other DAWs haven't been able to achieve this.
If you are a beginner and want to get started easily and intuitively with a music production software, you should opt-in for Fl studio.
2. Ableton Live 10
Ableton Live is one of the DAW I tried when getting started, and from a first starter point of view, Ableton is minimal, simple and easy for both beginners and professionals.
Live offers Drum sequencing, sampling, arranging, mixing, mastering tons of effects, instruments and sounds of all kind of creative feature is all you need to make any music.
One of the ways Ableton increase your workflow is the ability to move and change audio clips intuitively and easily.
Also, Ableton has been praised by lots of producers for its session view; you can think of session view as a way for matching and playing roughly with ideas without the constraint of a timeline or an arrangement view.
Session view is ideal for improvisation, what it means is that you can record midi loop freely while also playing with audio loops of various length without stopping, from here you can move the content to arrangement view for the final arrangement of the overall track.
I will be honest with you here, what Ableton Live and Fl offer that others DAWs do not, is the thriving online communities that are always ready to trigger answers to any of your questions. As a new producer getting started, it is beneficial when it comes to either getting help with functions or features that aren't clear or finding tutorials or collaborating with other buddies.
3. Pro Tools 12
Pro tools capability is very impressive, intuitive, great for recording multiple takes of live performances and mixing down large professional session.
With Pro Tools, you would be able to compose, record, edit, and mix audio in the studio or in the cloud, from anywhere, and anytime.
Pro Tools is adopted by many because of the mixing capability, layout, editing and workflow. It is a huge time saver for music producers or professional audio engineer wanting to track multiple sounds at once. If you are familiar with the analogue studio setup, then Pro tools should look easy to you, it emulates analogue tracking, where you have tracks as a signal chains, and then mixing the chains.
Unlike Fl Studio, one of my favourite feature of Pro tools is the ability to work on a project with other Pro Tools users online, with the power of AVid Cloud Collaboration, you can work with up to 10 collaborators or buddies on a single project. If you feel space isn't enough, you can start a cloud plan at USD 4.99/month.
That said, things can get out of place when creating beats or playing with drum racks or sequencers (which isn't layed out in Pro Tools), Pro tools can achieve this, but In my opinion, it isn't designed for that, it is more for recording takes or perhaps live tracking, mixing and mastering in my opinion.
Avid Pro Tools lacks VST support, meaning you won't be able to use VST plugins with it. Pro Tools want strict control over how third-party plugins are created; they came up with their design specifically called AAX, If Pro Tools stocked plugins isn't enough for you, you will be able to use third-party plugins that have been acquired through the Avid Market Place.
If you are an experienced user and need more of mixing and mastering capabilities, you might try opting in for Pro Tools.