10 Best Music Software Programs for Beginners

Here is an overview of the best music software programs and Digital Audio Workstations for Windows and Mac.

We have included software comparisons, videos, lists of features, and helpful links to get you started.

Music Software Programs Compared

Most Popular
FL Studio 20 Fruity Edition Software (Boxed)
Ableton Multitrack Recording Software, Green (Live 10 Intro)
Reason Studios AB Multitrack Recording Software (11)
Steinberg Cubase Artist 10.5 Music Production Software Upgrade from Cubase AI
Avid Pro Tools
Acid Music Studio - Version 11 - Simply Creative
Name
FL Studio
Ableton Live
Propellerhead Reason
Steinberg Cubase
Avid Pro Tools
Acid Music Studio
Rating
Price
$99.00
$112.00
$129.00
Price not available
$599.00
$59.99
-
-
-
Most Popular
FL Studio 20 Fruity Edition Software (Boxed)
Name
FL Studio
Reviews
Rating
Price
$99.00
Ableton Multitrack Recording Software, Green (Live 10 Intro)
Name
Ableton Live
Reviews
Rating
Price
$112.00
-
Reason Studios AB Multitrack Recording Software (11)
Name
Propellerhead Reason
Reviews
Rating
Price
$129.00
Steinberg Cubase Artist 10.5 Music Production Software Upgrade from Cubase AI
Name
Steinberg Cubase
Reviews
Rating
Price
Price not available
-
Avid Pro Tools
Name
Avid Pro Tools
Reviews
Rating
Price
$599.00
-
Acid Music Studio - Version 11 - Simply Creative
Name
Acid Music Studio
Reviews
Rating
Price
$59.99

Last update on 2021-09-13 / Affiliate Links


Music Software Options

There are tons of music production software programs out there, but which one is best for you?

Watch this video for a brief overview of the different music programs available.

We ran a poll asking what was the best music software, and here are the results:

Poll: Best Music Production Software

  • FL Studio ( 41%, 631 )
  • Propellerhead Reason ( 22%, 331 )
  • Logic ( 11%, 174 )
  • Ableton live ( 10%, 148 )
  • Other ( 4%, 68 )
  • Cubase ( 4%, 54 )
  • Pro Tools ( 3%, 45 )
  • Reaper ( 2%, 25 )
  • Garageband ( 1%, 19 )
  • Sony Acid ( 1%, 16 )
  • Sonar ( 1%, 12 )

Total Voters: 1,525


Top 3 Music Software Programs

#1. FL Studio

FL Studio (formerly known as FruityLoops ) is a digital audio workstation developed by Image-Line. FL Studio features a graphical user interface based on a pattern-based music sequencer.

fl studio music software

Why FL Studio is popular:

  • It’s easy to learn.
  • Lower cost than many other programs.
  • Supports VST plugins, samples, and other software programs.
  • Making patterns and arrangements is easy.
  • It offers tons of built-in instrument plugins.

Learn About FL Studio

FL Studio comes in 3 versions:

  1. Fruity Edition – No audio clips or audio recording. Limited features.
  2. Producer Edition – Includes Audio Recording & full Playlist features.
  3. Signature Bundle – Includes plugins, recording & full Playlist features.

FL Studio Links:


#2. Propellerhead Reason

Propellerhead Reason is a digital audio workstation for creating and editing music and audio developed by Propellerhead Software. It emulates a rack of hardware synthesizers, samplers, signal processors, sequencers, and mixers.

How to Make Beats: Music Production Software 101

Why Reason is popular:

  • It includes tons of Synthesizers, Samplers, Drum Machines, Effects.
  • Cool interface, racks, and mixer.
  • ReWire allows you to use Reason in other popular music software apps.
  • Add additional sounds called Refills.

Learn About Reason

Helpful Links


#3. Apple Logic

Logic Pro is a digital audio workstation and Musical Instrument Digital Interface MIDI sequencer software application for the Mac OS X platform.

apple logic

Why Apple Logic is popular:

  • Nice-looking interface.
  • The virtual instruments and session drummer sound incredible.
  • Mixing, effects, and automation
  • Enhanced Piano Roll Editor.

Learn About Logic


You should research the programs mentioned above and see what works best for your needs.

In the music software poll, 41% picked FL Studio. So you may want to look into that program if you are a music beginner.


Additional Digital Audio Workstations

There are tons of other popular music software programs available.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live 10

Ableton Live Features:

  • Multi-track audio recording at up to 32-bit/192 kHz
  • Creative MIDI sequencing of software and hardware instruments
  • Advanced warping and real-time time-stretching
  • Up to 16 tracks and 8 scenes per track
  • Includes 3 software instruments, 26 effects, and 4 sound libraries (Packs)

Ableton Live comes in 3 versions:

  1. Live 10 Intro
  2. Live 10 Standard
  3. Suite Multitrack Recording Software

Related: How to Use Ableton Live ( Ableton Live Tutorials )


Steinberg Cubase Elements

Cubase Elements Music Software-min

Cubase Features:

  • Personal music production system, offering a set of streamlined audio/MIDI recording, editing, scoring, and mixing tools
  • Supports 64 MIDI and 48 audio tracks with up to 24-bit/192 kHz
  • Includes outstanding virtual instruments: HALion Sonic SE workstation, MPC-style Groove Agent ONE drum machine, Prologue synthesizer
  • Comes ready with 44 audio effect processors, including Pitch Correct for vocal intonation correction, Morph Filter, and the extraordinary VST Amp Rack guitar tone suite.

Learn About Cubase

Related: Cubase Tutorials


Pro Tools

Pro Tools Music Software

Pro Tools Features:

  • Unleash your creativity with the award-winning toolset
  • Work the way you want-with an interface or without
  • create bigger mixes, with up to 96 audio tracks
  • Compose with virtual instruments and MIDI and Score Editors
  • This product includes installation discs

Learn About  Pro Tools

Related: Pro Tools Tutorials


Reaper – Digital Audio Workstation

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Reaper Features:

  • Record audio and MIDI from multiple inputs simultaneously
  • Layer recorded tracks and takes over previous recordings
  • Edit recordings in almost any imaginable way
  • Hundreds of audio and MIDI processing effects included, or choose from thousands of third-party effects
  • All editing and effects are completely non-destructive

Learn About Reaper

Related: How to Use Reaper


Garageband

Garageband - Digital Audio Workstation Software

GarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for macOS and iOS devices that allows users to create music or podcasts.

Garageband Features:

  • A fresh new look, designed for easy music-making
  • Virtual session drummer, percussionist, or beat producer to your song that takes direction and plays realistic beats
  • Apple Loops covering the latest electronic and urban genres
  • Audio recording
  • Virtual software instruments
  • MIDI editing
  • Additional audio loops

Learn About Garageband

Related: GarageBand Tutorials


Sony Acid Music

 Acid Music Studio - Version 11 - Simply Creative

Sony Acid Pro Features:

  • The Audio and MIDI mixing digital audio workstation console allow users to visually represent audio signals in a project and provides additional routing options,
  • Flexible and efficient in-studio recording environment.
  • Input busses control routing of input signals
  • Sony Acid includes software for professional music production and editing, including ACID Pro Effects Rack powered by iZotope, Garritan Aria for ACID Pro Player & Sonoma Wire Works KitCore.

Learn About Acid Pro


Acoustica Mixcraft Pro Studio

Acoustica Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio

 Acoustica Mixcraft Pro Features:

  • Professional interface with high-contrast graphics
  • Custom loop in a huge variety of styles
  • Easily import loop files and loop CDs into the loop library
  • Loop Library features an easy search tool to quickly find loops and sound effects
  • Record multiple MIDI and audio tracks simultaneously

Learn About Acoustica Mixcraft


So that is a list of some of the most popular music software programs available.

Common Music Software Programs

What music software is best for beginners?

We think FL Studio and Garageband are the easier programs to learn from the list above.

Is there free music software?

Can I make music online?

You can’t make professional music online, but there are some fun websites to play with:
Free Online Sequencers
Make Music Online
Free Online Drum Machines

Do you have tutorials for music software?

What does DAW mean?

DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. It’s pretty much just another name for music production software.


Helpful Links on Music Software

Leave a comment on your favorite music software and why you picked it.

This article is a part of the How to Make Beats series.

What is your favorite music software?

Please Note: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Mark V. at Hip Hop Makers

Written By Mark V.

Hip Hop Makers is a music production website that launched in 2008 to teach music lovers how to make music, sell beats, and make money from music.

45 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. I use Fruity Loops 10, im a young beatmaker from germany 16 years old

  2. Reason 6.5

  3. Pro Tools 9

  4. Man everyone needs to try reaper. Its like protools on steroids. 40.00 gets you life time updates and it can run with any VST you can think of.

  5. Fl Studio

    but big plus 1 on on Reaper. perfect for sound design

  6. Cubase & Reason

  7. for vocals, I’m still working with ProTools 7.4 lol through a Digi 003 rack but when I get my new lab I look forward to trying some new daw’s!

  8. Reason (for beat making) rewired to Pro Tools (for the vocals)

  9. Just use Ardour on Linux.

  10. Sonar LE X1

  11. I have been used Pro Tools to record vocals and instruments, but Ableton to arrangement, mix & mastering.

    Cheers!

  12. Beat Making Software For Mac or PC – DubTurbo 2.0 Beat Making Software

  13. Maschine 1.8 and pro tools… Was on mpc 2500, 5000, 2000xl and logic before this latest set up

  14. Protools 7.4 reason 5 what a lovely combination….

  15. REASON 5 FOR THE BEATS, AUDACITY FOR THE RECORDING AND ADOBE AUDITION 3 FOR MIXING AND MASTERING THE VOCALS. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND YOUR CREATIVITY HAS NO LIMITS.

  16. REASON 5 FOR THE BEATS, AUDACITY FOR THE RECORDING AND ADOBE AUDITION 3 FOR MIXING AND MASTERING THE VOCALS. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND YOUR CREATIVITY HAS NO LIMITS. I HAVE REAPER BUT HAVE NOT GOT INTO IT YET. HAVE HEARD NOTHING BUT GREAT THINGS ABOUT IT

  17. Reason 4 for beats and Sonar X1 for vocals.

  18. Fruity Loops!!!

  19. FL Studio for beats and Sonar x2 for vocal

  20. Reason 6.5 has grown on me with the RE. But usually, I use Cubase 6, since that’s the DAW I know the most. I know all the most vital hotkeys and that speeds up my workflow. Recording instruments, like a complete drum set, is really good in Cubase. This can be a process where you mic up like 12 mics and record them all at the same time, and the editing afterward is a lot easier than with other DAWs. But vocals into Reason 6.5 and then Rewire.

  21. I use Logic Pro 9 for my beats and use ProTools for mastering my vocals

  22. reason 5 pro tools 7.4 can’t beat it.

  23. Motu’s BPM. But it’s buggy as hell so I can’t recommend it. Yet it’s really fast and sounds good.

  24. Im using Reason, but thinkin about using Cubase as Host-Application.

  25. SonyAcid/FL-STUDIO/CUBASE

  26. Reason 6.5/Pro Tools

  27. FL 10 is the go to

  28. I use Reason / FL 10 and Nuendo for vocal.

  29. Reason 5 for beats, Logic Pro for Vocals and live recording.

  30. I’m new and I use mpc studio and fl 9 together.

  31. Reason 7, Machine and Pro Tools 9

  32. The BEST software is what YOU feel most comfortable using.

    From a TECHNICAL standpoint, the BEST software will that which allows one to do the MOST, but that’s really only important if YOU actually NEED ALL of the functions and features included the software that allows the most.

    For example, if you’re a person who likes to sample, then plugin support MAY not be such a big priority, but if you’re a formally trained musician who prefers to produce ORIGINAL compositions, then a program’s midi capabilities and plugin support will be a HUGE priority.

    So again, it all depends on what YOU NEED and feel comfortable using.

    I like FL Studio because it was easy to learn, it’s not overly expensive and it’s VERY powerful, and CERTAINLY capable of producing PROFESSIONAL quality sound.

  33. MPC into cubase or Maschine into Studio One pro….vocals /live instruments/ mixing & mastering after this is a breeze.

  34. I mostly use FL Studio 10 for making beats and then master them and record my vocal tags in Pro Tools MP 9. However, I also from time to time make beats using my Maschine drum machine in the Maschine program. I am definitely going to check out reaper though.

  35. Native Instruments Maschine, Logic X

  36. fl studio is my most favorite

  37. I want to try Cubase!!!! and I understand why protools only has 3 stars lol I’m still using 7.4 650.00 for an upgrade is crazy. (one day) I love how you can edit in Protools but I’m still not really feeling producing with vst’s yet in the DAW.
    FL studio has a better workflow for me I record in real-time with live audio when I make beats in pro tools which can make tracking a longer task lol smh !!!

  38. What about PreSonus Studio 1!? better than ProTools….

  39. I’m an ableton guy. Next year some time I’m gonna swith over to mac, so I’m gonna see what Logic is all about. But ableton gets the job done.

  40. Contemplated Studio 1, but making leap to FL Studio. Not an engineer.

  41. I’ve been using Cakewalk for a long time. I need a new computer more than a new DAW. :)

  42. Hi guys, I use Maschine for all my producing and I’m just trying to figure out what works best with it for recording hip hop lyrics. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  43. I wonder if Cubase is suitable for Hip Hop production ?

  44. Yes, Cubase is another great program.

  45. as a Fruityloops user, i think this DAW is amazing, easily to use, lot of tutorial on the internet, which is really help me to learn to make or remix music especially the electronic music

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