Are you trying to make sense of all the Music Making Software available? Looking to choose the right audio production software for your studio. As a musician you want to harness the power of your PC, Mac or iPad to record and edit your songs. The problem is where to start, and how to pick software that won’t stand in the way of your creativity. DAW’s, notation software, audio editors, you will have heard lots of these terms, and seen some of the price tags, but how to choose?
Keep It Simple
Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) and Sequencing Software
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Mixcraft (for Windows)
Magix Music Maker (For Windows)
FL Studio (For Windows and Mac)
From its original Fruityloops beginnings, FL Studio has evolved from being a brilliant looping software package, to become a complete software music production environment or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Representing more than 20 years of innovative development it has everything you need in one package to compose, arrange, record, edit, mix and master professional quality music. FL Studio is one of the world’s most popular DAWs and is used by the professionals and beginners alike. FL Studio has a brilliant support portal, and because it has been going forever there are simply loads of resources to help you get started. Mac users used to be so disappointed that this software was only available on PC, but now it is multi-platform and simply better than ever.
Oh, and one of the really brilliant things about FL Studio is that once you have bought it, you get free updates for life. Which is nice.
Garageband (Mac and iOS Only)
Another option is to buy the home recording studio hardware you need such as a MIDI controller and/or audio interface and make sure it comes with a good suite of software so you can get started right away. Many manufacturers include DAW software and other goodies so that buying one bit of equipment can be like getting a whole ‘studio in a box’. The benefit of this is you get some decent hardware and some excellent music making software which will be totally compatible.
Cubase Elements (for Mac and Windows)
Steinberg Cubase Elements is a cutdown, streamlined and easily accessible version of the might Cubase music production environment. Elements uses the same technology platform as the full version, so once you have mastered this entry-level version you will be able to upscale to the same software as the professionals. Cubase elements turns your Mac or PC into a complete music studio, with audio and MIDI tracks, virtual instruments and FX, a virtual mixing desk, chord tools to help you compose your songs as lots of other music features to explore. Cubase elements offers easy-to-use capabilities for efficient songwriting. Plus, you have access to a nice broad range of instruments give your mix polish. Cubase Elements is the budget gateway to professional music creation workflows. Cubase has been used by countless professional artists around the globe, so you are in good company with this DAW.
Pro Tools (Mac and Windows)
The Digital Audio Workstation production software detailed above is the most popular approach to music making on your computer. And most of the software has a notation view as well, so it ticks the box for a wide range of musicians. However if you are really into traditional songwriting using notation, or you want to score orchestral pieces, or make arrangements for choirs etc, then you might prefer to use notation or score-writing software.
The ‘big hitter’ of notation software is Sibelius. And just like Pro Tools First, you can also start off with Sibelius First for free. The main limitation is that you can only score 4 tracks in the free version. When you are ready to trade up, then Sibelius is THE pro score writing software.
So another option is to look at Musescore. Musescore has grown to become the world’s most popular notation software, and does not have any limitations. It can be used on Windows or Mac. It is widely used in schools as well as in Conservatoires, and by choirs and orchestras worldwide.
Band In A Box: Completely Unique Music Making Software
One of our favourite products, and one that doesn’t seem to come up much in discussions about music making software, is Band-In-A-Box from PG Music. This is probably the longest established and certainly one of the most popular music making software packages of all time. Already packed with features, the latest version has added functions that in our opinion make this an essential buy for musicians in any genre, for keyboard players, guitarists, singers, in fact any musician looking for an outstanding tool to make the most of their creative ideas.
Create Arrangements From A Set of Chords
The original idea of this software was to be able to quickly create backing tracks – and so you can. Simply type in the chord sequences, choose your style, and the backing track is generated. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Pick which instruments get included, the tempo, the style
- Record your vocal or instrument line on top
- View the track in notation view
- Export the whole thing as a MIDI file
- Or, create an audio file which you can then share on social media, or burn to see.
More Band In A Box Features
But check out some of the other things you can do with Band In A Box Software :
- Generate a chord progression in the genre that you choose, based only on the melody. In other words, you think of a tune. Band-in-a-Box creates the backing for you.
- Audio Chord Wizard – you import an MP3/WAV.WMA file, Band-in-a-Box works out the chord sequence for you.
- Vocal Harmoniser – you sing a track, Band-in-a-Box will generate harmonies for it.
- Soundtrack Generator – if you need to generate some original, royalty-free music for backgrounds, home videos, slide shows, voiceovers, jingles, themes, underscoring scenes or entr’acte, dance routines, ceremonies or any occasion that calls for musical accompaniment, the soundtrack feature allows you to generate music in the style you choose for any length of time you specify.
- With RealTracks you can add the human element of session musicians to your songs.
Another Music Making Software Option: Buy The Hardware First
Once you have got your home recording studio up and running, then think about the DAW you want to use.
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Last updated on 2019-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images via Amazon Product Advertising API