Over on the Digital DJ Tips forum, Sy Swint asks: “I want to learn how to produce but I’m not sure which digital audio workstation to buy? I’m leaning towards Ableton but it is twice the price of some other, seemingly professional, DAWs like Logic Pro. Is Ableton Live 9 worth the higher price tag?”
Digital DJ Tips says:
You could start with GarageBand, for free with OSX. Many top DJs and producers have used FL Studio (formerly Fruity Loops) to have number one hit tunes. Logic, as you say, is incredible software. So no, you don’t have to shell out for Ableton Live 9 Suite to start making music, not at all.
The reason many DJ/producers love Ableton Live is the way, in Clip view, you can sync items easily, matching their BPMs on the fly – a little like the “sync” button on a DJ controller, but across potentially hundreds of little snippets. Choosing from samples, one-shots, Midi clips, drum loops, rhythm-locked effects and much more, it is possible to endlessly “jam” variations of sounds in a way that just isn’t possible with most music production software, that demands structure from the beginning.
Also, this – especially with Ableton Link, which can easily sync you up to your DJ software, for instance – is a great way of playing live, keeping things fluid rather than rigid, and blurring the lines between DJing and production.
No wonder most DJ/producers produce with Ableton Live, then, but there is an alternative, namely relative newcomer Bitwig Studio. It also has a clip view for the same type of jamming. In all honesty though, it doesn’t work out an awful lot cheaper, and getting your software right at the beginning is, I’d suggest, more important than the price (which you’ll have forgotten about a year into your production career).
I’d say do your research, then, but choose on what’s right for you, not the initial outlay.
• Want to get started in music production? Our free Dance Music Formula video training is currently running, showing you how to make your first track in just a week.
What music production software do you use? Why? Any advice to offer to Si? Please feel free to add your voice in the comments.