Music making software recommendations

topic posted Mon, October 29, 2007 - 7:34 PM by  Belen
Hi :-)
Can anyone tell me what you know to be the best software for making music?
I've played with Reason before, have heard Logic Express is good, and am curious about Ableton Live.
I dunno what Fruity, Cubase, GarageBand or any of that is about.

I want to compile stuff with pre-made sounds/drums etc and record my own. The option of using it for live performance is cool but not a priority.

I'm using a 3rd gen Mac with Leopard OS.
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • Re: Music making software recommendations

    Mon, October 29, 2007 - 8:07 PM


    A lot of this is really up to your tastes, your expectations, your workflow and your budget. Since your Mac can run Leopard, it's likely powerful enough for most (if not all) audio tasks you can throw at it. My main audio app is MOTU Digital Performer 5.12 -- I use it on a dual 2.7ghz G5 (my main audio machine) and a 2ghz Core2 Duo MacBook (for when I need to be portable, like this past weekend). I also use Ableton Live 6 and Reason 3.5, though I use DP the most, easily. DP isn't really geared for looping like Live is, though -- DP is more of a music production / studio recording application. I used Logic waaay back in the day and liked it, though i've not played with it at all since Logic 5 I think (read: years ago).

    What I really would do is go to a local music store (RobotSpeak is one of my personal favorites in SF), and just ask for demonstrations on the major audio applications. One of them may resonate with you more than the others.



    Falling You - exploring the beauty of voice and sound

    • Re: Music making software recommendations

      Mon, October 29, 2007 - 10:09 PM
      I agree with John. All of the DAWs you mentioned also have free downloadable demos. Try a couple and see which one is most intuitive for you to use. You probably already have GB on your Mac. Hell, try that one first and if you like it maybe move up to the next step which would be Logic Express or even Logic. My first program was Acid because it came bundled with the first computer I bought. Now I use Reason, and Live and a couple of other things like Reaktor and Pluggo. I still like dinking around with Acid quite a bit though.
      • Re: Music making software recommendations

        Tue, October 30, 2007 - 5:53 PM
        Reason is a bit limited as you cannot record in your own sounds. there are plenty of cool sounds, but you'll need a lot of refills.

        Ableton is my DAW of choice as I like the interface for it's straight forward approach. It's at a good price for the functionality that it offers and it is quickly catching up with the competiotion as far as being a full DAW for production as it's been missing some great features due to be released in 7. If you buy 6 before January 1 08 you get a 7 upgrade for free.

        Logic will be my next big buy after I upgrade my RAM and upgrade to Ableton 7. It offers better effects/mastering options and I am told.

        Garage Band is very simple and won't really do the job for you in the long run.

        Fruity Loops is PC only - that strikes that one.

        ProTools is way more than you'll need to start with and I have heard from many sources that the system upkeep on it is intense and many people do not recommend it for a home studio, especially if you are not the most technically save computer user. I have a friend that is a very apt computer user and had ProTools running for a while but just scrapped it as it was too much work to keep it going without bugs. There was always something (he was using an M-audio interface and I think I recall that a lot of his troubles were started there).

        there are others that I have no experience with so will not comment on such as DP (pc only?) and such.

        Not because it's what I use already, but if I had to start again, I'd still go with Ableton (especially if you are just getting started). It will rewire to work flawlessly with reason as well if you are already working with that. And, it has the bennefit of being the only DAW that is capable of working in a live format for performance without stopping to close and open tracks (hence the name).

        Good luck and let us know what you end up going with. I know that there are a lot to choose from, so like Don said, check out the demos as much as you can. there is also a tribe community for all of them (a couple for Live).

        Also, feel free to join us here:
        for all that theory nonsense and tips for production.
        • Re: Music making software recommendations

          Wed, October 31, 2007 - 11:01 AM
          Don't bother with Logic Express...

          I would suggest to just go for the new Logic Studio, $500 unless you can buy it from a university like Berkeley for $150.

          Logic is a great program, very intuitive once you get past the initial learning curve, and integrates wonderfully with Reason, Abelton Live, and other rewire-compatible software.

          It is also expandable with you, and is capable of handling TDMs.

          Also you won't be missing out on some of the best effects and instrument plug-ins that come with the full version, on it's own worth the price difference over express.

          Now that Logic is basically the same price as Abelton and Reason, I think it's pretty obviously the better choice, especially for serious recording/mixing/engineering, or producing finished, mastered tracks.

          Also, it opens Garage band songs!
          • Re: Music making software recommendations

            Wed, October 31, 2007 - 8:19 PM
            I've heard Logic rewired to Live is buggy. Not the report from you it sounds, correct, jan?
            • Re: Music making software recommendations

              Fri, November 2, 2007 - 5:35 AM
              I'm not sure why you'd want to rewire Logic to Live - I think of them as studio vs. stage, parallel DAWs with different strengths.
              • Re: Music making software recommendations

                Fri, November 2, 2007 - 10:57 PM
                I use Live for both.
                • Re: Music making software recommendations

                  Sat, November 3, 2007 - 2:34 AM
                  i love live 6. and 7 in time he he. . ...... live is great, personally i love reason too, cubase sx is amazing, logics fairly easy, but i must admit, if youve got the processing capability, step up to the high diving board and just get protools. its confusing, it has too many options, and you should be pro, but thats what were goin for,right? you can try the live demo (and record it in protools), you can rewire refills into protools, and you can convert vsts into rtas and take control of them all in protools. it is the absolute answer to leaving all doors open. . . . . . .. . . . . . . got 38 microphones? no worries. . . . .protools is ready . . . . . . . .
                  aaaaight , , ... . ,, . , heres the pitfalls. youll hate slotools for a month. then youll realize, with all these options, ill never stop learning and expanding! all doors! wide open! then burn it and play it live hee hee... ... . . . . . . . choose wisely grasshoppa

                  one last biased opinion here... .. .. . . . play it live with a vestax cdr-07!!!!!!!!
                  best disc machine ever. you can record and re record on the fly! best impulse buy ive ever made!

                  ps....... im severly biased
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                    Re: Music making software recommendations

                    Sat, November 3, 2007 - 1:48 PM
                    My Pro Tools rig just gathers dust. I got sick of its temperamental ways. The beauty part of LIVE is that it puts you in the place of making music as opposed to fucking around with a computer for hours accomplishing nothing like a computer would. Never mind the limited track count and whatnot. I find it to be really squirrely and unintuitive. Never mind that when EVERYBODY uses PT, I tend to want to go in the opposite direction.

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