Music production has come a long way from the analogue era. Today’s digital technology enables many of us to pick up music production as a pass-time hobby in the comfort of our own PC. Even the extensive equipment usually associated with music production has become something much more affordable for many enthusiasts who couldn’t imagine something like it a few decades ago. From mixers, compressors, equalizers, delays and other rack equipment, that goes into owning in order to engage into the activity of music production, you can now have everything in a digital form inside a software compatible with most computers.
The only thing one has to ask now is: what software is the best? It goes without saying that there will certainly be software that exceeds ones budget, but even the more affordable one is not something you should buy without consideration. The reason for this is the fact that many operation systems have an in-built sound and music production software for the basic needs that may occur.
So, if you don’t consider going too wild in your music experimentations, then the software of your OS might be already sufficient. On the other hand, if you have already exceeded the possibilities of the software that comes with your OS, then buying a professional (or at least semi-professional software) could benefit you in crafting and enhancing your skills.
Pro Tools is one of those programs that come immediately to mind when talking about music production software. It has a great track record in high quality and versatile functions which make it extremely popular among many professionals.
It offers many plug-ins from third party developers and has an interface that gets more intuitive from version to version. This professionalism comes at a premium price that may not be suitable for beginners, but professionals have no doubts about paying for such quality. This will cost around $650.00
- Very versatile in functions and integrated elements
- A lot of third party plug-ins
- Used by a high number of professionals
- Newer versions may require better computer specifications
Avid Pro Tools 11 is certainly something worth the money you pay for it if you’re already in the music production business. The software is created by professionals for professionals who know how to utilize all of its aspects. For enthusiasts, this product may be too pricy.
Cubase is certainly a brand that is widely recognizable in the music production scene. Steinberg’s most cherished child is a professional music production software that semi-professionals and even beginners can use to get into music production on a higher level. The Cubase plug-in system grants great possibilities for third party plug-ins that can drastically enhance the basic specs of the software.
The downside of this may be bigger RAM and CPU usage, as well as longer loading times when starting the program. It is much more affordable than similar software, but still comes at a price that only few hobbyists could easily afford. This will cost around $330.00
- Great price to quality ratio
- Many third party plug-ins to choose from
- Intuitive interface
- Slow loading times if equipped with many plug-ins
Although considered one of the best music production software currently on the market, Steinberg’s Cubase Pro 8 comes at an affordable price. The intuitive and straightforward interface of the program is great for beginners and enthusiasts who are still learning how to utilize the most out of their professional software. The downside of the long loading times for third-party plug-ins is easily compensated by the already integrated effects that come with the software itself.
This music production software is not only meant to be at your home or studio computer, but also on the road with your other instruments. Ableton Live is conceptualized as an instrument in itself. This is due its extensive instrument plug-ins that come with the software. Hooking this software up to your notebook and keyboard will bring the quality of your home studio onto the stage. At a price that is slightly more than beginners could be comfortable with, this software has a great variety of functions that come with an understandable price tag. This will cost around $500.00
- Variety of uses even on live stages
- A great variety of instruments already included into the program
- Professional music production features
- Pricy for non-professionals
As far as music production programs go, Ableton Live 9 comes with great new features compared to its predecessors. The most noticeable feature is the ability of converting melodies and harmony audio files into near to perfect MIDI sequences. This ability is one more factor that speaks in favor of being a utility that, besides being good for music production, it’s also a great instrument to have on the road.
Digital music production has pushed technology and equipment to limits that may be unimaginable a few decades ago. This trend of digitalizing the workflow of music production has seen the emergence of software that had to be able to follow the newest drifts on professional as well as beginner levels. And while the professional industry may have benefited in terms of speeding up their work, in semi-professional and beginner circles, these music production programs created great opportunities for emerging talents.
Ableton Live 9 and Pro Tools have set standards in this industry. Their streamline professional software appeals to a big number of professionals, sound engineers, music producers and even professional studios. This kind of professionalism comes of course at a price that can be afforded by those who make a living off of those programs.
Cubase, on the other hand, appeals to a wider audience because of the higher affordability when compared to other music production software. Steinberg’s Cubase 8 Pro is the latest rendition of a program that suits professionals as well as those who are just getting into music production.