7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

Whether you’re an experienced recording industry producer trying to score another hit or an aspiring singer/songwriter looking to produce your first great tune, you’ll need music production software. A digital audio workstation (DAW) is essential for creating excellent music—or outstanding audio for TV shows, movies, radio broadcasts, and more—because it allows you to edit, change, add to, balance, and generally improve the sounds that come out of instruments or voice boxes. Of course, a good DAW also allows you to produce audio from scratch directly on your computer.

We interviewed a variety of music and recording industry pros to compile this buyers’ guide. We also dug deep into the top DAWs based on their ratings, reviews, and overall popularity, as well as considerations like ease of use and system compatibility. Here are our picks for the best music production software.

  • Steinberg Cubase
  • Reaper
  • FL Studio
  • Avid Pro Tools
  • Logic Pro
  • Bitwig Studio
  • Ableton Live

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

When you first log onto Cubase, it can feel a bit like drinking from a firehose, as this DAW has so much to offer. But once you’re comfortable with the platform, the power of this system will be a thrill. From a massive library of pre-recorded sounds and music loops to customizable chord pads, to pitch correction tools, to professional-grade mixing and mastering controls, this is a masterful software suite for music production that can be used for work in all genres of music.

Because Cubase is indeed a professional-grade DAW, you’ll pay handsomely for the most advanced and complete program the company offers. However, Cubase Elements 13 costs a lot less and offers plenty of functionality for most users. The software accepts numerous plugins that enhance its capabilities, and it’s advanced enough to maintain excellent audio quality with almost no latency even when you’re working with massive, multi-track projects.

Specifications:

  • Compatibility: PC, macOS
  • Sample library: Loops, effects
  • Audio export formats: Wave, MP3, AIFF, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis
  • Learning/tutorial resources: Articles on the site
  • Free trial: 60 days

Pros:

  • Suitable for beginners and professionals alike

  • Huge sound file library

  • Good pricing for the base package

Cons:

  • The pro package is expensive

  • Learning curve prior to full use

2. Reaper – Best Budget

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

Reaper is a good enough DAW to be employed by countless recording and TV/film industry professional sound engineers, but it costs a fraction of our top for an indefinite license. You can also test the platform for a full 60 days before committing to the little charge. Once you’ve done that, you can truly personalize it; Reaper allows users to modify the interface, changing everything from the icons to the colors to the toolbars to the shortcut keys. This means you can design a layout that is most suited to your creative flow.

All of this is good news because Reaper’s default interface is notoriously difficult to learn, so expect it to be reworked. Reaper offers outstanding recording capabilities once it has been perfected and can be utilized during live performances or recording sessions. It works with many kinds of plugins (which is fortunate considering it lacks a native sound library), and it’s a remarkably compact tool that takes up very little storage space on your computer.

Specifications:

  • Compatibility: PC, macOS, Linux
  • Sample library: N/A
  • Audio export formats: AIFF, AVI, BW64, BWF, CAF, FLAC, MIDI, MOGG, MOV, MUSICXML, MP3, MP4, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Opus, RAW/PCM, RF64, SD2, SYX, W64, WAV, WAVPACK
  • Learning/tutorial resources: User guide, online forum
  • Free trial: 60 days

Pros:

  • Great price point

  • Broad hardware compatibility

  • Customizable interface

Cons:

  • Default interface hard to use

  • Lacking built-in loops, samples

3. FL Studio – Easiest To Use:

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

FL Studio makes working with audio files simple, from the minute you record, input, or produce raw audio to the moment you finish mastering. Following a recent platform update, the latter is now possible with AI support. FL Studio also makes it simple to upload your completed tracks to streaming providers such as Apple Music and Spotify.

This DAW’s intuitive interface is only part of what makes it user-friendly. The other component is the vast library of FL Studio loops and samples, as well as the many plugins with which it is compatible. This software is packed with audio files that are ready to assist you improve your creations. The trial edition is not time-limited, but it is feature-limited, so you’ll need to purchase to explore everything FL Studio has to offer.

Specifications:

  • Compatibility: Windows, macOS
  • Sample library: Loops, samples, presets
  • Audio export format: Wave, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, MIDI
  • Learning/tutorial resources: Video guides, manual, email support, forum
  • Free trial: Limited trial edition

Pros:

  • Easy to adopt and use

  • Large sample and loop library

  • Synth tools for audio creation

Cons:

  • The trial version is limited

  • Slow autosave

4.  Avid Pro Tools – Best Professional Grade:

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

If you ever find yourself working on a sound editing project that requires the simultaneous combination of more than 2,000 audio files, chances are you won’t need to read this article because you’ll already be utilizing Avid Pro Tools as a professional. Pro Tools is the DAW to consider for anyone who is still on their way to pro-level audio production employment. In fact, the Pro Tools Ultimate version of the software can handle 2,048 audio tracks or 1,024 MIDI tracks at the same time.

Of course, Pro Tools is pricey, and there is no way to purchase a perpetual license. The Pro Tools Studio bundle, on the other hand, costs roughly half as much as the full software suite and includes almost everything most musicians and music producers want, such as the ability to manage 512 audio tracks, 64 simultaneous recording inputs, more than 120 instruments, and much more.

Specifications:

  • Compatibility: PC, macOS
  • Sample library: Loops, virtual instruments, emulators
  • Audio export format: Wav, MP3, AIFF, MXF, MP4,
  • Learning/tutorial resources: Webinars, forum, customer support
  • Free trial: 30 days

Pros:

  • Industry-standard setter

  • Base package well-priced

  • Huge audio track capacity

Cons:

  • No perpetual license

  • No video track in the lowest price tier

5. Logic Pro – Best for Apple Users:

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

If you’re an Apple fan and don’t plan on migrating to a Windows or Linux operating system anytime soon (or ever), Logic Pro is an excellent alternative. It comes with a large library of sounds and music loops and may be used for original production as well as editing. Logic Pro also has so many virtual instruments that you may compose entire scores for shows or movies, as well as create completely unique digital albums.

While it’s very simple to use for people who are already familiar with macOS applications, Logic Pro is infamous for poor customer service and outdated online reference materials. On the bright side, the DAW includes some tracks that have been laid out in their multitrack version by their producers. You can experiment with these completed songs, modifying levels here, changing pitch there, adding a loop here, and so on, to help you master the DAW.

Specifications:

  • Compatibility: macOS
  • Sample library: Plugins and sound samples
  • Audio export format: WAV, AIFF
  • Learning/tutorial resources: Limited
  • Free trial: 90 days

Pros:

  • Seamless integration with Apple devices and software

  • Easy-to-use interface

  • Works on Apple iPad

Cons:

  • Only compatible with Apple

  • Manuals outdated and spotty customer service

6. Bitwig Studio – Most Customizable: 

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

Bitwig allows you to personalize the interface in a variety of ways, as well as establish up to eight remote control options, which allow you to automate various features. You can also use “The Grid,” a modular sound design interface that makes it delightfully easy to load in sound effects, instrumental tracks, vocals, loops, and more if you purchased for the complete edition.

The complete edition is somewhat pricy, but it provides a perpetual license platform rather than an annual membership fee. Because the $99 Essentials version offers a far more limited number of instruments and effects, you’ll probably want to go with that version or the middle-of-the-road Producer choice.

Specifications:

  • Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Sample library: 90+ instruments, loops, effects
  • Audio export format: Wave, FLAC, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Opis
  • Learning/tutorial resources: User guide, video tutorial, customer support
  • Free trial: 30 days

Pros:

  • Can tweak the interface to your heart’s content

  • Multiple digital instruments

  • Perpetual license

Cons:

  • Learning curve for new users

  • The affordable plan has limited instruments

7. Ableton Live – Best for Live Music: 

7 Best Music Production Software of 2023

It’s no surprise that Ableton Live is a terrific DAW for folks who work with live music, with the word “live” right there in the name. Ableton Live is part music production software and part digital DJ suite that may be used in the studio or on stage. It can be used to blend various tracks into a master-ready track or to lay down beats as a band jams live in front of an audience. It can also communicate with and operate physical equipment such as lights, effects pedals, and speakers.

If you’re more interested in studio work and fine-tuning and polishing tracks, Ableton Live might not be the perfect music production software for you. It is particularly lacking in a pitch adjustment function. The platform does include all of the expected loops, instruments, and multitrack capabilities, so if your primary goal is to aid in the production of live music, this is an excellent DAW to explore.

Specifications:

  • Compatibility: Windows, macOS
  • Sample library: Loops, effects, instruments
  • Audio export format: Wave, AIFF, FLAC Ogg Vorbis, MP3, MP4
  • Learning/tutorial resources: Video tutorials, online articles
  • Free trial: 30 days

Pros:

  • Great for live performances

  • Great for experimentation and improvisation

  • Real-time automatic tempo adjustments

Cons:

  • Lacking pitch correction tool

  • The base version is limited

In conclusion

Music production software allows a single sound engineer to perform the functions of composer, musician, recording studio, and producer all from a single computer. It has the potential to be both pleasant and profitable. DAWs are difficult to master and can be costly, so before purchasing music production software, make sure you thoroughly understand your own needs and evaluate how much time and effort you can dedicate to mastering a system.

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