With so many platforms out there, it can be hard to decide which music-producing software is the most adapted to your needs.
Whether you are just starting out with beat-making or you are a music production veteran, these are the top five essential features that you should look for when comparing music-making programs.
1. Ease of Use
There are dozens of DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) on the market, but is it worth going for the most powerful one if it is hard to navigate? You should always aim to choose music-producing software that is user-friendly and easy to learn. The goal is to allow yourself to focus on your music and creativity and spend less time trying to figure out how the program works. Your creative process should flow seamlessly thanks to tools and features such as:
An intuitive interface
Keyboard shortcuts customization
BeatConnect has one of the most user-friendly interfaces in the market, especially if you want to collaborate remotely with artists worldwide. The following programs are also known for their ease of use:
Ableton Live, for its "session view," allowing non-linear compositions.
Logic Pro X, for its easy-to-navigate interface.
GarageBand, for its simple UX and basic features.
Pro Tools First, for its simplified interface compared to the professional-level Pro Tools platform.
2. Sound Library and Sample Quality
Once you know how to use your music-producing software, you will want to experiment with samples. Instead of hunting down quality sounds on different websites, save time and energy by choosing a DAW that already offers an extensive sound library. These high-quality sounds will help you achieve a polished and professional-sounding result. Aim to choose a platform that offers a wide selection of virtual instruments, synthesizers, drums and effects. If you want to elevate your music, check out the different following software, known for their comprehensive sound libraries.
Kontakt, with its collection of more than 43GB of recorded samples, ranging from acoustic guitars to analog synths.
Spectrasonics, with its innovative virtual instruments and extensions.
Splice, with its long list of royalty-free sounds and presets.
3. MIDI Control and Automation
Achieve complete control over your musical vision thanks to MIDI control and automation features. MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) control allows you to adjust different parameters of your music and performance. With this technology, you can modulate the sound of virtual instruments, adjust the velocity of single notes, create unique timbers and textures and even modify instrument parameters during a live show.
Software like BeatConnect, Ableton Live and FL Studio offer great MIDI control and automation features, enabling you to see your musical vision come to life.
4. Export Options
Your DAW of choice should offer flexible export options so that you can distribute your music on all streaming platforms, no matter the required format. Here are today's main music streaming platforms and their main supported formats:
Spotify: FLAC, WAV.
Deezer: MP3, FLAC.
Tidal HiFi Plus: AAC, ALAC, MQA, FLAC.
Amazon Music Unlimited: MP3, FLAC.
Apple Music: AAC, ALAC.
YouTube Music: AAC, OPUS.
SoundCloud Go+: AAC
The more export options your DAW offers, the more you can share your music with a wider audience.
Music-making programs such as Ableton Live, Pro Tools and Logic Pro X also offer stem exporting features, allowing you to export single stems and fine-tune your mix during post-production.
5. Price and Value
Don't forget to compare the price and value of each considered DAW before making a final decision. Evaluate your needs and ask yourself if the price is worth it. You might not need to go with the most expensive platform on the market if you only want to experiment with basic features. A free music production software could do just fine! These are some of the best free music production software out there.
GarageBand, Apple's beginner-friendly and versatile DAW, comes with every Mac computer. Sadly, it is not available to non-Apple users.
Pro Tools First, the limited edition of the well-known DAW, Pro Tools. Remember that it is defined as Pro Tools' "limited" edition for a reason. You can only record up to 16 audio tracks and 16 virtual instrument tracks. You might want to update to the paying version for more flexibility.
Cubase LE, one of the first sequencing apps available and Cubase's lite edition. It features a wide sample library, but it presents some limitations. For example, you can only record 8 audio tracks simultaneously.
BeatConnect. Our user-friendly DAW offers a large sound library, a user-friendly interface and, most of all, advanced remote collaboration features, allowing you to work with any artist you want from anywhere… for free! You can also participate in BeatBattles with other creators to show off and enhance your beat-making skills.
Selecting the right DAW for you is not an easy process. The first thing you should do is assess your needs and analyze the market to understand your options better.
Use this article as a blueprint to identify the basic functionalities you should find in your chosen DAW, such as ease of use, a wide sound library, MIDI control and automation, flexible export options and good value for the price. These features help you get properly started and set you on the right track to see your musical creations come to life.
Learn more about BeatConnect and sign up for your first Beat Battle!