I first started producing music when I was only 16 years old!! Since then, I’ve worked with some of the most popular music production software. However, you want to know which music production software is best for beginners. Correct?
The truth is there’s a learning curve to EVERY piece of music production software, but the ones I found the most beginner-friendly are Propellerhead (now Reason Studios) Reason and Apple GarageBand. However, I truly believe that you’ll have the best time working with Reason. If ever you decide to settle with another DAW, you can actually keep using Reason as a plugin-in so that time spent learning it will never go to waste! In the hopes of helping you find the best music production software for YOUR personal needs though, we’ll also be covering some other options. That’s what the rest of this article is dedicated to. Let’s get you started!
- Properllerhead (Reason Studios) Reason for electronic music
- Apple GarageBand for everything else
- What other music production software have I used?
- Which music production software do I use now?
- If you’re still unsure of where to start, try some DEMOS!!
Properllerhead (Reason Studios) Reason for electronic music
Nowadays, I hear that lots of beginning music producers are using Ableton Live. I personally haven’t invested too much time with it because I know how powerful Reason is in comparison.
When it comes to electronic music, you’ve really got 3 main options:
- Propellerhead Reason
- Image-Line FL Studio
- Ableton Live
However, Reason truly stands out from the competition…
It actually distinguishes itself from most other DAWs because it really behaves like an instrument. In other words, it’s very intuitive and comes loaded with all the sounds you could possibly need to create great music!
Most DAWs come equipped with some instruments/effects, but the ones included with Reason are much higher-quality in my opinion.
I still work with some of those sounds to this day!
I think the main highlights are its synthesizers:
There’s MUCH more to work with nowadays, but these synths are incredibly powerful.
The workflow in Reason is also quite peculiar. It’s basically a rack.
If you’re not familiar with racks, it basically sounds like what it is. Instead of working with channel strips (well, not directly anyway), you’re working with devices and you can actually manually wire them.
You don’t HAVE TO, but it really provides an intuitive approach to modular synthesis.
Anyway, I can talk about Reason for AGES… I highly recommend trying the demo for yourself if you want to see what I’m talking about.
It’ll also be MUCH easier for me to help you since I still work with it!
Apple GarageBand for everything else
If you’ve got an Apple computer, there’s no reason NOT to use GarageBand. For starters, it’s probably the BEST FREE DAW out there and comes loaded with plenty of sounds.
I’m not huge on the sound library, but it’s more than acceptable for beginners.
It’s more extensive than what you can expect with most other DAWs so it’ll save you money because it’s FREE and because you can hold back on 3rd party plugins for a while.
Another thing worth noting about Apple GarageBand is that it’s like the little-brother of Logic Pro X. It’s pretty much the same user-interface, except you’ll be missing out on some features.
If you ever want to upgrade, the transition will be seamless and the projects you created in GarageBand will be compatible with Logic Pro X.
It may not seem important right now, but trust me… Switching DAWs can be quite time-consuming and stressful.
I wish I would’ve started out with GarageBand, but I only recently started using Apple computers. In other words… PLAN AHEAD!!
What other music production software have I used?
Before acquiring my first Apple computer, I was using Cubase. That’s actually the music production software I started out with at the age of 16.
It’s worth noting that it isn’t the easiest piece of software to work with…
That being said, I’m sure you could figure it out even if you’re a beginner. It’s just got LOTS more features and tools which can make it overwhelming.
Some of the hardware you’ll purchase may include a “lite” version of Cubase called “Cubase LE”. I think that one’s great for beginners and I’ve even worked with it!
The other DAW I spent at least one year working with is FL Studio.
Ironically, I wasn’t using it to produce the genres it was designed for (Hip Hop & EDM), so I eventually realized it wasn’t the best fit for me.
That being said, if you’re into producing electronic music, it’s an alternative to Reason.
It’s much more simplistic than Cubase which makes it much less intimidating for beginners.
Which music production software do I use now?
Right now, I’ve pretty much settled with using a combination of Logic Pro X and Reason 11. Remember when I said Reason could be used as a plug-in?
That’s what I was talking about!
However, Logic Pro X is my “home base” if you will and I don’t intend to change that.
At some point in your music career (if you get that far), you’ll probably want to settle down as well. Just make sure that you’ve tested at least 2-3 other DAWs though!
I just think that Logic Pro X works best for Mac-users and honestly, I believe it’s the best/most affordable DAW. It’s just as powerful as Pro Tools and costs a fraction of the price.
It includes even more instruments/effects than GarageBand.
Pro Tools and Cubase don’t include as much so that’s one of the reasons I don’t use them.
If you’re still unsure of where to start, try some DEMOS!!
Before purchasing anything, make sure that you try at least 2-3 demos. All of the music production software we’ve covered today includes a free trial, so you’ve got nothing to lose!
If you’re going with one of the free options, it’s even better!
If you’re looking for something free on Windows though, I recommend checking out PreSonus Studio One (it’s freemium).
However, you’ll be better off following my recommendations in the long run. It’ll be much easier for you to ask me questions and to receive personalized guidance.
That’s what I recommend if you still have no idea where to start.
That being said, this article was designed to help you sort out the playing field so you can make your own decisions. If you feel like I’ve missed anything, let us know in the comments!
I also invite you to schedule a 1-on-1 consultation with me if you’re looking for private music production lessons. It’s much easier to stay motivated when you’ve got someone coaching you through the process. I’d be more than happy to fill that role and get you started!
Thanks for reading, now go start making some music!