Over the past three decades, music production has changed substantially. What once took a studio full of equipment, engineers, and studio musicians can now be accomplished with professional production software in someone’s living room.
The advent of digital music production initially had purists up in arms over the loss of analog tape, but most have come around to accept that digital is the way to go, both for sound quality and workflow purposes, with the ability to send tracks worldwide via the Internet in seconds paramount in importance for collaboration purposes.
Whether you are exploring a new hobby or looking to master professional tracks, these five music production software suites will handle almost anything.
The Pro Tools System is one of the biggest names in software-based music production, and is probably the standard software used by pros, just as Avid is for video editors or Photoshop is for photographers.
It is capable of producing outstanding masters, generating loops, beat matching and much more. Available in multiple tiers, this system comes in a variety of price points and feature sets. Novice musicians might have to spend some time getting used to how the program works.
However, it is easier to learn than many of the other production software available. The only downside to Pro Tools is the system requirements. All of the power the software provides requires plenty of system resources to keep it running smoothly.
Cakewalk has been a respected brand in Windows-based music production for over a decade. It is powerful and flexible with a minimalistic interface. While it is not suited well for live mixing or performance, it performs exceptionally well for recording and mastering audio tracks.
The simple interface also helps to reduce the system requirements of this software suite. If you are worried about your system’s performance but require professional results, Cakewalk is hard to beat.
While Cakewalk Sonar shines for studio recording, Ableton Live is the star of live performance production software. The software is designed to put an array of functions and features at your fingertips for easy access and intuitive, fun music production. The software’s modular design makes it easy to set things up in a logical way.
This means you can spend less time figuring out how to use the program and more time producing quality tracks.
If you are looking for a basic music production suite, Garage Band for Mac OSX offers a consumer-level experience with a respectable amount of features. While it might not be capable of mastering multi-track audio or creating live mixes for a pumped up crowd, it’s simple point-and-click interface and low system requirements make it easy to use for the most novice of musicians.
With a full selection of virtual instruments, audio sampling capabilities and an arsenal of effects and filters, Garage Band is a fun way to enter the world of music production, and is widely adopted.
Propellerheads Reason 6
Reason is designed to work like a traditional audio rack in digital form. You simple select the modules that you need, connect and arrange them as you desire and get to work. This approach has made Propellerheads Reason 6 one of the most popular professional music production suites available, especially for producers of electronic dance music. If you are new to music production, you might find the interface a little intimidating.
However, after learning the basic workflow, the program offers one of the most intuitive interfaces available. System requirements depend on your usage, making this a flexible solution on the hardware front as well.
Marty Reardon is a consummate professional in the technology industry, having written for multiple media outlets over two decades. When he isn’t busy creating content for websites such as www.nextdoorselfstorage.com who offer quality self storage facilities, he spends his time doing what he loves; restoring vintage guitars.