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FL Studio is probably the go-to music production software out there for both professional sound makers and amateurs.
However, with licenses ranging from $99 to around $900 to access all the features, it can be a bit expensive for some people.
The best FL Studio Alternatives that you can consider are:
- Avid Pro Tools
- Logic Pro X
- Ableton Live
- Traverso DAW
Read on as we delve deeper into what you can expect from FL Studio. We will also discuss the various alternatives and why it is worth spending time considering these alternatives before you decide to buy.
- 1 FL Studio: What It Offers
- 2 1. Avid Pro Tools
- 3 2. Logic Pro X
- 4 3. Ableton Live
- 5 4. Reaper
- 6 5. Audacity
- 7 6. LMMS
- 8 7. Traverso DAW
- 9 8. Cubase
- 10 9. GoldWave
- 11 FAQs
- 12 The Best FL Studio Alternatives You Should Know
FL Studio: What It Offers
A digital audio workstation, FL Studio lets you create electronic music with ease. Some of the features you will like are the step sequencer buttons and the presets and easy recording.
Its interface works by either drag-and-drop or copy-paste. It also comes with fast and easy automation features and a very intuitive and vector-based user interface that organizes everything you need, as well as the tools you are currently using, in a way that it is easy for you to find.
FL Studio comes in four flavors. The Fruity version is excellent for creating in-the-box music and costs $99.
If you want to record and edit music and audio clips, you will want the $199 Producer version. This version allows you to use microphones to record audio clips and edit them too.
The next tier is the Signature version that costs $300 and gives you access to several features such as the time editor, video players, NewTone pitch, Harmless synth, DirectWave sample, and a few additional plugins.
The All Plugins version costs $899 and gives you full access to the features and plugins that FL Studio has to offer, including additional Image-Line synths, and Sakura.
The good news is that you can get free upgrades for your version of FL Studio forever so you get fresh features with a one-time purchase.
What’s more, FL Studio is an excellent DAW for beginners because it is easier to learn than other software. It also has all the plugins included in the purchase.
In terms of features, its piano roll is probably the best step sequencer tool that you can use right now. Plus it is compatible with a wide range of file formats as well.
But as we have mentioned earlier, FL Studio is not the best when it comes to audio recording. It is possible to record music using this software, but it takes a lot of work especially if you need to incorporate longer vocals recordings or acoustic instruments.
Further, it has a rather limited sound library. So if you are looking for something that you can use for audio recording and has features that are similar to FL Studio, here are some alternatives.
If you are into composing and then editing audio and you are disappointed by FL Studio, then you can check Avid Pro Tools.
Avid Pro Tools uses a 64-bit mixing and recording engine that is very speedy and is perfect for those large studios that have the hardware to support it. This DAW is easy to use, with its Edit and Mix windows in the main interface. You do all your arranging, recording, and editing within the Edit window.
Your tracks are in the Mix window, which looks like a mixing board. This DAW also has excellent offline bouncing and the metering feature is an excellent feature.
This software gives you a good range of virtual instruments to choose from. For instance, the UVI Falcon has an impressive collection of effects, event processors, while the Plugsound has more than two gigabytes of synthesizer and instrument samples to work with.
There are three major versions of Avid Pro Tools. The First gives the user 16 MIDI and 16 audio tracks. You will be able to record four simultaneously using four different inputs.
This is their free version, and it allows you to learn the software without having to pay anything. But it does limit you to three project saves and these files will need to be on the Avid Pro cloud.
The native ProTools version gives you 128 audio tracks and one video track, and access to 32 input and output channels. You can save your files in a 32-bit sample rate at 192 kilohertz. It comes with 115 plugins and can handle mono and stereo multi-channel mixing.
Pricing for the ProTools version can range from a monthly payment of $29.99, or a one-time payment o $299 for a yearly subscription. You can also pay $34.99 for a month’s access, or buy the perpetual license for $599.
Then there is the Pro Tools Ultimate version that gives you 192 channels, 64 video tracks, and 384 audio tracks. You can also get multi-channel mixing, but Ultimate adds surround and immersive to this feature.
You pay $79.99 for a year’s subscription if you pay monthly, and $799 if you pay annually. You can also pay $89.99 for a month’s access.
Before You Buy Avid Pro Tools
Avid Pro Tools is excellent if you are a professional musician or artist with money to spend. It has a very intuitive user interface and fast mixing and recording engine. It also offers an excellent variety of tools for project collaboration.
The problem with Avid Pro Tools is that there is not pitch correction built into the program, something that even newer software like the PreSonus Studio One has. You will also miss instrument track presets and if you have older plugins, these will no longer work with the AAX platform that this version uses.
What’s more, this DAW uses a USB dongle to protect its license. More than that, it is expensive too.
With the latest release, you can now work with up to 10 collaborators in the cloud on a single project, including Pro Tools | First users. You can also choose to save projects locally or in the cloud using Selective Project Sync, giving you easy access to all of your cloud-based work from any Pro Tools-equipped computer—from anywhere you log into your account.
2. Logic Pro X
Logic Pro X is Apple’s entry into the world of DAWs. Logic Pro X is probably the closest competitor of FL Studio because of its excellence in electronic music creation and professional-quality audio editing with a very attractive price tag: $200 with no copy protection.
More than the budget price, Logic Pro X is highly capable and it does the job right with a range of functionalities and features that you will love.
You have the Live Loops that allow you to compose and arrange music in real-time. You can easily add loops and samples and even work in your recorded audio and music using cells. You can also trigger a variety of cells and find the combinations that will work the best.
You can also transform any sound into instruments with the Quick Sampler and Sampler. You can also add transitions and effects for your tracks.
The Logic Remote, which allows you to control your composing sessions from your iPhone or iPad. The step sequencer that allows you to create drum beats (drum loop) and other melodies.
What You Should Know About Logic Pro X
There is a free version of Logic Pro X, which allows you to learn the software before you buy it. It does not have annoying copy protection or subscription plans.
This DAW allows you to play up to 19 instruments, record unlimited audio tracks and work with 57 different effects. It has 63 gigabytes of bundled content. It also has high-end features that are missing from more expensive competitors.
For instance, you can get pitch correction here, but not with Avid Pro Tools, which is at least $300 more expensive.
There are minor issues, however, but these are negligible. For example, you do not have an easy way to do clip-gains with your audio editing. But its biggest drawback is that it is only for Mac systems (including Mac OS X and beyond), so Windows and Linux users will have to look elsewhere.
3. Ableton Live
If DAWs were superheroes, Ableton Live will have to be Batman with his Batbelt. Ableton Live’s main draw is its extensive range of tools that allows you to be as flexible as you can with music editing.
You can try this software for free for 90 days. Beyond that, you will need to pay
- $99 for the Intro, which gives you the essential features
- $449 for the Standard edition, which gives you all the features with unlimited scenes, audio file and MIDI tracks, and other extras
- $749 for the Suite edition that gives you all the things you need for studio-quality music, more audio and MIDI effects, software instruments, and more than 70 gigabytes of sounds.
What Features Can You Get with Ableton Live?
Probably, the biggest update with the latest version of Ableton Live is the Wavetable, Ableton’s new synthesizer that can shape, morph, or stretch your sounds using wavetables that come from analog synths. You can also use your own wavetables. When you get the full Suite edition, you have at least 3,000 instrument sounds, three samplers, 390 drum kits, and more than 4,000 loops that you can use.
Ableton Live also has its browser, which makes it easy for you to find the tracks you are looking for. It also has Max, a module that brings with it dozens of effects and instruments. The mixer is okay, it is functional and you can work with it, but it is not as fancy as its competitors.
Some of the new tools that you can get with the latest Live, includes:
- Creative Extensions, a collection of eight tools that can help you with melody sequencing, pitch shifting, delays, and other processing tools
- CV Tools, allow you to work easily with modular synth
- Surround Panner, which is a good panning tool for setups with four to eight speakers
You will also like the Glue compressor, which mimics the old stereo compressors that you see on older analog boards and helps you “glue together” the mixes you are working on.
Before You Buy Ableton Live
Ableton Live gives you a new way to go about composing music, it is great for performing live, and it has a wide variety of tools included. You have an easier and less complicated workflow, and automation tools that are very powerful.
However, FL Studio might be a better idea if you are into electronic music creation. Ableton Live does not have a notation view, track comping, or pitch correction. The mixer is quite basic and you might run into some trouble when editing MIDIs.
Reaper allows you to record MIDI and audio snippets from different outputs with ease and even allows you to splice your recordings. If you are looking for an FL Studio alternative for its live recordings without costing too much, then it is Reaper for you.
Reaper gives you a full mixing console, virtual instrument recordings, notation editing, and even video scoring. You can build your own macros, toolbars, and menu, and even fully customize the colors and looks of the interface.
Reaper is fast and you can even install it on a network drive or portable storage. It has 64-bit internal audio processing. You can record live music and create, and then save it in a wide variety of media formats.
You can also extend its capabilities with plugins, including those for virtual instruments and effects. What’s more, it has a wide range of tools for modulation, VCA, macros, scripting, automation, layouts, and custom skins.
Different Reaper Flavors
You can get Reaper for only $60 if you are going to use it for personal use. But for commercial music production, you will need to pay $225. At that price, it is still a fraction of what you’d pay for its competitors.
Before You Buy
Reaper allows you to record sound from a variety of inputs simultaneously and it has a wide variety of effects that you can use. It also has plugins that allow you to do more.
Reaper can be a bit difficult to learn because of its complex features and functionalities. Plus the interface is not that intuitive. But once you get used to using it, it is going to be an excellent tool for music creation and recordings.
If you are looking for a robust audio editing tool without the hefty price tag, you might want to consider Audacity.
This open-source audio recorder and editor gives you the tools that you need to record live audio using a mixer or a microphone. You can also use it to digitize analog music files and from other media.
Editing is easy as well, as you can copy and paste sections of the file. The free software supports 16- to 32-bit formats. Converting from one format to another is done with top-quality dithering and resampling, so sound quality is not affected.
This program is extensible with plugins, so you can work with Audio Unit, VST instrument, LV2, Nyquist, and LADSPA plugins. You can also write your own plugins using only a text editor.
Audacity is perfect for beginners who are looking to get their feet wet with recording music and podcasting. It may be free, but it is every bit as powerful as other paid options out in the market.
What’s more, it is pretty straightforward but effective when it comes to auditing audio and music files. You might miss the frills that other programs have, such as a beautiful and intuitive interface. It also does not have more advanced music editing features, but if you are only looking for simple audio editing, Audacity is a worthy consideration.
LMMS is an excellent DAW for beginners. For one, it is free and open source. It is also very easy to learn. So if you want to try out a DAW before committing to spending big bucks on the big names, LMMS is a good way to do just that.
This program allows you to create music by creating beats, synthesizing, mixing, arranging, and manipulate sounds your way. What’s more, this program comes with the easy to use plugins for instruments and effects.
The MIDI keyboard is also an excellent feature. Not only does it look good, but it also allows you to easily play instruments, plugins, and samples.
It may not be the most versatile DAW out there, but it gets the job done without you having to pay for anything.
7. Traverso DAW
Traverso DAW bills itself as the fastest in the world. You can record, edit, and compose music with ease and you do not have to wait too long for your output.
It is a complete package for your music creation and editing needs: it is free music software that does the job you can expect from paid competitors. Plus it gives you everything you need to compose and edit audio files, with the add-ons and plugins coming from its community of users and the company itself.
However, you might need to spend time to learn it, particularly if you do not have prior experience with DAWs or those who are used to working with more advanced multitrack audio editors. It may not be an ample substitute for FL Studio, but it is workable if money is a bit tight and you need to work with a fast audio editor.
The thing with Cubase is that it succeeds in giving its users a rich set of features for music editing and composition, but the interface remains very intuitive and easy to use. Cubase has effortless pitch correction, useful editing tools, and a lot of impressive features.
It gives you superb audio resolution and sound quality. Plus its MediaBay feature allows you to keep a handle on your audio and music files. Tools like the Chord Pads and Channel Strip, which ensures exceptional sound whether you are composing or editing music.
Pricing for Cubase starts at around $120 for the elements version to close to $700 for the Pro version. Two versions are bundled with certain products, but these offer you very minimal features.
What You Should Know About Cubase
Cubase has an interesting mix of features and usability. The user interface that you work with is not going to confuse you, and you will not get lost even when you are working with several files, using one of the myriads of tools that the program has to offer.
However, it can be very expensive and there are reports as to how unresponsive their customer service representatives are. It also needs a dongle for copy protection, which means it may not be a good option for those who use their laptops for creating music.
GoldWave is worth a look because of the simple user interface that makes it easy to work with. You can record, process, edit, and convert audio files with this DAW.
Goldwave does not have that many features, but it does get the job done. With a decent-looking user interface and an excellent user experience, it also gives you 40 professionally-made audio effects. It also does a better job of analyzing music and audio than FL Studio.
You can buy a lifetime license for $45, while a one-year license will cost you $15.
Question: I heard FL Studio is already great, why are you suggesting alternatives?
The alternatives here offer some of the things that FL Studio does not. As you can see, there are options for those who do recordings as well as some free options for those who prefer not to bother with subscriptions and payments.
Question: Are there other FL Studio alternatives I can try?
Answer: There are some programs that you can try if you are looking to do some very specific tasks.
Anvil Studio is a free MIDI sequencer that has a lot of features. You can compose or record music. You can also edit MIDI files with it. It may be a bit difficult to learn and has an outdated interface, but it is a powerful and free MIDI sequencer.
Muse Score allows you to compose music for free. Ditch the pen and paper and just drag and drop keys, clefs, time, and notes onto the interface. You can play your composition anytime, and enhance it using different instrument sounds that are built-in. It also supports your MIDI keyboard.
Notion is a paid program that allows you to create music easily. You can play with real samples and clips to create your own songs. Notion also offers templates that can help you compose a whole lot faster.
MixPad is a multi-track mixing software that is free for non-commercial use. Record and edit any audio clip and get professional results. The MIDI editor features allow you to do more with your editing, plus you can mix an unlimited number of files. But because of the extensive range of features, this program has, the interface might be a bit confusing.
Question: Can I trust free DAWs?
Answer:While paid programs generally have better support, regular updates, and an impressive range of features, that does not mean that free to use music editors and recorders lag too far behind.
Some free programs are created by musicians to help their fellow musicians create astounding music. Others have a lively community that you can rely on for help and even the best plugins, effects, and instrument sounds.
Others may trade having a lot of features so that they can deliver to you the best tools you can use. They may even have a more intuitive interface and are easier to use than their paid competitors.
When it comes to evaluating software, you really should not discount free options because sometimes there are the ones that are perfect for you. Besides, no matter how expensive your software is, it is going to be useless if you cannot figure out how to use it or have it do what you are trying to achieve.
The Best FL Studio Alternatives You Should Know
It is difficult not to be impressed by FL Studio. It offers the best tools for music creation and live recordings are doable. The user interface is stunning and customizable. Plus, you get free upgrades for your version forever.
However, if you find it too expensive, there are cheaper alternatives like GoldWave or Reaper. Some options are also totally free such as LMMS and Audacity.
Meanwhile, big names such as Avid Pro Tools and Logic Pro X competes with FL Studio by giving you a better set of tools for live audio and instrument recording. So take your pick and get the best DAW for your needs.
See how FL Studio compares to others: