Home recording is keeping the music industry alive.
A lack of funding in the American music industry means that more artists and small-time engineers have to take matters into their own hands. Home recording software has come a long way since the mid-90s when people started making bedroom recordings.
Today, even a lot of bigger studios have taken to the home recording method, using mostly digital equipment and instruments to make amazing sounding records that rival many in music history. Today, we’ll be discussing some of the best recording software on the market.
What makes a great digital audio workstation (DAW) isn’t always just the quality of its parts, but the ease with which it can be used. Most musicians and podcasters are new to the specifics of audio recording, so the easier the better. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones.
Finding the Best Recording Software
If you’re going to find something that works for you, you’ve got to be prepared to try different demo versions. Everyone likes things a little bit different when it comes to DAW’s. You can look at OTT analytics to find out which the ultimate program is, but these ones generally rise above the rest.
Ableton has burst onto the scene in the last few years as a great resource for DJ’s. In fact, the “Live” in the name of the program alludes to what this DAW is most predominantly used for; easy triggering of sequences during live performances.
The functionality of Ableton actually makes it a really interesting resource for musicians of all genres. The way that it allows you to record individual parts and arrange them later is a great tool for developing songwriting skills and song structure.
You can get a trial version of Ableton that allows you to get to know your way around the program before you buy. You’re limited in the patches that you can use and you won’t be able to save your projects, but you’ll get a good idea of how it works.
FL Studio, formerly known as Fruity Loops is another program geared towards electronic musicians. It’s become a go-to for hip hop producers because it’s easy to look at and has an extremely functional user interface.
If you’re more into recording live instruments and vocals, you’ll find FL Studio a bit lacking. However, if you’re just getting into music production, it’s the perfect thing to develop your skills.
Logic Pro X
Apple’s Logic Pro has risen up the ranks to be one of the two or three programs that are raising the standard of home recording. It’s perfect for musicians, podcasters, and will work well for any type of audio recording that you need to do.
If you’re a long-time Apple user, then you’ll be familiar with the way Logic looks. Logic’s developers have taken a lot from Apple’s flagship music recording program, Garageband, both looks-wise and in functionality.
With hundreds of incredible virtual instruments and mixing/mastering capabilities, Logic Pro is a one-stop-shop for audio production. It’s also more affordable than most other DAW’s and you’ll only have to pay a one-time fee to have all of its features. A lot of recording software has gone the way of subscriptions.
Another DJ-based program is Propellerhead’s Reason. This DAW came to prominence in the mid-00s because of its sampling and remixing capabilities. It’s great to look at with a rackmount view that really allows you to see a digital recreation of how modules are patched together in a real studio.
Reason also integrates well with other DAW’s so you can create beats and samples, then go on Cubase or Pro Tools to add guitars or vocals. It’s a high-quality program that’s easy to use and allows the user to tap into their creativity.
Steinberg isn’t as high-profile as some of these other companies, but they’ve been quietly going about their business, making extremely high-quality audio hardware and software for years now. Cubase is one of the company’s mainstays and a classic for home audio recording.
Like other programs, it’s pretty easy to use and offers up a lot of digital instruments. You can record, edit, mix, and master right on the main interface and it’s got a new feature that tracks chords and assists you with chord progressions. If you’re starting out, this is a great program that you can get for an affordable price.
Pro Tools has long been the industry standard for audio recording software. It’s not the easiest to use, but it’s considered the most high-powered and most engineers that use it will swear by it. You’ll find it in almost every studio nowadays, having been the first program on the scene when big studios started to go digital.
Its powers lie in the basics. It does recording, mixing, mastering, editing, and composing really well, while giving you the best plugins and virtual instruments on the market. It comes at a heftier price point, but you won’t regret getting it if you’re willing to put the time in.
The learning curve is steep, but if you’re already a little bit familiar with how a DAW functions, nothing will come as a huge surprise. Most of it is learning keyboard shortcuts to make your life easier.
Is There a “Best” Piece of Recording Software?
Different kinds of recording software have different strengths and weaknesses. The most popular programs on the market are probably Pro Tools and Logic Pro, simply because they allow you to do everything that someone interested in audio recording would want to do.
Just because they’re the most popular doesn’t make them the best. All of the DAW’s on this list do at least one thing better than the other ones, so it’s a matter of trying a few out, finding out what you need personally and going forward with the program that suits you the most.
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