In the world of digital music creation, there are many ways for musicians to create music that inspires themselves and others. Many musicians will gravitate towards a specific style of music production and creation, depending on their preferred genre and workflow. However, some choose to remain faithful to the old days when analog recording and production were industry standards. These people spend a lot of time working with outboard gear, tape recorders, and other vintage audio recording methods.
But for the rest, most music is recorded on a computer with the use of a DAW. DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. These are the programs that take the place of a studio and allow musicians to record music almost anywhere using their laptops, phones, or computers. There are many of these on the market today, but two of the most popular and widely used are Ableton Live and FL Studio. Many similar artists often use these, and they are often compared to each other in terms of which one is better.
While there is no objective best DAW, each of these programs has different strengths and weaknesses in its workflow. Here is what they are and how musicians can pick between Ableton Live and FL Studio as their main DAW of choice.
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What Are the Strengths of Ableton?
Ableton Live is one of the most revered DAWs in the world today. It has been used by countless producers and musicians over the years and has amassed a large following by all kinds of creators. Everyone has used Ableton—from bedroom musicians to full-blown rock stars—to create incredibly unique and special songs for countless people. Here are some of the ways that Ableton excels in the world of audio creation and how it can be used by musicians today.
Good for Live Performance
There’s a reason that it’s called Ableton Live—this DAW has found a consistent home almost everywhere, from recording studios to live setups. Its ability to be a stable platform for live instruments and backing tracks has made Ableton one of the industry standards for performing live. All of the sounds and tools inside Ableton allow bands and musicians to have a consistent and reliable program that they can use live. This means that musicians can take songs straight from the studio and bring them on stage, using the same tracks and stems that they did in the studio. Ableton’s strength as a live performance tool is one of the best reasons to use this program.
Ableton is well known for its dual workflow; it has both a session view and an arrangement view. These serve different purposes and can allow this one program to be usable in multiple ways and environments. Generally, live performance is much more catered towards the session view, while the arrangement view provides a very similar workflow to many traditional DAWs. Having both of these workflows to create music allows musicians to be much more versatile, all without leaving the same program.
Max for Live
Almost all DAWs provide a mostly set workflow for musicians. For more experimental and innovative musicians, this can be disappointing after a while, and they may want to expand and start creating their own rules. Ableton’s Max is a tool built into Ableton that allows musicians to create their own instruments, effects, and, in a sense, their own DAWs. The workflow is entirely modular and open, allowing more technically intelligent musicians to create sounds and instruments that are entirely new and unique. Max opens up doors and sonic opportunities that can fulfill even the most creative producers and sound designers.
What Are the Strengths of FL Studio?
FL Studio is one of the most popular DAWs in the world. It has been used by all kinds of artists but has become especially popular with EDM artists. It’s a DAW that is very accessible and usable by musicians who want to put massive effort into working with MIDI instruments, loops, and samples.
Here are some of the most important and usable strengths that FL Studio can provide to musicians.
FL Studio is beloved by many producers and musicians because it is very easy to use. Its workflow has become well known by many musicians for being easy to access and use, even if they don’t have a lot of experience coming in. It is easy to sit down with the interface and quickly start working on making exciting and fresh music.
Also, FL Studio is renowned for being easy to write MIDI with. Many DAWs are still figuring out how to use MIDI in a way that is intuitive and accessible, but FL Studio is one of the most easy-to-use DAW in that respect. It has a wide-open MIDI page that allows producers to very easily and simply produce their melodies, chords, and musical elements. It is a great way to create electronic music, and it works exceptionally well for the genres that often come to FL Studio.
More Built-in Tools
When it comes to the number of built-in tools available to the user, FL Studio clearly beats out Ableton. There are many different sounds and instruments available to users of FL Studio, especially when they upgrade to the full version. While many of Ableton’s instruments are more condensed and simplified, FL Studio gives its users the full ability to customize their sound with all kinds of different instruments. There are many ways for FL Studio users to create and layer sounds and synthesizers, which gives them an edge in many areas of song creation and production. Though its workflow isn’t straightforward, FL Studio has more sounds.
Better for Electronic Music and Beat Making
FL Studio has developed a dedicated following in many genres that involve electronic music and beats. Many EDM and Rap Producers come to FL Studio because it has many tools to create exactly what they need and do it efficiently. Countless different electronic producers swear by the MIDI capabilities, workflow speed, and sequencers that those producers are always looking for. When it comes to these genres, there are few better DAWs than FL Studio.
How Unison Can Help
At Unison, there are countless tools available for musicians who want to expand and develop their sound while using high-quality tools created by professionals. For example, the Unison MIDI Chord Pack has a wide range of chords available to producers at the click of a button, which can help musicians create brilliant arrangements and song structures virtually instantly. Instantly improve your chord progressions, get instant inspiration, and boost your workflow.
The Unison Artist Packs give producers sounds created and cultivated by industry professionals—it gives access to sounds that have received more than 220 million plays. And the Unison Serum Preset Packs give producers access to inspiring and innovative Serum patches and professionally designed presets modeled off the biggest hits in every genre.
These sounds and more are available to producers of all genres at Unison. Check them out right here.