So, you’re a music aficionado looking for the best beat making software, or maybe you’re an already accomplished artist or music producer trying to explore the latest tech-trend? Either way, you’ve landed in the right place, as today’s article is about the rise of home studio software, that has made it possible for virtually anyone to become a music creator from the comfort of their own home, and we’re talking about studio quality music here. And while we’re at it, check out this piece on the best recording software, you’ll thank us later.
How did this happen, you asked? Well, that’s due to technological innovation which leads to cheap hardware/software that allowed for the “power” to be transferred to “the people” so to speak, i.e. you won’t have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on renting studios or equipment, as it was the case back in the day with first-time DJs and rap artists. Today, nothing can stop you from exercising your right to creativity, provided you use the best DJ software or whatever you’re into.
To make it real simple for our readers, since digital audio recording stations and mixing equipment are now readily available and affordable, you can start your DJ career on your own, and whether you’re into electronic dance music, hip hop or classical music, beat making software will definitely do the job for you.
Here’s what you can do with the best beat making software money can buy: you can play around with your own sounds, whether we’re talking about digital media or instruments, and listen to audio tracks, upgrade your recording capabilities, capture the highest/lowest notes and create commercial sounds to lure producers, plus you can achieve pro-level skills to help you elevate your sound more fluidly.
Before we proceed with our best beat making software list, here’s the lesson to be taken home: first, establish a strong foundation, as in start your learning curve with the basics (simple kick-and-snare patterns), then decorate (add toms, hi-hats, cymbals, what have you) to alter/improve your sound, don’t overpopulate (the beat is not everything in a song), then, finally, don’t forget the most important lesson: practice makes perfect. Don’t expect your first beat to make it to the charts unless you’re a genius in the making; experiment, then slowly develop your craft and learn from your elders, as in try to mimic your favorite artist’s beats, i.e. learn from the gods themselves.
Finally, don’t worry, as imitation is the best form of flattery, especially in the beat making racket. All jokes aside, here come our top-seven picks for today in no particular order.
Best Beat Making Software Solutions
The Best Beat Making Software Out There
FL Studio is now in its 20th iteration and it makes for the beat making software of choice for the world’s most creative artists. FL Studio is actually a fully-fledged DAW or Digital Audio Workstation, and one of the worlds’ most popular software music production environments, being continually developed and improved over its 20 years of existence. Formerly known as Fruity Loops, FL Studio 20 is currently used by heavyweights like Metro Boomin or 9th Wonder, and it can help you do virtually anything, offering a streamlined workflow, that if you master the mouse and keyboard as beat making tools.
There are four versions available ranging from $99 to $899 for Mac and PC, plus a limited trial version. The latest version offers fully integrated hardware controller options, and it’s designed for multi touch devices, featuring powerful MIDI learn and live performance features, plus free lifetime updates on all editions.
FL Studio 20 allows you to insert/send up to 125 tracks, and comes with a fully-featured mixer with 10 FX slots on each channel, plus VST support and included plugins/synths. You can export songs and beats to virtually all audio formats, and certain versions offer audio recording functionality and up to 103 audio inputs/outputs. Moreover, you can load FL Studio 20 as a VST plugin or standalone software in another DAW, hence if you’re into EDM, trap, hip hop, or basically any electronic-based music, this is the beat making software to beat (pun intended, of course).
If you’re a beginner, you’ll definitely appreciate the native VSTs and plugins available and the well-designed interface, which is very intuitive visually. If you don’t want to buy hardware, FL Studio 20 is the way to go, as it offers a ton of features at your fingertips, so you can start creating your own beats using just your PC.
- Professional-grade software, well designed, super-fast workflow
- Features the most used effect in trap music: GrossBeat, plus a ton of dope synths
- Everything can fit on a single screen, so you won’t have to switch between windows too often
- Easy to learn and to use, comes with a plethora of beat making video tutorials
- Offers hacks and cheats if you’re not up to date with music theory
- Not the ideal tool for sample chopping/sampling
- The fully-featured version is kind of expensive
The Best Hip Hop Beat Making Software
Ableton Live is yet another legendary beat making software, now available in its 10th generation and specially designed to be a complete solution for music creators. Just like FL Studio, Ableton Live is Mac- and PC-compatible and it’s great for using it on your laptop, i.e. it’s not resource-hungry like others, and that’s good news if you’re not ready to spend extra money on a dedicated music rig. Another advantage of Ableton Live is that its interface fits perfectly on a small laptop display, and that’s why this is the software of choice for musicians who travel a lot.
The latest version comes with amazing updates, including an impressive synth, various workflow enhancements, plus the excellent Echo. You can choose between the Standard and Suite edition, with the latter being the most expensive of the bunch, and the main difference between the two is that the Standard offers 10 GB of bundled sounds, while the Suite comes with a whopping 70 GB. The number of devices included also varies, 47 vs 69 respectively, and the new graphical interface is absolutely amazing.
Just to give you a taste, here are the main features of Ableton Live 10: a completely revamped Live pack content, plus handling directly from the web browser, a good looking/great sounding wavetable synthesizer, especially if you use it in full-screen mode, you can capture and/or recall the last MIDI phrase played, there’s Push 2 integration and the MIDI notes can be viewed on the Push display, Max for Live is now fully integrated, so there’s no need to install it separately (improves performance), you get groups within groups and multiple clip editing, and, finally, there’s a new melodic step sequencer in Push.
The audio effects were updated, there’s a new synthesizer instrument, deeper Push integration, and, most importantly, serious workflow improvements, due to a clean and ergonomic interface refresh. Bottom line, if you can afford it, Ableton Live is a hugely versatile DAW, especially if you’re looking for the best beat making software out there, and pretty hard to beat considering the “bang for the buck” metric.
- Excellent new devices
- Max for Live is excellently implemented in version 10
- The Suite version is impressive and comes packed with great sounds
- The Capture function is a life-changer
- Some complain about a perceived lack of innovation, i.e. if you already own Ableton Live 9, it isn’t worth the upgrade
Logic Pro X
The Best Beat Making Software for Mac
Logic Pro X is built around the concept “ridiculously powerful, seriously creative”, or something along these lines, and it makes for a no-nonsense digital audio workstation that allows you to create and improvise in a big way via its Live Loops, to control music-making sessions with Logic Remote from your iPhone or iPad, to literally transform sounds into instruments with the Quick Sampler, or to build drum beats and melodic patterns using Logix Pro X’s Step Sequencer.
Okay, there’s more, obviously, but we’re just giving you a taste. It’s worth mentioning that Logic Pro X is Apple’s professional music production software, and its latest update supports 1000 stereo tracks, 1000 software instruments, and 1000 aux channels, plus 1000 external MIDI tracks, plus 12 sends per channel strip.
Moreover, if you’re on the latest Mac Pro, you can now run up to 5 times more real-time plugins compared to older generations. Also, the new Logic Pro X comes with tons of new tweaks for improved performance and speed.
In good Apple tradition, the software is still incredibly easy to use and has an intuitive interface, despite its immense power, and the main view in the latest version is pretty much unchanged. As usual, you can record 24-bit, 192kHz resolution, and to make a long story short, if you’re looking to throw together songs and beats quickly, for using them in product demos, music beds for commercials or what have you, the Logic Pro X would make for a fine choice.
- Intuitively designed user interface makes things real easy even for first-timers
- Stellar mixer bay, MIDI Sequencing and Soft Synth features
- Full integration with all Apple products, excellent value
- Easy to learn, great for editing and recording live audio, no copy protection
- Huge library of downloadable digital instruments and loops (free of charge)
- Only works on Mac
Studio One Artist
The Best Rap Beat Making Software
Studio One Artist is now in its 4th iteration, and it can be best described as a fully professional feature-packed production system, aimed at both vocal and instrumental music creation, and, to a lesser extent, electronic music. The most important new feature in the Studio One Artist 4 is Harmonic Editing of polyphonic and monophonic MIDI and audio tracks. Using this feature you can enable a song to be shifted automatically to a user-defined key and chord progression.
As far as beat making software goes, Studio One Artist 4 has 2 new MIDI programming systems: Drum Editor and Patterns. The former is basically an alternative to the piano roll, while the latter is essentially an extension of the regular step sequencing. However, what’s really great in Studio One Artist 4 is the workflow, as the software makes it incredibly easy to record audio and lay down beats.
In this regard, Studio One Artist 4 is one of the best out there, so if you’re looking for a solid DAW and you’re not a fan of Avid’s subscription model, this would make for an inspired audio editing choice. The Artist version costs $99 and offers a lot of features compared to the Prime (free) version. You’ll get extra editing tools, including event-based effects and track folders, plus multi-touch support on Windows 10 PCs, the popular Mai Tai analog modeling synth, plus the Fat Channel plug-in, which offers a plethora of mixing tools in an intuitively designed single-interface.
- The single-screen beat/loop oriented User Interface is well designed and intuitive
- The new Harmonic Editing feature is a great addition, the Drum Editor is a pleasure to use
- Sample One XT and Impact XT are worthy upgrades in the 4th gen
- Comprehensive DAW all-round, fast workflow for audio recording and music composition
- Wicked chord and patterns based composition tools
- The one-window interface is not everyone’s cup of tea
Magix Music Maker
The Best Beat Making Software for Beginners
Magix Music Maker is a small yet powerful beat making software that allows you to create music from scratch, even if you’re not an expert in this field. Basically, this is a DAW for beginners, you can use it as an interface of sorts to create beats or what not via samples and plug-ins. Magix Music Maker has an extensive library of loops as well as a comprehensive drag and drop system, which makes it easy to use, to give you a head-start in the world of musical creation.
There are three versions of the software: the “freebie”, the Plus and the Premium, but even the free one comes with 425 free sounds and loops, 4 additional sound pools, 3 instruments, and 8 effects, 8 tracks and multicore support for modern machines, everything free of charge obviously. Each of the respective sounds and loops can be modified by turning up or down the volume, adding an effect, or whatever you want to do with a beat editor.
There’s also an integrated store, so if you’re looking to expand the effects library or purchase new sounds, they got it covered. Depending on the version, you’ll benefit from a virtual gallery of instruments, up to 24 of them, and with these instruments, you can buy more sounds from the catalog and combine them with the instruments as you see fit.
The drag and drop feature allows you to drag&drop (doh) loops, effects, instrument sounds, what have you, and we must emphasize how gentle the learning curve is in Magix Music Maker, even if you’re on your first DAW. Our recommendation is that you should give Maxig Music Maker a try especially if you’re a hobbyist or a beginner looking to jump the “music-making wagon” as quickly as possible, as its streamlined workflow is ideal for starters, not to mention that the Free version is pretty good in terms of advanced functionality and ease of use.
- Fully compatible with drum pads and MIDI keyboards
- The comprehensive sound library even in the free version
- One of the cheapest beat making software on the market, good value for the money
- Pro audio engine, new MIDI editor, mixing and mastering plugins, in-app store
- You can apply sound effects to sounds and loops
- Definitely not recommended for professional use
- Windows-only version
An Excellent DJ Tool
Serato Studio is the end result of Serato DJ and Serato Sample mixed together into one formidable DAW, or beat making software if you like. By the way, Serato has been with us since 1999, and their latest Studio 1.4 has been developed as the perfect tool for DJs looking to enter the music production business. The work environment is user friendly, especially for new producers, and if you want to get your ideas out really quick, this would be the perfect tool for you.
One of the most important features of the latest version is the Master Key thing, which is especially useful for people not familiarized with music theory, as it allows for every sample, instrument or drum that you play to be automatically in key once you set the key for the respective project. Also, the Note Sequencers and the Drum features make the workflow very enjoyable and easy, while the Scene and Songs View feature lets you organize your samples, drums and instruments as you see fit with zero fuss.
Moreover, the new Audio Track feature allows you to create custom DJ remixes and effects faster than ever before, not to mention the new slicer mode that also speeds up the DJ edit process considerably. These are just a few new features worth mentioning, but there are more to be enjoyed, obviously, things like Master Key and BPM, high-quality FX, Serato Colored Waveforms, DJ hardware compatibility, etc.
If you’re tired of technicalities, this is the tl;dr version: Serato Studio is a great tool for DJs, hence if you’re serious about beat making software, this is the way to go for quick remixes, edits, and ideas.
- The go-to beat making software for DJs looking to produce their own music
- No subscription required for the ultimate beat maker
- An intuitive user interface, perfect for edits or mashups
- Simple and fast workflow, tons of time-saving features like BPM sync or pre-made drum patterns
- Built-in sounds from world-class producers
- The free edition is severely limited in functionality
The Best Free Beat Making Software for Mac
Finally, we have the famous GarageBand from Apple, and if you’re wondering why it’s so famous for “noob-tier” beat making software, well, it’s because it comes free with every Mac. However, even if it’s freeware at its best and aimed mostly at novices, GarageBand is still great if you want to learn guitar or piano on your computer, free of charge.
As far as beat making software goes, GarageBand offers an easy to use, simple and intuitive interface which is perfectly capable of getting your songs recorded even if you don’t know much about music theory or anything else by that matter. The latest version of GarageBand comes with impressive features, such as Drummer, which plays along intuitively with your compositions, thus eliminating the need for careful MIDI programming. There’s also an Amp simulator and tons of loops, but the main quality of this simple beat making software is ease of use.
The elegant layout doesn’t have too many (confusing) options, so if you’re not experienced with working in digital environments, this is the beat making software to go for. Still, you can record at 24 bits with a microphone, record and mix up to 255 tracks, or record multiple takes and compile them, drag and drop Voice Memo recordings on the fly right into the software, or perform basic editing with ease.
Advanced features like Groove Matching and Flex Time are also available, yet you won’t get a proper mixing board, and by that we mean to say that GarageBand is not a professional level DAW, yet it gets the job done if you’re not too picky.
- Free of charge, stunningly versatile and incredibly powerful for free software
- Well designed, intuitive and easy to use interface
- Mixing and recording music is a child’s play
- The built-in sound and loop library are getting respectable
- Supports 3rd party AU plug-ins
- Not suited for professional use