12 Best Programs For Making Music

Accounting/Tax/Company Secretary/Audit 26th October 2020


Probably every music lover dreamed of writing his own musical composition. If you think it takes years of preparation and several classes of education to create quality songs or mixes, then you are only partly right.

Modern computer programs for composing music allow even beginners to make completed compositions, and knowledge of musical notation will come in handy only if you plan to conquer the top of the international charts.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with our selection of programs for creating music and find out the features of each application, just as if you are, for example, a blogger and you need to create music for video, then we suggest reading an article on comparing 12 best video editing tools by TakeTones. Along the way, let's compare the ease of development of each studio, its functionality and usability.

1. Steinberg Cubase

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: from 100 euros, there is a free 30-day -trial version.

Virtual studio, which is considered one of the most powerful to date. It is a product aimed at professionals, but thanks to a logical interface, amateurs and musicians who want to improve the sound of their own songs, also work successfully in Cubase.

All advanced tools for sound editing in different stages are available in the studio: during recording, at mixing and mastering. Cubase supports modern audio formats, including sound 5.1 and 7.1 - allows to achieve the exceptional volume of stereo effects.

The studio works with VST and STTi plugins. There are convenient project templates, a multi-track editor, tools for working with notes, filter sets, effects and a built-in mixer. In the environment, you can create bits and magnifiers, edit and synthesize new sounds.

2. Adobe Audition

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: from $20.99 per month, there is a free 7-day -trial version.

Like Photoshop, only for working with sound. Adobe Audition is a functional audio editor that allows you to create masterpieces and edit songs of any complexity. A very serious set of tools is available here, but to master them fully on a professional level, you will have to spend many hours. However, even a beginner can easily deal with the basic processing of sound - the interface is intuitive and flexibly customizable.

In Adobe Audition you can correct and restore the sound, create and adjust sound effects. The studio is suitable not only for musicians, but also for podcasts: there are simple tools for recording, mixing and exporting materials.

Adobe Audition is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. If you work with video in Adobe Premiere, you will be especially comfortable using this program for editing audio tracks.

3. Reaper

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: from $ 60, there is a free 60-day -trial version.

Full virtual studio, created by the developers of the legendary Winamp player. One of the few such programs that can be run on Linux is, however, experimental versions.

Reaper works successfully on relatively weak computers. It allows you to comfortably record, summarize, and master, and the output turns out to emphasize the quality of sound. It is very convenient to edit files from a variety of tracks, create mixes and arrangements, and achieve a unique sound of compositions.

Reaper has a built-in converter as well as tools for synchronization with Sound Forge Pro and Adobe Audition. You can connect to the program plugins or hardware devices for direct data capture and processing. Supported protocols ASIO, DirectSound and WaveOut.

4. Sound Forge Pro

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: from 299 euros, there is a free 30-day -trial version.

The Virtual Studio, which for more than 20 years has been consistently listed as the Best Music Editors& Audio Editing Software 2020 in its field. It is suitable for studio recording and sound processing, professional information and mastering, magnifying and sample editing, and includes a wide palette of built-in tools and plugins.

Sound Forge Pro displays all key sound parameters very clearly, so it's comfortable to work with bass and treble equalizers. In addition, the "big" program works surprisingly fast thanks to deep internal optimization and produces results without loss of quality.

The built-in DeNoiser sound recovery module in Sound Forge Pro is considered one of the best on the market. It suppresses almost any noise: if you record sound in a city or a crowded room, you can achieve inspiring results.

5. Ableton Live

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: from 199 dollars, there is a free 90-day -trial version.

Many DJs use this program. Ableton Live allows you to easily create, edit and play music in real time, and write grooves right at the party. Its user-friendly interface, versatile set of instruments, sounds, samples and magnifiers are all you need for a comfortable creative process.

Ableton Live library includes 13 different instruments and 56 effects for processing audio and MIDI tracks-: Echo, Pedal, Beat Repeat, Amp, Vocoder, Glue and others. The program automatically recognizes MIDI keyboards -and other controllers and by the way, sometimes the license for Ableton Live can be found in the box with such devices.

One of the most interesting built-in studio tools is Wavetable. It is an updated synthesizer that allows you to flexibly transform the sound using wave tables. They were compiled by analyzing the sound from real synthesizers and other analogue instruments. In order to synthesize sound in Ableton, deep knowledge of physics is not required - just change the waveform with the mouse and listen to what you have got.

6. Mixcraft

  • Platforms: Windows.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: from 5 200 rubles, there is a free 14-day -trial version.

The main advantage of this virtual studio is the high quality of built-in effects. Here you will find a variety of virtual instruments, samples and filters that will allow you to work with sound on a professional level, make spectacular remixes and arrangements. A handy step-by-step sequencer helps you bring your composition to perfection.

The library has more than a dozen plugins, more than 8 thousand magnifiers and samples. You can also import magnifying glass libraries, in particular, from Apple GarageBand and ACID studios.

Another feature of Mixcraft is the ability to work with video. This is both voicing and editing of the original tracks, and the main tools for video sequences: cut, paste and not only.

7. FL Studio (FruityLoops)

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: for the PC - from $ 99, there is a free trial version without time restrictions; for iOS, Android - from 399 rubles.

A powerful virtual studio, where it is especially convenient to work with electronic music, hip- hop, dubstep and other similar directions. A rich library of magnifiers and samples will help you collect a cool track in just a few minutes.

In FL Studio you can make interesting arrangements and achieve unique sound of popular tracks. The studio supports VST and VST2 plugins, integration of third-party instruments, and can receive data from multiple MIDI inputs simultaneously.

Many presets are available for each virtual instrument and effect in the program. There is also a window of ready-made templates and a handy piano roll to make it easier to pick up the tones and notes.

The FL Studio interface may at first seem incomprehensible and unfriendly, but it's easy to customize. Let's separately note the availability of mobile versions - in our opinion, it will be easier for beginners to get used to them.

8. Virtual DJ

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS.
  • Appointment: DJing, mixing.
  • Cost: for home use (without connection to the hardware base for professional DJs) - free of charge; for professional and commercial use - from 19 dollars per month or from 299 dollars without time limits.

DJ Emulator is an interesting environment for working with audio files in real time. With it, home parties will play with new colors: in Virtual DJ you will be able to create scratches and change bits on the fly, high-quality tracks, including the automatic mode.

The program allows you to mark up to nine key points in tracks and quickly move between them. The built-in library contains a wide range of mixing tools and effects, from classic flanges and choruses to more exotic versions. Also available in Virtual DJ is a very high quality vinyl simulation.

The interface with two decks allows you to keep everything you need at hand, and colored indicators of spectral analysis of the sound of each deck is considered a chip emulator. In the environment, you can work flexibly with external media, record tracks you're playing in real time, and even broadcast the sound to digital radio stations.

9. Presonus Studio One

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: Studio One 5 Prime - free; Studio One 5 Artist - $99.95; Studio One 5 Professional - $399.95.

Virtual studio for full work with sound on a professional level. It is developed by Presonus company, a manufacturer of sound cards, mixers, audio interfaces and other equipment. Often, license codes for Studio One are provided with the equipment.

It is convenient to record sound from different devices and save separate tracks for further editing. You can summarize audio and create MIDI files-, perform analog sound saturation, and embed SST effects not only into the tracks as a whole, but also into separate track objects.

10. Cakewalk by BandLab (formerly Sonar)

  • Platforms: Windows.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: free of charge.

A complete virtual studio, which covers the entire process of music production: from recording to publishing in popular streaming services. The intuitive interface and powerful tools allow this free package to compete with more advanced editors.

With Cakewalk it is comfortable to compose and record tracks, adding an unlimited number of audio and MIDI tracks to each project. It's easy to edit music, create arrangements, create dynamic mixes with a beautiful and vivid acoustic picture.

Cakewalk supports an extended library of ProChannel modules: reverberation, resonance filtering, dynamic compression and more. Dozens of compressors and effects are available, there is a built-in MIDI track editor and support for the proprietary scripting language CAL.

There are also applications from BandLab to create music in iOS and Android.

Price: Free

11. MAGIX Music Maker

  • Platforms: Windows.
  • Purpose: recording, making magnifying glasses.
  • Price: Music Maker - free; Music Maker 2021 Plus Edition - 59 euros; Music Maker 2021 Premium Edition - 99.99 euros.

Even if you don't have any experience in making music at all, with Music Maker you can start. The emphasis here is on ease of use, but professionals at Music Maker will also find interesting opportunities.

Above all, the program offers a solid collection of bits, melodies and vocal fragments. They can be combined to form compositions and magnifiers. Just drag and drop the necessary elements into the editing window and listen to how they will sound together.

You can also use virtual instruments in Music Maker, from synthesizer to string and percussion. It's easy to connect a MIDI keyboard or electronic drums to create interesting modern compositions. Finally, there's a library of ready made effects and templates.

12. Pro Tools

  • Platforms: Windows, macOS.
  • Destination: recording, mixing, mastering.
  • Cost: Pro Tools First with a limited set of features free; standard Pro Tools - from $29.99 per month; Pro Tools Ultimate  from $79.99 per month, there are free trial versions.

Professional virtual studio for creating high-quality audio from recording to final mastering. The initial version will be useful for students, inexperienced musicians and podcasters. The standard version is aimed at amateurs, producers and sound engineers. And Ultimate is intended for professional sound engineers, mastering and post-production specialists in the audio sphere.

In Pro Tools you can qualitatively mix sound from different channels, apply sound processing options from a wide library, use virtual tools and carefully edit compositions of different complexity. The peculiarity of the program is that it is unlikely to be intuitive: fans of this application are used to working thoughtfully to eventually bring together a song from many tracks in a ready stereo track.

The stable operation of Pro Tools requires specific iron. In general, it is not a program, but rather a hardware-software -complex, in which the software and the hard work closely together. But if you are determined to become a professional sound engineer, you can't do without a basic acquaintance with Pro Tools.

But podcasts or amateurs can do it without buying "iron". Free version of Pro Tools First to help.