If yous’re new to electronic music production, Ableton Live and FL Studio are two of the near pop DAWs – the beating heart of the producer’south studio.
These ii are smashing options (we apply both in EDM Foundations), and as someone who has used them extensively over the years, in this guide I’ll aid y’all decide which is better for yous.
For clarity, nosotros’ve cleaved this article downwardly into v parts.
- Back up and Resource
Call back, there is no universal best DAW, merely the one that’s right for y’all.
So, let’s intermission them down! 👇
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Ableton vs FL Studio: Features
Ahh, every music producer’s favourite part.
The features.The part that makes music product fun and enjoyable for most people.
This is very important to consider if y’all are looking at committing to a DAW, because depending on your goals and workflow, different feature sets tin brand a big difference.
FL Studio: Feature Packed
|Fruity Edition||Writing Loops and Melodies|
|Producer Edition||Fully-fledged software with total export adequacy|
|Signature Edition||Full software plus extra plugins|
|All Plugins Bundle||All plugins included fabricated by Image-Line|
If you similar options and don’t get overwhelmed by confusing interfaces, FL Studio is the clear winner here.
Desire a mixer and step-sequencer on 1 monitor and arrangement on another? Easy. Want twenty different virtual instruments included? Done. Desire FL Studio to make you breakfast? It’due south about likely possible.
The main difference that sets FL Studio and Ableton Live autonomously is that non all sounds are spring to an private mixer aqueduct. It automatically assigns them in version twenty, but you lot can still mix and friction match and so that multiple sounds and instruments can be sent to the same mixer aqueduct.
The same goes for the timeline. Yous can assign each sound to a rail in the timeline, or you can put patterns wherever the heck yous want.
Ane other major deviation betwixt the features of FL and Ableton is the plugins.
Both include an array of instruments of effects, but FL definitely wins in the quantity game, especially with the ‘All Plugins Parcel’.
Harmor, for example, is an insanely powerful synth that has got years of development behind information technology, and Ableton is only just starting to catch upward.
At that place are also so many damn effects in FL Studio, and it breaks them down nicely into categories when yous become to load them in.
Y’all’ve got similar v dissimilar distortions, multiple EQs, and other random FX. Go nuts.
With endless routing options, effects, and sounds, you lot might be thinking ‘I’ve fabricated my decision at present!’ Simply slow down. Sometimes, less is more.
FL Studio for Beginners – The Complete Guide
Simple, Streamlined and Able(ton)
|Intro||Basic productions and looping, alive functioning|
|Standard||Full product and live performance capability|
|Suite||Full production capability with extra instruments and sounds|
Excuse the awful pun, only Live is a solid option if you go overwhelmed with options.
Yeah, there aren’t 100 means to do the same thing, but what’s at that place is quality, non fussy with sugary interfaces and simply works.
On the left, y’all’ll detect the browser, like in FL. It’s resizable, but only to a sure degree, and it stays at that place. Everything is broken down into articulate sections, dissimilar the FL Studio long-rainbow madness.
The particular view is where the plugins and effects, audio and MIDI editor can exist switched betwixt. Unfortunately, you can’t take multiple at the same time, only if you similar focusing on i thing at a fourth dimension, it’due south slap-up.
And if you lot need things bigger or smaller, there is always zoom in the Look/Feel preferences.
In the plugins/devices section, you lot become an array of very-capable synths like Operator, Analog and the newer Wavetable (a very legit Serum competitor).
While they are confined to the native interface, Wavetable has quite a overnice interface with expandable windows, and for some, the native interface makes the audio design process quite fluid.
Additionally, the Audio Effects in Ableton are really damn good, with some keen analog-inspired devices similar Repeat, Glue Compressor, and Amp.
Although FL wins at quantity, if you desire more than curated devices, Ableton takes the cake.
It still also has great features, which y’all tin can check out in our video below:
Lastly, one thing that Live can do very well that FL can’t practise to save its life is
The session view is an amazing tool for alive jamming, musical operation and fifty-fifty DJing.
Recommended: 100 Ableton Alive Tips for Insane Workflow & Creativity
For the number of features,
is the clear winner.
They jam-pack their software with so much that you’ll never run out of things to explore, which can be a good or bad matter, depending on your workflow.
That being said, Ableton Live withal has killer, high-quality features that makes it a more than capable DAW.
Get the headstart you demand in music production with our EDM Starter Kit
Get our collection of high-quality presets, samples and PDF guides – suitable for all genres of electronic music.
Ableton vs FL Studio: Workflow
Workflow is incredibly of import for being able to use your software in a practical manner that delivers results. There isn’t much point to using a DAW if you tin can’t output music with it. Workflow is what takes you from A to B.
FL Studio: ten Ways To Do I Thing
Following on from the features, we can kinda assume that more features usually ways a less clear workflow. That tends to concord true in FL Studio, especially for beginners.
To really grasp FL Studio, it requires a lot more time investment into understanding the software and how to make it piece of work for you, which can be peachy.
It’s the beauty of having flexibility – you can accommodate it to your workflow.
Even though Ableton might exist easier to understand from the first, FL may adapt your needs better in the long-term, simply with a niggling actress effort to figure things out.
This is why FL Studio suits some people so well, because they can adapt information technology specifically to what they need, and this is even
if you utilize
monitors in your setup.
Yes, Ableton has multi-monitor support, but with much less flexibility.
That being said, if FL Studio has ane thing it’s better at than Ableton Live, it’s the pianoforte scroll.
Information technology’southward style less clunky, has way more than MIDI editing tools and is easier to fit into the interface with the floating window.
Whereas in Ableton, the piano gyre has to fit into the prune editor downwardly the bottom. Information technology’s expandable but less then than in FL Studio.
Ableton Is Fast
If you want a fast, clear and creative workflow, Ableton wins.
While the device view might annoy some people who like bigger interfaces, the ability to bounce audio inside tracks (Edison is mostly a nightmare in FL), saving things to racks and clips and using the session view for jamming, makes it worthwhile.
Equally per the features, the streamlined options makes things a lot easier to find. Hither are a few highlights:
- FX Bondage are visual and don’t require opening plugins
- You can create collections of your favourite samples/racks/whatever without copying the original file
- Racks are very intuitive and can exist saved for ease
- Duplicating is easy and you don’t have to switch tools
- Freezing and flattening audio is easy
- Resampling tin be done by setting input to Resampling, rather than exporting the whole track
That’s just a few things, but check information technology out for yourself. Coming from FL Studio, this was a game-changer for me.
For workflow speed,
definitely wins this round.
While workflow is subjective and changes between producers, Ableton’s clear interface and intuitive tools definitely make it a cakewalk, particularly working with audio. If y’all like workflow options, FL might be the amend option.
Y’all can get the aforementioned results with both DAWs, simply how you get at that place also matters.
Ableton vs FL Studio: Compatibility
There’s no betoken in using a slice of software if information technology doesn’t work on your setup.
So to avoid you getting excited almost the wrong DAW, brand certain to read this section.
FL Studio’south Mac Woes
Note: This is for the most recent version, FL Studio twenty. Bank check here for full compatibility info.
FL Studio has worked on Windows very well for a long fourth dimension. Information technology had a very fluid interface with very overnice graphics (and withal does, even more and so).
Historically, FL Studio was pretty adamant that there wouldn’t be a Mac version of FL Studio, by and large due to the coding linguistic communication’due south incompatibility. Well, they’ve done a 180 and now they have one. Information technology works. Mostly.
As the Mac version has grown from a sloppy, Windows-crossover edition into a fully-fledged piece of standalone software, there have definitely been undeniable growing pains. Merely they’ve come a long way.
Well-nigh features accept been ported over (with some glitches included), only at that place is no 32bit version of FL Studio for Mac, and your 32bit Audio Units won’t work, even if your 32bit VSTs exercise.
Let’due south be honest though, you probably should be using a 64bit arrangement, if you can.
If you’re on a Mac though, there’southward always 32 Lives.
And equally with most software, no native
on Linux, only you tin can use an emulator if you want.
Lastly, FL has gotten better on the CPU over the years.
The vector interface is super nice and isn’t too much of a burden on the graphics carte du jour.
Simply the fancy GUIs tin eat upward system resources pretty fast, simply that tin can happen anywhere if you are using third-party plugins.
Ableton: Smashing Compatibility, Exceptional Updates
Note: This is for the most contempo version, Ableton Live xi. Check hither for full compatibility info.
Upwardly until Alive 10, Ableton supported 32bit systems. At present they have canned it, which makes sense, merely still might cause issues for some people. If that’s you, make sure to grab a re-create of Live ix instead.
Although they seemed to have ramped upward the updates in the last couple of years, any long-term Ableton user will tell you it isn’t unheard of to not get a major update for a few years.
Whether this is a skillful matter or a bad thing is relative. Plus, nearly of the time their minor updates will do the trick when it comes to glitches or software errors.
Also, all of your Audio Units and VSTs will work with Live but fine. They actually divide them into really nice folders then it’s pretty simple to find what you’re looking for, especially for Audio Units.
You do demand to go into the preferences and enable Sound Units though.
As of Live 10.1, VST3 is now supported also!
Ableton is pretty skilful on CPU and organisation resources, as information technology is designed for alive performance because you don’t want to be getting dropouts in that setting.
Similar whatever DAW, it tin can be heavy on the CPU if you are using tertiary-party plugins, but the native ones are very well-optimised.
In this department, information technology seems to be a
Although FL Studio includes a 32bit version for Windows and supports both 32bit and 64bit VST on Windows, information technology’southward still not quite there with reliability on Mac, which means they miss out on a large portion of their potential audience.
It is getting better though, which means that long term, FL Studio may be the improve pick.
In terms of plugin compatibility, FL wins that piddling bit more than, because they’ve support VST3 a lot longer than Ableton has, and they now support Audio Units and VST, which they previously didn’t. FL is taking big strides.
How To Use Ableton Live: The Producer’s Guide
Become the headstart yous need in music production with our EDM Starter Kit
Go our collection of high-quality presets, samples and PDF guides – suitable for all genres of electronic music.
Ableton vs FL Studio: Resources and Support
Learning a DAW is a massive effort, and it’south not easy. In fact, music production, in general, isn’t like shooting fish in a barrel. But having resource helps.
of my job is finding keywords that people like you are searching for, so we tin create helpful articles effectually those topics.
Here’southward what happens when I type in FL Studio and Ableton into Google Trends.
Quantity of Resource: FL Studio
If you want lots of videos, manufactures and support, FL Studio is your best selection.
Simply due to the popularity of the DAW within the electronic music world, it’s got the history and support of a lot of users. It’southward also been out longer than Ableton Live.
Most tutorials on YouTube for electronic music and hip-hop are done in FL Studio. Then searching how to do something will usually give you a tutorial in FL Studio, similar how to recreate a certain sound, or brand a certain genre.
The customer support that Epitome-Line provides is dainty, although in that location is no direct number, unfortunately.
Apart from learning, there aren’t every bit many native resources for actual production (similar presets and sounds) available in comparison to Ableton, mostly due to Ableton’s superior rack format of group instruments and FX together.
Just you tin can save event chains and instruments every bit presets, so at that place is nonetheless definitely stuff out there.
Most audio formats are compatible with FL, and
tin be loaded into the Fruity Soundfont Player, if yous’re still into those.
Quality of Resource: Ableton Alive
Ableton might have fewer resources, merely what information technology does take is high-quality resources, peculiarly in the fashion of YouTube tutorials.
The Ableton squad has a nifty YouTube channel with examples and guides to help yous. Plus, ninety% of our courses are washed with Ableton Live.
They as well have a great, comprehensive withal uncomplicated manual available for free.
In fact, it’s probably one of the best manuals available for any product or service I’ve seen – period.
Ableton customer support is also pretty dainty, although I haven’t needed to utilise it much, to be honest. Again, there is no directly telephone line, unfortunately.
In addition to educational resources, Ableton has great racks, clips, and project files bachelor for buy or download beyond the web.
The instrument, audio effect, and MIDI racks make sound design a lot easier to larn and sounds a lot simpler to replicate.
Of grade, samples aren’t DAW-specific, simply Ableton supports about file formats and even non-native formats like soundfonts and EXS24 for Logic Pro.
Best MIDI Keyboards
wins this one for resource.
Mainly due to the popularity and age of the DAW. Merely it’s close, and you lot can’t really go wrong with either. In reality, both have enough resources for you lot to acquire the DAW from a beginner level all the fashion to the advanced level.
Get the headstart you demand in music production with our EDM Starter Kit
Get our collection of high-quality presets, samples and PDF guides – suitable for all genres of electronic music.
Ableton vs FL Studio: Cost
You might be asking, why did yous get out pricing to last?
Earlier looking at the toll, know that the DAW you choose is a long-term investment.
You might be tempted to make the conclusion on price alone, but consider what suits your workflow style.
Originally I tried out FL Studio because it was cheaper.
Ableton: Expensive and Worth Every Penny
While the opening price of Ableton is comparable to Ableton, the ‘principal’ version (Ableton Standard) is a lot more than expensive.
Over double, in fact.
Now if yous’re on a budget, Ableton Standard might be out of the question for you, solely based on that.
Just make sure to attempt the demo first, you might be inclined to showtime on Intro and work your way up from there.
The Suite version is cheaper for the full-featured version with all devices (in comparison to the FL Studio All Plugins Packet), only ane thing y’all don’t become is costless lifetime updates.
Of course, small-scale updates you lot will get, merely for major version updates, you’ll be forking out
FL Studio: Cheaper, Groovy Value and Feature-Packed
|All Plugins Packet||$899|
It doesn’t make sense, but FL Studio is insanely good value for money, especially for the Producer Edition. $199 for a pro-level slice of software is a deal.
Although the All Plugins Bundle is merely that fleck more than in comparison to Ableton Alive Suite, in all other areas FL wins on price.
But that’s not even the best part.
Complimentary lifetime updates. Yep, that’s right. Forever. Ableton can’t even compare to that. Plus, FL seems to have slightly more consistent updates.
Recall though, price isn’t everything.
The obvious winner in this section is
by a country mile.
$199 USD for a total version (Producer Edition) is pretty much nothing compared to $499 USD for Ableton Standard.
That existence said, if you are the kind of producer who wants to splash on the actress plugins/devices, then Suite is $100 less than the top-tier version of FL Studio.
And then who wins overall?
At the starting time, I said that there is no ‘best DAW’ and that still holds truthful. Both have pros and
and require you to brand the last decision.
That being said, if I had to choose one for each kind of producer, I would choose
FL Studio for the producer who likes to customize everything, and I’d choose
Ableton Alive for the producer who likes a fast workflow.
The next thing y’all should do is download a demo of ane, or both. That style you tin test these things for yourself and make a final decision.
The last thing you desire to do is commit without feel.
Remember, in that location are other DAWs you might want to consider too.
Well, if yous are inspired to grab a demo or go off testing these bad
get for it.
But you’ll also need more than than just a DAW – y’all’ll need samples, sounds and helpful guides.
That’s why we put together our free EDM Starter Kit, jam packed with high-quality samples, presets and some of our all-time PDF resources here at EDMProd.
Become the headstart you need in music production with our EDM Starter Kit
Become our collection of loftier-quality presets, samples and PDF guides – suitable for all genres of electronic music.
As well, choosing a DAW is probably i of the most of import decisions you will brand in your production journeying, so choose carefully.
Switching subsequently down the track is possible, simply it’s more than difficult and is avoidable.
If you need more info on other DAWs, cheque out our complete DAW guide. Or, this article from our friend Rob at Musician on a Mission. Or, if you’re on a upkeep, cheque out some free DAWs.
Lastly, what did we miss about Ableton or FL Studio? Let us know in the comments or by dropping me a line at