Music production has never been more accessible, all you need these days is an internet connection and a creative mind. There are numerous applications ranging from professional industry standards to some incredibly versatile freeware for anyone to pick up and get creative with.
The multitude of software available can either enhance the instruments in the studio or in your home. Or if you don’t have the space or money for instruments most music production software comes with the instruments built in allowing you to digitally create the sounds that are right for you.
If you fancy yourself as the next Yeezus, Flying Lotus, or QuestLove have a look at our list of the best music production software and before long you too can lock yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers.
ProTools – £250
ProTools is very much the industry standard, to the point where it’s almost guaranteed that a good chunk of your favourite songs were produced using this software. This is the absolute gold standard of professional music production, and it shows.
Among the albums recorded using Avid’s software you’ll find Radiohead – Kid A, Bjork – Homogenic, and Beck – Odelay. Naturally, this is one for those experienced with music production, as you can see from the image it can get pretty complex, not to mention expensive.
However, if you can afford ProTools and you have at least a base knowledge and understanding, there is absolutely no doubt about using ProTools to create your art. Using these tools you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next Rick Rubin.
Pro Tools is available from £250.
Soundtrap – $10 per month
Soundtrap is a testament to how far music production software has come, specifically with how accessible it is to anyone who wants to try. This browser based studio comes with everything you need to make your first song, whether you want to record something prior and experiment in post, or create something directly in the platforms digital studio.
The free version comes with over 150 instruments to create your piece with, from drums, to synths, to pianos, and guitars, Soundtrap has it all. The simple interface might take some getting used to for absolute beginners but the intuitive design means that you’ll be recording and producing in no time.
However to get the most out of it, you’ll be expected to pay a monthly membership fee. If you want to experiment with the full trappings of instruments on offer and take a more varied path with the after effects then it will cost you. For anyone just looking at entry level production the free version has more than you’ll need.
Soundtrap is available for free as a Chrome extension or in your browser, there is also a premium membership for $10 a month.
Could you become the next Rhianna with Garageband?
Garageband – £4.99
Garageband is another entry level piece of software, especially the iOS version, designed to make music production simplistic and straightforward. If you’ve got the creative talent, garage band is easily one of the best platforms for you.
The simplicity of Garageband is definitely its strongest point, but don’t be put off if you think it’s looks too basic. Many critically acclaimed and commercially successful tunes have been produced with Garageband including Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul, Justice – Cross, and Rihanna – Umbrella. Not a bad selection.
However, if you’re looking at creating a britpop/dance/pop hit you probably won’t be able to do it from your iPad. The portable version of the software is great for what it is, but you’ll be able to push your art much further from a desktop.
Garageband is available from £4.99 on the iOS app store.
Logic Pro – £199
Logic Pro is another entry that’s become fairly synonymous with Apple and music production, with good cause. Logic Pro represents a more heavyweight version of Garageband, aimed at the more experienced user, but still a masterpiece of simplicity for those who know what they’re doing.
The latest version of the software comes with vastly improved stability, which when you’re mixing 30 different channels at once can become a real pain, touch bar support, and selection-based processing which allows you to focus the effects on specific areas of a track.
That’s not to say there aren’t problems with Apple’s primo music software. Those who are new to music production will probably struggle a bit, and for the price, those people are better off starting with something such as Garageband. The drumming selection is also fairly limited in its styles on genres, so you’ll probably have to look around if you want a varied percussion section.
Logic Pro is available from £199.
Keezy – Free
Keezy is not so much a piece of production software as it is an excellent real world sampling tool. The app is available on both iPad and iPhone and allows users to record several short samples of sound and mix them together in real time.
By holding down one of the eight coloured squares it’s possible to record several seconds of sound for each square and then play them sporadically, in a pattern, or all at once by tapping them again. Think of it as sampled beatboxing, which makes sense since the app’s promotional material included performances by musician and Comedy BangBang band leader, Reggie Watts.
Though this tool isn’t exactly studio quality and it has no long recording feature it might not be ideal for music you want to upload to your Soundcloud. However, It’s portability and convenience definitely make it worth a go. Keezy also produces a drum machine companion app.
Keezy is available for free on the iOS app store.