Audio Production Software Review

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Why Use Audio Production Software?

Audio production software helps sound engineers, producers and musicians to record and edit music, as well as to remix and re-master finished tracks. Also known as digital audio workstations (DAWs), audio production software products perform well on currently shipping PCs and Macs. In our review, we rate entry-level music production software because it is priced for beginners. The capabilities of consumer-level products are not drastically different from the complete professional versions. Digital audio software vendors are competitive and take pride in shipping excellent products that are the creations of brilliant software engineers in cooperation with good musicians and audio engineers.

Audio Production Software: What to Look For

The audio recording products that we examine are all quite comparable in terms of features. For more information, please read our articles about audio production software, including reviews of three excellent products: FL Studio, Apple Logic Pro and Ableton Live. TopTenREVIEWS evaluates audio production software according to the following criteria:

Production
Expect tools and features to create tracks from scratch, such as beat and percussion sequencers as well as instrument and effects suites. There should be tools to combine, manipulate, modify, remove, refine and replace track elements and audio file attributes. You should be able to import and export a variety of file types and use plugins to achieve various functions and effects. Often, some of the software's mixer functions are duplicated in the main production area for convenience.

Mixer
Most DAWs have full-featured mixers that can record and edit audio, provide visuals of wave-forms and control equalization functions. At minimum, mixers should have controls that let you adjust the volume, and panning and effects plugins for multiple related tracks that you can route to submix busses. Mixer pan controls allow you to position sounds in various locations within the stereo soundscape. The mixer is also the place where you can compensate for any delay introduced into a track during recording.

Effects
Digital audio workstations contain effects such as guitar amplifier emulators and instrument synthesizers. You should also be able to adjust basic equalization effects with bass, middle and treble frequency controls, among other EQ plugins. Effects features also include control over mono and stereo processing, as well as the ability to add compression, reverb and other effects.

Help & Support
Audio production software should be helpful at every stage of production. Look for built-in help sections, how-to guides, tutorials, training videos, online manuals, FAQs, user forums and online correspondence with the manufacturer. The user forums are supportive.

Audio production software at entry-level prices is surprisingly good. These products contain sufficient functionality to keep you happy for quite a while before you'll start wishing for the extra features, plugins and effects that pro-level versions provide. Pick your entry-level product carefully, though, because these products are so feature rich that once you learn to use one, you are likely to maintain brand loyalty so that you don't have to learn a new complicated product.

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Software » Multimedia » Audio Production Software Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
FL Studio Producer Edition Apple Logic Pro Ableton Live Intro Reason Essentials n-Track Studio EX Sony ACID Music Studio
FL Studio Producer Edition Apple Logic Pro Ableton Live Intro Reason Essentials n-Track Studio EX Sony ACID Music Studio
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Ratings
10.00
9.98
9.48
8.75
7.50
7.38
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
10.00
10.00
10.00
10.00
9.95
10.00
10.00
10.00
9.95
10.00
7.50
10.00
9.50
8.75
6.25
10.00
7.50
7.50
6.25
10.00
7.25
7.50
6.25
10.00
 
Production
Automation of parameters
ASIO support
Synthesizers
Drum sequencers
Song arrangement
Time stretching
Import and export MIDI
Drum sampler
Step sequencer
 
Host VSTi
 
Mixer
Sidechain signal support
Stereo spread
Invert
 
Visual audio analysis
 
Automatic plugin delay compensation
  
Effects
EQ: Noise reduction
EQ: Strip silence
Compression
Tremolo
Chorus
Flange
Vibrato
Distortion
Reverb
Echo
Limiter
 
Expander
 
EQ: High pass filter
 
EQ: Low pass filter
 
Pitch
 
Vocoder emulator
   
Help & Support
Built-in help
Email
FAQs
User forum
Telephone   90 days  
$
Platforms
Windows 8
 
Windows 7
 
Windows Vista
 
Windows XP
 
Macintosh