You’ve decided you want to get into beat making, and you’re looking for a program to help you do it. There are plenty of programs out there that you can use. Some are easier to learn than others, some have many more features, and of course they are differentiated by price. So, which is the best beat making program? Well, that depends on what kind of beatmaker you are. What do you need your program to do?
Mac or PC?
If you’ve already got a Mac, GarageBand came with the default install. Don’t dismiss it just because you don’t have to pay anything extra for it! If you’re just starting out, Garage Band is a great tool to learn the basics and a bit beyond. Like most Mac products, it doesn’t do as much as some other programs, but what it does tackle, it does well. If you decide to upgrade, Logic Pro X would be a, well…logical step up. Both programs use the same framework and Logic Pro X is basically an expanded version of GarageBand, so there’s room to grow without learning a whole new system.
Free or Paid?
FL Studio is popular with beginners. You can access a free trial, but most users eventually upgrade to the paid version. This program is what’s called a DAW, or Digital Access Workstation, and it’s going to let you do more than just make beat. From composing, to arranging, recording to editing, and mixing to mastering, you’ve got control over every part of it. Artists who use FL Studio find it easily integrates into their existing creative process. Their interface is easy to use and pick up, so there’s less of a learning curve between you and a final, polished product.
If your budget is ‘free’, don’t worry about that. Your wallet doesn’t need to stand in the way of your creative outlet. Tracktion 7 is a Digital Access Workstation that is made especially with beat making in mind. Best of all, the core version is packed with features and is designated ‘forever-free’. There are plenty of plug-ins and add-ons available to customize your experience, but you can download it and get to laying down those beats without breaking out your credit card. The downside to this software is that the interface can be a little challenging. If you have the time and ability to devote to getting to know it’s quirks, you’re likely to love it. If that sounds more frustrating than fun, this might not be for you.
Craving something Open Source?
LMMS is the darling of this category. Function trumps form in every way on this free program, but that makes sense when you know that it’s been created by an army of dedicated programming volunteers. It’s a stable program developed by beatmakers, for beatmakers. There’s no such thing as a locked or premium feature, so as long as you don’t mind the sparse visuals, you’ll be in heaven.
So, there you have it! Those are the best beat making programs out there. Pick one in your price range and you’re ready to go.