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The Best Beat Making Software in 2024

A head-to-head comparison of top picks

Last Updated: January 2024 | Article Details: 6000 words (30 – 32 minute read)

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What is the #1 beat making program out there? Here’s our take:

  1. FL Studio 20 (Best Workflow – Easy and Fast to Use)
  2. Ableton Live 11 (Best of All Worlds – Versatile Workflows)
  3. Maschine MK3 (Best for Sampling and Hardware Integration)
  4. Magix Music Maker (Best Choice for Beginners)

In this post, we’ll dig into why we think that and help you choose the best beat maker software for your situation.

We’ll talk a little about the features of the latest versions of the most popular beat makers out there and what’s best for various types of beat makers.

One quick note: We won’t really be talking about traditional digital audio workstations (DAWs) in this post. This buyer’s guide is about software that’s mostly tailored to beat making, even if it has DAW functionality.

So let’s get into the best beat making software out right now.

Quick Software Comparison Table

Image-Line FL Studio 20Ableton Live 11Native Instruments Maschine MK3Magix Music Maker
Overall Rating8.25/108/107.5/106.25/10
Features Rating9/109/106/105/10
Workflow Rating10/109/108/107/10
Hardware Integration Rating6/107/1010/103/10
Cost Rating8/107/106/1010/10
Learning Curve DifficultyMediumMedium-HighMedium-HighLow
Main ProSuper Fast Workflow w/ Computer Mouse, Popular OptionFast Workflow, Hardware AvailableHands On Feeling w/ Hardware Controller, No Need for Mouse/KeyboardAffordable, Easy to Use
Main ConNot a lot of hardware integrationCan be weird to get your head around at firstNot Great for Recording Audio, Arrangement Workflow LackingLimited Compared to Others
#1 Best FeatureBest MIDI editor on the marketLets you work however you wantSeamless integration with hardware and software/sounds (NKS!)Easy learning curve
Who Should Buy It?Producer’s who mostly make beats but may need to do a little recording and don’t care about “hands-on” feeling hardwareProducers who want fast keyboard/mouse workflow WITH a hardware controller optionBeat Makers Who Like Playing Out Notes/Patterns or sample-based beat makersBeginners / Hobbyists Who Want to Dabble in Beat Making
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An In-Depth Look at the Best Beat Making Software

Learn about each option to see which software is best for you.

In this section we’ll dig deeper into why we made the choices we did for our overall rankings of beat software.

We look at a few different things, but mostly workflow and use-cases.

As far as features go, most of the beats making software you come across will be able to do the same things, just in a different way than its competitors.

#1 Pick: Image-Line FL Studio 20


FL Studio Screenshot

FL Studio is one of the dopest software beat makers in existence.

Formerly known as Fruity Loops, it’s one of the most popular pieces of music production software out there. It has been used by heavyweights from 9th Wonder to Metro Boomin and many others.

It has an insanely fast workflow and probably the BEST MIDI editor in existence. Every other implementation of MIDI editing (or piano rolls) I’ve tried is sub-par compared to FL’s. It’s just fast and easy.

It also has a couple of cool features like the legacy “AMP” knob which makes drums KNOCK. The only real problem is there’s no useful hardware integration. There are a couple pieces out there, but it just doesn’t really make sense to use them.

If you’re serious about getting into beat making and don’t care about hardware controllers (i.e. you’re happy just using your mouse and keyboard to draw in your beats) this is probably your best choice.

NOTE: Using a standard MIDI keyboard with FL Studio is super-easy and works totally normally. By “hardware controller” I’m referring to a specially designed controller that’s fully integrated into FL Studio functions and workflow.

Software Highlights

  • Cost: $99.99 – $499.00
    • 4 Different Versions Available
  • Both PC and Mac versions Available
  • Limited Free Trial Available

Key Factors

  • Workflow: One of the fastest and most efficient ways to make beats of all types.
  • Cost: Medium-High – affordable options are limited in features/functionality
  • Flexibility: Mostly for making beats with a keyboard/mouse. Hardware integration is mediocre at best
  • Learning Curve: Medium – not very difficult, but may take some explaining/exploring to really “get it.”
  • Standout Feature: The best MIDI editing (piano roll + step sequencer) on the market – hands down.

The Good

  • Up to 107 included instruments and effects + full VST support
  • Up to 3 different audio editors
  • Hands-down the best step-sequencer/piano roll/MIDI editor in the game
  • Video visualizer to make quick beat/song videos with embedded music
  • Lifetime free updates
  • Free trial with full functionality (except you can’t re-open saved projects)
  • Launch standalone as a DAW or as a VST plugin in another DAW
  • Includes it’s own ASIO audio drivers so you can use it without an audio interface
  • TONS of online tutorials from people using FL – more than any other DAW

The Bad

  • No meaningful hardware integration
  • Semi-complicated learning curve
  • Audio recording implementation is mediocre
  • Sampling/Chopping is cumbersome

What’s New in Version 20.9.1

  • Easier way to make patterns unique
  • New effects (pitch-shift + chorus)
  • New “audio clips” instrument
  • Apple M1 native support
  • Updated “merge clips” function

Try FL Studio 20 Now!

What Sets FL Studio Apart from Others?

What sets FL Studio apart from the competitors is really it’s fast workflow and intuitive design. It’s fun and easy making beats in FL Studio when you compare it to other beats making software options out there. It’s almost like a video game. And the way FL Studio works is really one of the reasons why some music sounds the way it does today.

Those trap-style hats you hear everywhere really came from the way FL Studio quantizes notes and how it allows you to draw notes in and manipulate them easily. The fact that a lot of trap music used to sit around 140bpm double-time? That’s just what the default tempo setting is when you open the program up.

There’s no denying FL Studio is a part of the evolution of music in general.

Who Should Use FL Studio?

If you’re into make hip-hop/trap, edm or any electronic based music this is the best choice for you (IF you don’t really care about hardware integration). There are now a few hardware controllers out now, but the software really shines with a mouse+keyboard workflow with a standard MIDI keyboard.

If you’re not interested in playing keys or learning to finger drum on pads at all, then this is definitely the best choice for you.

It has a lot of great features and really quick workflow hacks that make beat-making really fast. For example, there’s no faster way to create Trap-style hi-hats or 808 slides, etc. than with FL Studio.

Get the Most Popular Choice – FL Studio Today

Who Shouldn’t Use It?

Do you make sampled+chopped (learn more), boom-bap type of beats? If you prefer to tap out drum beats on pads then FL Studio isn’t your best choice. It can be done, obviously, but it’s not the best way to do that.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of audio recording, audio editing or mixing and mastering (learn more) then FL Studio may not be the best choice for you either. They’ve introduced updates that are supposed to make recording easier, but other DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) like Logic and Pro-Tools handle all that stuff better.

FL Studio – Version Comparison

FL Studio Fruity EditionFL Studio Producer EditionFL Studio Signature EditionFL Studio All Plugin Edition
Best for: Basic Loop Creation With Minimal Functionality IncludedBest for: Full Song Creation – Includes Audio Recording/Editing FunctionalityBEST DEAL: enhanced functionality and extra pluginsBest for: Professional producers who want EVERY SINGLE plugin that integrates with FL Studio
0 Audio Editors Included2 Audio Editors IncludedAll 3 Audio Editors IncludedIncludes Everything in Signature Edition
No Audio Recording or ClipsAllows Audio Recording + ClipsIncludes Gross Beat + Guitar FXIncludes Pitch Shifter
Limited PlaylistFull PlaylistFull DirectWave + Video SupportIncludes Drumaxx + Transient Processor
Includes 83 Plugins/EffectsIncludes 89 Plugins/EffectsIncludes 96 Plugins/EffectsGet all 107 Plugins/Effects/Synths
Get Fruity Edition Now!Get Producer Edition Now!Get Signature Edition Now!Get All Plugins Edition Now!

#2 Pick: Ableton Live 11


Ableton Live 11 Screenshot

Hands down, Ableton Live 11 is the most versatile beat making program out there. It does a great job of trying to cater to different styles of making beats.

That’s really the best part about it. If you want to make beats with a keyboard and mouse, you can do that easily. Want to use a hardware controller? They’ve got one. Want to use the weird “ideas” mode to create and mix/match patterns? You can do it!

Ableton Live 11 really does a great job letting producers work however they want. That’s it’s main strength in relation to other beat making programs.

It’s also got some good unique effects and additional features that have made it a serious contender to FL Studio as the best beat maker out there.

Beat Software Highlights

  • Cost: $99 – $1548
  • Both PC and Mac Versions Available
  • 90 Day Fully Featured Free Trial Available

Key Factors

  • Workflow: Very fast workflow, but not as fast as FL Studio for certain tasks like sequencing
  • Cost: Medium-High – affordable option is limited in features/functionality AND more expensive than FL Studio’s affordable option
  • Flexibility: Definitely the most flexible software of all – you can work however you want quickly and easily.
  • Learning Curve: Medium-High – it may take some time wrapping your head around things like “ideas mode” and “scenes”
  • Standout Feature: MIDI Capture is a great feature for brainstorming ideas and it has a GREAT audio warping engine.

The Good

  • Unlimited MIDI/Audio tracks and “scenes” on higher versions
  • “Capture MIDI” mode makes it easy to brainstorm music patterns/ideas and not lose them
  • GREAT audio warping capabiliity (for time-stretching, etc)
  • “Audio to MIDI” feature to convert an audio clip into MIDI note info
  • Tailor your workflow however you want – mouse/keyboard, hardware, mixed, etc.
  • Linear timeline or “scene/pattern” arrangement mode
  • Push hardware controller has FULL integration with all Ableton features
  • Strong audio recording capabilities

The Bad

  • Higher learning curve
  • Confusing – can take a minute to figure out your ideal workflow
  • TERRIBLE looking graphical user interface – (like… super ugly)
  • Relatively more expensive than other options without free upgrades
  • Push controller has small pads, not ideal for finger drumming

What’s New in Version 11

  • Easy comping for vocal and other audio recording
  • MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) support – for use with things like ROLI Seaboard
  • Randomize note and velocity values quickly
  • Various new sounds and effects included
  • Better live performance functionality (Tempo Following/sync)

Try Ableton Live 11 Now!

What Sets Ableton Apart from Others?

Ableton is truly a powerhouse of a beat software program. It’s so flexible in how it allows you to work. Whether you need hardware control or are fine with keyboard/mouse, use samples or make your own, want a linear timeline or a jamming-based “ideas+scenes” workflow – Ableton lets you do it.

It’s also very fast to use – not as fast as FL Studio, but damn close. It’s versatile enough to let you produce anything, and it has some pretty good hardware integration with the Push controller.

Finally some of the effects and plugins are amazing – it’s got great audio warping ability (some of the best out), recording and comping vocals is easy and you can even just jam-out, brainstorming ideas and all of the MIDI is captured in it’s history, even if you aren’t recording.

That’s crazy…

Who Should Use Ableton Live 11?

Ableton Live is a great choice for any beat makers who make any genre of music – EDM, Hip-Hop, Pop, etc. It’s popular with a lot of big name producers across genres. If you want something that’s versatile and powerful at the same time, this is a great choice. It doesn’t matter what type of music you want to make. And it doesn’t matter HOW you want to work – hardware, mouse/keyboard, mixed, etc.

You can easily use Ableton Live to make your beats, record vocals and mix/master a final product all in the same software. If you don’t mind spending a little while learning the software’s in-and-outs, you can become a beast using it. It’s efficient and powerful, regardless of how you like to work.

Who Shouldn’t Use It?

First and foremost, if you REALLY want to stay away from the keyboard and mouse as MUCH as possible, it’s probably not the top choice for you (see Maschine below). And honestly, if you like pretty graphics and the aesthetic of your software, Ableton kinda leaves you hanging.

FL Studio still has a couple of advantages (in my opinion) over Ableton – MIDI editing and step-sequencing is still WAY better and how quick it is to make trap-style hats is unmatched. It’s also easier to make your drums REALLY knock (with the AMP knob).

But beyond that, Ableton does really give FL a run for it’s money. It’s a serious contender.

Ableton Live 11 – Software Version Comparison

Live 11 IntroLive 11 StandardLive 11 SuitePush Hardware Controller
Best for: Basic beat making with light audio recordingBest for: Full song creation with unlimited tracks but limited included pluginsBest for: Producers who want all of the included effects/sounds/instrumentsBest for: Producers who want a fully integrated hardware controller to use with Live
16 Max Audio/MIDI Tracks and ScenesUnlimited Tracks/ScenesUnlimited Tracks/ScenesIncludes Live Software with Purchase
2 Sends/Returns, 8+8 Mono Channel I/O12 Sends/Returns, 256+256 Mono Channel I/O12 Sends/Returns, 256+256 Mono Channel I/OAllows Playing Out Beats/Chords/Notes or Easy Step Sequencing
No Audio Slicing or Audio to MIDIIncludes Audio Slicing and Audio-to-MIDIIncludes All Features from Standard VersionAllows Easy Slicing/Manipulating of Samples
No Linked Track EditingIncludes Linked Track EditingIncludes Max for Live (live performance features)Scale Mode, Live Performance Mode, Live Arrangement or Easy Jamming
Includes: 4 Instruments, 32 Effects, 5 GB of SoundsIncludes: 6 Instruments, 51 Effects, 10 GB of SoundsIncludes: 17 Instruments, 76 Effects, 70 GB of Sounds64 Pads, 8 Knobs, Multicolor Display
Get Live 11 Intro Now!Get Live 11 Standard Now!Get Live 11 Suite Now!Get the Push Controller Now!

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    #3 Pick: Native Instruments Maschine MK3

    BEST FOR: Hands-on feel when making beats – tapping out your drums and sampling/sample-chopping. Great for sample-heavy hip-hop/boom-bap/lo-fi styles.

    NI Maschine Software Screenshot

    Maschine is the revolutionary beat production software/hardware combination from Native Instruments that changed the game.

    I’m a big fan and use a Maschine Studio edition in my music making (they don’t make it anymore).

    But it’s not the BEST beat-maker out there, mainly because of it’s terrible music arrangement (learn more) workflow.

    But what it DOES best is combines the hardware and software SEAMLESSLY. It really is the best when it comes to hardware integration.

    Back in the day there was a huge population of producers who loved the feel of hardware and the ease of software, but no elegant solution. Native Instruments was the first to offer a really seamless solution, and is still the best on the market.

    Software/Hardware Highlights

    • Cost: $259.00 – $649.00 USD
      • 3 Different Models Available
    • PC & Mac Compatible
    • Comes with several instruments, sounds and effects

    Key Factors

    • Workflow: Very fast workflow when chopping samples or creating patterns, but not so much when arranging your song
    • Cost: High – because the software comes with a piece of hardware to control it, it’s relatively pricier than other options
    • Flexibility: It’s not the most flexible option – you pretty much have to use it the way the designers intended you to (which you may not like).
    • Learning Curve: Medium – arrangement takes a bit of time to wrap your head around, but making beats is seamless and very intuitive.
    • Standout Feature: The ROCK-SOLID hardware/software integration. Picking sounds (learn more), adjusting parameters, chopping samples, making patterns – ALL easily done via hardware with no additional mapping/work required.

    The Good:

    • 16 multi-colored drum pads w/ knobs and FULL software control
    • Seamless hands-on control of every software function via the hardware controller
    • BEST implementation of sound/plugin browser + preview
    • Can also be used as a regular MIDI controller in other DAWs
    • Easily export audio/MIDI patterns with drag-and-drop
    • Several easy operation modes – keyboard mode, chord mode, arp mode, etc.
    • Full mixer control via hardware knobs
    • AMAZING workflow for sampling audio and chopping samples onto different pads
    • Flagship MK3 Edition Includes Audio Interface for Recording

    The Bad:

    • TERRIBLE implementation of arrangement workflow – even after an update that was supposed to make it better
    • Not ideal for mixing/mastering
    • Very limited ability to record audio (not good for vocals- verses/choruses/harmonies, etc)
    • No longer offer Maschine Studio version (with more buttons/jogwheel)
    • Maschine+ is overpriced and Maschine Mikro lacks sample chopping functionality

    What’s New in Version 2.15

    • Save sound with samples
    • Auto project recovery after crash
    • New position parameter in Chord Mode
    • Various fixes

    Try Native Instruments Maschine Today!

    What Sets Maschine Apart from Others?

    If you’re looking for a piece of hardware that works flawlessly with your software then Maschine really is your go-to choice. There’s nothing better. Ableton comes close, but the people at Native Instruments really got the hardware/software integration right with Maschine.

    It’s super intuitive to use and gives you full hands-on control over almost everything you’d want to do. If you wanted to, you’d barely EVER have to touch your keyboard and mouse when making beats with Maschine.

    Who Should Use It?

    Maschine is really best suited to people who really like to tap out their drums, or want a seamless way to browse and load their sounds/instruments/effects without having to use the mouse to do everything.

    And if you want to tweak your sounds and sound design (learn more) using actual knobs without worrying about mapping parameters, this is really where this device shines. It is HANDS-DOWN the best hardware/software combo out. The MPC software/hardware combo isn’t as dope, but Maschine isn’t as dope as an ACTUAL Akai MPC hardware beat maker.

    If you make a lot of sample-based music (boom-bap/lo-fi), it’s also got the best implementation of sample chopping I’ve seen (other than a real MPC, but it’s essential based on the MPC anyways).

    If you love VSTs and being able to do all the crazy tricks/techniques that digital software allows, but don’t want to give up tactile, hands-on control/feeling Maschine is definitely the best choice for you. Just remember, arranging your beats using Maschine SUCKS.

    Who Shouldn’t Use It?

    If you don’t want to tap out drum beats or melodic/rhythmic patterns with your hands and prefer the mouse and keyboard approach, then stick to FL Studio or Ableton.

    If you make a lot of trap music, FL Studio is still probably a better choice. You can get great sounding trap hi-hats and do things like 808 slides in Maschine, but it’s just not as fast as FL.

    If you mostly like working on a linear timeline when making your patterns and arrangements, you’ll probably get really frustrated with how Maschine does this stuff. It’s… weird.

    And if you want to FINSIH actual songs (with vocals, and a mastering chain, for example) you’re going to need another DAW for that. Maschine is really limited in that functionality. It works best as a groove-box style, sketch-making device.

    NI Maschine – Hardware Edition Comparison

    Maschine Mikro MK3Flagship Maschine MK3Maschine+
    Best for: Mobile Producers on the GoBest for: Most Producers – especially sample-based beat makersBest for: On-The-Go or Computer-less Beat Making
    This model is the smallest hardware size and has the following features:This model is the original type + size and has the following features:This is a fully stand-alone system, the size of the Maschine MK3 Flagship model:
    – USB PoweredPro-grade, 96 kHz / 24-bit Integrated Audio InterfaceSeparate Wall-Plug Power Adapter
    – No Integrated StandClassic MPC-Style WorkflowNo Computer Needed
    – Compact Monochromatic Screen2 High Definition Full Color Displays2 – 480×272 Pixel Hi-Res Color Displays
    – 1 Push Encoder/Control Knob8 Knobs + 1 4D Encoder8 Knobs + 1 4D Encoder
    – 39 Function Buttons, 16 Pads50 Function Buttons, 16 Sound Pads, 8 Group Buttons50 Function Buttons, 16 Pads, 8 Group Buttons
    – Cannot Control Sample Slicing from Hardware2 x 1/4” TRS line outputs, 2 x 1/4” TRS line inputs, 1/4” dynamic mic input2 x 1/4” TRS line outputs, 2 x 1/4” TRS line inputs, 1/4” dynamic mic input
    – Only 1.6GB of Included Sounds/InstrumentsStereo Headphone OutputStereo Headphone Output
    – Cannot Adjust Multiple Parameters At Same TimeCAN Adjust Multiple Parameters At Same TimeCan Adjust Multiple Parameters At Same Time
    Get Latest PriceGet Latest PriceGet Latest Price

    #4 Pick: Magix Music Maker

    BEST FOR: Beginners, hobbyists or DJs who want to get into beat making without spending a lot of money or having to deal with a steep learning curve

    Magix Music Maker Screenshot

    Magix Music Maker isn’t the most popular beat software for making music, but it’s a decent one. Especially if you don’t want to get bogged down in learning technicalities or spending a lot of money.

    At the end of the day, if you’re serious about becoming a beat maker I’d still recommend going with something like FL Studio or Ableton, but their prices can be a bit high for some.

    The workflow is pretty standard in that you can start with a pre-made loop or you can record your own, arrange your patterns on a linear timeline and add some basic effects.

    And you can actually get Magix Music Maker absolutely free. The no-cost version comes with a handful of instruments and loops you can use to start making beats right away. It’s also compatible with hardware controllers and the company even offers “bundles” you can buy.

    It’s definitely got the most user-friendly interface out of all of the options on our list, making it perfect for beginners, but it’s nowhere near the powerhouses the other beat making programs we cover are.

    Read Our Full Review of Magix Music MakerClick Here

    Software Highlights:

    • $0 – $209
    • Compatible with Windows 10/11 Only
    • Special Editions available catered to specific genres (80s/Trap/EDM/Hip-Hop)
    • Hardware and Sounds bundles available

    Key Factors

    • Workflow: Fairly basic and intuitive workflow.
    • Cost: Low – it’s the most affordable option out of the bunch
    • Flexibility: Because it’s an affordable alternative to more full featured options, it’s not really a flexible option. There may even be some shortcomings.
    • Learning Curve: Low – it’s got an intuitive user interface and in-app tutorials that will help you make your first beat easily.
    • Standout Feature: In-App tutorials that help you learn how to make beats

    The Good:

    • Super intuitive workflow
    • Simple, modular user interface (makes it easy to navigate and customize)
    • Can be used absolutely free
    • Monthly “Loops Unlimited” plan for never-ending new sounds
    • Has very affordable hardware options (software + pads/keyboard)
    • Includes IN-APP tutorials – very useful for beginners
    • 64-bit support (high quality audio)

    Click Here to Try Magix Music Maker Today!

    The Bad:

    • Very limited software compared to FL Studio/Ableton/etc.
    • Based heavily on pre-made loops
    • No VST support in free version
    • Not many sounds included in free version
    • No Mac/Apple support

    What’s New in Version 30

    • BeatBox drum machine for sample-based drum kits
    • SongMakerAI – push button song section creation
    • Modular interface – customize the sections you only want see on screen

    What Sets Magix Apart from Others?

    Magix isn’t the best music making software out there, but it’s a solid contender for beginner’s and hobbyists. What really sets it apart is it’s affordability. You can make serious beats using this software – whether you want to use loops or create your own.

    It’s easy to use and a great choice for some. There are other “free” or affordable online beat makers out there, but they all pale in comparison to Magix. But to be fair, Magix is also pale in comparison to the other choices in our list.

    Who Should Use It:

    This is our current go-to recommendation for absolute beginners and hobbyists. If you just want to try out beat creator software or are looking for something easy to use, this is your best bet for now. Plus the training included makes it easy to learn to use in a few minutes, right within the app, so you can get right to making music without getting lost in workflow problems.

    If you just want to get right into the beat making and not have to learn a bunch of extra ish or figure a bunch of things out, this might be a good choice for you. It’s also the perfect option for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on their beat maker of choice.

    Try Magix Music Maker

    Who Shouldn’t Use It:

    Obviously if you have a Mac or a MacBook, you shouldn’t (read: can’t) use Magix Music Maker. But beyond that, if you want more control and flexibility over every aspect of your beat production software then go with another option we’ve listed. Even if you’re a beginner, if you know you want to do this (make beats) for real, spend your money on one of the industry standards above.

    Also, if you’ve made beats before, have tons of VST instruments or can already play piano or guitar it may not be your best choice. Magix is just an easier option for most complete beginners.

    Magix Music Maker – Edition Comparison

    FREE VersionPlus EditionPremium VersionBeatBox Version
    $0$59$129See Latest Pricing
    Best for: Hobbyists that just want to dabble in beat makingBest for: Beginners who don’t want to spend more than $100 on softwareBest for: Beginners who want an affordable option, with lots of sounds/instrumentsBest for: Beginners who want to tap out drums using an affordable hardware controller
    BeatBox drum kit pluginIncludes BeatBox ProIncludes BeatBox ProComes With Plus Edition of Software
    Modular InterfaceIncludes More Export OptionsIncludes All Export OptionsComes With Novation Launchpad Mini MK3
    Includes 1 Default SoundPool CollectionIncludes 1 More SoundPool Bundle and 1 More SoundPool CollectionIncludes 3 More SoundPool Bundles and 1 More SoundPool Collection64 Mini Pads
    No VST SupportHas VST Support (No VST Bridge)Includes VST Bridge Support16 Keys
    Maximum of 8 TracksUnlimited TracksUnlimited Tracks8 Knobs
    Includes ConcertGrand, Revolta2 and Vita2 Instruments and 6 EffectsIncludes 4 Additional PluginsIncludes All Plugins (18 Total)
    Default SongMaker PluginDefault SongMaker PluginSongMaker AI Plugin
    Download Today!Get Plus Version Today!Get Premium Version Today!Get BeatBox Edition Today!

    Microphone Month at Sweetwater

    Key Decision Making Factors:

    When looking at our top picks, I took into account several factors:

    • Workflow: How do you use the software to make beats? Is it difficult, annoying, easy, etc. to work with?
    • Cost: Relative to other options and what you get, is the cost worth it?
    • Flexibility: Is there only one way to perform certain tasks or can you get creative with how you work?
    • Learning Curve: How difficult is it to learn how to use the software effectively?
    • Standout Feature: Is there anything that the software does BEST or better than everything else?

    Buyers Guide Quick Tips

    What to Look For + Consider When Making a Decision

    • Think about how you want to make beats – keyboard/mouse, hardware, etc. Workflow and ease/comfort are more important than you think.
    • Only consider price if you’re a complete beginner or not sure you want to make beats as a serious hobby/profession
    • Don’t worry about what software your favorite music producer uses – you can accomplish everything you’ll need to, using whatever software you choose
    • Don’t think you’ll “step your game up” just because you buy a new piece of gear or software. It won’t happen.
    • Everything has a free-ish trial so use them all before making a decision.

    What I Use and Why I Use It

    So what do I use to make beats?

    For years and years I was using Maschine alone for making my beats. I’ve been a user and fan since the very first model came out (I’ve still got that ugly box). I mostly made boom-bap style hip-hop so chopping up samples was important but also making drum beats. And Maschine is just way too much fun to tap out beats on.

    But when it came to arranging the beats, I was always frustrated with it’s implementation.

    So more recently, I’ve decided to use Pro Tools with Maschine as a VST instrument inside it. It doesn’t give me the same super-fast, super-integrated control of the software from the hardware. But with Komplete Kontrol (another Native Instruments product) and a touch-screen monitor I can come pretty close.

    Having said that for years and years I was using FL Studio (back when it was still called Fruity Loops) and then used Reason for a while and it was great. I’ve used Ableton but never really got into it. And I only learned of Magix when doing research for this site.

    But for me, hands-on hardware control was a SUPER important deciding factor. I like to play out my drums, chords and melodies. I need that organic feeling to my playing. But when I need to make some trap-style hi-hats or 808 slides, best believe I wish I was using FL Studio. I can get it done, but it’s a bit more cumbersome.

    What Beat Maker Software Should YOU Choose?

    So what is the top software for beat making on pc and mac? Which should you choose? It really depends on you and your intention.

    How do you picture yourself working? Are you interested in hardware? What type of music do you want to make? How much do you want to spend.

    Try taking our quiz above and see what it recommends for you and your situation.

    Do you need to use one of the four choices I reviewed on this page? No, but in my opinion they are definitely the best options out there for making beats specifically.

    There are lots of different types of software out there, including software specifically meant to collaborate on music production. Most of these programs to make beats do the same things, just differently. Some of the included sounds/synths/instruments may differ but there’s a good chance most of the sounds and instruments you end up using will be third-party anyway.

    Having one particular software for making music will not allow you to “make beats like [insert favorite producer here].” Always remember one thing… It’s not the tool itself, it’s how you use it

    Trust us – you can make straight HEAT or complete TRASH, regardless of the software you use. And it doesn’t matter what genre of beats you make either. But choose your weapon wisely, because workflow, ease of use and features DO matter for beat maker software. 

    For example, if you like the hands on feel of hitting pads maybe Maschine is for you. Or if you like to make trap style beats, FL Studio makes it easier to get those crazy hi-hat patterns southern beat makers are known for. But at the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference and how you use the music production software you have.

    The Best Beat Maker Recommendation

    If you’re an absolute beginner just starting out and learning the ropes, don’t invest hundreds of dollars into software like Maschine, FL Studio or Reason just yet. Use something like Magix.

    If you know you’re serious about making beats and want something more powerful then you can get something more geared towards “professional” music creation and beat making.

    Maschine Hardware Picture

    For those of you in that camp, our top 2 recommendations are FL Studio and Ableton Live! – those are hands down the best beat maker software options for the price/quality/workflow.

    But if you’re someone that wants hands-on control with some hardware and not just a keyboard/mouse, then Maschine might just be the way you want to go.

    In the future, we’ll take a look more at things like QUANTUM beat making. But for now, these are your best bets

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What Beat Making Software is the Best?

    This is a question that doesn’t really have a single answer. The answer depends on a couple of things – what you’re trying to do and who you are. Some people love their piece of software because they know it well and can easily do whatever they want to do in it. All of the main choices have the same basic functionality. They just have a different process/workflow for getting it done. Some software does certain things easier than other software, and vice-versa.

    What Beat Making Software do Professional Rappers and Producers Use?

    There are a couple of pieces of software that are WIDELY used in the music industry and are favorites of thousands of people around the world. Most professionals will use something like FL Studio or Ableton Live! to make their beats. But there are a ton of producers, rappers and artists who prefer other options. Some other popular options are Logic Pro and Pro Tools, but those are more “digital audio workstations,” and not specifically tailored to making beats.

    What’s the Best Beat Making Software for Beginners?

    There are good options out there for beginners to use. Our preferred choice for absolute beginners is something like Magix Music Maker. It has an easy to use interface and is fairly straightforward to get started with. But if you’re up for learning something with a bit steeper learning curve then FL Studio is the better software to use.

    What’s the Most Popular Beat Making Software

    FL Studio is hands down the most popular beat making software out today. It’s used by thousands of hobbyists and professionals alike. But more recently, Ableton Live! has become a popular option for a lot of people who make music. Nowadays, both FL Studio and Ableton are probably neck-and-neck in terms of popularity.

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      Final Thoughts

      Once you start making lots of music and beats, you’ll see that workflow is REALLY important. There’s nothing worse than getting bogged down and losing your “flow state” because you’re trying to get something done and it’s too cumbersome to do.

      Whatever beat maker software you choose, learn it inside and out – don’t just get frustrated and give up.

      Whatever you choose, just make sure you’ve got some sick drum samples and sample packs to use with it.

      If you’re new to making music, sign-up for our free Beat Making Cheat Sheets and you’ll get our 7-Day Course to Better Beats as well.

      Thanks for checking out our best beat making software buyers guide! Hope it was helpful!

      Additional Resources

      Related Beat Making Articles

      Tools and Resources for Beat Makers (affiliate links)


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      Go Back to Music Production Main Page

      About The Author:

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      Omar Zulfi

      Omar Zulfi is a music producer, rapper, singer, songwriter and digital entrepreneur. He is the founder and head writer at Deviant Noise. Learn more about what he's doing by clicking here.