The Best Beat Making Software in 2022
Learn what the top software for making beats is and what’s right for you
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Last Updated: May 2022
What is the best beat making software? Here’s our take:
There are so many to choose from, it can be tough deciding what’s best for the music style you want to make. So in this post, we’ll help you choose the best music production software for your situation. We’ll explain all the features of the latest 2021 versions of the most popular beat makers out there and some beginner options as well. Then we’ll let you know what beat software is best for different types of beat makers. And remember this stuff isn’t just drum beat software – these are full fledged music making machines.
Beat Software Comparison Table
|Magix Music Maker||Image-Line FL Studio 20||Native Instruments Maschine MK3||Ableton Live! 11|
|Main Benefits||Affordable, Easy to Use||Super Fast Workflow w/ Computer Mouse, Popular Option||Hands On Feeling w/ Hardware Controller, No Need for Mouse/Keyboard||Versatile + Fast Workflow, Hardware Available|
|Shortcomings||Limited Compared to Others||Not Great for Recording Audio or Mixing||Not Great for Recording Audio, Arrangement Workflow Lacking||Can be weird to get your head around at first|
|Who Should Use It?||Beginners / Hobbyists Who Want to Dabble in Beat Making||Trap / EDM Beat Makers||Beat Makers Who Like Playing Out Notes/Patterns||Producers who want fast keyboard/mouse workflow WITH hardware controller option|
|Get Latest Pricing (affiliate link)||Get Latest Pricing|
|Get Latest Pricing (affiliate link)||Get Latest Pricing |
An In-Depth Look at the Best Beat Making Software
Learn about each option to see which software is best for you.
Magix Music Maker
This is probably the best software to make beats for beginners or hobbyists that are just looking to dabble in the world of making music. It’s also likely the best program for DJs and others who don’t want to get too technical when they make beats. The company Magix has been in the game for years and also controls the “VEGAS” brand of media editing software. They do great work. And just because this is good beat making software for beginners, does not mean it’s a bad option for anyone who’s not a total newcomer. But you can quickly and easily get right to the music with this option because of it’s ease of use. You won’t get caught up in the “technical process.”
- Free Version Available
- Compatible with PC Only
- Instantly Downloadable
- Easiest software option to start making music fast
- Tons of online tutorials to help guide you quickly
- Tons of professional sounds and features included
- Various included SoundPools (sound packs)
- 4-8 Virtual Instruments included (depending on version)
- Audio Recording Functionality
- Various Effects and Guitar Amp Emulations Included
- Modular Software (choose the features you want)
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 so you can get right to making music without getting lost in workflow problems. Some of the other software we talk about below is more complex and tougher to figure out.
Who Shouldn’t Use It:
Anyone who wants to have more control and flexibility over their music production software should probably choose another option below. 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 we get into below. 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 easy beat making software option for beginners. Next up, we’re going to get into the really powerful software that all your favorite producers use.
Get Our “Super Simple” Beat Making Cheat Sheets – NEVER Struggle With Melodies, Chords or Drum Grooves EVER AGAIN
- Quick Access Cheat Sheets – reference your cheat sheets quickly without messing up your beat making flow.
- Basic & Advanced Drum Groove Templates – build neck snapping drum patterns that knock, quickly and easily.
- Scale & Chord Cheat Sheets – Quickly build beautiful melodies, chords and popular chord progressions in any key on the keyboard.
- Easy Cheat Codes and Hacks – Easy hacks you can memorize and use to create great music parts in seconds!
Image-Line FL Studio 20
FL Studio (formerly known as Fruity Loops) is 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. There’s no doubt it’s a GREAT piece of work that’s easy to use and can do everything you need it to as a music maker. It has a really streamlined workflow if you’re good with the mouse and keyboard as your beat making tools. You’ve probably heard of it if you’re into making beats at any level and it’s a DOPE choice for any genre of music.
- Cost: $99.99 – $899.00
- 4 Different Versions Available
- Both PC and Mac versions Available
- Limited Free Trial Available
- Up to 125 Insert/Send Tracks
- Robust Piano Roll and Step Sequencer for MIDI Programming
- Fully Featured Mixer With 10 FX Slots per Channel
- VST Support + Included Plugins/Synths
- Export Beats/Songs to all Audio Formats
- Audio Recording Functionality (in certain versions)
- Automation Control, Compatible w/ Midi Controllers
- Up to 103 Audio Inputs/Outputs
- Load FL Studio as Standalone Software or a VST Plugin in Another DAW
- Designed for Use with Multi-Touch Devices
- Fully Integrated Hardware Controller Options Available
- They Have a Working Mac Version Now!
- Powerful Live Performance and MIDI Learn Features
- Free Lifetime Updates on ALL Editions of Software
Who Should Use It?
If you’re into make hip-hop/trap, edm or any electronic based music this might be for you. There are now a few hardware controllers coming out that you can use flawlessly with FL Studio, but where the software really shines is it’s mouse+keyboard workflow. If you’re not interested in playing keys or learning to finger drum on pads then this is definitely the best choice for you.
- Super fast workflow and shortcuts to make producing faster and less cumbersome
- Includes GrossBeat – the effect heard in tons of modern trap music
- Everything can fit on one screen – no need to switch between screens or windows often
- Easy to create complex programmed rhythms and melodies
- Easy to learn – TONS of beat making video tutorials out there on how to do every little thing
- Cheats + hacks within software if you don’t know a ton of music theory
Who Shouldn’t Use It?
If you prefer to play piano or tap out drum beats on pads then FL Studio isn’t your best choice. Yea, there’s hardware out now, but for that you’ll might want something that was designed originally to be used with hardware (like Maschine). If you’re going to be doing a lot of audio recording, audio editing or mixing and mastering then FL Studio may not be the best choice for you either. Although the more expensive versions have audio recording capability, other DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) like Cubase and Pro-Tools handle all that stuff better.
- Not the best for sampling or sample chopping
- Wack factory/stock sounds (but some plugins are pretty good)
- “All Plugins” edition is maaaad pricey.
- Not the best for high-level mixing/mastering or audio recording/editing
More About FL Studio 20
What makes FL Studio really great is the loads of features and tools that are super easy to use. Want those signature trap-style hi-hats? How about the MPC-style swing? FL Studio does it in a couple of clicks. Since everything can be done with the mouse, it’s a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want (or can’t yet afford) a midi hardware controller (like a keyboard or drum pads). Oh and I bet your favorite producer probably uses this software to make beats. It’s just how it is…
FL Studio – Software Version Comparison
|FL Studio Fruity Edition||FL Studio Producer Edition||FL Studio Signature Edition||FL Studio All Plugin Edition|
|Best for: Basic Loop Creation With Minimal Functionality Included||Best for: Full Song Creation – Includes Audio Recording/Editing Functionality||BEST DEAL: enhanced functionality and extra plugins||Best for: Professional producers who want EVERY SINGLE plugin that integrates with FL Studio|
|This version does NOT include any of the following features:||This version does NOT include any of the following features:||This version DOES include the following additional plugins/modules:||This version includes EVERYTHING plus the following premium plugins:|
|– audio recording + clips||– pitch + time editor||– NewTone Time and Pitch Editor||– Drumaxx Drum Machine / Synth|
|– audio/pitch/time editor||– DirectWave Sampler||– DirectWave Full Sampler||– Harmor Additive / Subtractive / Image Synth|
|– DirectWave Sampler||– SoundFont Player||– Harmless Synthesizers, Hardcore Guitar FX and Fruity Video Player||– Morphine / Ogun / Poizone / Sakura / Sawer / Toxic Biohazard / Transistor Bass Synthesizers|
|– Slicex Beat Detection Sample Slicer||– Missing FX / Instruments / Plugins (No Gross Beat!)||– Pitch Shifter and Gross Beat||– Transient Processor FX Plugin|
|– SoundFont Player|
|– Missing 11 FX / Instruments / Plugins (No GrossBeat!)|
|Learn More and Get Latest Price||Learn More and Get Latest Price||Learn More and Get Latest Price||Learn More and Get Latest Price|
Native Instruments Maschine 2 MK3
Maschine is the revolutionary beat production software from Native Instruments that combines the best of both worlds – hardware beat makers and software studio applications. 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.
- Cost: $259.00 – $649.00 USD
- 3 Different Models Available
- PC & Mac Compatible
- Maschine 2.0 Software Available Standalone (No Hardware)
- 16 Multi-Colored Drum Pads w/ Knobs
- Large Digital Display
- 25 GB of Sounds + 25 Pro Effects Bundled With Purchase
- Seamless Hands-On Control of Every Software Function via Hardware Controller
- Drag-And-Drop Export of Audio to WAV or Track Out Each Instrument Separately
- Full VST Instrument and FX Support
- Hands-On Automation Writing/Control
- Keyboard Mode, Arpeggiator Control and Note-Repeat
- Unlimited Number of Instrument Groups, Patterns/Tracks, Scenes
- Sampling + Audio/MIDI Import
- Flagship MK3 Edition Includes Audio Interface for Recording
- Pro-grade, 96 kHz / 24-bit audio interface in Flagship MK3 Edition
- 2 x 1/4” TRS line outputs, 2 x 1/4” TRS line inputs, 1/4” dynamic mic input, stereo headphone output, 1 x MIDI In, 1 x MIDI out; 1 x Footswitch
- Smart Strip for strumming notes, pitch bending sounds, performing with FX, and more
- New extra large full-color LED screens
- Bigger Pads and Updated Look to Controllers (Except Maschine Studio Edition)
- Includes Komplete Select Instruments and Effects
Who Should Use It?
It doesn’t matter what style of music you make, it can all be done on NI Maschine – but like other “beat makers” it’s mostly for making electronic based music and not recording vocals and instruments. If you love to make music on your computer but wish you could use hardware to bang out your drums, and play your synths and samples – this is for you. The software is robust enough that you can also click in (i.e. program in) notes, but it’s main function is to let you “play” your music. If you make sample-based hip-hop music (or if you sample at all) Maschine is one of your best choices. Even if you currently use a hardware controller like the Akai MPD series of the drum pads from M-Audio hardware, Maschine will take your production game to the next level.
- Seamless integration between hardware and software – no mapping different parameters
- Hands-on hardware control of transport controls, instruments and almost every parameter
- Plug-and-play functionality and full integration with Komplete instruments
- Easily export patterns to DAW with drag-and-drop
- Tons of high quality expansion sound packs available
- Super fast workflow with minimal keyboard + mouse use needed
- Works standalone or as a VST plugin in any other DAW
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 maybe even Reason. Also, if you’ve already been using a specific midi hardware controller (like the Akai MPD, etc) and are used to it then you might not want to switch to Maschine (but I still think it’d be worth the switch). One thing to note is that it’s arrangement functions run on patterns and scenes, not your typical DAW linear timeline. So it can take some getting used to when trying to arrange your loops into full songs, but it’s not a deal breaker – you can always use it to sketch out the beat and another DAW to arrange and finish it off. They’ve also just released a stand-alone version called Maschine+ which works more like a traditional MPC – you don’t need a computer to make your beats. It’s a pretty cool move, but is pricier than the MPC One.
- Not good for recording vocals and instruments
- Arrangement workflow takes a LOT of getting used to
- Maschine VST mode does not give you seamless or full integration with hardware/software
More About Maschine
What makes Maschine really great is that you get the hands on feel of a hardware sampler (like in the old-school beat making days) combined with the flexibility and power of a computer studio setup.. It was the first of it’s kind that was truly integrated, intuitive and easy to use. And it’s still the best – which is why producers like DJ Numark, 9th Wonder, No ID and many others prefer it. We also use it here (along with Reaper, FL Studio, and Pro Tools). Since it combines both hardware and software you get the feeling of making music organically, instead of drawing in squares and rectangles with a mouse. Combine that with an unlimited array of tracks, sounds and effects on your computer, and it’s easy to see why this beast is a best-seller.
NI Maschine – Hardware Edition Comparison
|Maschine Mikro MK3||Flagship Maschine MK3||Maschine+|
|Best for: Mobile Producers on the Go||Best for: Most Producers – especially sample-based beat makers||Best 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 Powered||Pro-grade, 96 kHz / 24-bit Integrated Audio Interface||Separate Wall-Plug Power Adapter|
|– No Integrated Stand||Classic MPC-Style Workflow||No Computer Needed|
|– Compact Monochromatic Screen||2 High Definition Full Color Displays||2 – 480×272 Pixel Hi-Res Color Displays|
|– 1 Push Encoder/Control Knob||8 Knobs + 1 4D Encoder||8 Knobs + 1 4D Encoder|
|– 39 Function Buttons, 16 Pads||50 Function Buttons, 16 Sound Pads, 8 Group Buttons||50 Function Buttons, 16 Pads, 8 Group Buttons|
|– Cannot Control Sample Slicing from Hardware||2 x 1/4” TRS line outputs, 2 x 1/4” TRS line inputs, 1/4” dynamic mic input||2 x 1/4” TRS line outputs, 2 x 1/4” TRS line inputs, 1/4” dynamic mic input|
|– Only 1.6GB of Included Sounds/Instruments||Stereo Headphone Output||Stereo Headphone Output|
|– Cannot Adjust Multiple Parameters At Same Time||CAN Adjust Multiple Parameters At Same Time||Can Adjust Multiple Parameters At Same Time|
|Learn More and Get Latest Price||Learn More and Get Latest Price||Learn More and Get Latest Price|
What Beat Maker Software to Choose
So what is the top beat making software for pc and mac? Which should you choose? It really depends on you and your intention. There are lots of different types, 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 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.
Our Top 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 the free trial of FL Studio. Or if that one seems too complicated, try out Sonic Producer, Dr. Drum or BTV Solo if you’re just dabbling in the whole production process for fun. Make some beats right away instead of getting stuck in the “process.” Those options make it easy. But if you’re serious about making beats then you can get something more geared towards “professional” music creation and beat making. At that point our top 2 recommendations are FL Studio and Ableton Live! – those are hands down the best beat makers for the price/quality/workflow. In the future, we’ll take a look more at things like QUANTUM beat making.
A Quick Final Word on Beats Making Software
And once you start making lots of music and beats, you’ll see that workflow is REALLY important. Every music producer has their favorite beat machine software – just pick one and try it out. Learn the beats maker software you chose 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. We highly recommend picking up Beat Building Blocks to use with your beat making software, especially if you’re a beginner. It makes it SO EASY to quickly make professional sounding beats. Thanks for checking out our best beat making software buyers guide!
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