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4 Ableton Alternatives You Should Explore

We all have our favorite workstation, but using the same thing forever can be a little stifling. I have spent a lot of my time in one DAW especially when I was learning audio.

When I finally started to branch into other DAWs, there was a slight learning curve but I was able to adapt because the basic ideas were all the same. That is why rather than searching through countless DAWs and tutorials, we have found some of the most similar alternatives to Ableton in both style and workflow

Ableton Alternatives Highlighted

Ableton Quick Review

Ableton is an amazing DAW that is built best for electronic music. Many producers and musicians use it for creating beats and melodies with midi controllers. It also has amazing live applications for triggering tracks to follow along with a performance. I have seen it used in concert settings as well as by many churches in their Sunday morning services. 

Why Users Like Ableton:

  • Wavetable – Wavetable is the synthesizer that is unique to the Ableton DAW and provides a large number of ways to create your sounds. 
  • Max for Live Drums – Max for Live Drums contains a collection of percussive sounds from the DS10 device collection that can be used to build your own beats and tracks.
  • Capture – Whenever you come up with a new idea and are looking to just capture your ideas without dedicating a recording pass, select midi capture to hold on to what you tinker with. 
  • Browser Collections – You can organize and group up all of your effects, plugins, samples, and midi instruments in their customizable browser for ease of use. 
  • Live – In live environments, Ableton can be customized to cue songs with the push of a button and create an atmosphere of seamless excellence. 

Compatibility

  • Mac 
    • OS X 10.11.6 or later
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Windows
    • Windows 7, 8, or 10
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)

Price

  • Intro
    • Total – $99
    • Subscription – $16.50 for 6 months
  • Standard
    • Total – $449
    • Subscription – $78.43 for 6 months
  • Suite
    • Total – $749
    • Subscription – $124.83

Well Known Ableton Users

  • Skrillex – Dance/Electronic
  • Deadmau5 – Dance/Electronic
  • Marshmello – Dance/Electronic

1. Reason

Reason is one of the best DAWs for customization and creative sounds in the world of electronic sounds and music. It has become so well known for its abilities, they have built their rack interface into a plugin that can be used in other DAWs.

Features Like Ableton:

  • Instruments – Reason comes with a broad library of 17 instruments to choose from.
  • Virtual Studio Rack – Has a rack that can be used to customize your signal chain down to the finer details. 
  • Reason Compact – This is a mobile device version that is FREE for you to come up with ideas and beats on the go. 

Compatibility

  • Mac
    • OS X 10.11 or later
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Windows
    • Windows 7 or later
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Tablet
    • Free

Price

  • $399

Well Known Reason Users

  • Natural (Usher, Alicia Keys, Beyonce)
  • DJ Khalil (Logic, Dr. Dre, Eminem)
  • Tyler the Creator (Hip-Hop, Rap)

2. Logic Pro X

Logic has become Apple’s staple in the music industry, starting as a standard way for people to be introduced into the world of production to becoming a full fledged DAW that has been used on countless award winning records. 

Features Like Ableton:

  • Sounds – Has a large library of instruments including drums and synths
  • Interface – Logic was built as an overall easy to use program, because when you are writing and creating in the moment a small hiccup can ruin the momentum. 
  • Logic Remote – Logic Remote is a FREE app for iPads to control parameters like pan and volume on your iPad while you have your session open on the computer.

Compatibility

  • Mac
    • OS X 10.14.6
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Tablet
    • Free

Price

  • $199.99

Well Known Logic Users

  • Oak Felder (Demi Lovato, Eminem, Nicki Minaj)
  • Daft Punk (Electronic, EDM)
  • David Guetta (EDM, House Music, Dance Pop)

3. FL Studio

FL Studio is a leader in the electronic music world as well as general DAWs. It has a creative and large library of effects and instruments that you can use as the best fuel for your creativity. 

Features Like Ableton

  • Piano Roll – In the world of electronic music, MIDI instruments are the heart and soul of the creator, and FL Studio has one of the best processing for MIDI signal between plugins. 
  • Updates for Life – All updates and new versions of FL Studio and your plugins are FREE for life. 
  • Live – Has many live functions available to improve live abilities. 

Compatibility

  • Mac
    • OS X 10.11 or later
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Windows
    • Windows 7 or later
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Tablet
    • Free

Price

  • Producer Edition
    • $199
  • FL Studio + ALL Plugins Bundle
    • $899

Well Known FL Studio Users

  • Avicii (EDM, Electro House)
  • Martin Garrix (Progressive House, Future Bass)
  • Afrojack (Electro House, Moombahton)

4. Cubase

As all of the other DAWs we have talked about, Cubase has an amazing workflow for writing and creating music. Each channel is so easily integrated into the others that what you create as a chord pattern, can be brought over into any other instrument. 

Features Like Ableton

  • Chord Track – Chord Track makes it easier for those who do not know music theory as well as other producers, and allows for you to simply select the best chord rather than having to physically play it. 
  • Channel Strip (Advanced) – Their Channel Strip allows you to build out your mix with professional sounds crafted by some of the best in the business. 
  • Sampler Track – With Sampler Track you can record any audio clip and once you have it selected, manipulate it with your midi controller and effects to create new and innovative sounds. 

Compatibility

  • Mac
    • Mojave, Catalina
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)
  • Windows
    • 10
    • 4 GB RAM (8 GB or more recommended)

Price

  • Elements- $99.99
  • Artist- $337.98
  • Pro- $587.98

Well Known Cubase Users

  • Nick Blagona (Chicago, Deep Purple)
  • M-Phazes (Hip-Hop)
  • Wayne “Lotek” Bennet (Roots Manuva, Speech Debelle)

Are you Able to Adapt?

One of the keys to surviving an industry like this is the ability to adapt and overcome. Many engineers will use different DAWs depending on the style they are working in that night.

If you look into how Martin Garrix does his work, he actually keeps samples in different versions and editions of the same DAW. It is important to find where you work best and how easily you can branch out into other workstations, and sometimes it can be even more simple than you think.

Compare The Best Ableton Live Alternatives

SoftwarePriceFree TrialFree Version
Reason$399YesNo
Logic Pro X$199NoNo
Fl Studio$199YesNo
Cubase$99.99YesNo

Soundtrap by Spotify FREE Trial

Soundtrap is available as a completely online DAW powerful enough to produce music at a professional level. The Studio makes projects are available as collaborative efforts for band members or producers. An affordable option, that comes with a 30-day free trial.