There’s no doubt that the Mac is globally seen as one of the best creative tools in the market. When it comes to video editing, photo editing, program development and even music production, it takes the crown as the most seamless, powerful and efficient system there is. In the current market, there are so many Digital Audio Workstation programs. This makes it difficult to figure out what the differences are. And also choose which one is best suited to your needs. This is especially applicable to those starting on their music production journey.
As such, we decided to help you out and give you a quick run-through on what are the best DAW software programs. These softwares should help you kickstart or push forward your music career. However, before we begin, you must realize no single music production application is universally fitting for everyone. It varies from person to person with experience levels and personal preferences also being significant factors to take into consideration. Despite that, there is no doubt that there are a few top tier choices that have received the popular vote amongst many music producers worldwide and continue to dominate the market to this day.
Best Music Production Software For Mac
GarageBand is probably the most well-known native music app on Mac and is an excellent music production program for beginners. It comes pre-installed on all macOS systems and is extremely versatile with a wide number of useful and informative tutorials to help make your first leap into music production a bit easier. It allows you to easily play instruments, record audio, add special sample effects, among many other features.
If you don’t already have the application preinstalled in our Mac, then you can always download it from the App Store, free of charge. However, you need to make sure that you have enough storage space before downloading it, as the program is significantly large. If you don’t have enough space you can either start to declutter your desktop. Or you can choose to transfer any large files to an external storage drive instead. We recommend that you purchase a USB 3.0 hub, which is essentially a universal connection port for your Mac. It will allow you to expand on the port limits of your laptop. As it will provide you with a wider range of connectivity options. This can prove to be especially important if you are in the music production business, as it allows you to connect and charge eg. external keyboard, monitors, storage devices, mobile devices etc… all at the same time. Most of these output ports also offer HDMI, Auxiliary Ports and SD card Reader support, delivering extra functionalities to help improve your music-making experience.
However, there are some notable downsides to using GarageBand. For instance, once you are used to it’s systems, you will start to be limited on how far you can expand your music production skills. This can be very inconvenient, especially if you need extended features like; advanced crossfades, which is why many professional music producers don’t use it. It is for this reason that it is the recommended beginner tool. However, once you are used to the whole music-making process, you should upgrade to a more advanced music software tool, like the one below.
- Ableton Live 10
Ableton is regarded as the best music production software in the market. The software was first launched in 2001 and has been steadily improving its features and functionalities over the decades. It allows users to record, mix and master audio. Additionally, it can also be directly used for playback in a live show, for instance. It is also the perfect music production software for those professionals who like to balance multiple tasks at once. In this regard, we suggest utilizing a Multi-Screen Display to help spread out your workstation more efficiently.
The only catch with this software is that, despite being the popular vote among leading industry professionals, Ableton is not an easy music production program to learn. This especially applies, to those who are doing it on their own and without external guidance. However, the good thing is that there are a number of online users who will probably be able to guide you on it’s use, whether it’s though reddit pages or through discord channels. Another consideration to take into account, is the fact that it is not free. Ableton Live 10 is currently available with a standard edition set at $450 and the Suite plan, set at $750. Moreover, the more expensive the plan you select, the more extra features are made available to you, as well.
- n-Track Studio
There is no doubt that there is a massive rift between GarageBand and Ableton. However, that’s where a program like n-Track studio fits, right in the middle. It has almost all the features that Ableton offers but with the similarly easy to use interface that GarageBand has. You can perform audio recordings and use virtual instruments. Moreover, you can make use of a wide variety of unique sound effects. It also comes with a free MIDI interface that doesn’t require too much processing power on your Mac to function, even when you have multiple tracks running concurrently.
Overall, if there is a top pick among the top picks that we have suggested, n-Track Studio is the one. As it comes with the perfect balance of functionality and simplicity, making it the perfect choice for both beginners and professionals.