Top 5 Beat-Making Software
Best Beat Making Software to Make Your Own Music
I love making my own music. While it is not easy, it may not be as difficult as you imagine. While passion, a love of music, the drive to learn something new, and an ear for music are all needed for making your own beats, you will also of course need good software to run it.
I've been making my own hip-hop beats for quite a few years now and the technology behind creating rap music has changed a lot over the years. This article will give you an idea of what is out in the wide world of beat making. These are, in my opinion, as well as those of many of my friends and colleagues, five of the best available beat making programs. Here's what you'll learn about in this article:
- Dr. Drum—the number one beat-making software out there (including a video on how Dr. Drum transforms a simple house beat)
- Sonic Producer—a solid second contender
- MAGIC Music Maker as the third best
- Sony ACID Music Studio as the fourth best
- Fruity Loops Studio Signature Bundle—the fifth that could be the best (read on to find out why)
- A comparison of FL Studio vs. Dr. Drum
Links are conveniently placed for the last three if you want to purchase. For the first two, you'll have to go directly to the retailer's site (a simple Google search will bring you to the products). Note: This is not a list of the free options in beat making. While some of these are quite inexpensive and they are all good solid options, none of them are actually free. There are free beat making solutions available, but, remember: you get what you pay for.
Check out the software listed below. They will transform your PC into a professional level production studio. All it takes is your own drive, energy, passion . . . and yes, a bit of learning and hard work. Have fun!
1. Dr. Drum
Dr. Drum is #1 in my book. There is good beat-making software, there are some truly great beat-maker programs . . . and then there is Dr. Drum. Dr. Drum is the giant in this industry.
FL Studios (listed below) is the only one that comes remotely close to Dr. Drum. But old Fruity Loops studio has a few drawbacks (read below to learn more). Namely, it is not as intuitive or friendly for a new user, and it's far more expensive. It may be a fine choice for some, but for those just starting out with beat making, definitely go with Dr. Drum.
What makes the Dr. Drum software a cut above the rest on this list? None of the below options are bad choices, of course. But, Dr. Drum is better for three reasons:
- More options. First of all, it offers more options than all of the other programs on the list, with the possible exception of FL Studios.
- Beginner friendly. Secondly, it is geared for people just starting out. Some of these programs expect you to have a little bit more baseline knowledge. Dr. Drum on the other hand is a great beat maker made with a clarity of purpose that the others on this list don't possess. It is easier to use with a clear interface, and far more intuitive.
- Higher quality sound samples. Finally, Dr. Drum has higher quality sound samples than almost all of the competition. This is a big deal if you want to have the best sounding beats out there. Dr. Drum uses high quality WAV files for its sound samples, rather than using compressed MP3 files like some of their competitors do. If you are making music to play on your PC, this may not make a bit of difference, but if you are ever going to play your beats on any system that has a high degree of audio fidelity, this is huge.
Here are other huge perks that Dr. Drum offers, and reasons why it's set apart from the rest:
- Dr. Drum has a killer 48-track, drop-and-drag sequencer. This allows even the newest beat maker unlimited freedom and ease to make beats that have a full, rich and deep sound, and to create, edit, and revise with simplicity and ease.
- With Dr. Drum, your keyboard can also be your drum machine. It is stunningly easy to bind beats to your keyboard. This is the core of the system and quite sweet for all your prospective beat-makers.
- The heart of Dr. Drum is the fact that it is a music studio in a box. You do not need to rely on external MIDI files. Saxes, bells, hand-claps, pianos and all sorts of sounds are available. There are tens of thousands of high quality mastered sounds. Each sample has it own adjusts in pitch and volume, allowing you to play with your sounds even more. This makes the options and sounds nearly limitless.
Video: Using Dr. Drum to Make a Simple House Beat
Below is a sample of what a very simple house beat produced using Dr. Drum sounds like. Watch in the video how a sick dance tune is created from scratch using Dr. Drum.
2. Sonic Producer
Sonic Producer, in my opinion, is the #2 beat-making software. It is still one of the top beat makers you can around. Like Dr. Drum, it comes with a giant library of sounds—with over two thousand unique high-quality sounds at your fingertips. It has a 16-track sequencer, a piano key set, and a drum pad.
This is a great option for those who are at a beginner's level. If you have never made music before, Sonic Producer or Dr. Drum are your best options. Sonic Producer is a great product, but it has one little deficiency with regards to what is often a selling point for anyone wanting to do a more professional level of beat making: the quality of the compressed samples and output beats are not quite there.
Regardless, Sonic Producer makes a strong #2 product.
3. MAGIX Music Maker
Between MAGIX and Sony Acid Music Studio (below), I want to say that there are no losers here. I have heard of about 150 different programs designed to make your own music, and about 50 that specialize in drums and rap and hip-hop beats. These choices have some strengths and weaknesses, but they are universally regarded as the top options for making your own music.
I know of at least one person who would say that each option is the "best." So none of these choices are really worse than the other. There are really differences of fine gradients of "good" between this one and the fourth choice below.
MAGIX has been around for a while—it's gone through numerous upgrades and managed to keep up with the best programs out there. While I personally don't think it's number one, I have used this program before and do like the interface—it's user-friendly and produces a great product. Others may swear by this product in popular, but it is not really my cup of tea. A very good music maker, but in my opinion not the best
4. Sony ACID Music Studio
Again, there is no clear-cut winner between this and Magix.
I used the older version of Sony's ACID Music Studio extensively. To be honest, I haven't tried it since version 7. It was a decent program back then and I assume that it is still pretty good. It certainly deserves a shot.
5. FL Studio 11 Signature Bundle
The FL Studio bundle is the #5 that could be #1.
I have some mixed feelings about the FL studio bundle. On one hand, I feel that may be the best of the bunch. On the other hand, it is also a bit more costly for the prospective music producer. It is also not quite as easy to navigate.
FL Studio is probably the number one option for those who are at at least an intermediate level, while any of the first three are more ideal for a new user. Once you get the hang of the first three, there's a good chance you'll want to move onto the Image Line FL Studio Signature Bundle.
FL studio is a complete studio in a box, however. It does everything that you could want it to do: compose, arrange, record, edit, mix, and master professional quality music. This is the one beat making tool on this list that may be better as an overall music producer than Dr. Drum.
The key to this image line software is the lifetime updates. If you are going to stick with making music for a long time, this software can really be worth the investment. However, if you are only looking to try out software or don't foresee this passion lasting, it's probably better to get one of the other options.
Dr. Drum vs. FL Studio—A Side-By-Side Comparison
Cheaper than FL Studio.
The most professional of all the beat-making software, but also with the most professional price, retailing at around $300 (a significant increase from Dr. Drum), for only a small amount of improvement from Dr. Drum.
User-friendly and great for beginners.
More options. However, less user-friendly, more for those at an intermediate level.
No free lifetime upgrades.
Free lifetime upgrades.
Music Making Poll - Let me know YOUR thoughts...
What is YOUR favorite beat making option?
If you have tried any of these, please leave your comment(s) below and let other know how you liked these options. If you have a favorite that is not on the list, feel free to share it here also.
Happy beat making!