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It does lack some useful editing capabilities such as cross-fades, and podcasters are unhappy with the recent reduction in features, but there's plenty here to help you create great sounding songs. It can even teach you a new instrument with its built-in, interactive lessons. Full review: Logic Pro X review. Features: If GarageBand isn't quite powerful enough for your needs then upgrading to this premier music suite should be top of your list.

Logic Pro X is a fully-fledged, professional-level software studio that comes complete with quality virtual instruments, a huge library of loops, synthesisers, and audio tools. You can record up to tracks in total for each composition, with the ability to lay down multiple tracks at the same time, plus several effects can be applied and manipulated while the track is playing. The editing features are complex and powerful, giving you control over MIDI patterns, various aspects of the audio tracks, plus you can automate changes on the fly.

Then there's Flex Pitch, which is a sort of auto-tune that allows you to correct any errant vocalists or wandering guitar solos, and Flex Time that can resolve any timing issues in the playing. Smart Tempo is a particularly useful new tool, as it adjusts midi instruments to fit around the varying tempo of a live recording. The Track Alternatives feature also allows users to switch between playlists of regions and edits on any track, making it easier to dabble with creative ideas.

Ease of use: GarageBand and Logic share a very similar, elegant layout, so if you like the way the free version works then you'll be right at home with its bigger brother. Some of the advanced features are initially hidden, but it only takes a couple of clicks to get them up and running. Owners of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar will find Touch Bar support a welcome addition, bringing the ability to control various aspects of editing as well as using it to play certain virtual instruments.

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Logic is one of the friendliest powerhouses around, and you can also use an iPad as an additional control surface. Plus Apple offers the option for iPad and iPhone users to upload Logic files to iCloud and then add to them when they're out and about via the iOS version of GarageBand. Supported third-party hardware: Core-Audio device are compatible, as are MIDI controllers and various control surfaces. Prime is free, and while it doesn't have the full toolset of its more powerful stablemates, it remains a fully functional package that offers unlimited audio tracks, MIDI tracks, and FX channels.

These will be aided by a plethora of effects, loops and samples, alongside the new Instrument and Drum editor. The paid versions add a raft of more advanced options and content, including the Chord detector, and the powerful Sample One XT sampler. But if you're willing to move up to the paid tiers then you'll find a hugely powerful and modern production suite that can match most of the features found in its rivals.

Ease of use: The layout and general design of Studio One is modern, clean, and very easy on the eye. It bears a passing resemblance to Logic and GarageBand with its darker palette, and shares a number of similar functions. Everything is intended to work on the one main screen, so no popup windows hiding behind each other to confuse, and while this keeps things simple it does mean that the software works better on larger displays.

Usually you'll use a music program to record and arrange parts sequentially on a timeline. Ableton does this of course, but it also has a second mode called Session that allows you to create shorter Clips of music that are held in banks. With one clip playing you can jam something underneath, then another, and just experiment with creating textures and riffs. When you're happy with the various elements you then press a global record button and trigger the clips live, usually via a MIDI controller.

It takes a bit of time to get your head around the concept - essentially you're almost being a DJ for your own music - but when you do it's incredibly liberating. Ease of use: Ableton Live is almost like playing a new instrument, so the learning curve can be a little steep. Ideally you'll need to invest in some sort of control device as well, but a computer keyboard can be mapped to trigger the various Clips.

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The program has a wealth of sound creation modules and sample libraries, plus innovative editing controls that are executed in real-time. Features: One of the true stalwarts of music production is the Cubase platform that for many years has provided musicians with excellent creative tools.

Those wanting to sample its delights without emptying their wallets will find the Elements 10 package an enticing proposition.


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It might bear the budget name but Elements comes equipped with many of the features that makes its more august sibling so popular. Pro-level mixing and editing tools give the user an enviable amount of control, while a plentiful selection of audio effect processors, plus the ability to simultaneously playback 48 audio tracks and 64 MIDI tracks gives you a very broad sonic palette to play with. Ease of use: Steinberg has created a number of tutorial videos to help newcomers adapt to the sometimes complex environment of Elements Even with these helpful lessons Cubase remains a sophisticated product for those new to digital music.

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If you're already versed in the system from previous versions of Elements then this will represent a significant upgrade. This slimmed-down edition still packs plenty of punch and is a great place to get familiar with the Reason approach. While this is in many ways a normal, complete production suite, the standout feature is the rack-style nature of the excellent synthesisers, sound modules, and virtual instruments. Each one comes complete with dials and sliders that look distinctly analogue in nature. You can even turn the rack around and run virtual cables to keep things old school.

Design choices aside, tonally this is a beast, with wonderful effects that can create sonic landscapes, mangle audio into fascinating new textures, and allow you to build detailed and stomping drum patterns. Intro offers 10 instruments, 11 effects, 16 tracks of audio and midi recording, plus a large collection of editing features.

Ease of use: As with all the platforms in this roundup there is a definite learning curve at the beginning. Reason 10 Intro scores highly though, much like Ableton Live, as it's just so much fun to experiment with due to the high quality sounds it can create. One consideration is that a MIDI controller is a must have accessory, as many of the best features reside in those realms. Features: While GarageBand has one of the richest companies in the world backing it, another free option is Audacity, which is an open source project built and maintained by volunteers.

At first this might seem like a basic, no frills product, but in fact Audacity is a very capable system that can achieve impressive results. Alongside the general recording and editing functions that you would expect, there are also the options to record multiple channels at once, add cross fades, and even overdub an existing track - say for clever vocal harmonies or Queen-style multi-octave solos.

Advanced tools such a noise elimination feature also allows you to sample any background hums and rattles then apply filters to a track. It might not eradicate everything, but its still a great improvement. Another interesting tool is the ability to change the pitch of a track without altering the tempo and vice-versa , plus a decent amount of built-in effects that can be applied to recordings. Ease of use: Audacity is powerful, but it certainly isn't pretty. The user interface is probably the biggest problem with the software.

Whereas GarageBand is neat, tidy, and sports a modern design, Audacity feels very much like a program built by engineers. Menus and buttons are somewhat colourless, with an initial impression that can be a bit intimidating.


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  7. Once you get used to the perfunctory nature of it though, things make sense and you can produce complex projects in relative comfort. Thanks in advance! Hi, I'm surprised that no one mentioned cog which is much lighter than above. HI Bi! I loooove Vox.


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    Using it on my iPhone and Mac! I tried VOX, it completely sucks!

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    You have to either sign up, or pay for services just to get your library into it. Its a completely backwards move forcing users to submit to their ways. Its a shame as the software looked so promising, but it looks like they have just recently done this after getting lots of users onboard and used to their product, then they push out an update and make them pay Its a really shitty move That's unfortunate I have been using it for months now and I really like it.

    I have a lot of CDs, first cuts from jazz recordings that, in several cases, are pretty rare.

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    ITunes wants for force me into buying, frankly, from their usually inferior selections. I do not care about social media, I do not care what some teenybopper thinks is popular, I think ratings are stupid and adolescent. I know wht I like and that's what I want to hear. I just want to play back those recordings without iTunes wanting to "fix," "rearrange," or otherwise do my musical thinking for me. Already last year after an Itunes update the whole library was gone. After reassembling most of it it became scrambled and mixed up. Today it wouldn't random correctly and many songs on albums are missing and albums split into many same albums with a part of the songs.

    I have no idea how that happened as I not update anymore. Itunes just sucks and I am afraid there is no alternative. VOX is just not right, no correct display and quite basic. Not know what to do.