Thanks to the advance of the home computer, home recording studios are starting up everywhere; it’s a fun hobby that allows people to create art, and with a little bit of practice some home producers have created products that rival those of multimillion dollar studio producers.
An artist is only as good as tools, though, and it’s important for up and coming home studios to choose an audio production program that can hold its own. Here are some of the best audio recording and sequencing programs available, with some info on why they’re so good.
1. Protools – The gold standard in the professional digital recording industry is Protools, a program powerful enough to make Britney Spears sound good if used by the right producers. With practically unlimited support for multitracking, a list of effects that approaches perfection, and dozens of guides available to let you know what you’re doing wrong, Protools is a must have for many producers. The downside is that you have to have a Protools compatible audio interface, which usually costs upwards of $300 (unless your eBay-fu is exceptionally strong).
2. Adobe Audition 2.0 (and soon, 3.0) – For computer users that don’t have a Protools interface, Adobe Audition is the perfect program for mixing and mastering songs. With an exceptional offering of effects and even a built in sequencer, Audition is easy to use and extremely powerful. The new edition, 3.0, will pack in more features than any release of Audition to date, and from the demos provided on Adobe’s website, it looks like the wait will be worth it.
3. Cubase 4.0 – Cubase is a sequencer, raw audio recorder, and a way to create pretty much anything you’ll need for your songs from MIDI tracks to effects and even lyrics. It has a decent amount of interoperability with other programs, and the interface is simple and fairly easy to learn, with tools like Time Warp practically revolutionizing sequenced music production with each new release.
4. Reason – What Protools is to professional recording, Reason is to professional sampling and sequencing. An included Orkester Sound Bank CD gives you more sounds to play around with than you ever knew you needed, and additional discs are available if you’re ever looking for a specific drum, trumpet, flute, sitar, or practically anything else. The level of realism that Reason provides is completely unmatched, and of course you can record in your own sounds, too. Be prepared to do a lot of reading and learning, though; with Reason’s great power comes a lot of „how do I do that?” moments.
5. FL Studio 7 – While the drum sounds and synths aren’t as realistic as Reason, and while FL Studio doesn’t have the massive sound bank of Propellerhead’s brainchild, it’s still a blast to play around with and many talented producers have made great music with FL Studio. The interface is simple and easy to learn, it supports MIDI and dozens of effects, and you can load in your own sounds if you’re not satisfied with FL Studio’s options. The biggest advantage of FL Studio 7 over Reason is that there’s comparatively no learning curve; minutes after installing FL Studio you’ll be creating your first song.