FL Studio and Ableton, are two market-leading DAWs right now. Both have immense capabilities, FL being easier to start with and learn, while Ableton asks for a bit more hard work. Whether it comes to lifetime updates with FL Studio or Ableton’s highly versatile session view. Each have their own show stoppers on the stage, but I’m sure you’re still confused.
Are you? Hang on then!
Before moving on to what’s different, let’s talk about what’s common.
Ableton and FL studio are DAWs capable of handling almost everything you throw at them. Both supports multitrack recording, VSTs, MIDI, recording in a studio or at home and much more.
While they might look similar they’re somewhat meant for different audiences. Following is a detailed compariong of Ableton vs FL Studio on the basis of price, the subscription cycle, a support base and of course ease of use. Let’s being.
Ableton vs FL Studio, Which one to buy?
1. Ease of Use
I was an FL Studio user for its simplicity. It’s easy to pick, learn and master. It has a familiar interface right as you open it. Even if it’s not, there are plenty of resources available to get used to the interface. Like this.
It might be a really good option for someone using Windows as it gives the same sort of window in window UI. There is a small information box that tells the user details of every knob and option we click on.
Ableton, on the other hand, greets with a really sober-looking interface but it doesn’t share the friendly stare that you’d expect. There is a bit of learning curve when it comes to actually being able to do things. So you might feel lost before getting to understand it. The session view is a bit more traditional, so it’s easier to start and record in a linear manner.
Ableton also has a different approach, i.e, to put everything on one screen. It doesn’t share the belief that multiple windows make it better, like FL Studio. You’ve everything on the screen you’re looking at, the effects, the tracks, and the file folders. If you feel you’re struggling, believe me, you’re going through the learning curve here. This might help.
2. Community Presence
Ableton and FL Studio both have a strong user base. You can also find a considerable amount of resources to learn and tweak either one of them.
With Ableton, you can get tutored by a pool of certified trainers listed on its website. For someone looking for a tutor or even to brush up skills, easy country, and further state-wise tutors make it really easy to transition from a beginner to producing good music. Click here for beginner lessons.
Not that FL Studio doesn’t have intensive lessons. It has a directory of helpful articles and lessons both by Image-Line ( official developer) on its website, but still having a certified trainers’ bag a plus point to Ableton.
It adds an icing on the cake by opening the option to create User Group, which is basically a community that is local and can physically meet, learn, discuss and collaborate together. A great way to gain knowledge by fellow experienced performing artists.
3. Hardware Support
While Ableton supports an array of Midi controllers, it has its own versatile offering, Ableton Push. Now one can argue about the actual usability but the integration of the software with Ableton Push is seamless.
In terms of functionality, it gives the advantage to sequence beats, chords and handles automation with ease. It can also be a replacement for Midi controllers for professionals and beginners alike by giving the option to play chords, notes and display of scale with back-lit pads, making it really easy not to miss the right note. It’s also velocity-sensitive eliminating the requirement of a separate “drum machine”. Launching samples, slicing and manipulating audio is also fairly easy with Ableton’s integration. So you have the ability to control and customize everything from the PUSH unit.
Another important point to consider is Ableton’s integration with third-party MIDI controllers which already come with Key-mapping and are configured with the software. Making it hassle-free set-up for most. Check more customer reviews here.
FL Studio on the other hand, has no dedicated hardware support.
4. Platform Support
Here’s the major difference, Ableton is one license per user up to two systems. So if you purchase Ableton, you won’t be able to use it on multiple platforms or more than two systems.
On the other hand, you can install FL Studio once bought on any number of devices regardless of the platform. Of course, you can argue that it increases the problem of sharing the activation. Abusing this might sound easy, but FL Studio gives a fair warning.
None of these are on Linux, but we’ve you covered. Click here for open source production DAWs.
Lifetime free updates as long as we develop FL Studio” is what Image-Line has to say about their product.
FL studio has a lot to offer at least in this area, also the support on mobile comes in handy when you’re not in a studio.
5. Free Trial Features
Fl studio provides a trial version that is unlimited but one can’t open the saved project. It eliminates the room for improving on a project. Though it allows exporting in any format, the trial version still is far more functional than the fruity version which restricts audio recording.
Other important features like saving preset and cloning a channel are also disabled which might limit its ability, but it gives all plugins making it as feature-rich as the “ All bundle edition”.
Ableton manages to provide a gun as well but without any magazine. It gives access to all features, basically “Ableton Suite” for 30 days. It’s also loaded with 13 instruments including Wave-table, Operator, Sampler, etc. But it doesn’t give the capability to export and save projects making every session new.
Often buying software is an investment. Not just the money but the time and resource involved to learn it and master it over a period of time. Hence investing, learning and sticking to a software always has a learning curve making this a crucial point.
Ableton Live has three versions offering a wide range of features according to your requirements. It not only gives this but a stocked-up version of Ableton suite which comes at 749 USD as trail for 30 days, with disabled saving and exporting options.
|Price in USD||99||499||749|
|With Ableton Push||799||1148||1398|
FL Studio means lifetime updates. Though I wouldn’t suggest anyone getting the Fruity version if audio recording is the aim. There is also a limitation of not being supported by MAC ( 32bit ) and a few plugins missing for MAC.
|FL Studio||Fruity||Signature||Producer||All Plug-in Bundle|
|Price in USD||99||199||299||899|
7. Distinct Features
Piano Roll I suppose is the most important part of a DAW especially if we aim to create a certain type of music, let’s say hip-hop or ambient.
FL’s piano roll is simple. It makes it a child’s play even for someone who isn’t a musician with, in-menu scale selection and shadow chords display for getting the right notes.
Ableton’s Piano roll barley seems to match Fl’s, but it still gets the work done.
Session View – Perfect for someone who wants to experiment with the music. It helps with a better interface for loops which is a major boost for musicians who go live often and are involved in electronic or Hip-Hop genre.
Capture – Imagine you’re randomly playing something but you haven’t hit record and you fear you won’t be able to play it exactly as you did now. Fret not. Capture lets you record as soon as you play it and later use it accordingly. This comes in handy in times of instant idea or just forgetting to hit record. Either way, it’s a helpful feature.
FL Studio vs Ableton – Closing Words
So, FL Studio vs Ableton, which should you buy? Well, simply put, If you’re a beginner and your area of interest is beat-making and you don’t want a hard to learn software, then FL Studio is an obvious option. It has all the capabilities with added lifetime support and a huge user base for any problems.
But if the concern is mostly recording everything under the sun and playing live. Ableton comes over the top, With better hardware support in terms of MIDI controllers and its own Ableton PUSH, it’s more like an investment in both, at the same time. Session view is also a feature that sets it apart and makes it a go-to option for most musicians.
I hope you’re not in confusion anymore, are you?