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FL Studio is one of the first DAWs that I learned about when I was starting music production. It’s a full feature DAW that works great for beginners to professionals. This article will break down the best FL Studio alternatives, including both free and paid options.
I’ve spent the last eight years writing songs and recording them with my band, and I am proud to present you with alternatives to FL Studio that I enjoy.
All of the options I present are compatible with the most popular platforms such as Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android. Next to each FL Studio alternatives mentioned below, you will see which platforms it is compatible with.
To start, we will be focusing on free alternatives to FL Studio for those of you on a budget. However, there are a few solid options that are very similar to FL Studio. If you’re looking for the best alternatives to FL Studio and don’t mind paying, check out the paid options later in the post.
The main things to keep in mind when browsing alternatives to FL Studio are the following:
- Compatability: Is it compatible with your plugins and your operating system?
- Features: Does it lack any features you enjoy from FL Studio?
- Navigation: Is it familiar to you?
- Ease of use: Is it relatively easy to use?
- Tools: Is it capable of doing everything you need in a DAW?
Here’s a quick brief of some excellent FL Studio alternatives:
- Cubase – Best Paid Alternative Overall
- Ableton Live – Best Alternative To FL Studio For Live Performance
- Reaper – Best Budget Alternative
- LMMS – Best Free Alternative
Compatibility: Mac and Windows
Cubase is an incredible DAW that gives producers everything they need from a DAW. It allows for a fast workflow and it is also very user-friendly. There’s a plethora of informational videos available on Youtube with lesson-packed tutorials to get you started as well.
All in all, I believe Cubase gives producers a little bit more than FL Studio does in terms of features.
Compatibility: Mac and Windows
Ableton Live is one of my personal favorite DAWs. My band used this extensively on two different laptops each and every night. Ableton Live is built for those who desire to perform their songs live to their true form.
You can easily label. create, and trigger loops/tracks with Ableton Live. In many ways Ableton Live gives you more than FL Studio, as it was built specifically for live performers.
On top of this, Ableton comes with some solid plugins so that you can immediately begin tracking beats/songs. Ableton Live allows for a fast workflow provided the producer is familiar with it.
3)Logic Pro X
Logic Pro X is a great DAW that is compatible with Mac only. While this might be a drawback, it is great for those looking for a professional level DAW outside of FL Studio.
Compatibility: Mac, Windows, Linux
Reaper puts its stamp in the conversation as it offers users an incredibly active community as well as everything you need in a DAW. Speed is one of the selling points with Reaper as it loads up extremely fast compared to certain DAWs. This is mainly due to its lightweight size, with its downloader being less than 20MB. In making Reaper, the software devs also did a fantastic job keeping the coding weight low as well.
It also crashes far less than some of the more intensive DAWs. What’s great about Reaper is that there are specific themes to make it looks like other DAWs. For example, you can tweak the theme to make it look like FL Studio.
Free FL Studio Alternatives
Since FL Studio is an extremely popular DAW, some alternatives feel very similar to it overall. It’s kind of like a, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it type of thing.
Let’s take a look at some fantastic options to get you started below.
1)LMMS – Best FL Studio Alternative
Compatibility: Windows, Linux, Mac
LMMS is the closest thing to FL Studio it in terms of presentation, and it’s free. For starters, LMMS is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux, offering unlimited track recording/playback.
If you’re someone who is looking for a free option and you are familiar with FL Studio, I highly recommend checking out LMMS. While it LMMS doesn’t have every feature FL Studio does, it does offer many of the traditional features.
The big thing for me is that it offers VST support, which to me is essential in a DAW. You will not only be able to experiment with new plugins, but also be able to develop into your own sound with LMMS, as similar with FL Studio.
2)Cakewalk By Bandlab
I have chosen Cakewalk by Bandlab to be the best FL Studio alternative for windows users. Cakewalk was a full DAW brought to us by the company Sonar, however; it was recently purchased and brought back as a free option by Bandlab.
This means that we are now receiving an exceptional DAW for free. Cakewalk supports VSTs as well as MIDI controllers, so experience producers will feel right at home.
If you’re looking for a solid options for Windows, I would highly recommend checking this one out.
Stagelight offers producers another professional look at a DAW for free. the layout kind of reminds me of Ableton Live, but this would work as a great option outside of FL Studio as well.
While Stagelight is free to download as an app, there various features in which you purchase in order to access them.
Compatibility: Mac and Windows
How I Chose The Best FL Studio Alternatives
When it comes to software, it often comes down to user preferences. That being said, every DAW will provide users with a slightly different experience and additional features.
I tried to pick options that would be easy for FL Studio lovers to transition over to in terms of workflow and features.
The things I kept in mind when choosing the best alternatives for FL Studio were the following:
- Workflow: In terms of aesthetics and workflow, LMMS is extremely close to FL Studio.
- Compatibility: Is the DAW compatible with Windows and Mac?
- Features: FL Studio comes with some impressive features, and I ensured each DAW had some excellent features when creating this list.
- Price: As FL Studio is not very expensive, I tried to stick to options that offer fair pricing.
There are many great alternatives to FL Studio, and I believe it comes down to personal preference. For free options, LMMS is the closest thing to FL Studio in terms of look and performance.
For paid options, I would suggest Cubase as it’s packed with great software, is relatively easy to use, and is capable of doing anything you would do with it.