Recording Studio Software Review

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Why Use Recording Studio Software?

Inspiration can strike at any moment. Home recording software allows you to record that guitar riff or song line right when inspiration strikes, before you forget it. Studio recording software not only saves you the frustration of forgetting the riff to your potential megahit, but also saves you and your band money on studio time. Many studios charge you by the hour, and the rates are not cheap. Having your own home studio where you can write and record at your leisure is priceless.

There are many types of recording studio software on the market today. If you are new to recording software, the number of options and price tags can be overwhelming. We've reviewed the best introductory-level recording software available so you can make a sound decision and get your home studio up and running. The three best recording software programs are Reaper, Cubase Elements and Pro Tools Express. Any of these music production software programs will satisfy your recording needs and be a great first step to building your own home studio. For more information on this topic, check out our articles on recording studio software.

All you need is a computer, a recording interface and great recording software, and you'll be on your way to recording in the convenience of your own home. Whether you are looking for a workstation to edit musical tracks or a portal to record tracks and patch parts together, recording studio software offers what you need and more.

Recording Studio Software: What to Look For

Not all recording studio software is created equal. You want to find multitrack recording software that best suits your needs. Each program has a different set of tools for recording and mixing, and each offers different plugin options to add texture to your mixes. We evaluate the best audio recording software using the following four criteria:

Recording
Each recording program has a different set of recording capabilities. If you are looking to record an entire band in a live setting, you may want a program that offers multiple or unlimited audio tracks and simultaneous recording capabilities.

If you are a solo artist who pieces songs together one track at a time and likes to use virtual instruments for backing tracks, limited tracking capabilities may not be an issue for you. You'll want to look for a program with multiple plugins, virtual instruments, MIDI editors and scoring editors.

Mixing
The best programs have four-band mixers so you can fine-tune the range of frequencies within your audio tracks to get the best tone possible. Tools such as pitch correction and time stretching come in handy to fix mistakes in your mixes without you having to re-record.

Having the options of multiple insert effects and send effects is important too. These effects are the extra spices in your audio recipe. The more you can add to a single track, the easier it will be to make them sound just the way you want.

Plugins
Plugins open up a whole new world of possibility for your recordings. A plugin is any effect, sound or noise that you can insert into your audio channels. With the right set of plugins, you can plug your guitar right into your interface and have a plethora of amplifiers, pedals and sound modulations at your fingertips.

If you track a lot of MIDI recordings and produce music virtually without using live instruments, look for software that supports multiple plugins and has a large choice of virtual instruments. For the aspiring producer, multiple plugins and virtual instruments are a strong selling point in recording software.

Help & Support
Whether you're just dipping your toes into the recording software world or are pretty familiar with it, it is nice to have help and support from video tutorials, user forums and manuals. They can be valuable resources in getting over speed bumps you encounter when learning to use this software. You also want to find software that is compatible with multiple recording interfaces. This gives you more options at reasonable prices.

The ability to write and record music in the comfort of your own home is an asset if you're an aspiring musician or audio engineer. Don't let the various options on the market scare you off. Trust our reviews to take the mystery out of finding the right recording software for you.

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Software » Multimedia » Recording Studio Software Review
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Rank #1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10
10-9  Excellent
8-6    Good
5-4    Average
3-2    Poor
1-0    Bad
Reaper Cubase Pro Tools Reason Ableton Live Sonar X3 Acid Music Studio Studio One Mixcraft Home Studio Sound Forge Studio
Reaper Cubase Pro Tools Reason Ableton Live Sonar X3 Acid Music Studio Studio One Mixcraft Home Studio Sound Forge Studio
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Ratings
9.40
9.23
8.15
8.00
7.88
7.57
6.53
5.70
4.75
4.50
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9.38
10.00
10.00
6.25
9.38
10.00
8.75
7.50
8.13
8.75
7.50
8.13
8.13
8.13
6.88
10.00
6.88
8.13
8.13
10.00
8.13
6.25
8.13
8.13
6.25
8.75
4.38
6.25
6.25
4.38
7.50
3.13
3.75
2.50
7.50
8.13
4.38
3.13
5.63
6.25
 
Recording
Ease of Use Score (%) 100% 100% 90% 80% 85% 80% 70% 70% 70% 60%
Maximum Audio Tracks Unlimited 48 16 Unlimited 16 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 16 1
Maximum Number of MIDI Tracks Unlimited 64 16 Unlimited 16 Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited 16  
Maximum Simultaneous Recorded Tracks Unlimited 48 4 Unlimited 4 Unlimited Unlimited    
Total Group Channels/Busses Unlimited 16 16     4 Unlimited   
Loop Recording/Track Comping
 
Beat Detection/Calculator
   
Write Automation
  Pan & Volume Only Pan & Volume Only  
Import Audio
 
Extract Audio From Video Files  
   
    
Score Editing  
  
  
 
MIDI Editor
 
 
Maximum Sample Rate Supported 64-bit 32-bit 32-bit 32-bit 32-bit 64-bit 24-bit 32-bit 32-bit 24-bit
Mixing
Mixer Equalizer 4-band 4-band Multi-band 2-band 3-band 4-band Multi-band Multi-band 3-band Multi-band
Effect Inserts Unlimited 8 8 Unlimited 2 Unlimited Unlimited    
Effect Sends Unlimited 8 8 4 2 Unlimited Unlimited    
Pitch Correction
   
 
Time Stretch
 
  
Mastering Suite
 
     
Plugins
Total Number of Plugins 300+ 44 25 14 26 27 2 28 20 11
Virtual Instruments 6 3 3 3 3 12 90 4 5  
MIDI Plugins 40+   Yes (but not specified) Yes (but not specified) 7 7 2    Yes (but not specified)
Supported Plugin Formats VST, VSTi, AU, JS, DX, DXi VST 2.4, VST 3 AAX, RTAS, AudioSuite Propellerhead Rack Extension Format VST, AU VST 2, VST 3, DXi VST, VSTi, DX   VST VST, DX
Help & Support
Phone   
 
  
Email
 
  
 
Video Tutorials  
 
 
Manual
 
User Forum
Supported Operating Systems
Windows 8
 
Windows 7
Window Vista
   
 
 
Windows XP
   
 
 
Mac OS X