Pro Tools Vs. FL Studio
When looking at digital audio workstations, you must look at several different versions before you settle on the one you want. As with most instruments and music software, the decision is incredibly personal. The type you need often depends on the features you want.
Between Pro Tools and FL Studio, which is better? FL Studio is most often used for composing electronic music. Pro Tools is used alongside expensive outboard gear, making it great for editing audio or mixing. While the better music production program is up to personal preference, most people are more likely to choose FL Studio.
That being said, you mustn’t count Pro Tools out. Depending on the features you want and need, FL Studio may be best for you, whereas Pro Tools may be best for someone else.
FL Studio per reviews is democratically rated higher than Pro Tools
About Pro Tools and FL Studio
Pro Tools and FL Studio are both Digital Audio Workstations. Digital Audio Workstations, also known as DAW’s, are used to record, edit, and produce digital audio. The digital audio workstation is often called the heart of the producer’s studio. Similar to the human heart, it is the piece of equipment that keeps everything else working together to create the desired audio.
Sound Stream created the first digital audio workstation from the late ’70s to the early ’80s. To do this, they combined several electronics into one. Sound Stream brought together a disk drive, minicomputer, and the software to run it. As hard as it may be to believe, this was considered to be the easy part of the creation process.
The more challenging part was finding the most affordable storage and fast enough processing speeds to create a viable digital audio workstation. In the late 80s, this became less of a problem due to the interdiction of home computers such as Apple and Commodore Amiga. All of this led to the release of Pro Tools in 1989 and FL Studio in 1997.
About Pro Tools
Pro Tools has three different versions:
- Pro Tools First
- Pro Tools
- Pro Tools Ultimate
Once you know which version is for which type or creator, you’ll know exactly which version to get if you choose to purchase Pro Tools.
Pro Tools First is free and is often used by students, beginner musicians, and podcasters. It was created to introduce beginners to an industry-standard digital audio workstation. Pro Tools First is the lite version of Pro Tools, but it uses the same format and comes with Xpand!2 plus a 500MB library of samples, loops, and sounds.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, Pro Tools First also comes with 16 audio tracks and 16 virtual instrument tracks. It also allows you to record up to four tracks at the same time. It also has project templets featuring various genres, which will enable you to get involved in creating audio right away.
Amazon has payment plans for Pro Tools
Pro Tools Standard is the second-best out of the three versions of Pro Tools. It is used by songwriters, musicians, engineers, and producers. It can record 32 tracks simultaneously and also has 1024 MIDI tracks. Pro Tools Standard has 128 auxiliary tracks and one video track that is not available in Pro Tools First.
While Pro Tools Standard offers much more than Pro Tools First, there are many similarities between it and Pro Tools Unlimited. However, Pro Tools Unlimited has many features that exceed those of the First and Standard editions combined.
Pro Tools Unlimited is the ultimate version of all of the Pro Tools. It is used by professional musicians and producers, as well as in audio postproduction. Like Pro Tools Standard has 1024 MIDI tracks, as well as 512 instrument tracks. It also includes 115 plug-ins.
Where Pro Tools Unlimited exceeds past the Pro Tool Standards is the number of simultaneous voices and tracks which equal being used in audio post productions.384. It also includes 384 more auxiliary sounds than Pro Tools Standard. If you end up going with Pro Tools, the unlimited version guarantees you have access to everything Pro Tools has to offer.
About FL Studio
FL Studio has four different editions you can choose between. These editions are for Microsoft Windows and macOS and include:
- Fruity Edition
- Producer Edition
- Signature Bundle
- All Plugins Bundle
The fruity edition is incredibly limited, but it is still an excellent option for anyone who is just starting. It allows you to create basic melody and loop creations. Its primary focus is on those who don’t need audio clips, audio recording, or special effects plug-ins (like SliceX or Edison) but still need pattern clips and piano roll in the playlist sequencing.
Concerning playlist features, it offers spline-based automation clips and pattern clips, MIDI notes, and event automation. Only forty-eight of the FL Studio effects plug-ins are available with the fruity edition.
On the plus side, it does offer comprehensive MIDI Support. It also includes copyright-free samples, drums, cymbals, hats, kicks, percussion, snares, toms, Loops, SFX, and vocals. Overall, the FL Studio fruity edition can be limited, but that’s what makes it great for beginners to get a feel for the FL Studio software.
The producer edition of FL Studio is a drastic improvement from the fruity version. While it keeps the great included features as the fruity edition, it also comes with forty-nine, rather than forty-eight FL Studio Effects plug-ins.
While it doesn’t seem like a significant advantage, the added effects plug-in is called SliceX and uses advanced beat detection algorithms to splice song and production samples into pieces. This is vital to producers and hobbyists alike because it allows them to play both sounds independently from one another using a controller.
FL Studio producer edition provides the most significant level of functions within FL Studio. The best aspect of the producer edition is that it gives you access to all of the clip types in the audio recordings, automation clips, Edison, playlist, SliceX, and many more. It works bests for mic recording and the creation of full songs.
The Signature Bundle is excellent for full song creation and having extra plug-ins. It is an FL Studio producer edition paired with FL Studio’s most advanced plug-ins. Have you already purchased some of the plug-ins included in the signature bundle? No problem. Image-Line, the creators of FL Studio, will automatically deduct the plug-ins you already own from your upgrade price. It is the most cost-effective way to get more bang for your buck.
Now, if you are an expert and want every advantage, then your best option is to purchase the All Plugins Bundle. If you already have any previous editions of FL Studio and want to upgrade to the All Plugin Bundle, the same rules apply as with the signature bundle. Any plug-in you already have will be deducted from your total purchase.
Essentially, the all plug-in bundle is the producer edition of FL Studio with all the plug-ins that they currently sell included. While it doesn’t contain any future plug-ins created, this edition will allow you to purchase any future plug-ins at a reduced cost.
If you are sure you want to purchase FL Studio software, then purchasing the all plug-in bundle is sure to give experienced digital audio workstation software users precisely what they are looking for and then some.
Pros & Cons of FL Studio
Now that you know that there are four different editions of FL Studio, it’s wise to figure out the pros and cons of the software as a whole. When making a large purchase, it is essential to create a list of pros and cons for each of the items you are weighing in your mind.
- It is excellent for beginners. FL Studio utilizes a drag and drop system. Regarding its stock plug-ins, they are well organized. It has a simple workflow, easy to use mixer, great step sequencer, and a piano roll. Compared to other digital audio workstations, FL Studio is a great system for any beginner to learn on.
- Free lifetime updates. One of the very best things about Image-Line and FL Studio is that they provide free updates. That’s right. Once you have purchased FL Studio, you don’t need to pay for their updates; they are free for life. According to several customer reviews, when Image Line releases an update, it is nothing small. FL Studio updates are known for their significant improvements every time.
- Easy install. While the phrase “easy install” needs little to no explanation, it is always lovely to hear. Too often, the purchase of software is only the beginning. There are times when the installation and set up is confusing and time-consuming. Thankfully, with FL Studio, they have made the installation process quick and straightforward. You can even download it here.
- Accepts a variety of formats. When purchasing and downloading software, it is always nice to know that various formats are accepted. Accepted formats include Acid, Aiff, Apple Loop, Ogg, VST/VSTi (v2,v3) Wav, and almost every video format, including Mov and Mp4.
- It is the only DAW that supports a VJ graphic generation suite. One key aspect that gives FL Studio a serious upper hand is that it is the ONLY digital audio workstation that offers a VJ graphic generation suite (ZG Editor). The VJ graphic generation suite is a broad designation for real-time visual performance. It allows for the creation or manipulation of images in real-time through technological meditation. With an upper hand like this one, it is no wonder that so many people choose FL Studio over every other digital audio software.
- Reasonable and liberal license. Another great thing about FL Studio is that you only have to buy it once to use it on any of the computers you own. With some software, this is not the case.
- Mixing woes. FL Studio has very few cons; however, judging by a few customer critiques, it appears that they share a common concern about their mixing troubles. Many customers want to see an input gain controller on every channel. They would also like to see more creative plug-ins.
- Some controls are hard to find. The only other con that seems to concern more than a few customers seems to also relate to the mixing table. Some people appear to have trouble locating the bass, mid, and treble on the mixing table. They feel they should be more pronounced then they are currently. If these seem troublesome, it is important to remember that FL Studio updates are known for their drastic improvements. The fact that there were only two cons that seem to concern more than a few people FL Studio seems to be a promising choice.
Pros & Cons of Pro Tools
While FL Studio is a promising choice, Pro Tools has several of its own advantages, and a couple of disadvantages to look into.
- Mature mixing facilities. The Pro Tools digital audio workstation was initially designed to be an audio-only system, meaning that the main focus was on three things editing, mixing, and recording. This means that these are the core features, and they have been the most developed over time. These features are what make it a great digital audio workstation when it comes to multitracking mixing and recording. This seems to be the most popular reason that Pro Tools is considered to be the industry standard.
- It’s organized. The Pro Tools user interface (UI) is said to be very clean and well organized. Which makes it beneficial in one’s effort to maintain focus. Experts like this because it has all the features they need and nothing more.
- Free version available. Pro Tools First is a great step in finding out if Pro Tools is right for you. The best news is that it isn’t a trial. It is just a free version. It lets beginners and experts alike get the feel of Pro Tools and lets you know whether or not it is right for you. This is a significant pro because not many digital audio workstations offer a completely free version!
- It comes with a how-to DVD. While it can be overwhelming for beginners, it doesn’t necessarily have to stop you from purchasing Pro Tools. The software comes with an instructional DVD, and according to How Stuff Works, there are also several music stores, colleges, and professional schools that provide Pro Tools, training classes!
- It’s expensive. It’s no secret that Pro Tools costs a considerable amount more than FL Studio. This is because it is the industry standard. It also may be because purchasing plug-ins can get expensive. Before purchasing a costly version, it is best to try Pro Tools First to get a feel for the software. However, it is mostly used in studios by professionals, which brings us to our next con.
- Not suited for at-home use. Once again, because it is the industry standard, it is made for studio use rather than at home use. Pro Tools have several features that are only used by professionals. This could make usage at home very confusing and overwhelming. Often when people are overwhelmed, they become discouraged and give up learning altogether.
- That being said, if you would still like to have the industry-standard set up in your home, it is recommended that you check out Pro Tools First before paying an excessive amount of money for something you may not prefer. There are also classes you can take to learn how to work with Pro Tools properly.
- No RTAS or VST plug-in support. Pro Tools 11 decided to get rid of RTAS in favor of the AAX (Avid Audio Extension) format. Unfortunately, without AAX availability, a VST wrapper is a must-have for everything to work correctly.
Pro Tools Vs. FL Studio: Pricing
The features and your previous experience with digital audio workstations matter more than anything else. However, it would be foolish not to consider the prices of the different software.
Even though FL Studio is rated as number four on the list of the best digital audio workstations (where Pro Tools is listed as number twenty-one), Pro Tools is expensive when compared to FL Studio. This is most likely because Pro Tools is the music industry-standard digital audio software.
Pro Tools Vs. FL Studio: Which is Better?
So, is Pro Tools better than FL studio, or is it the other way around? The honest answer is both are better than the other depending on who uses the software and where the DAW is being used. As is with many instruments and musical software, the right fit varies from person to person.
If you are a beginner that plans on using a digital audio workstation in the comfort of your own home, then you may want to look into FL Studio. If you are a musician or a producer looking for an industry-standard digital audio workstation for your studio, then Pro Tools may be the one for you.