Making Music on a Computer
Ableton Live

Software Sequencers

If you're going to make music on your computer, you're most likely (but not necessarily) going to need some sort of a sequencer program (or other program to handle loops and/or MIDI). There is many sequencer programs on the market. So which program should you choose?

There is no easy answer to that question. The answer depends on many questions. Like what music you're going to make and how (what instruments etc.). If you have a friend helping you making music, you probably should use what he/she uses or recommends. On the other hand you wallet might limit you from certain choices.

If you're new to computer music making, you might want to start with Propellerhead's Reason or Apple's Garage Band. These programs have their own sequencer and lots of other stuff to get you started, to help you understand the basics. Later versions of Reason have become quite powerful, so if you go for that, you can wait a while before you buy more stuff. Get to understand the basics. You could also start with Ableton Live instead of Reason (they also have a Lite version). It’s very flexible and offers many approaches (loop oriented, scenes and classic sequencing). Depending on your music taste/approach, you could also check out Acid (very loop oriented).

If you're looking for more flexible sequencers than Reason, the most common ones today is: Ableton Live, Cubase SL/SX/Nuendo, Apple Logic Studio (Mac), Sonar’s sequencers and Mackie's Tracktion (Windows) ... I myself tried Cubase, Logic, Tracktion and Live, before I chose to go for Live, and it's a choice I have not regretted. Live is a very nice product with it's own certain strengths. I also tried Reason a long time ago.

Whatever you choose, you should use some time/effort to get to understand the principles, follow the guides and so on. Sometimes it pays off to choose something a little more complex, even if it’s a little harder to get started ...

If you need further reviews to help you choose sequencer program, try the different magazines, like f.ex. Computer Music and different sites with forums where stuff like this is being discussed. I might write more about the stuff I use here later on ... :)

I currently use just Ableton Live Suite, a bundle with nice synths (Operator, Analog and more), a nice sampler, samples, sounds, cool effects (like Beat Repeat) and more. So all I use in addition to the Live Suite is some samples and external instruments.

Good luck! :)