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FL Studio vs Ableton: Which Draw is Right For You?

FL Studio vs Ableton

If you’re new to the world of music production, you might be wondering which software is the best choice for you – FL Studio or Ableton? Both of these programs are incredibly powerful, but they also have their own unique features and capabilities.

We have divided the article into five sections for easier understanding. To reiterate, there is no “one-size-fits-all” DAW that is the best, only the one that is right for you. So, let’s take a closer look at the two!

FL Studio

FL Studio (formerly known as Fruity Loops) is a digital audio workstation (DAW) created by the Belgian company Image-Line. It has been around since 1998, and it is one of the most popular DAWs in the world. It is used by professional musicians, producers, and DJs to create electronic music, hip-hop, and other genres. FL Studio is focused on music production and composition, and it has a wide range of features for creating beats, synthesizing sounds, and mixing audio.


Ableton is another popular DAW created by the German company Ableton AG. It was first released in 2001, and it is widely used by professional musicians, producers, and DJs to create music of all genres. Unlike FL Studio, Ableton is focused on live performance and improvisation. It has features for creating beats, manipulating sound, and mixing audio, but it also has features for live performance, like the ability to launch clips, scenes, and effects in real-time.

Comparison between Ableton and FL Studio

When it comes to the features they both possess

Having the ability to feature is something that every music producer relishes. It’s the element of music production that makes it fun and exciting for the majority of individuals. It is vital to think this through if you are leaning towards getting a DAW, since different functions can make a major distinction depending on your aims and workflow. Two popular DAWs are Ableton Live 11 and FL Studio 20.

FL Studio is an application that is loaded with features.

If you prefer plenty of options and don’t find complicated interfaces disorienting, then FL Studio is the right choice. You can easily have a mixer and step-sequencer on one display and the arrangement on another. Plus, it also has twenty distinct virtual instruments. It could even make you breakfast if you wish!

The fundamental distinction between FL Studio and Ableton Live is that all sound are not predetermined to an individual mixer channel in the former. The same goes for the timeline; you can either assign each sound to a track in the timeline or place patterns wherever you prefer. FL Studio also has more plugins than Ableton. The “All Plugins Bundle” features Harmor, an ultra-powerful synth with years of development behind it, which Ableton Live is finally in the process of catching up to.

Additionally, FL Studio has numerous effects, organized into categories when accessed. You will find five diverse distortions, multiple equalizers, and other random FX. With all the routing options, effects, and sounds, you may be leaning towards FL Studio. However, it is worth considering that a minimal approach can often be better.

Easy to use, straightforward, and versatile (with Ableton)

Making a poor joke, Live is an excellent choice if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your choices. Of course, there aren’t 100 methods for doing the same thing, however, the quality of what is accessible is superior, without being overly fancy with sugary interfaces and it simply works.

On the left, you’ll spot the browser, like in FL. It can be resized, but only to a certain degree, and remains there. Everything is sorted out into distinct sections, unlike the FL Studio long-rainbow chaos. The detail view is where the plugins and effects, audio and MIDI editor can be toggled. Unfortunately, you can’t have multiple of them simultaneously, but if you prefer to concentrate on one thing at once, it’s marvellous. And if you need things smaller or bigger, there is always the zoom function in the Look/Feel preferences.

In the plugins/devices department, you get a variety of extremely capable synths like Operator, Analog and the fresher Wavetable (a quite respectable Serum contestant). Although they are limited to the native interface, Wavetable has a nice interface with expandable windows, and for some people, the native interface makes the sound designing process quite effortless. Additionally, the Audio Effects in Ableton are excellent, with some great analog-inspired devices like Echo, Glue Compressor, and Amp. Though FL triumphs in quantity, if you’d like more curated devices, Ableton takes the cake.

The person who succeeds in a competition or contest

In terms of the amount of functions, FL Studio is the unquestioned champion. It is packed with so many features that you’ll never finish exploring them, which might be beneficial or detrimental depending on your preferred way of working. Even so, Ableton Live still has top-notch, first-rate features that make it a formidable digital audio workstation.


It is critical to comprehend how to use the software in a practical way that yields results. If you can’t create music with your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), then it is not really beneficial. Workflow is the process that takes you from the beginning to the end.

Ten distinct techniques can be employed to complete an action with FL Studio.

When it comes to FL Studio, it has an abundance of features that can be confusing for beginners. It does demand more time to understand the software, but this may be beneficial in the long run since it can be adapted to fit a specific workflow. Although Ableton Live might be easier to comprehend at first, FL Studio may be a better fit due to its flexibility. This is particularly true with multiple monitors in the setup. If you had to pick one area in which FL Studio surpasses Ableton Live, it would be the piano roll. It allows for more MIDI editing, has a less cumbersome interface with a floating window, and can be expanded more than in Ableton Live where it has to fit into the clip editor at the bottom.

Ableton is remarkably quick; it is able to process tasks at an accelerated rate.

If you are seeking an expeditious, transparent, and imaginative workflow, Ableton is the best choice. Although some users who favor expansive interfaces may find the device view unappealing, the possibility to bounce audio within tracks, store items to racks and clips, as well as employ the session view for improvisation, makes Ableton an advantageous option. As far as features go, the streamlined options make them more effortless to locate. A few of the highlights include:. That is just a small sample, but try it for yourself to get the full experience. When I switched from FL Studio, it was a revolutionary change for me.

The person who has come out on top in a competition or contest.

When it comes to workflow speed, Ableton Live is the clear victor. Even though workflow preference varies between producers, the straightforward layout and user-friendly tools of this DAW make it particularly simple to work with audio. If you prize workflow options, then FL could be the more appropriate choice. It is possible to achieve the same results with both of these Digital Audio Workstations, but the way you go about it is equally important.


It’s not worth investing in a software program if it’s not compatible with your setup, so to ensure you don’t get overly enthusiastic about the wrong Digital Audio Workstation, be sure to read this section.

Issues Related to FL Studio’s Use on Mac Computers

FL Studio has been working perfectly on Windows devices for a long time, with a very smooth interface and appealing graphics (which are still there, even more so). Traditionally, FL Studio was quite firm in its stance of not having a Mac version due to the coding language being incompatible. However, they have changed their stance and created a Mac version. It functions properly, although there have been some difficulties during its transformation from a Windows-crossover version to a fully independent program. The majority of features have been transferred, but the 32bit version of FL Studio is not available for Mac, and your 32bit Audio Units will not operate, even though your 32bit VSTs will. If you have the possibility, it is best to use a 64bit system. If you are using a Mac, 32 Lives is an option. It allows you to run 32-bit plugins in a 64-bit environment. Unfortunately, there is no native compatibility with Linux, but you can use an emulator if desired. Additionally, FL has improved in terms of CPU usage over the years and the vector interface does not put too much strain on the graphics card. Nonetheless, the intricate GUIs can quickly consume system resources, which can happen with any software if you are using third-party plugins.

Ableton is widely compatible with other programs and hardware, but it does not have frequent upgrades.

Until Live 10 was released, Ableton compatibly functioned with 32bit systems. However, this feature was eliminated, which is logical, but may cause problems for some. If that’s the case, one should opt for Live 9 instead. Abeton has been increasing updates in recent years, but it isn’t unusual for major updates to be absent for a few years. Whether this is beneficial or not depends on the situation. Smaller updates usually solve any software issues. Additionally, all VSTs and Audio Units will integrate harmoniously with Live. These are divided into easy to access folders, though they need to be enabled in the preferences. Live 10.1 additionally supports VST3. Ableton is fairly efficient with CPU and system resources since it is designed for live performances to avoid any system failures. As with any DAW, third-party plugins can be CPU intensive, but the native ones are highly optimized.

Who was the victor?

It appears to be a draw in this segment. Although FL Studio offers a 32bit version for Windows and can handle 32bit and 64bit VST on Windows, its dependability on Mac is still fairly inadequate, which implies they overlook a huge chunk of their prospective audience. Nonetheless, it is improving, implying that over the long haul, FL Studio may be the more sensible option. With regards to plugin compatibility, FL is more successful; they have been incorporating VST3 for longer than Ableton and they now bolster Audio Units and VST, which they previously didn’t. FL Studio is making noteworthy advances. Get our assortment of high-quality presets, samples and PDF guides – suitable for all kinds of electronic music.

Comparing the Resources and Support

Acquiring knowledge of a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a great task and not a straightforward job. In reality, music production in general is not easy. Nevertheless, having resources to draw upon can be of assistance. Strangely enough, it is part of my job to recognize the terms and phrases that individuals such as you are seeking so that we can put together helpful articles dependent on those topics. Here is the outcome when I type FL Studio and Ableton into Google Trends.

Amount of Materials: FL Studio

If you need a lot of videos, articles and help, FL Studio is your most suitable choice. It’s an established Digital Audio Workstation in the electronic music field with a lot of users and a long history, more than Ableton Live. YouTube is filled with tutorials for hip-hop and electronic music done in FL Studio, like replicating particular sounds or making a specific genre of music. Image-Line offers competent customer service, however, there is no direct phone number. In contrast to Ableton, FL Studio has fewer native resources for production such as presets and sounds. Although, it is possible to save instruments and effect chains as presets. Most audio formats are compatible with FL, and Fruity Soundfont Player can load soundfonts if you still prefer them.

The standard of materials used in Ableton Live is exceptional.

Even though Ableton has fewer resources compared to other platforms, the quality is high. Their YouTube channel is full of helpful tutorials and guides, and the majority of their courses are organized with Ableton Live. They also provide a comprehensive and straightforward manual for free. I haven’t utilized their customer service much but from what I know, it’s a nice service. Besides educational resources, Ableton also provides racks, clips, and project files which can be both bought and downloaded from the internet. The audio effects, instrument, and MIDI racks make sound design easier to learn and simpler to replicate. Moreover, Ableton supports multiple file formats, including soundfonts and EXS24 for Logic Pro.

The victor

FL Studio has a clear advantage in terms of available resources, largely due to its long history. However, both DAWs are quite evenly matched, and either would be a good choice for a user looking for resources to learn the software from a novice to a more experienced level. We offer a compilation of top-notch presets, samples, and PDF instruction manuals which are great for all types of electronic music.


You may be wondering why I left the pricing for last? Before thinking about the cost, recognize that the DAW you pick is a lengthy-term venture. You may be lured to base your decision solely on the price, however, think about what fits your workflow style. Initially, I attempted FL Studio because it was less expensive.

Ableton is an expensive product, but it is definitely worth the cost.

The starting price of Ableton is equal to that of Ableton, however, the ‘primary’ version (Ableton Standard) is much pricier. To be exact, it is more than twice the price. So, for those who are running on a shoestring budget, Ableton Standard might not be an option. It is suggested to try out the demo version before making the purchase. The Suite version is more economical for those looking for a fully-equipped version with all devices (as compared to the FL Studio All Plugins Bundle). However, free lifetime updates are not included. It is worth noting that minor updates are available, but major version updates will require additional payment.

FL Studio is cost-effective and provides a lot of features at a reasonable price.

Although it may seem inconceivable, FL Studio is an incredible deal for the money, especially the Producer Edition. You can get a top-notch program for just $199, which is far cheaper than the All Plugins Bundle from Ableton Live Suite. And the even better part is that you will get free lifetime updates – no expiry date; that’s something Ableton can’t offer. However, cost isn’t the only thing that matters.

The person who succeeds in the contest or competition

When it comes to cost, FL Studio is the definite victor by a large margin. Spending $199 USD for the Producer Edition is a bargain when compared to the $499 USD for the Ableton Standard version. If you are someone who wishes to purchase additional plugins and devices, then the Suite version of FL Studio is a hundred dollars cheaper than its most expensive version.

What is the decision?

Thus, who emerges triumphant? This is a perplexing query. In the beginning, I declared that there isn’t any ‘ideal Digital Audio Workstation’ and that continues to be accurate. Each have their own advantages and drawbacks and you have to take the ultimate decision. With that said, if I had to pick one for each type of producer, I would opt for FL Studio for the maker who enjoys to customize everything and I would go for Ableton Live for the producer who likes a swift workflow.

That way, you can personally test these features and make your final choice. The last thing you want to do is make a commitment without having any prior experience. Keep in mind, there are some other DAWs you might want to take into account as well.


In conclusion, both FL Studio and Ableton are powerful DAWs that can be used for music production, composition, and live performance. FL Studio is a great choice for music production and composition, while Ableton is a great choice for live performance and improvisation.

It’s important to consider what your needs are before deciding which one is right for you. If you’re just getting started with music production, there are plenty of tutorials available for both FL Studio and Ableton, as well as online forums and communities where you can ask questions and get help from experienced users.

No matter which one you choose, both FL Studio and Ableton are powerful tools for creating music. So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced producer, you’ll be able to create amazing music with either of these DAWs.

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