When comparing Ableton Live 9 vs FL Studio, the Slant community recommends Ableton Live 9 for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs?” Ableton Live 9 is ranked 4th while FL Studio is ranked 6th. The most important reason people chose Ableton Live 9 is:
Ableton's session view gives a much quicker, more flexible way of experimenting with ideas than a typical linear interface. In session view, each instrument part is a separate entity that can be mixed and matched with other parts without having to rearrange anything. Any and every effect is consolidated into one clean looking interface. It allows users to experiment with effects and other manipulations very quickly. Because of this, Ableton is known as one of the most creative DAWs out there.
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Pro Great creative DAW workflow
Ableton's session view gives a much quicker, more flexible way of experimenting with ideas than a typical linear interface. In session view, each instrument part is a separate entity that can be mixed and matched with other parts without having to rearrange anything. Any and every effect is consolidated into one clean looking interface.
It allows users to experiment with effects and other manipulations very quickly. Because of this, Ableton is known as one of the most creative DAWs out there.
Pro Advanced automation
You can add curves to automation. Additionally, Ableton lets users duplicate certain automations quickly.
Pro Great for sampling
The Ableton DAW offers a great sampling experience, which can be approached in many different ways. Audio can be directly chopped, quantized, warped, and even chopped into MIDI clips. Ableton's built in sampler also allows clean pitching along with useful loop functions.
Pro Optimized for playing live music
While all DAWs are capable of playing music live, Ableton Live is the most DJ friendly DAW out there as it allows mixing and mashing various MIDI or audio clips together in real-time while still making sure that they're in sync.
Pro Max for Live lets users build custom tools
With Max for Live, users can create custom synthesizers, audio effects, sequencers, samplers, and more. Max for Live is a feature that is available with Live 9 Suite.
Pro Advanced content browser
The browser lets users choose from live Sets, tracks, clips, devices, presets, samples, etc. There is also an auto-play function for audio clips that enables users to browse samples quickly. The search function is also handy, but only for clips that are labeled appropriately.
Pro Outstanding EQ
Ableton's new EQ includes an integrated spectrum analyzer so users can see exactly which frequencies need to be adjusted. Additionally, this EQ cuts by 48 db. In the previous version of Ableton, the EQ only cut by 12 db.
Pro Dual monitor support
Live 9 lets users see session and arrangement views at the same time with dual monitor support.
Pro Minimum skeuomorphism
Skeuomorphism is described as retaining antiquated aesthetic features on an updated version of a device. For DAWs, this happens when an interface is littered with analog nobs, wires, and other things that are reminiscent of older technology. While this can be considered a stylistic choice for some DAWs, it tends to block progress towards better practices in music production.
Pro Comes with 54GB included sounds and 40 effects
Pro Many software specific controllers
Many MIDI controllers have been developed for the exclusive purpose of being used with Ableton. Some popular Live controllers include Push, APC40, and Launchpad.
Pro Supports "scales" plugin
If you want to write in a specific scale, choose it from the scale plugin and your music will automatically be configured to be that key.
Pro Exemplary time stretching facilities
Not only can the time stretching can be done in real-time, there are about a dozen of TC/E algorithms to choose from.
Pro Multiple "workflows" or ways of achieving an outcome
Not everyone realizes this, but anything can be done in multiple ways in Live. Multiple ways of playing samples, multiple ways of slicing samples, multiple ways of sequencing MIDI, etc.
Pro Endless creativity
After some training this daw can be used for doing anything. There are basically no limits.
Pro Can play a midi note from the middle
Since Live 10, you can play a midi note without having to play it from the start.
Pro Excellent for visual learners
All the stock plugins look really nice and really show users what is being done, it's a great way to learn mixing theory for a beginner. This approach makes FL Studio easy to learn compared to other DAWs.
Pro Easy to install
No complex activation shenanigans. No dongle and such.
Pro Free lifetime updates
With the producer or signature bundle, updates are free forever.
Pro Perfect for engineering because of the production style workflow
The workflow for creating beats in FL Studio is among the fastest which make mixing and mastering a breeze inserting plug-ins and routing on the mixer.
FL Studio has a very unique sampler which allows all kinds of sounds to be experimented with, be it a siren, a water drop, or more commonly, the infamous "Progressive House" Kick. The Sampler also allows the user to retune a sample to any key he/she desires
Pro Each update is major
When Image Line releases an update, it's safe to assume that there are major improvements in there.
Pro Good for the studio
Some DAWs are good for live shows, some DAWs are good for production, but the FL Studio DAW has carved its niche in the studio recording arena.
Pro Easy to learn DAW
The FL Studio DAW utilizes drag and drop, and can generally be learned quickly without any prior knowledge.
Pro Scalable interface
The interface adapts to the screen size it's used on.
Pro Intuitive piano roll
Piano roll is a FL Studio's instrument step sequencer. It is considered to be among the most intuitive and flexible tools for quickly creating patterns and manipulating all aspects of each note. A single left click inserts a note, while a right click deletes it. It's possible to mute notes, splice them, stretch them, add shuffle, etc quickly.
The Piano Roll caters for those new to Music Theory as well, containing an array of chords from which to choose, be it a Major, Minor, Minor 5th, Minor 9th, what have you.
Pro Supports resampling
Supports resampling (non stretch) which is something some DAWs don't support.
Pro Very comprehensive plugin suite included
You have basic and advanced plugins right out the box.
Pro Fully open: accepts a variety of formats
Accepts VST/VSTi (v2,v3) Wav, Aiff, Rex, Acid, Apple Loop, Ogg, Mp3 as well as almost every video format including Mov and Mp4.
Pro Fully vectorial UI that will scale to virtually every screen
Because most DAWs don't scale well yet.
Pro Sample/MIDI Manipulation in the Playlist Mode
The Playlist mode comes with various tools for cutting out sections of a sample, midi arrangement, or otherwise. One can also clone, mute, solo out, and stretch a sample by any degree, although the sample's key will change
Pro Inbuilt cross 32/64bit plugin bridge
Because you don't need to install/configure a third party bridge.
Pro The only DAW with a VJ graphic generation suite (ZG Editor Visualizer)
No other DAW has that.
Pro It comes as VSTi and Rewire
So you can use it inside another DAW....AFAIK there's no other DAW capable of doing that.
Pro Smooth UI
Compared to other DAWs, FL's UI moves at full monitor refresh rates while others are somehow laggy.
Pro Can import/export 32bit audio
Just as the internal engine bit depth, there's no loss in quality. Go and try opening 32bit files in Logic....impossible.
Pro Unlimited Creativity
With tools in the piano roll like the "Riff Machine", and the "Randomize" tool, you can literally let the computer automate the production if you want. In addition to plugins like "Gross Beat", Slicex, DirectWave, the ideas can be limitless.
Pro Flexible internal linking engine
It's linking engine and controller plugins are very flexible and useful all across the software. For mixing and also for performance mode.
Pro It is the only DAW where you can program real scratching sequences (Turntablism)
You can make your own scratches with the "Fruity Scratcher" or "Wave traveller".
Pro Reasonable and liberal license
Buy once, and you're allowed to use it on every computer you own.
Pro Imports video for scoring
You can open several video players.
Pro It's possible to run FL Studio on Linux via Wine without a noticeable performance impact
Version 12 of FL Studio includes a new Generic ASIO driver that's capable of achieving same low latency performance as the native Windows version. Instructions on how to set up the DAW to run on Linux via Wine can be found here.
Pro Patcher: Modular environment
Pro Complete control over multiple Launchpad Pro animation lightshow projects.
Live can, but working with more LPs is a pain.
Pro Non-invasive DRM
Forget copy protection USB-dongles and phone-home activation. Just import a reg key file and your license is activated.
Pro Very flexible timeline
Pro Best stretching algorithms in the market
At around $749, the Ableton Live 9 Suite DAW is more expensive than other DAWs. Ableton live 9 standard can be bought for $449, and Ableton Live 9 Intro can be bought for $99.
Con No VST3 Support
Con Not very stable
Plug-ins can crash the whole process.
Con Limited routing
Tracks can go into groups and sub-groups (as of Live 10), and sends are available, but that's the extent of routing.
Con Plugins on frozen tracks are loaded and unloaded as the session opens slowing down opening and creating DSP limitations.
For example: If you freeze more than the allowed number of plugins on a UAD DSP device, when you open your session, Ableton will open and close all the frozen plugins on every channel even though they are not active in the session. The UAD control panel application displays the DSP usage of the hardware. During loading the levels (bars) will fluctuate by extreme amounts and typically will produce errors once the Ableton session is loaded.
After the session is loaded, UAD plugins that should be running are disabled because there wasn't enough DSP available during load.
The user then has to open and look at each UAD plug in to see if they are disabled and turn them off and on again to enable them. This illustrates there is enough room for the DSP load for unfrozen plugins, but that the loading process was at fault.
Con Interface looks terrible
It really looks shoddy. The fonts are much too small to be comfortable and there is no return to beginning button included in the navigation controls. (But font size can be increased)
Con No comping / playlist feature when tracking
Con Sometimes very slow reaction, if you switch from one track to another with APC- or Push-Controller
Con Native Mac version is in beta
FL Studio for Mac is still in beta. It doesn't even yet support Yosemite or El Capitan.
Con No native Linux version
No native Linux version available. It's possible to run it using WINE with native performance. Instructions on how to set it up can be found here.
Con Not intuitive for track based recording approach
Con Most controls are hidden
in the mixing console, mid, bass, and treble are not explicitly stated as they should be.
Con The soundfont player will trash your projects, no 64-bit version available
Remember that nice project with a soundfont in it ? Yeeeah, load it again and prepare to face stuck MIDI notes and a trashed project.
Con Has the tendency to crash
Always save before loading a new VST or doing something important: FL is extremely prone to crashes.