What Music Production Software Should I Use?

Producer using music production software

There are many different music production software choices. Some are used individually and other in tandem with one another. How do you know which one is the best? There are many elements to focus on, but the most important being ease of use and price. When you say music production software, most people think DAW.

What is a DAW?

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is key to making music. It can be an electronic device, but these days it is usually an application software used to record, edit, mix and master music. One of the most popular DAWs is Pro Tools. This is the industry standard and the most widely used. It has been around since 1991 but has come into its own in only in the last few decades, according to the Pro Tools Expert. The best part about Pro Tools is that it looks like a virtual soundboard making it easy to use.

What Elements Make the Best Music Production Software?

There are many elements that make the best music production software. The elements that you should use to compare different music production software include ease of use, your experience level, number of tools, whether it supports multiple genres, how widely it is used, if it is easy to learn, price and whether it is future-proof. If it costs more than you can afford than you may want to wait until you make some money in your new career before you buy it.

Ease of Use

One of the most important aspects of the best music production software is how easy it is to use. Although I wouldn’t consider Pro Tools as the easiest, once you learn the basics it becomes second nature. And the fact that so many people use it means YouTube is spilling over with videos about Pro Tools. Also, many music production programs, like IPR’s, teach you how to use Pro Tools starting from the basics through the advanced techniques.

Another reason to consider ease of use is the fact that the actual interface that you will be looking at can make a difference in how easy it is to use. Pro Tools looks just like a real soundboard with knobs and dials to move. You can mix and match whatever you need, right in the production interface.

Experience Level

Along with ease of use, it is important to match your experience level with the different music production software options. You will want to learn on something basic and move up to a more advanced software once you have some experience under your belt. The Pro Tools software offers a free version to get acquainted, and then you can upgrade to a more robust version as you learn more and become an experienced music producer.

Number of Tools

One of the elements that make the best music production software is the number of tools available to use. Pro Tools has all the synths, digital instruments, MIDI, over 100 plug-ins, digital amps, compressors and EQs. And with every iteration, the number of tools increases as does the compatibility of alternative tools. There is even a marketplace where users create and sell their unique tools for users like you to use.

Multiple Genre Styles

In addition to the number of tools, make sure it has the tools needed to create your music’s genre. Pro Tools has a large variety of music tools available that are ready out of the box or help you create your own versions within a genre’s style. Mix genres and create new types of music. The options are endless.

Your music production software should also have a huge sound library with lots of presets. This way you can start with the genre of music and the sounds that come with that genre, and tweak the sound from there.

Also, consider if you are going to use the music production software to record a live performance. Some software is made to handle live music, while most music production software handles in-studio music the best.

Widely Used

Pro Tools is the best music production software because it is the industry standard and almost everyone knows about it, even if they don’t use it. Most schools teach it, it is compatible with many other DAWs and it is constantly being updated to widen the use case for it. If you want to work with the industry standard DAW, then Pro Tools is a good choice.

Easy to Learn

Again, not the easiest of all music production software, but Pro Tools is easy to learn once you become familiar and confident in the use of the music production software in general. When you take a music production program, you have industry experienced instructors teaching you all the ins and outs of Pro Tools. They make it look easy to use, that is for sure. Before long, you will be teaching your friends how to use Pro Tools and they will find out how easy it is to learn too.


The most important element of any music production software is price. The good news is that Pro Tools offers a free version so you can decide whether you want to buy the full version or not. Considering other DAWs, Pro Tools is the best value. It offers the greatest number of tools, plug-ins, and other features for the price. It will run on many different computers, so you don’t need the fastest or most expensive laptop to run Pro Tools. You will also get the hang of Pro Tools and better understand what level of commitment you want to proceed with after you graduate from IPR’s music production program.


One of the aspects of any software you buy is the ability to get updates. There will always be the inevitable bug or issue with the software and your choice of software should either update itself or offer upgrades so you can move to the next iteration as it is released. Some software you buy off the shelf and others are subscription based. Either way, make sure you can update to the latest version to make your music production software future-proof.

The Best Music Production Software Available

As you may have guessed, our pick for best music production software is Pro Tools. It is one of the most widely used music production software. It is used throughout the music production program at IPR. You will use it to engineer audio, produce and edit music, and finally mix and master you tracks.

The Classes Taught in IPR’s Music Production Program

The Institute of Production and Recording (IPR) will teach you how to create music using Pro Tools. There are many classes in the program that introduce you to Pro Tools and then utilize it to make, edit, mix and master the music. Ultimately, once you graduate from the music production program, you will be able to sit for the Avid Pro Tools user certification exam. This certification will prove your proficiency in Pro Tools, when you start your job search after graduation. One of the classes that starts teaching you Pro Tools is the introduction to Pro Tools.

Introduction to Pro Tools

This IPR course focuses on the foundational skills needed to learn and function within the Pro Tools environment on a basic level. It introduces you to the core concepts and skills you need to operate a Pro Tools System. Upon completion of this coursework, you will be eligible to take the Avid Pro Tools User Certification exam.

Audio Engineering

During these classes, you learn about the studio environment, signal theory, and signal processing in conjunction with Pro Tools. You will also learn about professional recording methods including analog and digital audio signal flow, microphone techniques, and studio etiquette.

Audio Editing

You will also learn about edit tools that help you manipulate, change, and fix tracks.

Mixing and Mastering

These classes teach you about audio sweetening, mixdown and mastering, using both digital and analog techniques.

Music Fundamentals

A full set of classes teach you about the different elements of music including rhythm, scales, chords, chord structures and harmony, to name a few.  Also, the music fundamentals of vocal production help you enhance large and small vocal ensembles through arrangement, recording, editing and mixing techniques.

What is the Avid Pro Tools User Certification Exam?

Pro Tools offers certification to show competency in music fundamentals of audio editing, mixing and mastering. The exam is multiple choice, which also includes illustration review and illustration response. Illustration review and response involves images in conjunction with either multiple choice or single image answers. The exam can be retaken after 24 hours in the case you don’t pass. Your certification will not expire however it is good to re-certify after a major update to the software.

Final Thoughts

Once you graduate and pass the Pro Tools user certification, you are ready to start your new career as a music producer. You will understand the fundamentals of making music. You will also have a version of Pro Tools and you will understand how to make, edit, mix and master music so you can start a real career, not just another job.

Audio Production Program

Ready to start training to make music using Pro Tools music production software? The Audio Production and Engineering Program  at the Institute of Production and Recording is an occupational degree program designed to train producer engineers who are entrepreneurs, musically and technically creative, and proficient in modern recording technology and technique. Throughout the program, students are involved in hands-on exercises and real-world studio projects that enable them to apply their knowledge and refine their skills.

At the end of the audio production and engineering program, each student presents a portfolio — a selection of his or her best work to date. This serves as a demo reel for potential employers and clients — an audio resume with professional content that highlights the graduate’s talent and skill.

Contact us today to learn more about the audio production programs and starting a rewarding career.