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Wat's the best software to make psytrance?

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I have used a few different programs and I will try and get some thoughts down on each of them. You can write tracks in all of them. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes the weaknesses are not due to functionality not existing, but existing in an unintuitive or weird way. There is great strength in using what you know. I think if you are starting out and trying to choose a DAW you should just try any and a few of them and see which suits your style. I started off working with ModPlug Tracker and moved onto using what was then Fruity Loops (which changed its name to sound more professional I suppose). I compare all DAWs back to FL because it is what I am used to.

It may be of use to you to read review of different DAWs. The Sound on Sound articles I recommend.

FL Studio

I have used FLStudio in the past. I started using it when it was Fruity Loops version 3.


I found it lacking when dealing with tracking external sounds and also mixing. I think there may be fuctionality hidden away to do the things I want it is far from intuitive for me. It seems common to put a reverb plugin on each channel rather than have an aux send setup for verb for example. I have found mixing in other software much more like mixing with a hardware analogue mixing console (like for example Pro Tools and Reaper).

Working entirely in the box can work well with FL.

After integrating more hardware into my setup and learning more about mixing and audio engineering I have sought and tried out other software.


Working with automation can be tricky.

FL has grown out of being a simple step sequencer with different pieces being stuck on as the program has grown. The blocks I was used to using are apparently being fased out and are now in the new versions only availabe after turning them on as a legasy piece of functionality. I think because it has grown like this it is not as elegant as other DAWs like Live, Renoise and Reaper. Pro Tools suffers the same fate I think.

FL has worked well for me in acting only as a MIDI sequencer for external hardware and sampler being mixed OTB with an analogue mixer.

Pro Tools


The industry standard audio engineering DAW. In my opinion its strengths lie in mixing but functionality for MIDI sequencing is not as straight forward as other software that have sequencing at its core, like for example FL and Live.


Great if you want to record a live band and mix it.


It feels like a beast of a piece of software to me. The fact that you are required to use an iLok (a usb dongle that needs to be inserted at all times) to run the program really puts me of. There are stories of the iLok failing and people being unable to use the software. It annoys me further to know that pirate versions exist (so I have heard) that circumvent all the copy protection. Perhaps I am getting slightly off topic but copy protection annoys legitimate customers more than it helps IMO.


I have had troubles getting Pro Tools to work with my interface (a Presonus FireBox). In the past you were required to own a specific interface to be able to run 'Tools. I know of no one in the psytrance community using ProTools. Its quirky sequencing and high price would put allot of people off.


Ableton's Live


First off, I don't understand why people call it Ableton. Well I understand why but Ableton is the name of the company and Live is the name of the software. I have limited experience using Live.

It seems rather intutive and easy to work with after you spend some time working with it. The interface was a bit intimidating to me at first having used a number of other DAWs but after a day of working with it things began to make more sense. I think it would be easier and have a shorter learning curve to get up and running if you had never used a DAW before compared to other DAWs.

It has its own way of doing things. As a friend said, the benefit of Live is in the area of creativity. For example it is very quick to try different layers in combination. You can quickly switch between lots of different bass lines for example.

Another benefit I see of Live is the External Instrument plugin that combines both the MIDI and audio track of an external synth / module making a hardware synth seem allot like a VST plugin.

It is easy to freeze tracks in Live I have heard.


As far as I can tell you can not use 32 bit plugins in the 64bit version without buying a 3rd party bridging plugin thingo.



Somewhat of an underdog in the DAW world but equally powerful with a totally different interface / way of working. It has a tracker interface and plays from top to bottom as apposed to left to right like other DAWs. I found it tricky to learn to write melodies with the tracker interface after using a piano roll in FL for so long.


If you were starting off from scratch this is one of the DAWs to have look at I think.


It seems lacking in integrating external hardware. I think part of this reason is its heritage as a tracker (something that just plays back samples) rather than something that has its roots in tracking (eg records, ironically enough).


Its cheap also.



Reaper it seems is geared especially when it was younger to being something like a Pro Tools killer. It is very good for tracking and mixing and it seems like more MIDI functionality was added as the software matured.


Reaper I really like for a number of reasons.

Its extrememly unbloated. The install file is small, yet still has the same funtionality as Pro Tools. It loads fast. The interface is logical and simple.


Routing is flexible. Another point it has over Pro Tools for example is the flexibility in what a track can be. In Pro Tools for example there are multiple types of tracks, for aux sends, instrument tracks etc. A track in Reaper can be anything you want it to be. It can contain MIDI data or be routed to work as a reverb aux send. I see the mixer as a real strong point for Reaper.


I am still learning Reaper and may find more appropriate ways of working, especially with recording hardware synths. I currently use multiple tracks per synth line. At least one for the MIDI data to be sent to the hardware synth, and at least one to record the output of the synth.


MIDI sequencing is often cited as being a negative point with Reaper. I am still learning how to use it effectivly after using FL for so long.

A personal license is cheap and there is an uncrippled demo version available.

Other DAWs worth mentioning


These I only ever used for quite a short amount of time or I have heard of other producers using.


Logic, Reason, Sonar, Cubase, Presonus Studio One.

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Oh I forgot to mention in built plugins. I have been working more and more with hardware lately and havnt given plugins much though.


It seems like the stock bread and butter plugins in all the DAW are useable. By that I mean EQs, compressors, gates, reverbs.


Another question that can be asked is, what should be done with software and what should be done with hardware but that is a whole other ball of wax and discussion. =P

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

There is no best DAW imo.


Depends which interface is most friendly for you, which one you are used to. But most important is skill. That's all that matters.

Back in 2008 when i started producing, i started with FL 6 and now i am still in FL... version 10.


I also tried Cubase, Ableton, Reason, Studio One and few other i can't remember now... but their interface is not friendly for me. So i decided to stay on FL because i learnt it after many years of using. FL is simple and friendly. But for live sets i use Ableton, it's better than FL for that occasion.


I have heard many times like "Cubase is pro, FL is for amateurs bla bla bla"... it's so annoying and absurdly. Well yeah, Cubase is better for hardware, but again i say 'best' software won't help you much if you don't have experience.



Few guys i know switched from what they used to some DAW they never used before. And they spend months or even years to learn how it works. And when DAW is hard for you then you lose creativity imo... Choose what is most simple for you, what won't take you long time with opening different windows, adding plugins etc... and use that time that you saved on useful stuff like producing.



It's all up to you indeed :)


PS. Let's take for example Agneton and Lost Buddha (all Filipe's projects). They both worked in FL since always. And their music is high quaility ;)

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Have only used Fl10 previously and just since last year Live 9.

Not even sure why I switched but I am finally working better in Live now than I was in FL. nothing to do with the daw though, just how much time I've put in and they are both great I reckon.


I, however still suck, and am still stuck making 2 minutes of new tracks over and over lol.


Ps: Imba I listened to your newest stuff on soundcloud yesterday, some collaborations and sounding great bud. Think u have come a long way! Keep going! :)

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  • 4 months later...

Im using Reason. I have used Cubase in the past and have recently switched over . i really love the workflow that it presents and u can make some really cool sounds by using some creative patching and there are tonnes of useful presets that come with it. and its priced really well for what u get for it.

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Ableton for all me EDM including psy & ambient projects.


Pro Tools for any live instruments & vocal tracking that I do.


Would def. use FLStudio if it was released as a OSx native program, so simple and fun to make tunes on but yeah I'm 100% Apple so no go.


Curious to know peeps fav midi controller? Currently I use Ableton Push but I hate it. Find it hampers my work flow heaps. Selling it with my Moog & getting the M-Audio Axiom Pro AIR 61 keyboard instead.


Will use software until I have enough saved fro the new DSI Pro 2 synth. Even thought it's got digital oscilators it's and absolute beast as the mothership synth for a studio. Especially if you're heading in to the world of modular.

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I just use my Poly Evolver Keyboard for playing. It's got good action, but for knob twiddling of other synths' parameters I have to use my M-Audio Oxygen8. Shitty for playing, but fine for knobs.


Also an APC40 for Live, but so far I just use it to launch clips, not much for synth controlling.


That Pro 2 looks interesting, I hadn't heard about it.

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I use some software stuff for stuff that I either can't do with my hardware or if it is easier. Currently using drumazon for 909 stuff but I've been thinking about getting a Korg EMX or the ESX. Currently use my bass station 2 and x0xb0x for stuff though I am getting a different x0x since my current one is a bit broken.

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Currently using drumazon for 909 stuff but I've been thinking about getting a Korg EMX or the ESX.

If you're looking for something drum-specific, and aren't against software, check out Sonic Charge Micro Tonic.


I use it and it's a totally awesome drum synth. It has no sample capabilities though, it's just a synth.

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For what it's worth...


I work exclusively with Ableton Live 8.2 (after trying a couple of DAWs), and all my instruments are VST, except for an Arturia Microbrute (which I absolutely love) that I received as a gift recently, and an old Roland SH-101 that I actually don't use very much.


My bread & butter VSTs are from TAL (for SH-101, Juno 60 etc emulations), TB-303 emulation comes from the AudioRealism Bassline2 plugin. 909 emu also comes from AudioRealism products.


Regarding MIDI controllers, an Akai LPD-8 & a Novation Keystation Mini32, as my space is quite limited :)

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Yeah the Pro 2 looks like it'll be a really nice synth even though it's a bit pricey. Running that with 9u of Intellijel & Make Noise modules, plus later a full system of all The Harvestman will set me up nicely as well as 1 or 2 X0XB0X. Drum wise I just use samples for now but will eventually get the Roland TR-8 and like the Roland system-1 as a live synth.


Sofy synth wise I only have Omnisphere for now. It keeps me entertained but I find it boring. Just realised Akai are putting out anew 61 keys MPK midi which I will get instead of M-Audio. It looks really good.

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I haven't read through the entire thread, but I'd take my time to read up on the gear used by your favorite artists. Roland's Juno's, Nord II and Nord Lead, SH-101, Jupitor 8, TB-303 and drum machines like the Roland 909 and 808 etc. Find the best plugins to emulate these machines and learn how to use them.


Learn about EQ and compression as well. One of the biggest differences between the classic analog sound and modern digital production is in the treble area. Learn how to control that.


VST's will never sound as good as the real deal, but you can get close.

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  • 2 years later...

i am on cubase 5! top vst i use! top 1 sylenth1, top 2 fab filter pro Q 2, top 3 LFO tool, top 4 Synth1 (free japanese vst), top 5 oxford dynamics, top 6 psp wintage warmer, top 7 quadrafuzz.


i have massive i dont realy like and uhe zebra i have but i dont like it difficult to me i like easy vst as sylenth1 i think it best vst for all genres

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  • 2 weeks later...

As a DAW, i have tried Cubase, FL Studio, several others and Live, which is the one that fits to me. Cubase may be a beast, but I find it really messy to work with. FL Studio... just for loops, not for sequencing. WIN user, haven't touched a MAC in my whole life, so I can not talk about Logic.


As plugins... it's your choice. It depends on what sounds you are looking for.

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that ejay dance edition lol omg was first software i got for pc loooooooooooooollll

it was good except its all recorded loops.. was that and sonic foundry acid music aka sony acid nowadays... its just plain bad windows GUI... shit yea we are spoilt today even with all fancy eye candy stuff who cares...

got to the point of recording loops with a yamaha keyboard all hand played accuratly as possible... midi ? at the time da fuck knew what midi was? thats another story how i got to know midi fl studio etc.. maybe ill write about it when i manage some more time .


for psytrance old fruity loops does the trick , reason was good too , cubase etc... vsts and so on... not so happy with the sound of it nowadays for some weird reason dunno...

well as for propellerheads reason today its a monster super protected by all these dongles n stuff like cubase i think... not even gonna try it


rebirth was da shit too in 97 or so i think and still good sound but bit of a pain to get it running on windows 7 and so on... even my windows is outdated but couldnt care less... XP is still good but for internet its kinda fucked up microsoft forces you to upgrade because of 'security' reasons... <_<



luckily enough i kept all this old music software still happy with it and for acid you can always grab some vsts 909 808 samples and emulate rebirth easy nowadays... of course that rebirth retains that unique sound thats for sure.

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