Ableton vs FL Studio – Which DAW Prevails

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Ableton Live Vs FL Studio

When diving into the world of music production, choosing the right software can make a big difference in workflow, creativity and end results.

Two of the most popular DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) on the market are Ableton Live and FL Studio.

Both are used by millions of producers and musicians around the world.

But which one is better?

In this article, we’ll explore various aspects of each to help you decide which one best suits your needs and preferences.

Brief History

The first attempts to create DAWs date back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, when companies such as Fairlight and Synclavier introduced computer-based digital audio editing systems.

At the time, these systems were expensive and out of reach for most musicians, but they laid the foundation for the future development of DAWs.

In the 1990s, with the advancement of computer technology, the first affordable digital audio workstations for musicians emerged.

Sequencers such as Cubase, Pro Tools and Logic Pro began to gain popularity among producers and musicians, offering audio recording and editing capabilities in digital environments.


Ableton vs FL studio


In the mid-1990s and early 2000s, as the processing power of personal computers increased, software-based DAWs emerged that further democratized music production.

Programs such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, Reason and Reaper became popular with musicians of all levels, and began to be used worldwide as access to PCs grew.

Ableton Live was created by Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles, two software engineers and musicians, in Berlin, Germany.

ableton vs fl studio

The first version of Ableton Live was released in 2001, and quickly stood out for its innovative approach to real-time music production.

Henke and Behles set out to create software that would allow musicians and DJs to improvise, perform live and produce music in a fluid and creative way.

Ableton Live’s most distinctive feature is its session view, which allows users to intuitively organize and launch audio and MIDI clips, facilitating real-time improvisation, experimentation and composition.

Since its initial release, Ableton Live has undergone several significant updates and enhancements, establishing itself as an indispensable tool for music producers, live musicians and DJs worldwide.

FL Studio, formerly known as Fruity Loops, was developed by the Belgian company Image-Line.

The first version of FL Studio was released in 1997 as a simple loop sequencer, but over time it evolved into a full-featured and powerful DAW.

FL Studio was noted for its simple interface, its focus on pattern-based composition, and its wide range of production tools that make it easier to make beats.


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FL Studio has also undergone multiple updates and enhancements over the years, adding features such as VST plugin support, audio recording capabilities, and an extensive sound and sample library.

Today, FL Studio is widely used by producers of all music genres, from hip-hop and electronica to pop and rock.

Both Ableton Live and FL Studio have enjoyed significant success worldwide, with millions of users across the globe.

Although exact sales figures may vary, it is estimated that Ableton Live has sold more than 3 million licenses since its launch, establishing itself as one of the most popular DAWs in the electronic and experimental music industry.

On the other hand, FL Studio has experienced exponential growth in recent years, with millions of users worldwide and a prominent presence in the urban and electronic music scene.

While exact sales figures may be difficult to determine due to the availability of different versions and licensing options, it is estimated that FL Studio has sold tens of millions of copies since its inception.

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Ableton Vs FL Studio: Workflow and features

One of the most recognized features of Ableton is its Session View.

Session view allows you to arrange and launch audio and MIDI clips in a non-linear fashion, ideal for live performance and creative experimentation.

Here, you can mix and match different audio and MIDI clips to create interesting combinations.

It’s a great way to try out different ideas before settling on a final sequence of tracks, as well as being very useful for making beats from scratch.

It includes also the classic view, called Arrangement View, traditional, linear multitrack view, and is used to compose and arrange tracks for production.

The Ableton Live interface is designed to be easy to understand.

Users can quickly access all major functions, such as track layout, clip editing, and accessing and navigating through effects, devices and instruments.

FL Studio, on the other hand, is based on a pattern-based sequencing interface, which may be more familiar to those coming from a traditional production environment.

Initially designed as a drum machine, it allows a quick way to make beats, as all you have to do is drag and drop some samples to start building patterns.

FL Studio features a highly intuitive user interface that allows users to easily navigate the software and access its many features and tools.

Ableton vs FL studio

In addition, the interface is highly customizable, allowing users to adjust and adapt the layout to their individual preferences.

While Ableton basically has two main windows, FL has resizable windows for the different elements, such as the mixer, piano roll, sequencer, etc.

This makes it easy to create a customized and efficient workflow for each user.

Audio editing

One outstanding feature of Ableton is its powerful set of audio editing tools.

Live is known for its powerful warping function, which allows you to flexibly adjust the tempo and timing of audio recordings without changing their pitch.

This is especially useful for mixing tracks with different BPMs or for synchronizing recordings with background tracks.

It also offers a feature called “Elastic Audio”, which allows you to stretch or compress audio recordings in real time without affecting their pitch, allowing to adjust the tempo of a track without modifying its speed.


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In addition, it comes with a wide range of virtual instruments, synthesizers, samplers and built-in effects which are great for music production.

This includes instruments such as Simpler and Sampler, as well as effects such as EQ, compression, delay, reverb, gate, limiter, filter and much more.

It certainly includes a very good library of high quality native effects.

Suite, the most complete version, includes 17 software instruments, 76 audio/midi effects, more than 5000 sounds and a 70 GB library.

Both Ableton and FL Studio allows you to automate virtually any parameter within the software, which means that changes in sound, volume, effects, etc., can be programmed and controlled automatically over time.

Automation allow users to create dynamic and expressive changes to tracks, adding movement and depth to the music.

This feature is especially useful for creating sweeping effects, volume changes and creative modulations.

Fl Studio comes very well equipped as well.

The included plugins are excellent, such as the Convolver convolution reverb, a large selection of delay tools and MIDI sequencing and creation tools, such as the Riff Machine or the Graph Editor.

They also have extensive library of sounds and samples, featuring also a variety of unique sound generators and effects, such as Sytrus, Harmor and Gross Beat, providing users with unique tools for creating custom sounds and effects.

In its most complete version, called All Plugins, it includes 107 effects and virtual instruments.


MIDI features

Ableton Live integrates fluently with a wide variety of MIDI controllers and external hardware, and stands out for its flexibility in assigning MIDI controls and its ability to create custom controller configurations, making it a popular choice among live musicians and live performance artists for its user-friendliness.


midi controlle


Both software’s work with Piano Roll, the MIDI editing view, which allows users to create and edit MIDI note sequences intuitively and efficiently.

It allows detailed editing of MIDI notes, including the ability to adjust the duration, time position, pitch and velocity of each individual note.

This gives users full control over the musical expression and allows fine-tuning to achieve the desired result.

FL Studio is also distinguished by its flexibility in integrating with external hardware and MIDI controllers.

Users can easily connect MIDI controllers and external hardware instruments to creatively control and manipulate their music.

The program interface allows users to create MIDI sequences quickly and easily using the Piano Roll and Step Sequencer.

This makes it easy to create complex rhythms and interesting melodies, especially for those who prefer to work with musical patterns.

Instrumentation and plug-ins

In terms of support for VST plug-ins and third-party virtual instruments, FL Studio tends to be a bit more flexible, and compatible with third-party plugins, synthesizers and effects processors.

However, Ableton Live has a solid library of native instruments and effects, including 91 in the Suite version, as well as a large library of sounds and samples.

There is as well a vibrant community of plug-in developers who offer a variety of options for extending its capabilities.

Live also allows you to create custom instrument racks and effect chains, which can be saved and reused in different projects. This facilitates the creation of complex sounds and advanced audio processing.

Sound and sample libraries

In terms of the included sound libraries and sample packs, Ableton Live offers a wide range of high-quality sounds, as well as the ability to easily integrate custom samples into the workflow.

Sampler is a multi-sampling instrument that offers in-depth control over individual samples.


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 FL Studio also includes a variety of high quality sounds and samples, designed by renowned producers and sound designers.

Ranging from acoustic instruments and synthesizers to sound effects and percussion samples, the libraries are regularly updated with new sound libraries and additional content, ensuring that users always have access to the latest sounds and trends in music production.

Pricing and versions

In terms of pricing and versions, both DAWs offer multiple price points, from basic versions to full suites with advanced features.

Ableton Live tends to be a bit more expensive compared to FL Studio, but offers a number of unique features that may justify the additional cost for some users.

The latest version, released on March 5, 2024, is version 12, compatible with Windows 10 (64-bit) and above and macOS 10.13 and above.

Its price ranges from $99 for the Intro version to $749 for the Suite version.

FL Studio latest version is the 21.2.0, compatible with Windows 7 (64-bit) and above and macOS 10.13 and above.

Was released on October 26, 2023, and ranges in price from $99 for the Fruity edition to $499 for the All-Plugins Edition.


FL Studio Signature Edition

Ableton Live


Learning curve

The learning curve for Ableton Live and FL Studio can vary depending on the user’s previous experience and individual preferences. For beginners, FL Studio may be more intuitive due to its visual interface and pattern-based approach.

However, Ableton Live offers a wide range of resources and tutorials to help users get started and master advanced techniques, making it a popular choice for those looking to expand their music production skills.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the choice between Ableton Live vs FL Studio depends largely on each user’s personal preferences, production style and individual needs.

Both DAWs are powerful music production tools that offer a wide range of features and capabilities, and the best choice will be the one that best suits your needs and allows you to express your creativity in the most effective way possible.

If you’re a music producer that wants to learn fast without the huge learning curve, then FL Studio is the DAW the prevails.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ableton better than FL Studio?

Ableton is a notch ahead of FL Studio in terms of live recording as well as audio manipulation, but in terms of the learning curve and making beats as fast as possible FL Studio takes the cake.


Do any professional music producers use FL Studio?

Yes. Big name music producers like Hit Boy, Metro Boomin, 9th Wonder and Lex Luger use FL Studio to make some of the biggest hits in the music industry.


What is the best DAW for beginners?

FL Studio compared to Ableton, Reason, Pro Tools, Cubase and more is the easiest what to start making beats today. Youtube is filled with free FL studio training videos that will have you making beats in no time. 


Is Ableton a good DAW for beginners?

Yes. Ableton has a user friendly set up and interface which makes creating music a breeze. The great thing about Ableton is all the extensive video tutorials  and community available for the music creator. 



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