Free Fl Studio Daw

  1. Free Daws Like Fl Studio

Making music has never been easier or more accessible.

Digital audio workstation daw Aside from LMMS, Tracktion, and Audacity there are other, perhaps, lessor known free DAWs out there that preform all of the functions of FL Studio or Pro Tools. Free DAWs are a great way to test out functionality and features before making a purchase.

Advances in technology and music software have opened up the world of music production to practically everybody.

Just think:

20 years ago you would have needed a studio with professional equipment and years of experience to make a song on your own.

But now all it takes is a laptop and some creativity!

But there’s just one problem…

There are so many different DAWs (digital audio workstations) available to new producers that it can be hard to know which one is right for you.

What’s worse is that it’s largely a matter of individual taste. There’s no one “perfect DAW.”

Each DAW, depending on your needs and personal approach to music, will have a number of advantages and disadvantages.

Two of the most popular DAWs right now for music producers are FL Studio and Ableton.

Both are high quality programs, so you can’t go wrong with either one.

But they also have a hefty price tag, so you don’t want to just jump right in without a good understanding of its workflow and features.

Because even though they’re both popular pieces of software, they couldn’t be more different!

So without further ado, let’s take a look at Ableton vs FL Studio so you can make the best decision for your own personal needs.

FL Studio

Originally known as Fruity Loops, FL Studio is one of the most popular DAWs for rap and hip-hop production.

Look at any top ten rap chart from the past decade, and you’ll find at least one song that was made in FL Studio.

So if you make hip-hop (or want to), FL Studio is certainly worth a look.

It’s also very affordable compared to Ableton:

The base version is $99, while the more fully fledged “Producer Edition” is only $200.

Whichever version you purchase, your DAW will come with enough built-in effect and instrument plugins for you to get started right away.

The developers also offer a flexible free trial version that lets you create new projects so you can get a feel for the workflow.

FL Studio Workflow

Speaking of workflows, FL Studio’s workflow is what really sets it apart.

Most DAWs primarily rely on a timeline-centric workflow:

Usually the audio clips and instrument tracks are arranged linearly, in one timeline.

But FL Studio is different. Instead, it uses a pattern-based workflow.

Patterns in FL Studio allow you to quickly build looping drum sequences and instrument tracks in the Channel rack. Then you would lay out the patterns from the Channel rack into the Playlist (the master timeline).

If you’re coming from a traditional DAW, this might sound confusing…

But once you get the hang of it, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can sketch out ideas and song concepts.

FL Studio Pros and Cons

As with any DAW, FL Studio has its own strengths and weaknesses.

But these are mainly a matter of preference.

For example, take FL Studio’s pattern-based workflow:

If you make hip-hop beats, this function is perfect.

It allows you to loop and arrange drums, instruments, and samples quickly, making it much easier to build a full beat.

And considering that hip-hop music is based around loops and patterned arrangement, this makes FL Studio an ideal choice.

However, if you’re already comfortable producing with a different workflow, or if you don’t produce music that relies on patterns, then FL Studio might feel rigid and confusing.

Most of the functions you’ll use in FL Studio are separated in their own windows, and this might inhibit producers who prefer a seamless workflow.

Another disadvantage are the included instrument plug-ins.

Unless you are just getting started and are satisfied with basic sounds, you will probably be disappointed with FL Studio’s stock sounds.

This isn’t to say that they’re low-quality, but they’re fairly basic compared to the stock instruments in Ableton.

If you record your own audio, sample, or plan to use premium virtual instruments, this won’t be a problem.

And at a fraction of Ableton’s price, you can always invest your money into other instrument and sound libraries.

Overall, FL Studio is an excellent choice for most modern producers.

Despite its quirks and drawbacks, FL Studio is perfect for hip-hop producers, beginners, or experienced producers who prefer a pattern-based workflow.


In the past few years, Ableton has become increasingly popular for various types of music producers.

While FL Studio is the top choice for hip-hop production, Ableton is a little more flexible.

No matter what kind of music you make, you will find a way to make it work for you.

However, compared to FL Studio, Ableton is expensive.

The standard version is $449, and it has a notable limitation:

The maximum number of audio and midi tracks per project is 16 for each.

This is usually enough for most producers, but FL Studio doesn’t have this limitation.

Besides that, Ableton is a very powerful DAW with a seamless workflow.

Ableton Workflow

Similar to FL Studio, Ableton has a unique workflow for music production.

In addition to the standard timeline view for arranging midi clips and audio files, it features the “Session” screen.

The Session area is where MIDI and audio clips are arranged into scenes.

Scenes allow you to quickly sketch out ideas and string them together in unique ways.

For creative producers, this screen can offer almost unlimited possibilities for creative exploration and experimentation.

But if you prefer a standard workflow, Ableton’s timeline screen works much the same way as it does in other DAWs.

So whether you’re brand new to music production, or you’re familiar with the traditional “timeline” workflow, you will feel right at home with Ableton.

Ableton Pros and Cons

One of Ableton’s standout features are its sound design tools.

It offers a number of complex and advanced warping modes that allow you to warp audio clips and samples into something almost unrecognizable.

So if you like to experiment with sound design, Ableton is an excellent choice for the freedom it offers you.

On the downside, however, is Ableton’s complexity.

Ableton has a reputation of being a little more difficult to learn than other DAWs, especially FL Studio.

Its design and workflow are fairly unconventional, which can be a bit of a hurdle for newcomers.

The main screens, “Scene” and “Arranger”, can be difficult to understand at first.

But once you take the time to learn the program, you’ll realize how seamless you can create music in Ableton.

Overall, Ableton is a great choice for producers who create less structured music.

If you can get over the high price tag, the innovative workflow in Ableton is definitely a thrill to use.

Notable Users

By now you should have a good idea of which DAW will fit your needs.

But if you’re still in doubt, it might help to understand the type of music that each DAW is responsible for making.

This should help you get a feel for the type of sounds and styles that each DAW is suited to.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the notable users of FL Studio and Ableton.

Producers Who Use FL Studio

The list of notable FL Studio producers continues to grow and dominate the hip-hop charts.

Producers like Metro Boomin, Wondagurl, and Murda Beatz have produced some of their biggest songs on the platform.

But the list isn’t limited to mainstream hip-hop and trap. Plenty of sample-based producers, like 9th Wonder, have made powerful sample-based beats on the program.

A number of electronic producers use FL Studio as well:

Porter Robinson, DeadMau5 and Martin Garrix are all well known users of FL Studio.

By now, you can see that FL Studio isn’t limited to simple patterned beats. You can make nearly any style of music in FL Studio once you learn your way around the program.

Producers Who Use Ableton

The list of Ableton-based producers is just as long and illustrious as FL Studio.

One of the more notable hip-hop producers who uses Ableton is T-minus.

And Ableton’s varied sampling capabilities have also made it a favorite of experimental producers.

These include Knxwledge, Four Tet, and Flying Lotus.

It also attracts pop and alternative musicians like Panda Bear, Grimes and Imogen Heap.

It’s clear that Ableton is just as flexible as FL Studio, and attracts experimental and adventurous musicians.

Its workflow might even help to bring some creativity to your own music!

But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which producer uses the same program as you.

After all, a DAW is just a tool, and you still have to do the work.

Wrapping Up

After taking a look at both Ableton and FL Studio, you should have a good idea of which is best for you.

To summarize, here are the key takeaways from this post:

  • FL Studio uses a pattern-based production style, and Ableton has its own scene-based style.
  • Ableton starts at $449 for its standard version, and FL Studio starts at just $99.
  • Both DAWs have a diverse user-base, but FL Studio is prominently used by hip-hop and electronic music producers, and Ableton is primarily used by experimental and pop producers.

So what now?

Now you just need to pick one.

When it comes to Ableton vs. FL Studio, there really isn’t a wrong answer.

And there certainly isn’t a one size fits all solution out there (unfortunately).

It all depends on your personal taste and needs.

To make it easier, I’d recommend trying out the demo version of each program first. That way you can test them out without spending any money.

Once you’ve gotten a feel for each DAW, then you can commit to the full version.

But don’t stress about the decision…

Even if you want to switch later, here’s the good news:

Once you have general experience, learning a new DAW is fairly straightforward.

In fact, it’s often helpful to experiment with new DAWs and workflows for a fresh outlook on your creative process.

So have fun and remember –

It’s not about the DAW you use; it’s the music you make that matters!

Previous Post: Top 10 FL Studio Shortcuts For The Piano Roll

The modern DAW is one of the most powerful tools artists and producers have to create music.

But with all this power comes some pretty severe limitations and pitfalls.

Working on a computer screen solely with a mouse and keyboard just doesn’t offer the same tactile experience of the analog consoles of studios’ past.

Free Daws Like Fl Studio

Working on a computer screen solely with a mouse and keyboard just doesn’t offer the same tactile experience of the analog consoles of studios’ past.

That’s why MIDI-enabled DAW controllers are hugely popular with producers from beginner to professional.

In today’s DAW controller market there’s something out there for everyone, no matter what your specific needs are for producing your tracks.

In this article, we’ll look at the best DAW controllers for producers at all levels.

Here’s the 10 best DAW controllers on the market right now.

1. Ableton Push 2

Coming in at number one is the Ableton Push 2.

This MIDI controller does a lot more than just control parameters in Ableton.

It essentially makes it possible to move everything about your production workflow off the computer screen.

The user-friendly interface makes it easy to perform a variety of tasks like writing drum loops, chopping samples, playing scales, mixing and performing live–to name a few.

It’s the most well-integrated DAW controller on this list because it was designed specifically for Ableton.

It’s the most well-integrated DAW controller on this list because it was designed specifically for Ableton.

If you want an all-in-one DAW controller that can do just about anything and keep you from staring at a computer screen, the Ableton Push 2 should be high on your list.


  • The best-optimized controller for Ableton
  • Groundbreaking technology that takes you completely out of the DAW


  • Only works with Ableton
  • Somewhat expensive

2. Arturia Keylab Mk2

The Arturia Keylab series is an excellent place to start if you’re looking for a MIDI keyboard that doubles as a DAW controller.

The Keylab Mk2 comes in a variety of keyboard sizes, so depending on your budget and needs you can get a 49, 61 or 88 key version.

The Mk2 version comes in a solid aluminum build and even includes aftertouch to distinguish itself from its more affordable plastic-cased Keylab Essentials cousin.

The Keylab series all come with pads, sliders and knobs that are mappable to your DAW.

In the Mk2’s case, it comes with 16 pads and 10 sliders and knobs.

Any of Arturia’s Keylab series is a great option for controlling your DAW because they come bundled with access to Arturia’s V plugins, a big selection of re-imagined vintage synth VSTs.

For a solid DAW controller with a great keyboard that integrates with any DAW, you should definitely consider the Mk2 or any more affordable member of the Keylab family.

Free Fl Studio Daw


  • Rock-solid design and smart interface
  • Free access to Arturia VSTs


  • Expensive but there are less pricey Arturia Keylab options that are comparable

3. Icon QCON

The Icon QCON is the Cadillac of DAW controllers.

It essentially turns your DAW setup into a professional-looking studio with the look and feel of a vintage Neve console.

It’s perfectly designed for mixing and postproduction with automated sliders that physically move according to the levels set in your DAW.

It also comes with a transport section and navigation wheel that makes it easy to find and zoom in on the precise section of track you’re working on.

With flashy level meters, meticulously built faders and knobs, you’ll want the Icon QCON if you’re looking to use your DAW as a commercial console without investing in an expensive analog console.

The Icon QCON is the Cadillac of DAW controllers.


  • Comprehensive control of your DAW
  • Console-like feel


  • Very expensive

4. Novation Launchpad Pro

The Novation Launchpad Pro is the predecessor to the Ableton Push 2.

Anyone who compares the two will instantly notice their similar look and feel.

It has the same number of push pads less the interactive LCD screens that the Ableton Push uses to put its capabilities into the hardware space.

While it’s not a Push, the Launchpad Pro has a ton of functionality because it integrates with all DAWs and even hardware, not just Ableton.

It also includes useful buttons that map to different functions like a sequencer, chord mode, pan, sends, and a lot more.

It’s a more affordable version of the Push 2 but it still packs a lot of punch and is a great option for anyone looking to produce music without relying so heavily on the DAW interface.


  • Affordable alternative to the Push
  • High-quality build
  • Integrates with most DAWs


  • Not quite ready to completely move you out of the DAW

5. MPK Mini MkII

The Akai MPK Mini is one of the more popular DAW controllers on the market right now.

It’s an affordable MIDI keyboard that comes with eight drum pads and eight mappable knobs.

While it’s easily compared to the Launchkey MINI and the Minilab, it sets itself apart with its joystick control that can be used to modulate pitch and other parameters.

Another defining feature is its sustain input which makes it possible to hook up a foot pedal for added control.

It also includes an arpeggiator sequencer, which makes it very useful for working with hardware synths.


  • Uses legendary MPC drum pads
  • Good keyfeel and controller stick
  • Sustain input


  • Cheaper quality build
  • Less optimized for Ableton than the Launchkey Mini

6. Launchkey Mini Mk3

There’s a handful of mini key DAW controllers on the market right now, one of the most notable is Novation’s Launchkey.

Like most mini DAW controllers it comes with two octaves in mini keys, sixteen pads and eight mappable knobs.

However, the Launchkey Mini has all the trappings of a modern DAW controller which puts ahead of some of its older competition.

Just like the Launchpad, the Launchkey’s pad’s come with color-coded lights that map to reflect different parts of Ableton’s interface.

It also comes with a good arpeggiator and while it’s best optimized for Ableton, it also comes with great integration with other DAWs as well.


  • Well rounded MIDI controller with good features and integrations
  • Optimized for use with Ableton


  • Not as good of a key feel as other mini controllers
  • Better suited to finger drummers than keyboardists

7. Minilab Mk2

The most direct comparison to the Launchkey Mini Mk3 is the Minilab Mk2.

These are two very similar DAW controllers in terms of quality and build. Except that the Minilab comes with more knobs and fewer pads than the Launchkey.

The Minilab Mk2 doesn’t have a built-in arpeggiator like the Novation, so it’s not quite as good for controlling hardware synths–Arturia’s Keystep controller however is more set up for this application.

It makes up for not having an arpeggiator by bundling itself with the Analog Lab–a VST plugin collection with over 6000 synth sounds.


  • Great key feel
  • Access to Arturia’s VST collection


  • Less drum pads than other mini controllers
  • No arpeggiator

8. FaderPort 8

The Presonus FaderPort 8 is a DAW controller that focusses on the mixing side of music production.

It’s an affordable comparison to the Icon QCON.

It comes with eight fader controls that mechanically map to the settings in your DAW, meaning they move as you adjust them in your DAW.

Each fader comes with controls for adjusting pan, mute, solo and even editing plugins.

The FaderPort also includes a transport section and full console for zooming, scrolling, navigating your channel bank and more.

Considering its small footprint this console-style controller is quite versatile, of course, if you want more faders to get your hands on you can always upgrade to the larger format FaderPort 16.


  • Affordable alternative to the more advanced QCON
  • Good transport and navigation controls


  • Not a ton of faders unless you upgrade to the Faderport 16
  • Best optimized for Studio One over other DAWs

9. Launch Control XL

The Launch Control XL is a very simple version of the console-style DAW controller.

It has eight fader channels with three accompanying knobs for two sends and panning.

However, it’s possible to map to more sends and effects with the send select and device control buttons.

The Launch Control XL is mostly optimized for Ableton, but it can also be used with any DAW.

Its main weakness is that it lacks a dedicated transport and navigation section.

But, considering its affordable price this could be the right DAW controller if you’re getting started.

It’s a bit older so I’d especially recommend looking at the used market for this specific controller.

I’d especially recommend looking at the used market for this specific controller.


  • Cheapest option for a mixing console controller
  • Decent integrations with most DAWs


  • Small interface with limited features

10. Professional Fire

If you’re an FL Studio user you should take a look at the Akai Professional Fire since it’s the only DAW controller specifically designed for FL Studio.

This controller is mainly designed to match the sequencer interface that FL Studio is known for, it makes it easy to program beats on multiple channels and visually see your arrangement.

It also comes with knobs for adjusting the level, pan, filter and resonance of each mixer channel so you can use it within your mixing workflow too.

Also included is a transport section to help with streamlining production and recording.

The Professional Fire also functions as a MIDI keyboard and drum pad with it’s dedicated key and drum buttons.

Finally, you can use it for playing tracks in a live setting with its live performance mode.

For the aspiring FL Studio producer, this is an excellent option.

For the aspiring FL Studio producer, this is an excellent option.


  • The best option for controllers specific to FL Studio


  • More oriented for writing and creating than post-production