Electronic dance music, better known as EDM, took the world by storm almost a decade ago. Today, the genre boasts hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe. The genre generates billions of dollars every year, and EDM tracks have even broken records on platforms like Spotify.
If you love EDM, though, you may be thinking about more than just listening. You want to get involved in the production of tracks. You may even dream of becoming one of the world’s top producers.
It all starts with the right equipment. What are your options for music making apps? If you’re working on a Mac, as many EDM producers do, then you have plenty of choices.
Of course, having so many options can make it tough to pick just one app. We’ve narrowed it down to 11 EDM production programs for Mac and iOS. If you choose one of these programs, you can’t go wrong.
- 1 1. Garageband is Tried and True
- 2 2. Other Free Music Making Apps
- 3 3. PreSonus Studio One is a Good Starting Place
- 4 4. Build a Library of Loops and Samples with Reason
- 5 5. Check out MAGIX’s Suite of Music Making Apps
- 6 6. Steinberg Cubase Pro
- 7 7. Ableton Has Stood the Test of Time
- 8 8. FL Studio Has Broad Appeal
- 9 9. Logic X Pro
- 10 10. Reaper is Powerful, Yet Simple
- 11 11. Avid Pro Tools is Industry-Grade Software
- 12 The Latest Trends in EDM
1. Garageband is Tried and True
If you’re looking for powerful, yet free, music creation software, you don’t need to look any further than what came loaded on your Mac.
Garageband ships free with every Mac, meaning you have exactly what you need to start building beats and drops right now.
Some people may scoff at using Apple’s freeware, but the truth is that it’s a pretty decent program. Since it’s free, it’s a great place for the beginning EDM producer to start. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or worry about a subscription running out.
There’s also an app version available. To get started, learn how to record audio on your Mac, then fire up the program.
Garageband is simple, but recent updates have brought it more in line with other music-making software offered by Apple. It includes some neat features, such as Drummer, which intuitively plays along with your compositions.
2. Other Free Music Making Apps
If you’re looking for a Garageband alternative, but don’t want to shell out big bucks, you’re not out of options just yet. There are quite a few good freeware options out there for making music on your Mac.
One of the best is Audacity, which is maintained by a group of volunteers. Although the interface isn’t exactly pretty, the software itself is both simple and powerful. You have plenty of options for overdubbing, recording multi-channel audio, and more.
Another option is Ardour, which is a full open-source DAW. The interface is a little more user-friendly than Audacity, and it offers most of the features you’d expect in other programs. As an added bonus, there’s plenty of community support for users.
3. PreSonus Studio One is a Good Starting Place
PreSonus offers up a tiered DAW for EDM producers. You can level up the software as your career and compositions expand.
The Studio One DAW is now in its fourth version, and it’s built up a solid reputation. The software is quite capable, and the layout is user-friendly and intuitive.
Better yet, you can start out with the free version of the program. While Prime doesn’t include access to all the tools, it does give you a chance to test the software out and learn the interface. If you like it, you can always upgrade to the Artist or Pro tiers, which give you access to an expanded range of tools.
The paid versions include tools like Chord Detector and a powerful sampler. Plugins aren’t supported in the free version, but there are some for the paid version.
If you’re looking for a program that’s easy to use and can grow with you, Studio One is a great option.
4. Build a Library of Loops and Samples with Reason
Reason is just one of the music making apps offered by Propellerhead, but it’s easy to see why this one makes “best of” lists. The latest version of this software offers you more than ever.
Reason lets you emulate samplers, synthesizers, signal processors, sequencers, and mixers. It also offers you a library of drum loops and samples. With the addition of new synths and instruments, Reason’s rack is more expansive than ever.
It also offers you Multi Lane Editing for MIDI, which lets you work with melodies and chords easily. It’s also effective for building beats on Mac.
5. Check out MAGIX’s Suite of Music Making Apps
It’s not fair to talk about one MAGIX program and not another. The company released a new version of Acid Pro, which was previously offered by Sony’s Creative Software line.
The new version includes a sleek, modern interface, along with more loops and effects.
Another option is Samplitude Pro X. It’s well known for its powerful editing capabilities. It also includes the Melodyne Essential pitch and time-shifting.
6. Steinberg Cubase Pro
If you’re still wondering how to mix music on Mac, Cubase Pro might be just what you’re looking for. Steinberg’s award-winning audio engine is complemented by a wide range of advanced features.
That’s what makes Cubase Pro a well-rounded production suite. With plenty of virtual instruments, effects, and a library of sounds, you can mix to your heart’s content.
At the heart of this program is its engine, which focuses on superior audio quality. It definitely doesn’t hurt that it’s intuitive as well, offering a high-performance display. With a complete library of tools and sounds, you’ll be well on your way to getting that rhythm out of your head.
Steinberg also offers an app version, Cubasis, so you can take your production on the road with you.
7. Ableton Has Stood the Test of Time
The first version of Ableton was introduced almost 20 years ago, back in 2001. Updates have helped it stay relevant, even as the EDM scene has grown and changed.
Today, Ableton Live 10 has a massive following. It’s particularly well-liked for its MIDI sequencing, which is second to none.
Many producers also prefer Ableton’s intuitive and user-friendly workflow. Once you’ve started producing music in this environment, nothing else will quite compare.
Ableton’s most unique feature is its Session mode. This mode allows you to create shorter Clips, which are held in banks. You can then layer Clips together, playing with textures and riffs.
Ableton’s learning curve is steep, though. Take advantage of the free trial before paying for the software.
8. FL Studio Has Broad Appeal
FL Studio is one of the most popular music making apps available for Mac. It’s used across the industry, from people just starting out to industry pros.
What’s so great about FL Studio? Most people say they love the interface. Structured navigation keeps your production process streamlined. The graphical user interface makes change simple.
It also has a wide range of easy-to-install plugins, which expand its capabilities even more. If you want the software used by producers like Martin Garrix, Alan Walker, and Slushii, FL Studio is for you.
9. Logic X Pro
Apple has another entry for those of you still wondering how to make beats on Mac. Logic Pro X shares plenty of features with Garageband, including its user-friendly interface.
Logic X Pro also offers you the ease of use through connection to your iPad. You also have the ability to upload your tracks to iCloud automatically. You can even add your compositions to the app version of Garageband so you always have your music on the go.
Logic X Pro’s biggest advantage is that it offers more than Garageband, including powerful tools like Flex Pitch and Flex Time. There are also tools that adjust MIDI instruments, as well as a variety of virtual instruments.
Finally, Logic X Pro comes with a reasonable price tag, and users of Garageband will find themselves right at home.
10. Reaper is Powerful, Yet Simple
If you want great audio and MIDI routing, coupled with multi-channel support, meet Reaper. This program includes an integrated scripting editor and video support.
Reaper might be the best program you’ve never heard of. It tends to fly under the radar, possibly because it doesn’t have tons of plugin options or the prettiest interface. Its simple design, though, is part of what makes it so useful.
Beyond that is the price. Compared to other pro software, Reaper is far more affordable. If you want to make great music but don’t want to spend too much, invest in Reaper.
11. Avid Pro Tools is Industry-Grade Software
What do film companies, streaming service providers, and radio stations have in common with music producers?
There’s a good chance they’re all using Avid Pro Tools. This software is considered state-of-the-art for most industry leaders. As a result, it comes with some of the most cutting-edge tools available.
Pro Tools advances automation, making it easier to create compositions. It also offers UVI Falcon, a virtual instrument that lets you drag-and-drop sounds.
In short, Pro Tools is the fastest way to start producing your best work. It’s one of the more expensive entries on this list, so you may want to wait to buy it. If you’re serious about music production, though, it’s more than worth the price tag.
The Latest Trends in EDM
As you can see, there’s no shortage of music making apps to choose from. Whether you’re curious about music production or a seasoned pro, there’s a software solution to fit every need, skill level, and budget.
Whether you’re looking for more equipment reviews or just want to keep up with the latest EDM news, you’re in the right place. Check in with us frequently to stay up to date on all things EDM.