There are many great alternatives to FL Studio available, both free and paid, that offer similar or even more advanced features.
In this article, we will explore some of the top alternatives to FL Studio across two categories: installable offline DAWs that you can download and use on your computer, as well as online cloud-based DAWs that run in your web browser.
Offline (Installable DAWs) Alternatives to FL Studio
These are DAWs that can run offline, meaning they can be installed on a PC, and you can use them without necessarily being connected to the internet.
However, some of them may require an internet connection for installation and activation.
|$100 – $580
|$99 – $599
|$60 – $225
|Windows, Mac, Linux
|Windows, Mac, Linux
If FL Studio didn’t exist in this world, I’m sure I’ll be a hardcore Cubase user.
I’ve been using it since my college days, as it was installed on all the PCs in our audio lab, and I was trained on it for three years straight.
Cubase has been around since the early 90s and is considered one of the top DAWs for music production, especially for more complex recordings.
It shines when working with audio tracks, recording instruments and vocals, editing, and mixing capabilities.
The interface can seem overwhelming for beginners, but it provides professionals with endless options to craft their sound.
At around $500 for the full Cubase Pro version, it sits in the middle price range between entry-level and premium DAWs.
You get free updates within the version number but must purchase upgrades when Cubase 14 comes out, for example.
In my experience, the cost is worthwhile for the stable performance, editing features, Virtual Instruments, and effects that come bundled.
Transitioning from FL Studio would mean adjusting to Cubase’s different workflow.
While FL’s signature step sequencer caters to beat makers, Cubase utilizes a more traditional track-based system common in most pro DAWs.
The learning curve is steeper, but once you grasp the layout, Cubase allows meticulous control over every aspect of transforming raw sounds into professional recordings.
If you’re reaching FL Studio’s limitations for large projects, Cubase becomes an attractive alternative at comparable prices.
2. Ableton Live
Ableton Live is my second preference. It is used by music producers across genres.
As a long-time FL Studio user, I like Ableton Live for its intuitive workflow and flexibility.
Sometimes, I’m forced to use Ableton when collaborating with other producers and artists. So, learning to use Ableton is definitely a handy skill to have.
For beginners, Ableton Live has a slightly steeper learning curve compared to FL Studio.
But once you get the hang of Ableton’s session view and clip-launching workflow, it becomes a very creative space to sketch out musical ideas quickly.
The workflow lends itself well to live performances, too. I especially like Ableton’s midi capture feature that lets you record midi on the fly without having to activate recording.
Professionals love Ableton for its stability, low CPU usage, and many of its built-in instruments and effects.
Additionally, you get “Max for Live” with the Suite version, allowing endless sound design possibilities.
The Standard version ($439) itself has plenty to get you started. Compared to FL Studio’s Producer Edition at $199, Ableton Live is pricier but worth the investment.
One downside is that Ableton Live requires you to pay for major version upgrades, unlike FL Studio’s free lifetime updates.
But each upgrade brings meaningful improvements. For example, Live 11 added features like MPE support, comping, and an improved midi editor.
FL Studio is not bad here, either. There have been some major groundbreaking changes Image-Line has introduced from FL Studio 20 to 21.
Transitioning from FL Studio does involve a learning curve to adapt to Ableton’s unique workflow.
However, once I customized the interface to my liking, I noticed some improvements in my productivity.
The workflow lends itself better to finishing tracks with all the tools readily accessible for mixing and mastering.
I would highly recommend producers try out Ableton Live’s 90-day free trial before going all in.
3. Logic Pro
In my experience, Logic Pro is the digital audio workstation (DAW) of choice for most producers working on a Mac.
I know many producers who have purchased a Mac specifically so they can use Logic.
Now, that’s not to say there aren’t some who still prefer FL Studio, even on a Mac, but Logic tends to be the dominant choice.
Logic Pro really shines when it comes to its user-friendly and streamlined workflow.
The single-window interface allows you to easily record audio and MIDI, edit regions, mix with plugins, and arrange your project without getting lost clicking through different windows.
This makes Logic an intuitive choice for beginners getting started with music production on a Mac.
I also love Logic’s huge library of studio-quality software instruments, effects, and thousands of Apple Loops right out of the box.
This saves you money compared to buying additional plugins and samples.
At $200, Logic Pro is very affordable considering everything you get. Also, Apple provides free updates with new versions, so you never have to pay extra.
The transition from FL Studio can feel unfamiliar at first, but Logic’s workflow lends itself well to finishing full songs instead of getting stuck in loop mode.
I have some friends who have made the switch and become faster, more creative producers after adjusting to Logic’s musical and inspiring interface.
So, if you’re on a Mac, Logic is absolutely worth trying out as an alternative, especially if you find FL Studio’s workflow frustrating or uninspiring at times.
If you’re looking for a full-featured and highly customizable digital audio workstation (DAW) alternative to FL Studio, Reaper is an excellent option to consider.
As an FL Studio user myself, I was impressed by Reaper’s depth of features and flexibility when I started exploring it.
Reaper shines with its near-endless customizability – you can tweak almost every aspect of the interface and workflow to suit your needs.
While FL Studio allows some basic custom themes now, Reaper takes it to another level.
You’ll find accessing the tools and features you use most is faster as you can put them right at your fingertips.
The learning curve may be steeper at first, but Reaper includes excellent documentation to help you master it.
Once you do, you’ll find editing and manipulating audio clips is more seamless compared to FL Studio.
Reaper makes applying effects and processing directly on audio clips efficient. Stretching and tempo changes can be done easily, too.
While FL Studio has improved its sample and preset browser, Reaper is still more powerful.
You can preview, edit, and work with samples straight in the browser before bringing them into your project.
Adding metadata, ratings, and keywords makes organizing a large sample library easier.
For mixing and mastering, Reaper provides all the tools you need right within the box.
The FX chains, routing options, and track & bus processing capabilities are extremely versatile for managing complex projects.
Unlike FL Studio’s fixed pricing structure, Reaper is offered on a try-before-you-buy basis without enforcing any artificial license restrictions.
You can download and evaluate it for free with no time limits before deciding to purchase it for just $60 for a personal license.
This single reasonable payment provides you lifetime free updates as Reaper continues to evolve.
The bottom line is that Reaper provides professional-grade tools and customization at an affordable price.
If you’re looking to take your productions to the next level, I highly recommend giving the free trial a spin to experience its capabilities yourself.
LLMS (LMMS) is an intriguing free and open-source option worth considering. As a beginner, you’ll appreciate the low learning curve and intuitive workflow.
The UI resembles classic DAWs like FL Studio, Cubase, and Pro Tools, which makes transitioning easier.
I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is already using FL Studio.
But if you are completely new to DAWs, you can hop on and try it out to see if you can work around it.
I found the built-in instruments and effects sufficient for crafting professional tracks.
The piano roll editor and pattern-based sequencing mirror what you’re already used to in FL.
However, LLMS lacks some advanced features like proper sample warping and sidechaining.
Still, for a free DAW, it’s quite capable. You can achieve solid results without spending a dime.
Lifetime free updates mean you can stick with it as long as you like while improving your skills.
Down the road, upgrading to something like FL is easy since the core concepts transfer over seamlessly.
I believe LLMS won’t replace major DAWs anytime soon, but it remains a superb starting point for novices.
Online (Web DAWs) Alternatives to FL Studio
Online DAWs run on cloud architecture. So their performance pretty much depends on your device, internet connection, and the quality of the web servers companies use.
These browser-based DAWs stand apart from traditional desktop DAWs, allowing easy access without installation and opening up music production to more people.
I found that these online platforms can’t replace FL Studio entirely because of their limited integration capabilities, which restrict you from using professional audio plugins.
Most importantly, you must have an active internet connection to use these platforms.
However, they simplify remote collaboration and let you quickly draw out a song structure with samples and loops.
So here are the ones I recommend:
BandLab is an online digital audio workstation (DAW) that offers many powerful features for music production while maintaining an intuitive and user-friendly interface.
As an alternative to paid DAWs like FL Studio, BandLab provides a free option that is accessible directly in your web browser.
Starting a new project on BandLab looks like this:
You can create a project from scratch or use their AI-assisted SongStarted feature to kickstart a music idea based on your style.
If you have a high-speed internet connection, the project will load fast.
Otherwise, it’ll take some time as BandLab loads all the project’s elements (sample, settings, effects, midi, etc.).
For example, I tried opening a new project with a high-speed fiber network and a 4G mobile data connection.
It took around 47 seconds to load the project using the mobile data, whereas, with the fiber network, it loaded instantly in under two seconds.
One of BandLab’s standout features is its automatic pitch correction and effects.
You can auto-tune vocals and add professional-sounding effects to refine your tracks with just a few clicks.
The built-in drum machine also makes beat-making easier, providing a library of beats and rhythms that can be easily customized.
This makes laying down drum patterns quick and hassle-free.
Also, the ability to import your samples and audio gives you the flexibility to make your creations your own.
BandLab also allows MIDI integration, opening the door for those who prefer composing with virtual instruments.
Also, its library of synth sounds and effects further expands your experience.
On the collaboration front, BandLab fosters community engagement through features that allow you to share your projects and provide feedback on others’ work.
This promotes musical growth and allows you to connect with fellow artists.
However, BandLab’s web-based access can feel limiting compared to installable desktop DAWs like FL Studio.
The interface, while intuitive, lacks some of the advanced editing and mixing capabilities.
BandLab is a great starting point for those new to music-making before committing to a paid DAW.
I recommend it for beginners in music production, as you can navigate the composing part easily.
While more serious producers may still prefer the advanced capabilities of FL Studio, BandLab provides a free alternative for crafting high-quality tracks online.
Behind the scenes, BandLab is also building a new offline DAW called Cakewalk, and I’m eagerly waiting for its release.
Soundtrap is a Spotify product that offers an intuitive online alternative to FL Studio for crafting professional tracks.
The platform provides a clean layout with various built-in instruments, loops, and effects that are easily accessible on the sidebar.
This makes it easy for beginners to create music without a steep learning curve.
Soundtrap also assists with music theory by displaying key signatures and suggesting chords.
While FL Studio offers more advanced capabilities, Soundtrap provides all the essentials, like editing, mixing, and exporting tracks.
The loop library gives quick access to melodies, drum patterns, and more to kickstart your projects.
Simple editing features allow you to arrange compositions seamlessly.
On the collaboration front, Soundtrap enables real-time co-production by allowing multiple users to work on projects simultaneously. This fosters creative teamwork.
However, experienced producers may find Soundtrap limiting.
While it covers the basics, pro mixing and mastering tools like the ones in FL Studio are missing.
Hardcore EDM or hip-hop producers requiring intricate editing may be left wanting more.
Soundtrap delivers an accessible music production experience perfect for beginners.
It also has a built-in podcast feature that allows you to record and publish podcasts directly to Spotify.
8. Amped Studio
Amped Studio offers a simplified alternative tailored for users just starting their music production journey.
The main advantage of Amped Studio over other DAWs in this list is that it is also a PWA (Progressive Web Application), meaning you can run it offline.
As shown below, you can install the web application to your PC, and it’ll create a desktop shortcut to open the DAW directly.
Remember, you won’t be able to access the library when using the program offline.
You’ll have to use samples saved locally when running offline, and the projects you work on will be saved locally.
Next time you connect to the internet, all the files will be synced with the cloud.
Amped Studio has a clean and intuitive interface. The instruments, effects, and editing tools are logically organized in easy-to-navigate panels.
This makes the learning curve much gentler for complete beginners.
Amped Studio’s paid version also features an AI-assisted feature that allows you to generate tracks based on genre, tempo, and desired song length.
While Amped Studio lacks some of the advanced capabilities of FL Studio, it provides user-friendly versions of all the core components.
You can easily add virtual instrument tracks, create melodies and basslines with the piano roll, and mix using basic effects.
The more accessible workflow allows you to focus on songwriting rather than technical complexities.
While the streamlined interface benefits beginners, pro users may feel restricted.
Amped Studio’s simplified mixing tools pale compared to FL Studio’s endless effects and automation options.
Audiotool offers an intriguing online alternative to FL Studio with unique capabilities.
It offers an entirely free and user-friendly experience, making music production accessible to everyone regardless of experience level.
Audiotool’s workflow differs from mainstream DAWs, with tracks, workspaces, and routing reminiscent of a modular system like Reason.
This provides a fresh, creative approach. Anyone who likes to play around with the routing of analog gears will love it.
This gives us extensive creative control without installing any software. The built-in instruments and samples make it easy to start crafting tracks instantly.
While Audiotool lacks some advanced features of FL Studio, its mixer, and effects offer in-depth mixing capabilities.
You can route individual sounds to separate mixer channels like a professional DAW.
Also, the array of effects enables detailed sound design.
Drum beat creation is intuitive with the Machinist device. You can easily drag and drop samples to build patterns.
The ability to loop patterns enables you to build lengthy, dynamically evolving compositions over time by switching between created patterns.
While the Reason-esque workflow offers versatility, pro users accustomed to FL Studio may find Audiotool limited.
Features like drum programming and mixer routing still make it a valuable tool for producers looking to craft tracks online.
Soundation is an online DAW with a freemium pricing model.
With the free plan, you can have three projects and 1GB of storage. You’ll have to upgrade to one of their premium plans for unlimited projects.
Upon first look, Soundation’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface evokes a sense of familiarity for Ableton Live users.
The clean and straightforward layout provides quick access to instruments, loops, effects, and editing tools, covering the fundamentals for song creation.
While the streamlined workflow lacks the advanced capabilities of FL Studio, it covers the core fundamentals like adding tracks, editing MIDI, and mixing.
MIDI note editing allows basic piano roll editing to create melodies and harmonies. This caters more to simple songwriting.
The effects and instruments are more basic, which can be limiting for experienced producers.
Complex editing workflows and detailed automation seen in professional DAWs are lacking in Soundation. The focus is on simplifying the process.
Unlike advanced DAWs like FL Studio, Soundation focuses more on ease of use than robust features. This makes it better suited for hobbyists.
In short, Soundation offers an easy-to-use online FL Studio alternative tailored for beginners.