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Score 9.3 out of 100
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Score 8.1 out of 100

Attribute Ratings

  • Ableton Live is rated higher in 2 areas: Likelihood to Recommend, Support Rating

Likelihood to Recommend

10.0

Ableton Live

100%
7 Ratings
9.0

ACID Pro

90%
1 Rating

Support Rating

9.6

Ableton Live

96%
6 Ratings
9.0

ACID Pro

90%
1 Rating

Likelihood to Recommend

Ableton

Ableton Live is a perfect fit for loop-based music like electronic music of all varieties. It is especially suited to minimal techno and IDM, but is really suitable for any style of music that relies extensively on loops and samples. Ableton Live is also well-suited for sequencing out loop-based music through its Live view, while the Composer view allows for enough arranging features that you can take a song from concept to completion fairly easily. Ableton Live is less well-suited for fully recorded music that has no sample-based or looping components. It is less well-suited for non-electronic genres, although it is perfectly fine, but many of the features would not be useful or necessary in these cases.
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MAGIX Software

ACID Pro is great for electronic music, hip hop, and any loop-based music production such as for videogame soundtracks. It is great for audio-forward production, rather than MIDI-forward. If I were running a lot of hardware synthesizers, or even softsynths using MIDI, I would prefer another DAW since they often have better features, for instance in the shuffle department where Ableton Live has hundreds of shuffles to choose from for MIDI instruments. However, I still prefer time-stretching sound quality in ACID Pro, as well as the lack of audio artifacts in looping. To this day, Ableton Live has still not entirely figured out how to prevent clicks and pops at the beginning and end of loops, especially lower frequencies like basslines, without shaving an arbitrary amount of time off each side (.5 ms by default), resulting in lessened attack and audio artifacts during cuts. I feel that ACID Pro has a better audio engine for looping, although for many purposes this is not noticeable. Still, I prefer ACID Pro for wave-based (rather than MIDI-based) music that makes extensive use of loops.
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Pros

Ableton

  • Session View: This is the biggest advantage of Ableton. It provides you this view in which you can create different tracks for the same part of the song. For example:- If you are making the chorus of the song, you can save one thread. Now if you want to try and listen to a different drum set in a new thread, you can simply do that and listen to the new track while preserving the older one. Once you are satisfied with what you're listening, simple record the same in arrangement view and you are done. You can switch to the arrangement view and listen to the final song.
  • Pre-installed instruments and loops:- Ableton's library which is included with the software itself while you purchase it is amazing. I bet you will ever need third-party plugins for it. It comes loaded with hundreds of loops and number of instruments which are completely professional and free to use.
  • Amazing Graphical User Interface:- Even if you're a beginner in this field, Ableton can be learned within a few hours. The basic functionality of this software is very easy to understand and use. Of course, advanced stuff comes with practice but the basic functioning can be learned and within a few hours you are producing your own music.
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MAGIX Software

  • Audio sequencing: It's great for those who like to work primarily with waveforms, rather than MIDI.
  • Loop-based sequencing: It's perfect for loop-based music.
  • Envelopes: It's quite easy to do things like volume fades, crossfades, and other envelope-based audio manipulation of the waveform.
  • Time-stretch: ACID Pro has nice time-stretch filters.
  • Multitrack nondestructive sequencing: I like the UI for multitrack, and how easy it is to get back to a previous state through undo history, even copying something from a future state and then undoing a number of steps before pasting in the later content.
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Cons

Ableton

  • Version 10 chews up all my CPU but prior versions didn't
  • Midi channel automation isn't intuitive, have to make an instrument group
  • New version install should overwrite older versions
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MAGIX Software

  • MIDI: I don't think it is great for MIDI sequencing. There are much better piano rolls and software step sequencers out there.
  • Built-in effects: ACID Pro has not kept up with competitors like Ableton Live, who licensed Cytomic's Glue Compression for version 9 of their software, an incredible-sounding plugin that would otherwise cost a pretty penny but is now included for free in Live. That being said, I haven't used it but I see they are making strides in this area, with new versions of ACID Pro including third-party licensed effects like Zynpatic STEM MAKER 2 out of the box for free.
  • Live performance: ACID Pro still doesn't hold a candle to Ableton Live in this department.
  • Improvising with loops: Despite recently added features like the ACID Morph Pads, the Chopper, and the revised Beatmapper, which allow MIDI triggering of parts of samples as well as creating new sounds using raw audio as an input, I feel that ACID Pro has a ways to go before they harness the improvisatory power you get with something like Stutter Edit, or the performance features of Ableton Live.
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Pricing Details

Ableton Live

Starting Price

$79

Editions & Modules

Ableton Live editions and modules pricing
EditionModules
Live 10 Intro791
Live 10 Standard3592
Live 10 Suite5993
Live 11 Intro994
Live 11 Standard4495
Live 11 Suite7496
Live 10 Intro - Push7997
Live 10 Standard - Push1,0788
Live 10 Suite - Push1,2789
Live 10 Standard - Students & Teachers26910
Live 10 Suite - Students & Teachers44911
Push + Live 10 Standard - Students & Teachers1,06812
Push + Live 10 Suite - Students & Teachers1,24813
Max for Live15914
Max for Live - Crossgrade7915

Offerings

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services

Entry-level set up fee?

No setup fee

Additional Details

ACID Pro

Starting Price

Editions & Modules

ACID Pro editions and modules pricing
EditionModules

Footnotes

    Offerings

    Free Trial
    Free/Freemium Version
    Premium Consulting/Integration Services

    Entry-level set up fee?

    No setup fee

    Additional Details

    Support Rating

    Ableton

    I haven't had to reach out to support yet, but they're great at keeping me abreast with updates, compatibility issues, new features, and tons of videos on how to use the software. I feel like they're helping me success by giving me tools I can use in my daily work.
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    MAGIX Software

    ACID Pro was the first loop-based DAW I ever used, and I fell in love with it. I was an avid ACID Pro believer for many years, before making the switch to Ableton Live as my primary DAW. Even still, I prefer the sound quality of ACID Pro in many cases. Ableton Live just "sounds" like Ableton, and there are audio artifacts that annoy me. I have been able to work around many of them, but I still have a special place in my arsenal for ACID Pro and use it whenever the chance arises, typically for loop-based wave-heavy music that doesn't need to be performed live and doesn't have a strong reliance on MIDI sequencing.
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    Alternatives Considered

    Ableton

    I cannot say that the other programs listed aren't capable. They surely are. But for what I do and my workflow environment, Ableton suits my needs better. I know a lot of people that use Pro Tools and Logic Pro. They are both very powerful programs. I have knowledge of how to use them all. Going into different studios and collaborating with people, you need to know at least the basics of them all. But for me and my studio, we will continue to primarily use Ableton for the foreseeable future.
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    MAGIX Software

    Due to my history as an audio engineer and having worked at many studios over the years, I've been exposed to a wide range of DAWs from Pro Tools, Cakewalk, and Nuendo to Reaper, Max/MSP/Jitter, and Processing. (These latter two are not really DAWs, per se, but rather systems that can be used for programming audio production — Reaper has features like this as well.) I point this out simply to say that I have experience with a wide range of DAWs and am fairly agnostic about them. I certainly have preferences. If I'm working with an indie rock band or a singer-songwriter, I like Pro Tools, since it is an industry-standard. For hip hop or electronic music, I prefer Ableton Live or ACID Pro, since they make working with loops so much easier, and I believe the sound fidelity is better. I choose ACID Pro specifically for loop-based music which almost entirely comes from waveforms rather than MIDI instruments (real or virtual). I find ACID Pro's MIDI functionality lacking, but the ease of sequencing and working with loops more than makes up for it.
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    Return on Investment

    Ableton

    • Ableton Live allows me to rapidly sequence multitrack music as needed, without getting stuck at any step of the process.
    • Ableton Live also allows me to quickly export or upload to SoundCloud for easy sharing. This is a big time-saver.
    • The only negative ROI I can think of is the cost. There are competitors like Reaper that are much more affordable and have many of the same features.
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    MAGIX Software

    • Positive: Easy to use. Up and running in minutes. Virtually no learning curve, just drag, and drop.
    • Negative: Limited in its improvisatory and live performance. This has not made a negative impact on the business per se, but can be a creative block when you are trying to come up with a music bed or interstitial and want to experiment with mixing and matching different loops. There's no easy way to do this on the fly in ACID Pro, as there is with Ableton Live.
    • Positive: ACID Pro now includes more effects than ever, ameliorating the need to purchase plugins.
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