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17 Ratings
2 Ratings
17 Ratings
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Score 9.3 out of 100
2 Ratings
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Score 8.6 out of 100

Attribute Ratings

  • Ableton Live is rated higher in 1 area: Likelihood to Recommend
  • Sound Forge is rated higher in 1 area: Support Rating

Likelihood to Recommend

10.0

Ableton Live

100%
7 Ratings
9.0

Sound Forge

90%
1 Rating

Support Rating

9.6

Ableton Live

96%
6 Ratings
10.0

Sound Forge

100%
2 Ratings

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

Sound Forge is great for when you need to edit a lot of audio, like interviews, spoken word, podcasts, monologues, presentations, lessons—you name it. When you have a lot of audio to get through, Sound Forge can make it go by very quickly by using such features as the markers and hotkeys for normalization, inserting silence (where needed), graphical fades to remove audio artifacts, and so on. I've been able to edit a 1 hour interview in 2 hours, having made hundreds of edits in the process. Sound Forge is less useful for situations where you want to hear a realtime effects chain, or record with VST effects on. For instance, if you want the person being recorded to hear their own voice through headphones with reverb and compression applied, I do not know how to do this in Sound Forge. I think it is impossible, but even if it is possible, it is not readily apparent how to do so.
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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

  • Markers - You can rapidly edit spoken audio to remove pauses, "ums" and "ahs," by using the marker feature while listening to the audio in realtime. Then, you go back and cycle through the markers and make the edits very quickly.
  • Hotkeys - Once you've learned the Sound Forge hotkeys, you can rapidly perform a number of tasks related to audio editing and mastering.
  • Fixing Clicks and Pops - The Graphical Fade feature allows you to easily draw volume envelopes in extremely short spans of audio, to successfully remove clicks and pops without affecting the rest of the sound.
  • Organizing VST Plugins - Sound Forge has a nice way of organizing VST effects into folders so you can put your most regularly-used plugins in a "Favorites" folder while organizing others in a sensible way.
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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

  • Batch Processing - While I like a lot of things about the batch audio processing in Sound Forge, the inability to hear the effects chain is limiting.
  • Performance - Sound Forge takes a long time to open large files the first time they are opened, as it draws the waveform. It also takes a long time to save large files, every time.
  • Inability to Listen to VST FX in Realtime - Technically you can listen in realtime, but only from the beginning of the waveform, rather and it is not easy. You have to open the VST effect and turn on the "Preview" mode which starts the audio from the very beginning, without being able to seek.
  • Inability to Chain VST FX - You have to apply one, then apply the next, then the next, in a destructive mode. The only non-destructive way you can test out different FX chains is by applying them one at a time, and then hitting "Undo" over and over to get back to an earlier state. But you couldn't, for instance, add a reverb, then add compression, then go back and change the reverb. You'd have to undo the compression first.
  • FX Preset Management - You can save FX presets but it does not save your last-used settings from session to session, and with some VST FX plugins, it doesn't even save them between application, undoing, and attempting to apply again.
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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

Sound Forge

Starting Price

Editions & Modules

Sound Forge 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

    I've never contacted MAGIX for support, nor Sony or Sonic Foundry before them (Sound Forge is on its 3rd developer now). But I've always been able to find exactly what information I needed through the support of its large user community. There are a number of audio engineering forums available where you can search the post history to find out how to do specific things in Sound Forge, or you can make a new post if you are running into an issue that has not already been solved.
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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

    I tend to use WaveLab for recording, because I can apply effects chains to the audio as it is coming in. So, if I'm recording a singer, I can give them reverb, compression, EQ, and other audio effects in realtime going into their headphones. I'm still recording the dry signal, so I can change all of those effects later if I wish. Sound Forge does not have a way to do this as far as I know. Where I do prefer Sound Forge is audio editing, specifically of spoken audio, although it is quite useful for music as well. I worked for a company once where I had to edit hundreds of testimonials. I was paid on a per-testimonial basis, flat rate, so I had a strong incentive to get them done as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality. I would listen through a testimonial all the way through, marking every area that had a long pause, an "ah" or an "um," a click, pop, or other undesirable audio artifact. I could then cycle through the markers and fix all the problems quickly.
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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

    • Sound Forge has had a very positive impact in saved time editing files. It would have taken me hours longer using WaveLab, Audacity, Adobe Audition, or some of the other competitors for tasks like editing interviews.
    • Sound Forge has also had a positive impact in saved time through its batch processing features which allow me to normalize and apply effects to a huge set of files all at once.
    • Sound Forge has not had any negative impacts that I am aware of beside the cost.
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