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FL Studio VS Ableton - Full comparison

fl studio vs ableton

It is one of the hottest battlegrounds between musicians and producers. You can argue for hours and days, but there is another way to look at it.
From my extensive experience, I realised that software is only good. Still, there is software that a musician feels comfortable working with compared to others Today. We will objectively bring these 2 DAWs to the table, for sure there is a lot of more good DAW like cubase, pro tools and more.

We will review the interface, the widgets, and the plugin package
So in the question of FL Studio VS Ableton. The decision will be yours. Enjoy!


If you are a seasoned producer, you have probably already heard of the 2 DAWs, but let’s do a short review of both to enter the review smarter.

FL Studio

Under its old name, Fruity Loops is software for producing and creating music in the studio, founded in 1998 by the Image line company.
The interface Building from a different DAW makes fl studio a desirable software among young producers. FL Studio works in a fluid and easy interface that separates the effects processing unit (mixer) from the music creation and assembly unit (playlist).
Inside the mixer, things work quite similarly to the other programs, but in the playlist, things happen in a fantastic way.
Creating songs or sections is made possible by adding MIDI patterns, thus creating the role of drums, followed by the piano, etc.
It is so easy to start creating music in this way that within a few minutes of tinkering, you can understand the essence of the software.
This is, in general, about fl studio.

Ableton Live

ableton vs fl studio

A year after its predecessor, Ableton live was launched in 1999.
It is software for producing music in the studio and live.
Ableton is adapted for live due to the adaptation of playing beats in a regular cycle,
which gave the musicians inspiration and a non-stop-flowing work environment.
The different creation modes (session and arrangement), the grid that is the timeline for creation,
the digital mixer of the software, clips, and more is what give the software its uniqueness and lightness in live and in the studio.


Workflow and interface

Regarding music production, there are two main schools of thought regarding workflow: linear and non-linear. In a linear workflow, the music is composed and recorded linearly, typically in a sequencer like FL Studio. This workflow is often favored by those from a traditional music background, as it is more intuitive and familiar.
In a non-linear workflow, on the other hand, the music is composed and recorded in a non-linear fashion, typically in a DAW like Ableton Live. This workflow is often favored by those from a more electronic music background, as it is more flexible and allows for more creativity.
It is essential to say that everyone has the workflow they like, so take all the following parameters with a limited guarantee and check for yourself.

FL Studio

FL Studio is a popular DAW known for its user-friendly interface and easy-to-use workflow. It’s a great DAW for beginners and experienced producers alike.

One of the best things about FL Studio is its Piano Roll editor. This is an excellent tool for composing melodies and harmonies. It’s also very easy to add different effects to your melodies with FL Studio’s built-in plugins. as with any DAW but more flexy.

Another strength of FL Studio is its step sequencer called “channel rack” This is an excellent tool for creating drum patterns and basslines. You can use it to get production direction, but it’s not as intuitive as the Piano Roll editor.

The mixer is excellent and routes to it through the tools, not through defined channels (just like analog).
Each channel has 9 slots in which you can apply the desired effects. Of course, you will also find all the advanced techniques of a sending channel, parallel, and more.

Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a popular DAW known for its flexible workflow and powerful live performance features. It’s a great DAW for electronic music producers and live performers.

One of the best things about Ableton Live is its Session View. This is a great way to experiment with ideas and create spontaneous arrangements. You can also use the Session View to create live sets that can be performed live.

Another strength of Ableton Live is its clip-based workflow. This allows you to quickly and easily experiment with different ideas. You can also record your audio and MIDI clips and trigger them in real time.

Good mixer. This is where you can add different effects to your tracks, like EQ, compression, and reverb. The mixer also allows you to route different tracks to different.


FL Studio VS Ableton Workflow Comparison

MIDI performance fl studio vs Ableton

FL Studio – MIDI and piano roll

Design and planning are among the top priorities for Image Line Software Company. FL Studio boasts superior input and recording capabilities that are unrivaled. Once you have entered your notes into the piano roll window, a vast array of options become available to you, including quantization, weight changes, arpeggios, and length layouts, among others. For instance, by using the dedicated Piano Roll tools, you can create a natural and realistic guitar sound for a simple guitar pattern. Furthermore, FL Studio provides advanced mapping capabilities for MIDI controllers, which can save you valuable work time


Ableton – MIDI and piano roll

The MIDI feature in Ableton is as high quality as the rest of the software in recording, editing, and cutting.
But gives a unique twist to the advanced options for Live. Using the session mode, we can record MIDI (audio as well) in a loop
and control with dedicated controllers for Ableton, such as the well-known PUSH on every parameter and virtual instrument in the software and thus achieve peak performance live and control our entire session through the midi controller.

Audio recording and editing FL vs. Ableton

Effective audio editing is crucial when working with a DAW. Whether recording vocals or instruments, we want the editing process to be smooth, efficient, and hassle-free.

Previously, prior to version 20, Ableton had the upper hand over FL Studio in terms of audio capabilities. This was due to FL Studio’s interface, which required audio files to be manipulated on the playlist as a file, rather than allowing direct editing of audio details.

However, in 2023, Image Line released FL Studio 21, which made significant changes to audio editing and positioned themselves favorably against other DAW software in the market.

Ableton, on the other hand, features a simple interface where each audio file gets a sampler panel below, offering advanced editing capabilities on the channel itself.

To be fair, both programs are excellent for high-quality audio work. You can record, edit, and make changes using the industry’s best tools available today.

Ableton vs. FL Studio Plugins, Samples, Presets


We could list all the plug-ins for you in a table. Still, I want you to understand more about the main plug-ins in each DAW.
Let’s start with the design because there is something important here.
In fl studio, as in most programs. There is a design adapted to each plug-in, whether it is a musical instrument or an effect, a different and colorful design.
On the other hand, Ableton has an interesting design line (some annoying) that all the plug-ins open in a kind of design template in Ableton’s light grey colors without too much uniqueness, but that’s just the design. Let’s dive deeper.

There are a few instruments you’ll want to familiarise yourself with to get perspective on the value you’re getting.


Main instrument in fl studio

Let’s start with FL’s first sampler, DirectWave. It’s a powerful, simple engine with which you can trigger any sound into action, literally any sound. The DirectWave bursting with different settings and options, but what’s more exciting is that fl studio has a list of tools and Instrumentation sampled and ready for work, including pianos (acoustic and electric), guitars, wind instruments, strings, and percussion! It’s one of the more useful tools in the software, and the default is just the beginning of where you can take it.
Let’s continue to fl studio’s amazing synthesizers,harmor and harmless, which are a combination of connecting synths with a combination of simple image modeling and advanced capabilities,
We also have the syntrus and Toxic Biohazard, which is FM synths. Flex, Poizone, and Sawer, which is just another small part of fl studio’s grandiose list of ins/synth.


harmor fl studio
Harmor powerful synthesizer from Image line

Main instrument in Ableton

the list of instruments in Ableton is more limited, but it is full of power for any kind of style
Ableton’s well-known sampler looks small, but it has perfect control over any sound you put into it, with deep sound design capabilities.
The operator is a traditional synth with a combination of FM that has a powerful sound engine with an impressive preset package
The Wavetable is a synth in wavetable technology that gives you full control over synthesis using a sample, one of my favourites.
Tension, Analog, and Electric are three more quality synths with which you can create any possible tone, from vintage to crazy lead sounds.

Wavetable from Ableton


Here, it’s a draw.
Both fl studio and Ableton live have a package of amazing samplers.
The samples of the drums in fl are in a huge amount of all styles and are stored in an orderly manner in the convenient browser of the software.
It can be said that instrument and synth samples there are less supply in fl (for those who use them) than from Ableton
In Ableton. On the other hand, the drum samples are limited, but more than enough.
With such sample packages, there is only so much to look for.


Effects & Sound Processors

Unlike the previous paragraph here, although possible, we will always want to find the tools with the tone of sound we want and build ourselves a toolbox for mixing and mastering. Let’s go over EQs, compressors, and reverb
These tools will give you direction regarding the complete package that awaits you.



Let’s start with parametric EQ. There is not too much to extend because it is what claims in most programming to be more technical and without tone.
In fl studio, we have Fruity parametric 2, a great tool with convenient settings and options for solo channels.

At Ableton, we have the EQ Eight, which is simple and incredibly usable
These two are the 2 main EQ programs.

Let’s move on to EQ and additional filters.

In fl studio, we have the Graphic EQ, another really simple EQ that is very useful for correcting specific frequencies.
The fruity filter is an advanced cutoff. last, but not least is the Fruity filter love.
This is a mighty frequency filter with arpeggio and automation capabilities within the plugin.
You can find a long list of advanced presets there.

At Ableton, we have the Auto filter. It is an analog filter emulation with advanced filter capabilities (12dB, 24dB filtering)
and an excellent volume envelope and LFO. This is one of the most advanced filters with everything you need for any sound.
Another advantage is its smart engine which saves a lot of processing power.
EQ Channel is a simple but incredibly useful 3-band filter unit.



FL Studio: the Fruity compressor with all the standard parameters.
It’s like several styles in one because we have several different compressors,
like strong, medium, and vintage. Afrojack said that he uses it as his main tool.



The Maximus is a combination of limiter/compressor/maximizer.
It comes with a volume envelope and division into frequencies. It is one of the perfect tools for dynamics of any kind.
We have the Multiband compressor. It is excellent and does a great job if you want to strengthen a certain area with a warm color.

Ableton live: The main compressor in Ableton comes with 3 modes peak, RMS, and expand
It Comes with all the parameters you know and with some more unique ones,
For example, preset frequency cutting and automatic sidechain.
The next dynamic tool is the Dynamic tube which gives a minor tone to every sound and does it excellently. It will be used a lot by you, believe me.
The Drum bus is a glue compressor for a group of drums characterized by a high ratio and a warm and beautiful tone.


This is partly because each artist prefers a different type of space effects. Still, we will give you a brief glimpse from the 2 DAWs.

FL Studio: Fruity reverb and its next generation are small reverb with impressive capabilities even for other software giants. They have normal parameters such as size, dry/wet, and more…
And some other interesting options such as modulations, mid/side and more.

Fruity Convolver is a reverb with Convolution Reverb technology (reverb adjusted according to the sample).
This is a genius plugin with extreme capabilities in everything related to space design, comes with a built-in EQ.

LuxeVerb, the newest, is an advanced algorithmic reverb with a luxurious and malleable sound capable of simulating realistic acoustic spaces of all sizes, mimicking electromechanical reverb devices, and creating ‘otherworldly’ reverb effects incorporating pitch shifting and automatic control of dynamics.

Ableton live: Corpus is an effect that simulates the acoustic characteristics of seven resonant objects. Corpus uses physical modeling technology to provide various parameters and modulation options.

Echo is an advanced space effect with the ability to fully control the envelope of the right and left position.
Using a shell is possible in combination with a full filter and thus obtaining unreproducible space products.

Hybrid reverb is considered a competitor of the Fruity convolver.
It has two powerful reverb engines, one conventional and the other using the convolution method.
With the combination of importing an audio file, you can produce amazing algorithmic space patterns.

So far, we have compared the total toolbox offered by the two DAWs.
We have reviewed the tools chosen for our taste that represent each software, but there are many more.
In the next part, we will understand the budget we will need and the various plans.

Prices and plans comparison

Before we approach the review that will clarify everything for you, it is important to understand one thing. Even if you compare fl studio vs ableton In the price sector, FL Studio has an unlimited advantage over Ableton; this follows a smart rule established by the software’s founders: FREE lifetime update.

Purchasing the software once entitles the user to receive updates every one and a half versions. While this is an impressive feature, it is not a determining factor when selecting a software package, as most programs do not operate in this way. In addition, those who prefer Ableton may avoid FL Studio due to its price point.

When deciding on a software package, it is essential to consider the following factors:

1. Set clear goals for your music production and select a program that aligns with those goals.
2. Plan for the future and select a package that offers a suitable long-term solution.
3. Many software manufacturers offer starter programs with limited options, which can hinder an artist’s progress. It is important to look for a package that includes fundamental options such as audio recording and essential plugins.
To that end, we will compare the two most popular DAW packages available.



FL StudioAbleton Live
  • Fruity Edition
  • Producer Edition
  • Signature Edition
  • All Plugins Edition
  • Intro
  • Standard
  • Suite
  • $99
  • $199
  • $299
  • $499
  • $99
  • $499
  • $999
Lifetime update
Lifetime update
No, but one-year upgrade plan available
Special features
  • Powerful piano roll
  • Wide range of virtual instruments and effects
  • Flexible arrangement view
  • Various tools for recording and mixing audio
  • User-friendly interface
Special features
  • Flexible session view
  • Powerful arrangement view
  • Wide range of virtual instruments and effects
  • Various tools for recording and mixing audio
  • User-friendly interface

Final words

As you have seen, Compare ableton vs. fl studio, which will serve you on the way to finding your software.
In all honesty, no software is better than the other. After years of working with several software, I can say that all software will output the same music in the end, and a lot depends on the artist.
I wish you success at the beginning of the amazing journey of getting to know the software you have chosen (give it time), and in general, in creating your music.

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