Ten years ago I learned how to use Sony's Acid Music in Windows XP, since it allows to compose music using samples and more important, it can automatically match tempo, pitch and lots of other useful things.

Now I am using Mac OS X, I was wondering if there was some similar software (not going for a virtual machine for running windows xp applications).

  • there is a lot of very interesting answers and it is really hard for me to award just one of them!
    – flow
    Oct 18, 2012 at 7:19

5 Answers 5


Josh's recommendation about Apple's Logic is quite good since it is the only in-house pro audio software developed by Apple. Its essentially just an amped up version of GarageBand which comes with all new Macs.

Since no one has listed any of the others I will list all of the notable ones by a few categories and will explain the common pros and cons associated with each (newest version is how I will name them). Only going to list the ones with the features you mentioned and ones that work on Macs:

I was going to mention the free options first, but after thinking about it, none of the free software options available will come even close to what you are used to with Acid Pro.

One thing to keep in mind is that I will mention commonly stated opinions I have heard from professional artists, friends, and online forums but will save my opinion for last. But to be real, any of the options I'm going to mention will help you get to where you want to go with only differing routes. It really just depends on how much effort you are willing to put into the journey.

The low-cost or lesser-known options:

Reaper 4 is a commonly recommended DAW for beginners or people looking for DAWs with low-cost. It has a great community of dedicated users and good forum with great responses but it is on the small side of DAW communities. Some people don't consider it to have the same "professional sound" they can achieve with other software. Some people have complained about it having a slow "learning curve" but I believe this is because many people that use it are new to DAWs and of course aren't going to learn things as quickly when they have no knowledge base.

GarageBand is of course an option if you don't have any money and it comes free with every new Mac. Only downside is that is more limited than any other DAW I will oh have mentioned.

MuTools MuLab 4 is one of those very under the radar DAWs. It is cheap but there is a reason for that. It lacks many of the features that the more expensive DAWs have, but is just fine if you will only be doing the basics, editing, recording, simple effects, etc.

Renoise is a DAW I'm not familiar with but here is what I've gathered. It is insanely cheap for all the features it boosts. It is a very stable piece of software on any OS. Its a little backwards when it comes to normal organization (top-down instead of left to right) which makes it difficult to work with really long samples.

MOTU Digital Preformer is a lesser used DAW which was until very recently a Mac-only piece of Software. It is well liked by one of my friends. He has stuck with it for a while which could be the reason. The most common downside is that some people consider it to have a very high learning curve.

The "Pro" Level Options

Steinberg Cubase 6.5 is a very popular option. It has a large user base, great community, forum, customer service, and has a great reputation. Steinberg has been around longer than most other software companies that create music software so that is it a big plus. Cubase is just an overall great piece of software.

Propellerhead Reason is another great piece of software. One of the pros of Reason is that you can do everything with it that any other DAW can do without needing any outside software or plugins but that's right where the con comes in. Reason doesn't work with any outside plugins (VST, AU, RTAS, etc) which people who have some favorite plugins see as a huge downside.

Albeton Live 8 is a great DAW. Some people get confused with it being called a DAW since it was initially a performance based audio looping software. While it still has this function (its still the default home screen), its sequencer view is where the typical DAW look comes into play. It has won Synthtopia's best DAW in the world poll a few times. Downside is how that layout confuses some people.

Apple Logic Pro 9 is also a great piece of software (the on that Josh mentioned). The fact that it is Apples in-house software doesn't mean it is any better or worse than any other DAW (and you have to buy it separately anyways). It is still an awesome piece of software. Fairly straightforward (at least if you understand how other DAWs work) and has everything necessary built in (but all the "pro" level DAWs do as well).

Last but not least, Avid ProTools 10 is the industry standard for recording, producing, and editing audio. Almost any song you hear played on the radio or on a commercial nowadays has been recorded and produced in Pro Tools. A surprising thing to note is that despite how ProTools is accepted industry wide as the standard, it is not as popular as you would expect within different music communities. This is most likely due to the perceived complex nature of it. I'm picking it up with with almost zero problems so I don't understand why this is.

My Opinion and Recommendation

To give a personal recommendation, I would go with any of the "pro" level DAWs. They all have their pros and cons and luckily for you they each have a free trial available, so you can try each one out and see which you like the best. My favorite two are Ableton, because of how long I've used it, and ProTools, simply because of the fact that its the industry standard and how I've had no problem using it so far. I used FL Studio for a long time but had to make a change once I had to pick a DAW that would work between my computers which is why I picked up Ableton originally.

I've used Cubase, Reason, and Logic as well and didn't have any major problems with any of them (except with how I couldn't use my favorite plugins in Reason >:( but thats just personal choice). Even came up with some pretty cool songs (IMO) with some friends.

If I had to choose one of the low-cost DAWs I would go with Reaper just because of how popular it is, the fact I used it without any problems, and the fact of how devoted the fanbase for it is.

  • This answer seems to be more of an overview of the available DAWs than an explanation of which one is most similar to Acid. Oct 16, 2012 at 1:58
  • IMO all DAWs are pretty similar now adays. If he was using a PC then I would say use FL Studio because that is the one closest to Acid, but that is not the case
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Oct 16, 2012 at 13:09
  • I disagree. Most DAWs share similar functionality, but the way you interact with them can be quite different. FL Studio, Ableton, Reason and Renoise are all very different. Oct 16, 2012 at 22:05
  • I understand your point there, but none for Mac as really that similar. Maybe Ableton but not very much so.
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Oct 17, 2012 at 13:24
  • It is hard to choose the best answer to this question, but yours is the most complete of them, thanks
    – flow
    Oct 18, 2012 at 7:23

Apple's Logic software can accomplish this. From their manual:

Automatic Tempo Matching

The following audio files automatically match the project tempo and will follow any tempo changes made in the global Tempo track.

Audio recordings made in Logic Pro (7.0 and later)

For example, if you record a bass solo at 100 bpm, you can change the project tempo to 120 bpm and the bass solo automatically plays back at the new tempo.

Note: The function only works in the parent project (the project the audio files were created in). If you drag a file recorded in a given project to another project using the Finder, the file cannot follow the project tempo. However, files copied between two projects are able to follow the project tempo.

Apple Loops files

Audio bounces made in Logic Pro (7.0 and later)

Note: Bounced files can only follow the project tempo if the “Add resulting files to Audio Bin” option was selected in the Bounce dialog, prior to the bounce or export.

Audio files exported from Logic Pro (7.0 and later)

I would guess that there are many software solutions that can accomplish this for you. I mentioned Logic merely because it's Apple's in-house pro audio software.

  • 1
    it's like Garageband on crack
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Oct 14, 2012 at 18:41
  • Keep in mind that Logic has two big disadvantages - it only works on macs, and it only supports Audio Unit (AU) plugins. If you later switch back to Windows, you won't be able to take Logic with you. Oct 16, 2012 at 2:08

I would seriously recommend StudioOne by Presonus. It's really good and very intuitive. Download the trial and read more here.

I find the workflow incredibly fast, it's very easy to use and comes with a decent amount of plugins, effects and sounds. The pro version also comes with melodyne :-). It hasn't got any 'bloat' so it's really quick and the shortcuts and 'drag n drop' workflow just makes it a breeze. Give the demo a go, I switched from cubase a couple of years ago and haven't looked back.

  • why exactly do you recommend StudioOne? I have no experience with it and have only heard about it recently
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Oct 15, 2012 at 14:44
  • 1
    I find the workflow incredibly fast, it's very easy to use and comes with a decent amount of plugins, effects and sounds. The pro version also comes with melodyne :-). It hasn't got any 'bloat' so it's really quick and the shortcuts and 'drag n drop' workflow just makes it a breeze. Give the demo a go, I switched from cubase a couple of years ago and haven't looked back.
    – Magrangs
    Oct 15, 2012 at 14:56
  • interesting. I already have melodyne which I love, but I feel like it would be a waste if I got the pro then :(. I'll give it a look anyways though.
    – Travis Dtfsu Crum
    Oct 15, 2012 at 16:36
  • I've moved your comment up to the body of your answer to make it easier for people to understand why you are recommending StudioOne. Oct 16, 2012 at 2:07
  • @TravisDtfsuCrum It might not be an issue if you have the full version, it should integrate it into the DAW for you (which is another great feature as you don't have to switch between apps).
    – Magrangs
    Oct 16, 2012 at 7:53

It has been a long time since I've used Sony's Acid. From what I recall, Acid was particularly good for loop based music.

Given that, Ableton Live is probably the closest thing to Acid, though the user interface is quite different.

Traditional DAWs (Logic, Reaper, Cubase, ProTools, etc.) lay out music as a series of parallel horizontal rows, with time extending off to the left. You can typically record audio and MIDI, and then slice it up and re-arrange it. You can do loop based music in a traditional DAW, but that isn't their primary goal.

Ableton Live also provides this horizontal time-based interface, but its main interface is a grid of "clips." Each clip is a length of music - audio, MIDI, or a virtual instrument. A clip is typically a loop, but it doesn't have to be. Ableton is good at detecting the tempo of a clip and has great tools for adjusting the tempo with or without changing the pitch. Columns of clips are mutually exclusive, so if you start a clip below one that is already playing, the playing clip will stop and the new one will start. Entire rows can be started and stopped at once as well.

Additionally, Live allows you to create "racks" of MIDI and audio processing units that allow you to significantly alter or mangle the source material. If that isn't enough, you can add Max4Live. This ties the Max/MSP modular environment directly into Live.

Note that people tend to call the product "Ableton" rather than "Live," probably because "Live" is too generic.


I've been an Acid Pro user for over 10 years.
I've tried Ableton, Cubase, Logic Pro, and Reaper. Each have their pros and cons but all of them lack the easy learning curve and integrated features that would allow me to churn out a quality edit or remix in less than 5 minutes.

Since it doesn't look like Acid Pro is still being developed and many windows users have switched to Ableton or Reaper, I would suggest considering learning something new and going with Ableton. Since the Warp feature (even though more time consuming) works a lot better that the quantization tools in Acid Pro.

However, if you don't have that much time, or had a bunch of VSTs that were not ported to osx, go with a virtual windows machine in fusion or parallels and continue to use acid pro

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