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I am not asking this question for myself, since I am already well seasoned with Logic and Cubase, but for my significant other.

My girlfriend is interested in making some music, just for her own entertainment, since she enjoyed the simple iPad apps you can get these days where it is just pressing some buttons and you get a groove (Polyphonic - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/polyphonic!/id740204500?mt=8). She likes to take it a step further but the software I use is waaaay too complicated to just start with. Ideally she would like to make music that she can put under our holiday videos, which she makes herself.

To find the right software for her it is important to understand her computational skillset and that is quite good. She is already very proficient in applications like iMovie and Final Cut Pro, so no problem there, which makes the playing field a bit wider. However I can't expect her to start making music with a complete mixing rack with send and insert effects, compression and all that stuff. That is just a step too far. Don't care about the mixing/mastering at the moment.

Since she has quite some musical feel (rhytm and melody) but absolutely no practical experience in any instrument I think it is wise to start with a loop-based approach.

I am more into rock and pop and have spent most my time with Cubase and Logic Pro so I don't really know what has happened the past years in the loop-based scene. At the moment I am thinking about trying out, for her:

  • Fruity Loops Studio
  • Acid Studio
  • ???

What would be your best software tip for a complete music production beginner? Her musical taste is quite broad, so no problem there. Software wise we have both macs and pc's here so we're open to all possibilities.

  • This is not going to have a single answer, in fact based on her ability with video software I'd suggest just teaching her Cubase. – Rory Alsop Jan 25 '15 at 9:32
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Fruity Loops is the way to go, but it is not available for mac.

If all you have is a mac, get Garageband. It's like $10 and has lots of sounds available from the jump. Very beginner friendly. It took me maybe 15 minutes to learn the entirety of it just by watching Youtube videos. It has piano roll and an on-screen keyboard function so you can still make fun tracks without any expensive equipment.

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Fruity Loops is certainly one of the most accessible suites available.

You can start with loops, and venture into sequenced parts, drop in VST plugins, output to various Rewire apps, and the UI is very intuitive.

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It depends on what she's trying to do; if she wants to play real instruments or have simple softsynth-based composition, her iPad probably already has GarageBand, and iOS GarageBand is actually a pretty good starting point, and its projects are compatible with OSX GarageBand. Then from there it's very easy to migrate to Logic X.

I'm also a fan of things like the Korg DS-10 (Nintendo DS cartridge) for simple pattern-based sequencing and such.

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If she's already acquaintanced with Apple Software she could also use Logic with plugins.

Okay at first hand this isn't a one answer solution but it's the most durable I think.

for starters she knows the platform and the workflow of FCX and Imovie. Which is a major step in getting to no more of what you would like to do then instead for knowing how to achieve what you would like to do.

For the plugin part I would go for the FM7 from NI or better any plugin (vst,au,etc..) that has the basic total package. When she dives in those two areas she has a broad knowledge of DAW and Plugins, and then she'll have to take another big step.

Also logic is good for working with samples she gets from other tools she already used before to use them for her music. So the loops could also be used in logic and even better with a loop plugin like battery.

I want to stress first that I am NOT a NI or Logic pro, but in case of the question I think those are better for workflow and tools possibilities just by the fact that they are widely known for their efforts in the music making industry.

And for having more tangibility a NI maschine can do a lot but i costs a lot.

Do I only used Fruityloops briefly It will bring you basic based loop functionality and that is good. But it lack in workflow or workflow you already created one you're own by form programs you've used.

Though analogue is also a possible way to go.

  • FYI, Logic doesn't have built-in support for VSTs; it's firmly in the AudioUnit (Core Audio) camp. Also Logic comes with an absolute crapton of plugins which already do pretty much everything that I previously had bought a bunch of external plugins to do at this point. – fluffy Jan 25 '15 at 20:54
  • Completely correct! But the big vst company's also provide aucomponents, so it's not that it's so hard to get some good au's for beginning. Agree on you aswell for the analogue or digital point of view. – Qinten Jan 25 '15 at 21:45
  • Well, my point was mostly that you shouldn't refer to them as VSTs since that's a term that means a specific thing. "Plugins" might be more appropriate as a generic term, or "AUs" if you want to be Logic-specific; otherwise someone might buy Logic thinking that they could use their VSTs that they purchased elsewhere. – fluffy Jan 25 '15 at 22:32

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