Best Beat Making Software of 2017

Billy Bommer
Writer/Reviewer
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We researched and evaluated the loop library and virtual instrument options of 12 music production programs to help you find the right piece of software to match the type of music you produce. We believe the Cubase Elements is the best beat-making software for most people because it has an intuitive interface, sports a large selection of pre-made loops and costs less than $100. It has all the tools you need to produce, arrange, mix and master professional-level recordings without leaving the comfort of your home studio.  

Best Overall

Cubase Elements

Cubase Elements has more than 3,500 pre-made loops to choose from and costs less than $100. The interface is easy to navigate and includes all the tools you need to finalize your songs.
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Best Value

Magix Music Maker Premium

Magix Music Maker has one of the largest loop libraries and costs less than $80. This software allows you to upload your finished song directly to SoundCloud, YouTube or Facebook.
Best for Mac

Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X has an impressive list of realistic sounding virtual instruments and all the important editing tools. Unfortunately, you can’t use it with a Windows computer.

Our Test Results

Product
Price
Overall Rating
9.4
9.2
9
8.9
8.8
8.5
8.3
7.8
Production
10
9.4
8.8
9.4
8.8
7.5
5
8.1
Recording
9.4
10
10
10
10
9.4
10
6.9
Mixing
9.4
7.5
10
7.5
6.9
9.4
10
7.5
Help & Support
7.5
10
4.4
7.5
10
7.5
10
10
Time Stretch
Effect Inserts
8
2
15
Unlimited
Unlimited
4
Unlimited
2
Effect Sends
8
2
8
1
4
4
Unlimited
2
Mixing Equalizer
4-band
Multi-band
Multi-band
3-band
2-band
3-band
Multi-band
3-band
Maximum Number of MIDI Tracks
64
Unlimited
255
Unlimited
Unlimited
199
Unlimited
16
Import Audio
Write Automation
Maximum Audio Tracks
48
Unlimited
255
Unlimited
Unlimited
199
Unlimited
16
Loop Recording/ Track Comping
NA
MIDI Editor
Ease of Use
100%
95%
90%
85%
95%
80%
70%
85%
Number of Loops
3,690
6,000
3,647
7,000
3,000
NA
NA
700
Number of Virtual Instruments
3
15
18
15
6
30+
4
3
Total Number of Plugins
44
20+
67
25
7
40+
28
26
Supported Plugin Formats
VST 2.4, VST 3
VST 2
AU
VST, VST 2.4
Propellerhead Rack Extension
VSTi x DXI, VST, DX
Not Compatible with 3rd Party Plugins
VST, AU
Windows 8
N/A
Windows Vista
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Mac OS X
N/A
N/A
N/A
Windows XP
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Windows 7
N/A
Video Tutorials
N/A
Phone
N/A
N/A
User Forums
Manual
Email
N/A
N/A

Why Trust Us?


I have been using music production software in a recreational and professional capacity for 15 years. My primary instrument is saxophone, and anyone who grew up playing a horn knows that it is one of the hardest instruments to write songs with because you can only play one note at a time and you can’t sing while you play. My limited experience with chordal instruments, like the piano and guitar, only led to further frustration when I tried to write a song while learning the instrument at the same time.

I expressed that frustration to one of my music writing mentors and he suggested that I start using software to help me arrange rhythm tracks. Even though I had been using audio editing software for many years before that, it was never presented to me as a viable way to write and arrange music. I was comfortable editing audio with Pro Tools, but knew that there were better programs available to produce music, so I tried them all.

I have now written and published more than 50 original songs, many of which began with software loops. I currently own five different music production programs in addition to my main editing software, Pro Tools, and use all of them for different applications. I tried hard to eliminate any bias I might have before making my recommendations because I realize everyone has a unique need for music production software. Instead, I focused my recommendations on highlighting the best features and benefits of each product so you can decide which one is right for you.

How We Evaluated

We realize that the benefits of each beat making program are subjective. Some people might find a particular interface easier to navigate than others, and for that reason we chose to research and evaluate the sheer volume of available tools in each program and tried to highlight which programs are best for a specific use case. We awarded high scores to beat making programs that have large and diverse loop libraries, a variety of virtual instruments and support for Windows and Mac machines.

We prefer to recommend products that support popular third-party plugin formats because that will ensure that you have unlimited possibilities for expanding your virtual instrument and loop collection, as well as expand your editing toolbox.

Features to Look For When Comparing Beat Making Applications


Production
Programs that have a wide variety of pre-made loops help to kickstart the process of writing and arranging by offering different styles and instruments that are ready to be pieced together.

If you are making music without the help of other musicians, having a variety of virtual instruments can be important. Creating a song by using all pre-made loops can make your song sound imitative, but if you replace one of the instruments in the loop with a unique-sounding virtual instrument, you can add a new level of originality to your arrangement.

Recording
Recording vocals and external instruments can be an important aspect of music production. Beat making programs that allow you to record original content remove the need to finalize your product at an expensive studio.

Help & Support
Obviously it's important to make sure the beat making software you choose is compatible with the operating system on your computer. The best programs are compatible with both Mac and PC operating systems. Companies that offer video tutorials and that have email and phone support can help you learn all the necessary features of your new software.


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