Ableton vs FL Studio: The Definitive Guide

Posted by Nazareno Pol on

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Ableton vs FL Studio.

Do you want to know what is the best DAW/Sequencer to produce music?

Then you’re in the right place.

Because today TopMusicArts is going to show you the main pros/cons.

We tested both software, and we can give you the answer to Ableton vs FL Studio!

Sound good? Let’s dive right in…

 Ableton vs FL Studio

You want to produce music and the most popular software you can hear around in the internet is FL Studio, when you keep searching for downloads you find out another sequencer called Ableton Live? Now you are in trouble because you don`t know what to pick?

To help you in this choice you need to know the differences between Ableton vs FL Studio.

Bоth оf these softwares аrе vеrу роwеrful аnd аrе аblе to сrеаtе amazing muѕiс. Before you try them on yourself, here’s a quick guide of what each of these tools do best. Let’s take a look at:


FL Studio has a sort of pattern based layout, it has a sequencer, a mixer window right-clicking on the tracks puts up the piano roll window where you can draw your melodies arrangements.

Ableton vs FL StudioEverything is very well-disposed but it has a major issue that bothers many people and that is the amount of time you spend traveling through screen windows when you're creating music.

You have a different screen for the playlist, for the mix of the patterns, for piano roll editing and so on and you can find that you are consuming a lot of time... 

Ableton vs FL Studio

On the other hand Ableton has a more minimalistic and straightforward layout and some things are already assigned to the mixer and you can drop your loops effects instruments any plugin all in the same screen and you don't have to be troubling that much between screens which makes it a little more intuitive in this matter.

 Ableton vs Fl Studio

Ableton is better when you want "everything in its place", so its somehow better for mixing, visualizing everything on the playlist, also better for working with sampling other songs or audios...

We think Ableton wins


Next we're gonna compare the automation features.

Both of them have automation controls. Ableton seems a little more intuitive because all your animations are shown in each track

Ableton vs FL Studio

while in FL Studio you have to do more page navigation again also you end up having a much more crowded view of your tracks

Ableton vs FL Studio

but to be fair to you, FL Studio has some more option for the animations.

You will find a lot of YouTube videos about automation tricks to do with both Ableton, and we effort you to do so. We`ll say they are even in this subject.

32bit vs 64bit Plugins

Ableton supports 64-bit plugins only however you can use a third-party software called Jbridge so you can support 32-bit plugins too. Ableton has a very handy browser and some very useful native plugins.

Ableton Plugins

FL Studio supports 64 and 32-bit and it searches for plugins in more than one folder so you'll have to stall them all in one place. It also has more native plugins available because FL has been around longer than Ableton.

Fl Studio Plugins

Just take a minute to look at this plug-in browser. We mean what's better than this? No doubt refills to win when we compare the plug-in situation.


Ableton Live is and was available for MacOS and Windows. FL studio was available only for Windows until 2018. But with introduction of FL Studio 20 anniversary, you can download it for MacOS. 


Moving on we can compare the support of MIDI controllers.

Ableton Live has again a less complicated way to set things up

Ableton MIDI controllers

while in FL Studio you have to do more page navigation again to set up everything the same way you would in Ableton

Fl studio MIDI

Especially when you're a beginner, these kind of things can be demotivating... And remember - not every MIDI controller works with FL Studio. 


Let's compare the price.

They both start at $99 for their latest version, but they offer different bundles.


Ableton Price

Fl Studio price


The full price of the FL is a bit more expensive, but when you buy FL you can do the next update for free.

So we could say that's a win for FL studio' and since we're talking about versions Fl Studio 20 doesn`t mean 20 different versions  but for the 20 years anniversary

Live performance

Ableton has some advantages if you’re looking to use it in a live setting.  FL Studio can be used live as well, but Ableton tends to be the standard in terms of using a DAW in a live setting thanks to its session view. Paul Kalbrenner for example performs live on festivals with Macbook pro and Ableton Live session view. Both sequencers are going to be using your favorite VSTs instruments so you shouldn’t really worry too much about the plugins.  When comparing Ableton Vs. FL Studio, both have very powerful even with built in plugins.

Ableton Live Paul Kalkbrenner

Paul Kalkbrenner performing live with Ableton session view

Professional use?

Now Let`s check what professional producers use for their own music production:


Ableton vs FL Studio Ableton Live is used by:

  • Armin Van Buuren (50%)
  • 7 Skies
  • Airbase
  • Dеаdmаu5
  • Flumе
  • Nеtѕkу
  • Dada Life
  • Diрlо
  • Wоlfgаng Gаrtnеr
  • Skrillеx

Ableton vs FL StudioFL Studio is used by:

  • Martin Garrix
  • Afrojack
  • Avicii (RIP)
  • Porter Robinson
  • Alan Walker
  • Steve Aoki
  • Oliver Heldens
  • Ummet Ozcan
  • Tom Swoon
  • Arty
  • Bassjackers


We can that it`s all about personal tastes, because we have some dj of top100 DJ in the world working with Ableton and some of them working in FL Studio. A lot of DJs upload on youtube their masterclasses on how to produce music, how to make a track from scratch, so you are able to find a lot of tutorials on these DAWs. Don`t forgot to check our youtube playlist of Ableton Tutorials of course here.

 We recommend watching our short video explaining the features we write in this article about Ableton vs FL Studio


In overall, we think they're really good Digital Audio Workstations and have a lot to offer both of them.

They've got a lot of new features than their previous versions so if you can't decide which one to buy, you can download their free trial do some simple production on each one and try these features out and see what that leads you. Read also the article about Ableton Live Free download

TopMusicArts Team says:

 Ableton just makes more sense. You don't have like a million windows open everywhere, everything is on one screen for you to see, and it makes workflow that much faster. The design is more professional and beautiful, all the plugins have same color and design. That being said, FL isn't bad, but we wouldn't consider it on the same professional level as Ableton Live.


Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed it.

Which sequencer prefer you and why? Let us know by leaving a quick comment below.

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