When it comes to Digital Audio Workshop (DAW), the fact that a DAW is subscription-based and the other is free doesn’t necessarily determine the value they have to offer. For instance, the FL Studio DAW comes in various versions that are subscription-based. But anyone can gain access to the LMMS DAW without needing to pay for it.
Surprisingly, when a poll was conducted regarding the ranking of the major forces in the DAW field, LMMS ranked 6th while FL Studio ranked 7th. Naturally, one would think that in such polls, the subscription-based DAW would win because it is assumed that you'll get access to premium features that aren't available in an, otherwise, free DAW. But the price difference doesn’t seem to affect the quality of either DAW.
If you're like me, you're probably curious about how FL Studio and LMMS compare to each other. Well, in this article, we satisfy your curiosity as we dive deep into the LMMS vs. FL Studio comparison. We'll unravel all the features that both DAWs have and what makes them unique. Ready? Set? Read!
LMMS vs. FL Studio: The Differences and Similarities
It is not surprising that LMMS and FL Studio have been placed side by side by people curious about the depth of their features. In other words, DAW has more to offer in terms of music editing and production. If you're torn between which DAW to use, we hope this comparison becomes your guiding light and clears up the confusion.
The first noticeable difference between these two DAWs that sets the tone for the value they offer is the price.
While FL Studio comes with a variety of subscription packages, LMMS is free. Nevertheless, do not let the fact that FL Studio comes at a price turn you off. Here's why.
The different subscription packages of the FL Studio fit into anyone's budget. You can choose between the Fruity loop package, the Signature package, the Producer package, and the Signature + package.
The only thing is, these subscription packages give you considerable access to the entire feature on the app. That is, you can only make use of the features available on your subscription package.
LMMS, on the other hand, grants you access to the entire features that are available on the app.
One of the beautiful features of LMMS is the community that comes with it. They say no one is an island as we all learn from one another. The community on LMMS thrives on the idea of helping one another grow and become better music producers.
After creating your music, you can share it in the community for both criticism and appraisal. You'll surely get the appropriate response from fellow music producers in the community as it is an active community.
In the long run, it creates the perfect environment for beginner producers to grow in their endeavors. It creates an environment where people can network. In contrast, the FL Studio doesn't have any community.
It only provides you with a vast library of tools that you can use to give your music that premium and perfect touch that it needs.
While there's no community to appraise your work, you can send the result to a music producer friend you know personally or showcase your work on your social media handle.
The user interfaces of both DAWs are very different. The LMMS has a near ugly and bland-looking interface.
As a result, end-users who appreciate the beauty and are motivated to use an app based on how beautiful it looks would most likely avoid working on LMMS. Although it's easy to use, it is not visually appealing.
FL Studio, on the other hand, has a catchy user interface. Although it can get quite messy because of the dozens of features it offers, its user interface is still user-friendly and beautiful. It keeps you glued to the DAW.
Then, the dozens of features ensure you spend an entire day on the DAW. The vast library of synths, plugins, effects, etc., pushes you to explore the app. In essence, while the user interface pulls you in, the features keep you glued to the DAW for a long period.
When recording and uploading audio on your DAW, not every DAW allows you to record fresh audio. You can record it someplace else, then upload it on the DAW. At the same time, other DAW allows you to both upload and records fresh audios.
Concerning FL Studio and LMMS, the FL studio allows you to upload and record your audio. However, the liberty to record new audio on the DAW is available on certain subscription package.
In contrast, LMMS does not support the recording of audio directly in the DAW. You can only upload your audio that has been recorded.
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LMMS Detailed review
As a music producer, professional or amateur, you need to want to be a part of a community where you can relate with music producers like yourself. Well, LMMS has got you covered.
Asides from being a DAW you can use to create and edit music, it is a community-based DAW where you can network with, teach and learn from other music producers. There are resources to help you learn that have been created by other music producers.
The structure of the community and the fact that LMMS is a free DAW contributes to its uniqueness. Fun fact: when LMMS was first introduced to the public, it was called Linux MultiMedia Studio.
If you need a free DAW that grants you the liberty to create and edit your songs, you should try LMMS. For a free DAW, it comes with astounding features that would be available on subscription-based DAWs. Let's dive deeper into some of these features.
How LMMS Works
First things first, LMMS is easy to operate. As a beginner, you need to understand the basics. Trust me; the basics aren't difficult to learn at all. Once you understand the basics in LMMS, you'll be able to navigate this DAW easily.
Start by uploading your music or the track you intend to work on. Tap on the side menu to upload your track (if you want to edit a pre-recorded track).
There's no limit to the number of tracks you can upload and manage on LMMS. You can upload and manage as many tracks as you want. Also, the kind of track you can upload is not restricted to songs alone. You can upload background music or a recording of yourself singing a random song.
Once the upload is successfully done, proceed to edit your track via the unlimited editing options provided on the DAW. You'll need to use the song editor panel to edit your track successfully.
Now, the best part of LMMS is that after editing your song, you can share the finished result with a community of music producers. When they can listen, they would and give you feedback on how your finished product is.
The user interface of any DAW either drags people in or makes them want to stay away. LMMS is one of the few DAWs that's got their user interface to a fair level. It is simplistic and easy to navigate. The side menu bar seems to harbor almost everything you'd need to create or edit your music successfully. Thanks to the interface, beginners can easily find their way around this DAW. They do not need to watch multiple YouTube videos to understand how a feature works. Once you can locate where everything is placed on this DAW, you're good to go. Nevertheless, you would find the interface not visually appealing. But you can sure work with it. The drag and drop feature allows you to arrange the interface the way you want.
There are quite a few plugins on this DAW. But the description that accompanies these Plugins isn't quite detailed. Hence, you'd have zero to no clue what effect a plugin could have on your music.
The best way to master how the plugins work is to watch YouTube videos or check for learning resources regarding the Plugins on this DAW. It would help you get familiar with the Plugins on this DAW, giving you the chance to explore all that this DAW has to offer.
Lest I forget, learning what the plugins do isn't where it ends. To make use of any of the available plugins, you'd need first to install the plugins on LMMs. Some of the available plugins remain Free boy, SF2Player, etc.
LMMS allows you to do quite a few things to the sound you upload on it. Although there aren't enough tools available to edit your songs, you can still make magic out of the limited tools. There are 19 built-in digital instruments on this DAW. It also has a MIDI keyboard and 16 built-in synthesizers. Thanks to the FX mixer, you can further spice up how your song sounds. If you ever feel stuck or like you've used up your creative juices, you can also refer to the 1000 samples on this DAW.
LMMS allows music producers to relate and help one another grow. After creating your music, you can share it in the community for feedback from other music producers. You can also access the plugins created by other music producers on the app.
Where does it work?
LMMS has to be designed to work on Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and Open BSD. While it has the mobile version, it is best used on laptops and PCs that support it.
PROS & CONS
- It is free.
- The community is filled with active users.
- You have several options when it comes to synthesizing your song.
- User-friendly user interface
- The user interface is not appealing to the sight.
FL Studio review
FL Studio is a product of Image-Line, and it has been around for quite a while. With various versions around, Image-Line has never failed to keep improving on this DAW.
The FL Studio isn't free. There is also no fixed subscription price as the price depends on the version and bundle you choose. For example, the twelfth version of the FL Studio has three bundles with varying prices. The same goes for the twentieth version.
The features in the FL Studio are vast. But, as earlier stated, it doesn't come for free. Based on your subscription plan, you'll get access to certain premium features on the DAW. You could also purchase the entire package that exists within an FL studio version.
Without further ado, let's take a peek into the features of this DAW.
FL Studio packages come in a minimum of three and a maximum of four major subscription package. The Fruity version, the Producer version, the Signature version, and the Signature + version.
The Fruity version is a basic version that grants you access to the basic features. It is a great entry-level version that's perfect for beginners with 80+ effects and instruments at the disposal of its users.
The Producer version provides users with advanced features. You'll have access to a lot more effects, plugins, and instruments compared to the fruity version.
As for the signature version, it's not too different from the producer version. The minor difference is that it adds few features that are absent from the Producer version.
Finally, the Signature + feature gives you access to a vast library of plugins that is usually unavailable in the previously discussed versions.
Plugins and Synths
The available plugins and synth on the FL Studio are rich and second to none. Once you apply these synths to your song, you'll notice the difference and how much it has improved your song.
It's not surprising because the synths on FL Studio are professional-grade. Hence, you'll most likely get premium results from it.
Some of the synths on FL studio include Sakura, Harmless, Sawer, Harmor, etc. With some of these synths, you'd get ring and frequency modulation on your song alongside some amazing presets.
The user interface is very easy to use, and it is visually appealing. But because of the plethora of features on this DAW, you might tend to get lost.
Furthermore, It fosters eye-ear coordination. In essence, you can make adjustments to how your song sounds by merely deciding with your eyes.
PROS & CONS
- The step sequencer and piano roll improve your editing experience and the result.
- It is beginner-friendly.
- There's a wide range of plugins and built-in samples
- The MIDI support is great.
- Beginners may find it difficult at first to locate the vast plugin library.
Both FL studio and LMMS are two amazing DAWs. While one is free, the other is based on subscription. Nevertheless, based on their functionality, both DAWs have their strengths and weaknesses.
With FL Studio, you have access to a lot of resources. But LMMS doesn't exactly offer a lot of resources. But it gives you a community of music producers like yourself to mingle with, and FL Studio doesn't have that.
Generally, the LMMS vs. FL Studio comparison shows that DAWs are unique in their way.
Graduated with a Bachelor of Audio Engineering and Sound Production. He has worked with a number of studios as a Recording Engineer, with over 10 years of servicing experience in both re-recording mixing and sound editing.