FL Studio Vs Ableton Live

If you’re a music producer or aspiring musician, you’ve likely come across these two powerhouse software programs when looking into what DAW (digital audio workstation). We have covered both right here on Cob Web Audio. The question being FL Studio (check our detailed review) and Ableton Live are both DAWs with unbelivable production value but which one is better? Having started out on FL Studio back when it was Fruity Loops and dipping my toes into Abelton from version 2.1 we can safely reflect who is the stronger of the two and which software will take your production to new heights.

I must first state that there really is no loser here. Each DAW offers a unique appeal whether its cost and functionality or depth and overall creative oppurtunites. We will shed some light on each.

User Interface (UI)

FL Studio and Ableton Live have distinct music production styles and user interfaces, catering to different preferences and workflows. FL Studio is known for its pattern-based sequencing approach, making it a go-to choice for producers who enjoy a step-by-step workflow such as Hip Hop artists with a strong focus on loops and patterns. The software’s intuitive piano roll and playlist view allow users to easily arrange and layer their musical ideas.

Ableton Live, on the other hand, offers a unique non-linear workflow with its session view, which is perfect for experimentation, improvisation, and live performances. The session view allows users to trigger clips, loops, and samples in a dynamic and flexible manner. The arrangement view, integrated seamlessly with the session view, enables users to arrange and refine their compositions in a more traditional timeline-based format.

In terms of user interface, FL Studio features a traditional layout with its pattern sequencer, playlist, and mixer view. The software offers a familiar workspace for those who are accustomed to classic DAW setups. On the contrary, Ableton Live boasts a sleek and modern interface, combining its session view, arrangement view, and mixer in a cohesive and visually appealing manner.

UI is something that you can become acustomed to regardless of choice. But if you prefer simplicity FL Studio maybe your choice.

Table Of Contents:

1. User Interface & Production Style

2. Workflow

3. Compatability & Built In Instruments

4. Is FL Easier Than Ableton?

5. Which Can You Learn Faster?

6. Conclusion 


When it comes to workflow, there is no definitive answer as to which software is superior. It ultimately depends on the individual’s preferences and their specific production needs. As we mentioned above FL Studio’s pattern-based approach lends itself well to producers who enjoy a more structured and step-by-step workflow. It’s latest release has some amazing new features you can find out more here. The software’s extensive collection of built-in instruments, effects, and plugins offers a comprehensive toolkit for crafting professional-grade music.

Ableton Live, on the other hand, excels in providing a versatile and flexible workflow, making it an excellent choice for live performances, improvisation, and on-the-fly creativity.  It’s master bus also gives you more linear approach to music production similar to that of a analog studio. Not many people mention the strength of Ableton’s arrangement and session view. There really is two very different fields of creativity here.


When it comes to compatibility, both FL Studio and Ableton Live have their strengths. FL Studio is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems, offering a wide reach to users across different platforms. On the other hand, Ableton Live is also compatible with Windows and Mac, ensuring that musicians and producers have the freedom to choose their preferred operating system.

Ultimately, the winner in terms of compatibility depends on the user’s specific needs and the platform they are comfortable working with.

Most DAW’s have a fairly even compatability rate tehse days with VST plugins and sample software being universal.

The question I would rather ask is:

What has an easier learning curve?


While it’s difficult to determine which software is objectively easier to use, FL Studio is often considered more beginner-friendly due to its intuitive layout and extensive documentation. The software’s drag-and-drop functionality, visual feedback, and step-by-step tutorials make it relatively easy for new users to grasp the basics and start creating music quickly.

Ableton Live, although initially daunting for beginners, offers a wealth of resources and a supportive community that can help users navigate its unique workflow. The software’s comprehensive manual, online tutorials, and user forums provide ample guidance for those willing to invest the time and effort to learn the intricacies of the software. It will take noticably longer to learn and there will be moments you want to give up. But like any real power struggle there is value at the end of the tunnel. A more comprehensive DAW worth the effort.

In the end, the ease of use depends on the individual’s prior experience, learning style, and willingness to explore and experiment with the software.



Having spent years using Abelton Live I have to give my honest opinion. The attention to details and depth of the softwares functionality is unrievled. Now that doesnt mean you cant make music with FL Studio and make #1 records. People have done and still do use FL Studio to make unbelievable music.

It depends on your budget and what you want from your DAW. Ableton is the more professional suite and it comes with a professional suite price tag. It will take longer to learn and there is A LOT to learn. Now there is no reason you can do exactly what I did. Try them all see what works familiarize yourself with what other artists you look up to and see what DAW’s they use. Join online communities and discuss the pro’s and cons see what other producers are saying. You can still use free trials of both FL Studio and Ableton see what suits your production and workflow.

One tip though. If you are worried about the learning curve it takes with any software. Don’t focus too much on where you are at the start but rather where you want to be once you understand the software.

I have released 100s of records over the past 20 years and 90% of them were on Ableton Live. Find what works for you and continue to learn it each day.


Our Team





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