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Ableton Live Lite vs. Pro Tools First – (DAW Shootout by Experts!)

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Music has been a significant part of human evolution for thousands of years. You may consume music as an art form, for entertainment, or as a business prospect while sticking to the core goal that it allows you to express emotions.

However, with the advancement of technology, music is no longer limited to expensive gear and studio setups, as now you can get various software to fuel your creativity. 

Today, we will be comparing two prolific programs (Ableton Live Lite vs Pro Tools First) to find out which one has the upper hand.

Furthermore, the article will also cover other studio software that offers similar features for professional and beginner creators.

But before we begin our comparison, let us first know more about these programs.

What is studio software, and why is it crucial?

According to the latest statistics, the global music revenue is over $28 billion, with the United States being the country with the highest revenue for digital music.

In short, if you want to excel in the music industry, you will require professional software to enhance your creativity. Studio programs like Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First are some of the best software for the job.

These programs enhance your music creativity with quick and reliable performance. They include essential instruments, workflows, and effects that improve the audio quality.

Furthermore, you can also use this software to create EDMs and give wings to your recording ideas.

Ableton Live Lite – Overview

Ableton Live Lite is one of the best studio software in the market that offers a wide variety of features. You can use this program to add details and perfection with more controls and functions.

The program allows users to enhance their creativity using different workflows, effects, and instruments. In short, this software is perfect for professionals and beginners with a user-friendly interface.

Here are the features that make Ableton Live Lite perfect for music creators.

Enhanced Graphical User Interface (GUI)

Ableton Live Lite comes with an advanced Graphical User Interface that offers a user-friendly layout for ease of application.

For instance, the Session View allows you to make live music in two ways. This feature increases your flexibility, and you can improvise your music without bothering about the starting and ending points of your song. 

Furthermore, the Session View allows you to mix musical ideas and experience seamless editing with minimal fuss.

Additionally, you can pick the song’s best parts and compare the sessions to get the best results. The program also supports recording up to 192 kHz and 32-bit.

On the other hand, the Arrangement View allows you to develop your ideas from scratch. You can manage the music flow or record everything while adding finishing touches as you complete the project.

In short, Ableton Live Lite’s GUI enhances your performance and fuels your productivity, even if you are a beginner.

Recording capabilities

Ableton Live Lite allows you to record MIDI and audio from physical instruments using an advanced audio interface.

For instance, you can use guitars, drum machines, or other hardware synths to add personal touches to your recording ideas.

However, if you don’t have physical instruments, you can use the wide library of inbuilt software instruments to record MIDI effects.

Once you get used to this feature, you can even use it on a live performance to add different flares to your music.

Instruments and effects

Ableton Live Lite comes with a collection of instruments and sound effects to create entire tracks.

For instance, the Live 11 Lite comes with an easy-to-use kit that allows users to create and design their beats without breaking a sweat.

Furthermore, you also get multiple instrument racks with a wide variety of harmonies and melodies from different genres.

Besides offering an instrument kit, the software also features various sound effects, including Phaser-Flanger, Redux, Expression Control, and Limiter. These audio effects help you create and design your recording ideas.

Inbuilt hardware integration

One of the crucial things that studio software should have is hardware integration, and Ableton Live Lite will not disappoint you.

It comes with an inbuilt hardware integration that allows you to connect live devices to add more personal touch to your recording ideas.

Additionally, setting up a live device is effortless, and you can mix them with other creative features to process your music within minutes.

Support for multiple audio formats

One of the coolest features of Ableton Live Lite is its support for multiple audio formats.

This function allows you to use the program for group tracks with minimal fuss. Furthermore, you can even incorporate EDMs to add more creativity to your recording ideas.

Overall, Ableton Live Lite is must-have studio software for music creators. With a wide variety of sound effects, instrument support, and inbuilt functions, Ableton Live Lite is undoubtedly an asset for music creators.

Pro Tools First – Overview

Pro Tools First is Studio software with advanced editing and mixing capabilities for music production. Pro Tools First has been a leading program for music creators with a user-friendly interface and a wide variety of features.

In short, the extensive line of controls available with Pro Tools First makes it one of the best studio programs for professionals and beginners.

Furthermore, its interactive controls allow you to add more flair to your recording ideas, enhancing your overall experience.

Here are some Pro Tools First features.

Multiple audio tracks

Unlike its paid version, Pro Tools First supports multiple audio tracks to boost your creativity. Although the number of tracks available on the free version is less than the paid ones, you can implement up to 16 tracks in a song.

Furthermore, Pro Tools First also allows users to create up to 16 MIDI tracks, which is one of the best in the industry.

User-friendly interface

Pro Tools First comes with a user-friendly interface that offers complete control over production tools.

For instance, you can use multiple auxiliary tracks for recording and editing your recording ideas using various features like Track Freeze, Bounce Audio, or other options.

Likewise, you can use the inbuilt plugins to enhance your creativity and tune your ideas with a maximum sample rate of up to 96 kHz and 32 bit.

However, we did feel that the free version could have included more virtual instruments like other studio programs.

Inbuilt plugins

Pro Tools First comes with a plethora of inbuilt plugins that make it a perfect choice for music creators.

Although the number of plugins present in the free version is far less than the paid ones, it undoubtedly offers more options than other software in its category.

The included plugins help you to explore your creativity and implement ideas that might have evaded you during the designing process.

Furthermore, these plugins make your recording journey effortless, as you have all the tools required to create a masterpiece.

Hardware integration

Pro Tools First features excellent hardware integration where you can use different live sounds for your recording ideas.

For instance, the software supports 16 auxiliary tracks that help you to channel multiple instruments while creating your next project.

You can enhance the output by employing a wide variety of inbuilt audio effects that help you to get more clarity and precision.

However, the absence of virtual instruments can be a letdown for creators, especially beginners who want to venture into music creation with minimal investment. The lack of an MP3 option can also hinder your recording ideas.

Cloud support

AVID offers extensive cloud integration for its products, and Pro Tools First is no exception. You can store your recording ideas on the cloud and access them with your AVID account anytime.

Furthermore, cloud support allows you to work on multiple devices and platforms without losing any progress.

Overall, Pro Tools First is a reliable studio program that will help you achieve more with your recording ideas.

Which is better Ableton Live Lite or Pro Tools First?

Both Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First are reliable studio programs that offer a wide variety of features to boost music creativity.

However, there are some key differences between these programs, and it would be best to know them before choosing one.

Remember, you cannot get perfect studio software, and choosing over the other depends entirely on your personal preferences.

Ableton Live Lite vs Pro Tools First – Comparison

FeaturesAbleton Live LitePro Tools First
Number of audio tracks1616
Create, edit, and recordYesYes
Inbuilt pluginsYesYes
Third-party pluginsYesNo
Virtual instruments41
MP3 optionYesNo
Maximum sample rate192 kHz (32 bit)96 kHz (32 bit)
Number of MIDI tracks1616
Cloud supportYesYes

After looking at the above comparison table, you can assume that both these studio programs are identical in more than one way.

For instance, both Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First support up to 16 audio and MIDI tracks. In short, you will have no issues working on multiple tracks on these programs.

Likewise, you get multiple inbuilt plugins on these studio programs to enhance your creativity.

However, Ableton Live Lite allows you to install third-party plugins and instruments on different platforms. This feature gives a slight edge to Ableton Live Lite over Pro Tools First.

Furthermore, Ableton Live Lite offers more virtual instruments, including the Drum Rack and Impulse, while Pro Tools First only features one virtual instrument.

However, you can get more virtual instruments (six) if you upgrade to Pro Tools 13.

On the other hand, Pro Tools First excels with its extensive cloud storage that comes with robust and easy-to-use features. You can create an audio recording and store it in the cloud for further edits. 

Although Ableton Live Lite also comes with a cloud service, it is not as extensive as Pro Tools First’s cloud support. However, it is not a deal-breaker for Ableton Live Lite, as you will get the basic functionalities with its cloud system.

So which is a better studio program? Ableton Live Lite offers more features like MP3 support and better audio effects than Pro Tools First.

However, it would be best to understand your requirements first and then select the best studio software for your recording ideas.

Is Ableton Live Lite enough for a complete beginner?

Ableton Live Lite is a lighter version of the Ableton Live program, meaning you can get yourself acquainted with the basic functionalities of a recording setup.

For instance, many users believe that using Ableton Live Lite is the perfect program for beginners as it comes with most of the functionalities from the pro versions.

Likewise, novice creators can learn foundational production skills, which will help them to advance in their careers.

Ableton Live Lite packs most of the features from its professional siblings, including the EQ Three setup, which many refer to as the best equalization setup for a beginner.

Furthermore, the program allows creators to divide sound, helping them differentiate between Highs, Mids, and Lows.

In short, you will be able to distinguish between bad and good frequencies, which are often required in music production.

Overall, Ableton Live Lite is a reliable editor for novice producers and will help them enhance their creativity.

Other alternatives

When you search for studio software for music production on the internet, you may come across various results like “Ableton Live Lite vs Pro Tools first vs GarageBand” or “Amplify Studio vs Ableton Live Lite vs Pro Tools First.”

Although most of these programs are great for music production, you may want to stick with Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First for their superior functionalities.

However, if you are keen to try other Digital Audio Workstations, you can try GarageBand and Amplify Studio.


GarageBand is an all-in-all solution by Apple for its devices that comes with an easy-to-use interface.

You can use this software on multiple Apple devices like iPads, iPhones, and Mac computers and share your project across different platforms.

GarageBand comes with an extensive line of sounds and instruments that will enhance your creativity. These instruments include guitars, pianos, EPs, and synthesizers, among others.

Furthermore, GarageBand is a free program, and all you need is a stable internet connection to access its libraries.

Although GarageBand is an excellent option for beginners, it lacks some features required for a professional setup. In short, choosing between Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First would be more beneficial for music creators.

Amplify Studio

If you live in the iOS ecosystem, you’d probably know about Amplify Studio. This desktop platform features an enhanced workflow with access to a huge collection of online catalogs, Amplify Sounds.

Amplify Studio comes with a user-friendly and easy-to-use interface that employs drag/drop functions for music production. You can load your selection, edit the tempo, or export your project to Ableton Live.

Furthermore, you can run this software with Launchpad X or Launchpad Mini with minimal fuss.

Is Pro Tools First discontinued?

When AVID launched Pro Tools First in 2015, it defined a new standard in the creator’s community by introducing cloud-based integrations. However, the complexities of using a cloud-based service didn’t go well with the community.

AVID introduced various updates and improvements to the program, and by 2019, creators were able to save unlimited projects on their devices.

Many users praised the company for its efforts to improve Pro Tools First as it was a stepping stone into the professional music industry, especially for beginners.

However, AVID pulled the plugs on Pro Tools First in 2021, citing technical difficulties for the program. Thankfully, existing users can use the program for their recording ideas.

Furthermore, the company also clarified that Pro Tools First would continue to serve under the AVID Learning Academy program.

Ableton Live Lite vs Pro Tools First – Summary

As mentioned earlier, no Digital Audio Workstation is perfect, and both Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First have advantages and disadvantages.

In short, the decision depends on personal choices, and you will have to decide which program works best for you.

For instance, you can consider Pro Tools First if you have the following requirements.

  • You are a professional engaged in recording and mixing.
  • You work with surround sound, TV, or Film setups.
  • You need a well-equipped product for Dialog and Podcasts.
  • You work with professional engineers more often.
  • You utilize virtual playback by importing sheet music.

Likewise, you can consider Ableton Live Lite if you have the following requirements.

  • You want more MIDI options.
  • You require backing tracks while performing.
  • You need a versatile and stable audio workstation.
  • You like working with workflows.
  • You use VSTs and digital synths.

Both Ableton Live Lite and Pro Tools First offer excellent performance and support multiple sound effects to enhance your recording experience.

If you’re still confused about these programs, the best solution would be to use both simultaneously.

This tactic will help you use both programs to get the best results and will also enhance your productivity.

Final Thoughts

Since Pro Tools First is not available officially, you cannot expect official support for the program. In that case, Ableton Live Lite becomes the perfect choice for music creators to fuel their recording ideas.