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I might be wrong, but the biggest difference now, it seems to me, are the roots of the software--these packages were extremely different five years ago.

If I'm not mistaken, I believe FL was mostly a tracker and loop based music creation tool back in the day, hence the Loops part of the name.

I used it once, I didn't like it.

MIDI sequencers and DA workstations just work differently--at this stage, though, I'd go with the ones that offer a workflow you can be compatible with and one which offers features you're likely to exploit.

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SONAR is what I use, I really like it. I've used Cakewalk sequencers for about 7 years now, and I'm stuck with their workflow.

The big commercial packages, you'll find, do a lot of the same stuff, but with different workflows--it's worth downloading any trial versions they have to see what you like.

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I agree with Dan here, its really all about personal preference... Many programs offer one specific portion of creation that really stands out above the rest, so you just have to go with the one that best suits your style. I personally use FL7's Producer Edition.. even though its their most expensive product, it still costs about $300 less than other top-line music production programs. As far as MIDI controllers goes, that's up to preference, with the exception of being uncompatible with the software you're running.

So, if you already have the hardware, you'll want to make sure in advance that it works with the software you're looking at. Ask around in community forums such as this, and you're likely to get the best responses. :)

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I felt like posting a new list, here's my gear mofos:

Hardware:

Apple MacBook Pro 17" (first edition, 2GB RAM, 2.33GHz Dual Core)

Digidesign M-Box 2 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT 440 headphones (no monitors yet)

M-Audio Oxygen 49

Korg padKontrol

Yamaha Pacific guitar (It's kinda.. worn out :D)

Yamaha RBX 6-string bass

Yamaha Motif ES-8

Yamaha Stage Custom drum set

Hohner Melodica

C-Blues Harmonica (don't know the brand atm, the one with the fish)

Steinway & Sons Right-up piano

Unlimited ammount of brass instruments (my dad makes and repairs 'em)

A pretty kick-ass Cello (dad's wife is a grammy-awarded cellist ;P)

A real life operasinger (Mom ftw)

Software (legal, mind you):

MAC OS X :D

Reason 4

ProTools LE 7.3 with an amazing plug-set

gleetchlab 2.2

THERE! Now if I would only bother to record something. I've never used any of my real instruments in a remix :D and I'm so making my parents join up for a super cool remix.. sometime.. maybe.. *yawn*

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Instruments:

An old bundy Clarinet

A steel-string washburn guitar

A CME UF8 MIDI Keyboard Controller

A Roland JV-1080 Sound Module

Computer #1: (Master)

Specs: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+, 3GB RAM, 160GB 7200rpm HD (system), 320 GB 7200rpm HD (slow storage), 150GB 10,000rpm HD (sample storage)

Hardware: Tascam US-428, Sony MDR-7506, AKG C-1000

Software: Windows XP Pro w/SP2 (32 bit), Cakewalk SONAR 5: Studio, Sony SoundForge 8, MIDIOverLAN

Computer #2: (Slave)

Specs: AMD Athlon 64 3200+, 4GB RAM, 40GB 7200rpm HD, 3 x 74GB 10,000rpm HD

Hardware: M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 (audio bussed over S/PDIf)

Software: Windows XP Pro w/SP2 (64 bit), Native-Instruments Kontakt 2, MIDIOverLAN, East-West Wordbuilder

Libraries: EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Gold, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Gold XP, EWQL Symphonic Choirs, QL RA, QL StormDrum, DISTORTED, Prominy LPC Clean, Tsaiko, Pingu Custom Library

Field Equipment:

M-Audio Microtrack 24/96

Audio-Technica ATR-55 Shotgun Microphone

Audio-Technica Pro24 Stereo Condenser Microphone

Audio-Technica ATH-M20

and about 2.7GB of CompactFlash media

Please don't rob me.

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I'm aiming to get 6 to 8GB in the slave computer once I get the Win XP x64 running smoothly. I'll then be able to have a couple of instances of K2 running some big templates. Or K2 and another sampler like VI or PLAY--that's the idea at least.

What I'd like to get is one of these:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HDSP9652/

So I can have multple audio sends over lightpipe, or one of these:

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HDSP9632/

and just do all my mixing on the slave comp.

But I'm probably not going to--I'm probably going to go cheap and just throw in a couple of Delta 2496s so that I can have two or three spdif sends and just do my mixing on my master.

And those comps are fairly cheap--I just built my master for like... 700 or so bucks including an OEM copy of windows (yes, I paid for windows :P).

Building your own comp is a great learning experience and you can sometimes save as much as 3 times what a similar retail comp would cost. Plus, you don't have to pay for stuff you'll never use.

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