The success of big name techno acts like Daft Punk, Deadmau5 and Skrillex has inspired a new generation of aspiring DJs to cut their own tracks. Getting started in techno means getting the right tool for the job -- or at least to cut your teeth on. While some tasks are made easier with the use of turntables or a MIDI keyboard, the most important tool in your arsenal is your production software. Several low-cost options exist for first-timers looking to try their hand before investing in professional-grade software.
FL Studio, formerly known as FruityLoops, is a feature-packed music production suite marketed towards both first-timers and active musicians. FL Studio features tools for recording, arranging, mixing and mastering your tracks as well as an extensive library of clips, beats and loops. It also supports MIDI controllers for live performances and multi-touch for Windows 8 systems using touchscreens. You can add new functions, samples and features via plug-ins to keep the program and your music evolving. FL Studio is available to try for free and comes with a free trial of Deckadance, FL Studios's DJ mixing software. It also comes in three varieties: Fruity, Producer and Signature. Fruity has fewer features than Producer but a lower cost, while Signature is the most expensive but incorporates all Producer features and additional plug-ins.
Logic Pro X
Logic Pro X is a music production suite for Mac users, designed to work specifically with OS X and Mac computers. It also features the import of files from Apple's free but considerably less powerful GarageBand. Logic Pro X includes a powerful tool set for recording, editing and mixing tracks, as well as mastering the final product. Like FL Studio, it has a well-stocked library of digital instruments and samples and can be upgraded over time with plug-ins. Logic Pro X can also be enhanced for live performances with a separate purchase of MainStage. Unlike FL Studio, Apple doesn't offer a free trial of Logic Pro X.
Samplitude Music Studio
Magix Samplitude Music Studio is another Windows music production suite, with similarities to both FL Studio and Logic Pro X. Samplitude can be use to record, mix and master tracks, as well as to produce electronic music with digital instruments, samples and effects. It can be upgraded using plug-ins to add new instruments and features. Like Logic Pro X, Samplitude can import project files from Magix's entry-level music production software Music Maker and its numerous variants. Samplitude is also available for free trial before purchase.