The digital age changed the recording industry, and it's now easier to create, to produce, and to release music from your home. All you need is a computer, a sound device (It might be a sound-card, a mixer, or anything that will transfer sound from analogue to digital), and a software that will control the whole.
Tools for the begginers
It always help to know what you want to do with your production software. Is it going to be for yourself? Do you want to be next big producer in the business? Do you want to create and put your ideas on paper? Do you want to record your band or other bands? There is a millions way to start in this business, and you have many choices of studio software for home recording. Free programs You have some free programs that will provide the basic. They are great to start with as they are not far removed from the industry standard. They will help you to get started, and you'll start learning industry tricks. N-Tracks Studio 6 and Audacity will provide a basic recording system. They offer great and easy tools to help succeed in your learning. Don't expect to release the next number 1 hit with them, but you will know if you like it.
Tools for the serious engineer
If you like thump and the beats of hip-hop and dance music, you will be looking for a sequencing software. Fruity Loops and Reason are the ones for you. They provide a great interface with a multitude of sounds, and you can always buy more modules to expand your horizon.
Multi-track software If you are looking for a multi-track software to records a full band, you will find your place with Pro-Tools, Logic, or Cubase. They are the leaders in the industry and provides amazing production value. Pro-tools is the most used in the industry. It will work on Macs and PCs. Software for Mac PCs Logic is the software for Macs. It is proprietary like any Mac software. If you have a Mac Book or anything Mac, this is probably the software you want. Cubase provides easy and intuitive tools. It works with most audio cards available on the market, and is not the most expensive. It will also work on Mac and PC. Final word When it comes to audio recording, there is a lot to choose from. You just have to know what you want to do with it. Knowing your price range always helps too. Try the free software first. You will be able to learn the business and know if you really like it. Then expand your horizon and create beautiful pieces of art.