When I first started making music (on a PC) in the 90s I used a programme I got from Virgin Megastore called Magix Music Maker. When I realised that my SoundBlaster Live soundcard wasn’t all it could be I got an M-Audio Audiophile and with that a copy of Acid music.
This was my main setup for years and years. Although I added a couple of MPCs (2000XL and 1000) they never replaced the PC and were ultimately moved on.
I only changed from Acid to Ableton Live after putting up with constant crashes and file corruptions for a year at least - so adamant was I that I didn’t want to change to something else and have to learn afresh how to make music.
Somewhere along the line I tired of samples and became gradually hooked on synthesis. My setup became more complicated, incorporating analogue synths, effects boxes and pedals.
Live was/is still up to the task, though, and my methods of music making haven’t actually changed a lot: despite not being dependent upon samples from the music of others, I still use many of the techniques I always have done. Now, though, they are augmented by new approaches… which, in a very long-winded way, is where the real answer to your question lies.
Of late - in the past year or 2, but especially in recent months - I’ve become hooked on the possibilities of portable music making via Android and (especially) iOS devices and this is where things have become tricky. Trying to really get to the bottom of some of these apps feels so incredibly difficult to do - particularly as I’m using multiple ones in tandem and therefore can’t become entirely immersed in just one. It’s something I’m acutely aware of and can’t honestly predict the eventual outcome of. Will I end up scratching the surface of most of these apps but known them just enough to be productive with them, opening up a little more via YouTube videos as and when I feel the need to? Will I become deeply engrossed with a handful of them and end up almost entirely using those, becoming and student of them in the same way I was a student of my 2000XL? I’ve no clue. Maybe a middle way is most likely. The only thing I know with any degree of certainty is that it means I’m very unlikely to go down the hardware modular route any time in the foreseeable future.
(Sorry for the novella!)