I used fruity loops at first, then moved onto reason because i turned against fruity, however i've just started using fruity again and it's an excellent program, also there are hundreds of free vst's about.
If not fruity, I'd reccommend Cubase or Logic, If I had a mac i'd b right on Logic.. but unfortunately i don't and i'm not willing to go back to logic 4 Those two progs are industry standard and widely used by many producers in the music industry, just for the record though.. Dub Zero uses fruity!
Personally, with the release of Reason 4, I started recommending Reason to my mates and stuff for learning to produce on. The new release is top notch, and it's perfectly possible to make signable choons on it these days, and the lack of VST support means you'll be forced to learn the tools at your disposal, rather than hunting down new plugs everytime you want a new sound - knowledge that will carry over into any other software you decide to pick up later.
Plus Reason is just so damn fun, it's impossible not to get hooked on production after playing with it.
reasons all good, i installed 4 the other day, then uninstalled it, cubase all the way, the audio editing facilities are just, sik, to put it mildly, cubase all the way and all the vst plug ins around u could ever hope for.
cubase is not confusing. cubase would be best to start on as ur tunes will go alot further. fruity to me looks so more confusing then cubase. thier is too much going on for people to know wat to use. with cubase u simply insert a vsti and ur away
I don't use any of these mainstream applications, but instead i use MuTools which i think is good for starting out with. It comes free and unlimited version but unlimited is cheap anyway and gives you better mix down quality and unlimited tracks. That, and that it uses modular plugin or racks (your choice) means you can have up to 8 vst's per track (or more if you use a second rack to the first rack) and you can have as many racks as you like.
It also comes with a sampler, a nice sounding synth, basic sound editor and drag and drop support which is nice for its price.