Here is our recommended list of tools for creating music and audio using ambisonics.
IEM PLUGIN SUITE
The IEM Plugin Suite made by the lovely folks at the Institut für Elektronische Musik und Akustik on the Kunstuniversität Graz campus, is a free and open-source set of VST plugins for Windows and OSX. These plugins are powerful, well designed, and updated frequently. They handle up to third order Ambisonics and thus require 16 channels, making them best used in Reaper.
Envelop is a free, open-source plugin set for Ableton Live. It is made using Max MSP and works on third order Ambisonics. The tool is a fantastic and simple way to bring your stereo Ableton Live sets into a spatial audio sphere. The software is incredibly CPU intensive and can cause Ableton to crash, but if you alter your workflow a bit to use only 16–20 tracks, it’s the easiest (and at present the only) way to use Ableton in an Ambisonic environment.
Reaper is a DAW for both Windows and OSX. It is developed by Cockos and was created in 2006. It is currently the only DAW that can natively handle up to 7th order Ambisonics. It’s powerful and extremely customizable, but complicated. Think of it as the Linux of DAWs. It is indefinitely available for free evaluation, but when you decide to use it professionally it will only cost you $225!