Free Software To Get You Started

DAW's, Audio, MIDI, VST's and all other music software.

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Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Saul » Sat Dec 06, 2008 10:57 am

Here's a list of some of the best free/shareware software to get you started with computer based music making. Some are completely free, some are shareware but with no restrictions, which means when they come to the end of the trial period they do not stop working, your just asked as a gesture of goodwill to pay for the software but it's your choice.

I would encourage people to pay if they find the software really useful as this is often the only income the developers have.

Here's a list of freebies that will get you up and running and provide you with all the tools you need.

Reaper - A fully featured sequencer with VST plugins

Audacity - Multitrack Audio Editor

Acid Xpress - Audio Sequencer

Asio4All - Essential Asio driver and often better than the one that comes with most hardware. Can get extremely low latency using this (that's the delay between hitting a key and hearing the sound).

4Front Piano - Simple Piano Instrument Plugin.

Crystal - Sophisticated Semi-Modular Synth Plugin.

Shortcircuit - Sophisticated free sampler.

Schwa Oligarc - Amazing multi-effects featuring distortion and chorus amongst many others.

Tal-Bassline - Based on the classic SH101 analogue synth.

Overtone GEQ - 7 Band EQ Plugin, uses harmonic enhancement to make your tracks sound extra sweet!

If you come across any more that you think should be added to this list please let me know or just post the link in the forum.
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Unread post by Clyde » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:28 pm

Thanks for posting that Saul, it helped answer a question I had posted in the Home Studio forum. I'm so far out of the loop on what new software is available and what it's uses are that it's taking me a while to get back to computer music applications.
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Unread post by Saul » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:45 pm

There's just so much out there now that it can be a bit overwhelming for people just starting out. Often most people don't need all the bells and whistles of a high end sequencing program. All they want to do is record their music and be able to save it as an mp3 or burn to audio cd for playing in the car.

The nice thing is, you can pretty much do anything these days without actually spending a penny...or a dime if your in the US ;) Lucky for us there are people out there who are willing to put in the time and effort to produce some amazing software just because they want to share with the rest of us :)
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Sweep » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:19 am

There's quite a mix of free and very cheap VST software available. I downloaded masses of them and sifted through, discarding many, keeping some that only made one or two special sounds but were worth keeping for those, and discovering a few real gems. I must admit I sometimes enjoy the challenge of finding out what a synth can really do.

Some notable ones:

EZPoly is a great free polysynth with a really good arpeggiator.

Classic Delay, Classic Reverb and so forth are a series of excellent free signal processors. Classic Delay in particular is superb. And being VST programs you can create several instances in one session. Setting up two or three Classic Delays either in parallel or in series can be very effective.

Image Line make some excellent and not very expensive instruments. Their Wasp emulation is brilliant, and very cheap (I think it cost about £17),and their Direct Wave sampler is one of my most used instruments. That one's about £50 if I remember rightly, but definitely worth it. There are demo versions of both of these.

I tend to advise people to check out free VSTs if they want to discover synthesis and don't know what to buy. They're a great way to find out what the different kinds of synthesizer sound like and what the various elements do. But it's certainly the case that free or very cheap software can be used alongside much more expensive instruments and can often hold it's own against them.
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Derek » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:31 am

The best free VST I have found so far is one that emulates the Moog Taurus

http://antti.smartelectronix.com/

You can register and pay a modest fee to remove the nag screen, but sadly I don't think the Author is actively looking at this any more as my donation was never acknowledged, and I never had anything to unlock the nag screen, which is not intrusive and it certainly doesn't screw up your projects.

But the software is fully functional, and is great if you're after Taurus style bass drones (think Mike Rutherford of Genesis playing 12 string on stage whilst doing the bass on Taurus pedals). Rush were also big users of the Taurus
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Saul » Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:59 am

Best place I find for free soft synths, sequencers etc is Computer Music Magazine Ok so you pay for the mag but the cover disc alone is well worth it. I have plenty of these cover discs kicking around by the way so happy to post them out of anyone wants one :)
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by SpotlightKid » Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:42 am

In Germany, a good equivalent for this is the beat magazine. They often have special versions of commercial plug-ins or stand-alone audio programs with free licenses for their readers on the CD/DVD. Their CD also has a a selection of freeware VSTs every month with accompanying reviews in the mag and sometimes even workshops that show how to get the best out of them.

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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Saul » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:11 am

Thanks for that Chris. There's another reason I should learn German :)
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Kingell » Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:03 pm

Most software manufacturers have a free trial download. It's worth buying a computer music magazine and looking at what's available or search with Google.

Hallo Saul Sie können Babelfish auf Ihrem Computer verwenden, um Sprachen zu übersetzen. Dieses ist, was ich hier getan habe. Freundlicher Respekt

(Hello Saul
You can use Babelfish on your computer to translate languages. This is what I have done here.
Kind regards
)


(Not always accurate but helpful)
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Saul » Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:31 pm

Yes, Google language tools does the same thing but does make reading an article a tad on the slow side, not to mention often comical :) Anyway got more than enough to be keeping me busy right now. Just got Logic 9 and Ableton 8.1. Yet another learning curve I have set myself 8O
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Barba_P » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:27 pm

Oh thank you. This is just what I was looking for when I opened this category.
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by joris123 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:03 pm

A nice tool to check your midi setup.

Midi Connect Check. : http://www.vdvb.be/Software/Index.htm
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Denv12 » Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:21 am

joris123 wrote:A nice tool to check your midi setup.

Midi Connect Check. : http://www.vdvb.be/Software/Index.htm
If I install this on my computer(windows 7) will this help me with the Ketron SD1000?
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by ilikechipotle245 » Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:49 pm

I know this is an old topic, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Proteus VX, yet.
http://www.creative.com/emu/proteusvx/

It's probably the best free VSTi I've ever seen, with hundreds of high-quality presets and built-in effects. It even has that famous CZ-101 bass sound, which makes it instantly awesome in my book. The only problem is that it's for PC only, which is a problem for a lot of people. Check out some of the demos on SynthMania to get an idea of how it sounds:
http://synthmania.com/Proteus%20VX.htm

Another good piece of software for Windows XP users is a free version of the Yamaha S-YXG50 softsynth provided legally by Microsoft themselves.
http://www.download.windowsupdate.com/m ... 403848.cab

You install it by using the "Add New Hardware" feature. It's a real shame it doesn't work on Windows 7, because it's much better for midi playback than the default MSGS Wavetable Synth.
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Re: Free Software To Get You Started

Unread post by Derek » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:42 pm

I have Proteus VX as an EMU 1212 user, but can't say that I was that impressed with it. Each to his own of course. :)
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