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Yes, there may be some junk software out there that you can download that may not sound very good, lock up your computer or even worse…but I want to tell you about a few pieces of software that I have been using for years and I would be crying if I would not have them at my disposal anymore in my producing arsenal. The first piece of software that I want to introduce you to is Audacity, a free audio editor that I use on every single track I produce in order to finalize the levels of my audio and to create nice and easy fade outs at the end. Since I produce a lot of jazzy chill-out and lounge tracks, this piano is a staple in my production arsenal. So, in short, the Cheeze Machine will not replace your Sampled String Library but it will take you back to the Psychedelic days of yesteryear with an unique sound that I just personally love. Here’s the link to download the Cheeze Machine (they do make you register to download but the downloads are all free and they promise no SPAM). Of course there are a few other gems out there that you can download for free and in future articles, we will explore some more useful production tools that you can use for free.
Alan Steward is a Producer, Engineer and Musician with over 30 years experience in the music business.
A digital audio workstation is basically a blank piece of paper and the necessary paint brushes for an artist to create their works of art on. Professional, semi-pro and home studios mainly use DAWs as their backbone for making music. If you’re looking for some smart device DAWs instead, check out our best music making apps article. Since it’s introduction in 1999, Ableton Live has been a very popular DAW and for good reason. To finish off our description for the beloved Ableton, this thing is the absolute best music software for performing live. This is one of the best DAWs for those looking to start out and get their feet wet in the music making world. You can use MIDI keyboards, record into it with a microphone, do your standard editing and mixing — it just gives you what you need with a simple interface.
This thing is just jam packed with features, synths, plug-ins, and not to mention a great interface for easy learning. It’s compatible with both Mac and PC, although with Mac it works a bit better (was originally created strictly for this). Reason has a very solid mixing console, better than a lot out there besides Pro Tools or Logic. Just an overall solid digital audio workstation for beginners, especially because it’s free. Reaper by Cockos has lost a bit of popularity with the emergence of Ableton and Logic Pro, but it still holds strength as far as a dedicated DAW goes.
Whether you’re starting recording artist or owner of a recording studio, the key to a quality audio recording the music production software and of course, the equipment. If you combine quality equipment with the right recording software, you can expect high-quality audio recording or music that can actually compete with professionally processed audio. With the help of music production software, you or your band can record your music at your pace and style. Since the main purpose of the software is for recording purposes, you need to make it a point that the one you’re choosing allows different recording capabilities. Just like some important recording features, you also need to be very careful with choosing the right music production and recording software by making sure that some of the major mixing capabilities are also available. Recording and mixing capabilities of a music recording and production software are two major features that one must look for. That may not be totally true for the music producer but there are quite a few, and for me indispensable, free music software that are available on the internet for free download. Yes, Audacity is feature packed with plug in effects and all kinds of tools and of course, if you like them, use them. There’s everything there from an amp simulator to an echo box and many of these plug-ins that come in that plug in bundle are very useful.
You will hear it on quite a few of my productions and even during live my shows, that typical sound is always there in my music: The plug-in is called the Cheeze Machine. Check latest news about best VST plugins, sample packs, sound kits, midi files, music production tutorials and tips. Some still use analog setups, such as drum machines and synthesizers, but a majority of people nowadays are strictly computer-based. Otherwise, continue on down and we’ll give you a nice, convenient guide to what you should be looking for. If you are a beginner, take the previous bullet into consideration, but keep the future in mind as well.


A few of the software we list are more optimal for performing live, such as giving us some easy integration with MIDI controllers, VST instruments and other live performance-specific features. Fruity Loops by Image-Line has been out and about for quite some time, being one of the most popular software to date. This is also a great DAW for those recording guitar or bass since it includes amp and speaker plug-ins from Softube.
It offers some pretty solid presets for vocal and guitar recording as well, although nothing too out of the ordinary. It does have a few good amps and effects for the guitar or mic. The way they monetize off of the software is basically purchases for more plug-ins, effects, and others; however, you can get away with what it comes with. When I first started making music in 2001, I had an old version of Acid Pro when it was still made by Sonic Foundry. The Key Editor lets you manually edit your MIDI track in case you need move a note over here and there.
You download the software and get it for 60 days and then have to pay to download a license to keep it going. When downloading Reaper, you really have nothing to lose since you get to try it for 60 days before buying. They include Studio One DAW in a lot of their products, such as their AudioBox iTwo audio interface we recently reviewed. It basically has all of the essentials and we see it competing against a lot of the other more known DAWs out there.
This can actually save you a lot of money and enable you to perfect your music because there’s no need for you to rush.
Unless you have some friends who are knowledgeable about the process, recording your music on your own can sometimes be tricky.
With this, you need to make sure that important recording features such as write automation and loop recording are present. But for me, a simple to use audio editor to check your final tracks on is a nice tool to have. It does not have any bells and whistles and a lot of settings but the thing it is supposed to do, it does very well: to give you the sound of an acoustic piano.
And again, these simple plug-ins are all very stable and they have never locked up my system. No, it does not provide you with cheesy snacks between sessions but with the typical sound of the classic Solina String Ensemble. Perhaps you’re looking to switch to a more popular, supported digital audio workstation? It is a computer program designed for editing, recording, mixing and mastering files (digital audio). This is an investment, typically a 4-5 year and beyond one (like buying a car), so you’re going to want to get it right. You want to start with something that you can easily understand and use in order to get your music-making skills going.
Starting with a beginner software is great for starters, but it may get boring after your first year or two and you need to keep in mind that you’ll eventually be good enough to use more functions of the software.
There are some more live-tailored features, such as saving presets, matching the interface with what you’ve got in front of you, etc.
What’s even better is that Ableton has paired up with some brands to create gear specifically for the program, often matching interfaces with the software for easier pairing and remembering of sounds.
Extremely suitable for those in the starting stages of music, particularly younger ones or those who merely want to lay down some tracks and make some cool tunes. I got so accustomed to it I continued to use Acid Pro 4.0 until early 2010 when I finally made my switch to Ableton.
We feel this is a great strategy for both the brand and user since it allows us to try it out for an adequate amount of time without having to drop some dough. If you’re shopping around and serious about your research, we say to give it a go since you get 60 days of full usage for free.
It’ll take a bit to learn the mastering tools but if you need a software for that this can get you by if you are trying to avoid Pro Tools. If you’re using the end result of the production for your demo, then you need to be very particular with certain aspects and feature of the software. Without these features, it’s basically difficult for you to do other stuff that are very important. It has a sweet sound that lies right in between the classic Rhodes Piano and the electronic version of that sound that we all know and love from the Yamaha DX synths.


The Solina was one of the first electronic instruments that attempted to re-create the sounds of a string orchestra electronically. He is also well-known as a producer of loops for music production and owns a recording studio in Germany. You can record your various instruments and controllers, lay down the tracks, rearrange, splice, cut, paste, add effects, and finalize the song you’ve got cooking for the world to hear.
Aside from a computer for music of course, a DAW is the most important piece of production equipment\gear you’ll need to get the ball rolling for those masterpieces waiting to be created. Getting an expert-level software from the start can not only take months to learn but also be daunting, ultimately discouraging producers from continuing to sharpen their craft. Some are just more geared to live performances, while others being for when you’re deep inside of the studio well-past midnight. The more you know about your software the easier it is to get those thousands of ideas circulating in your brain during your production onto the piece of paper.
The retail price is a lot lower than others out there, so it’s definitely budget-friendly.
Logic Pro isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and their community is huge for any questions that may arise. Ask any professional producer or sound engineer and they’ll say that anything else in the DAW world is just a waste of time.
However, I have some friends who tour nation-wide that still use Garageband just because of it’s simplicity and ease of use for recording.
It maps out the chords and explains what they are to help you get a better understanding of music theory.
There were pros and cons for sticking with the software for so long, one pro mainly being that I knew it like the back of my hand.
You’ve got something called the HALion Sonic SE 2 with a bunch of synth sounds, Groove Agent SE 4 with 30 drum kits, EMD construction kits, LoopMash FX, etc. It’s stated to be a bit easier in terms of workflow as compared to more popular DAWs, such as Logic needing a few more extra steps to achieve a certain function you need. So, I would encourage developers not to forget us Mac guys and port your plugins for the Mac as well. So, if you are looking for a nice authentic sounding acoustic piano, the mdA acoustic piano plug-in may just be the ticket. Give somebody like DJ Premier or Danger Mouse a vintage Boss drum machine and they can probably still make a hit. You want to think long term, but before you do drop that money most of these companies offer free trials (which we’ll provide).
Although this really depends on your preferences and whether or not you have your gear and sounds up to speed, it comes with 23 sound libraries (about 50GB of sounds), so you can make music out-of-the-box.
There are plenty of YouTube videos out there dating back to 2005 giving tutorials for pretty much any feature you need explained.
However, a lot of them say this after becoming certified in the program — as we stated before, there are entire school programs dedicated to Pro Tools. But once you do, it’s not only the best music-making decision for you, but perhaps a future career prospect as well. If my friends were ever over making music and wanted something done, I could merely press a hot-key and had it complete, getting some oohs and aahs here and there. But then, you can’t look a gift horse into the mouth, so maybe I should not complain.
What made this program famous in our opinion and still does is the fact that 9th wonder still uses Fruity Loops today. Lastly and just for some more FYI, it supports all MIDI hardware so you’re pretty good to go in terms of essential features within a workstation. The downside was that it was a bit buggy when it came to MIDI incorporation and other more-advanced features that are available with DAWs nowadays. You can drag and drop your VST’s and FX, map your MIDI controllers seamlessly, cut, paste, split and edit individual tracks, plug-in support for a majority of creators. Nothing too huge like Pro Tools in a sense of mastering or more advanced effects features, but for $400 retail Reason is really giving other DAWs a run for their money. Their latest version is actually very stable and we recommend this for beginners until even semi-pro like we were for the past decade.



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