In a previous article, I mentioned that I was going to make my own music for videos with street photography. In this article I describe the steps I took to set up a home studio without too much investment.
It starts with the software. A computer is in the house but software is a different matter. A lot of music software is very expensive. This has been recognized by a number of developers and others who have either developed free software or make software available for free as an extension of their other activities. From my search, 3 programs remained that meet what I would like very well and are free.
The first one that remains is Cakewalk. Actually I was very surprised that this program was free, it used to be one of the more expensive programs under the name Sonar. However, Cakewalk has been taken over by Bandlab, a platform for musicians who share music with each other and with which you can collaborate on projects if you want to. Only condition is that you also install the Bandlab assistant, but I don’t mind. Bandlab is a very nice social platform for music. They also have a nice app that allows you to make beautiful music even on your phone or tablet!
The second one left was Waveform from Tracktion. This company makes four different versions of its digital studio and the least comprehensive is free. But the least extensive is already so extensive that you can get lost in it at first. Fortunately, you can download a very nice manual. Although it is free, you have to register it, otherwise the version will expire.
During my searches I also found LMMS. A program that immediately struck me because it looks a lot like a program I used to use, Fruity Loops, the only difference is that this one costs nothing and all the plugins work in it too! There are many video tutorials so you can quickly get started.
You can see an example of a VST instrument that is well integrated in LMMS in the picture below. The integrated plugin is Hybrid 3.0, a very versatile synthesizer that is on sale on many websites. The Vestige block you see is the tool that allows you to include a VST instrument in your composition.
So then we naturally come to plugins. There are a number of websites that provide free plugins but I find Plugin Boutique to be the most friendly. If you have created a login updates are immediately monitored for you when you go to your own page, the website remembers what you have already downloaded. In addition, this website often has offers for a few Euros that are really worthwhile. For each plug-in there are ratings, videos and examples. Take a look around, if you don’t like it, please contact me, I have other suggestions.
Otherwise, of course, you can just Google “free VST plugins“.
A great list can be found on the LANDR blog. A nice complete list to pick out your instruments and try them out. I would definitely take a look at the U-he synthesizers, very comprehensive and with great sound quality. These are the synths I also use outside of a few I bought in an offer.
You now have enough data to start playing music on your computer without spending a fortune. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Most of all, it’s fun to do and that’s what matters.