filkertom: (Default)
Toontrack has released EZdrummer Lite and EZmix 2 Lite for free. (You do have to sign up for a Toontrack account if you don't already have one.) The authorization process is a bit of a pain. Available for both PC and Mac.

And, if you have an iDevice, especially an iPad, you should try Zap Guitar, a free app that lets you "strum" a "guitar". It's pretty cool. (Although not quite as cool as its big brother, Songful, that comes with a huge database of songs. But that app costs $2.99.)

Any other cool software we should know about?
filkertom: (Default)
No, the pollution hasn't gotten that bad. Air Ignite is a rather amazing program which allows you to put together song ideas in the most natural way I've found yet.

I've found a few interesting attempts at this lately. Stagelight is inexpensive (only $9.99) and surprisingly powerful -- basically a micro-DAW. Its workflow as a sketchpad is good but could be better. Same thing with Studio One Free, another micro-DAW, although it doesn't let you use VSTs -- you have to get one of the pay versions for that. And JamDeck tries to do what Ignite does, but is much more cumbersome and much less powerful about it, and costs $39.

So what does Ignite do? Ignite lets you create both audio and MIDI clips, and arrange them into a song. It has a wide selection of internal instruments, and several basic effects with a lot of presets. (It does not use VSTs.) It also works in a number of time signatures, so you can, for instance, do that 7/4 or 9/8 piece you've been considering. And it exports to .WAV, .MP3, and .MID, kicks your song into a folder with separate audio tracks so you can work on it some more in a DAW, or uploads direct to SoundCloud.

If you've bought an M-Audio keyboard in the past year or so, you likely have a copy, but you can also download it for free (not quite 1 GB). It's available for both Windows and Mac, and there is a playlist of instructional videos which will get you up and going in about an hour.

Any other new music toys, or new music, we need to know about?
filkertom: (Default)
I'll post later about ConFusion (short form: excellent!), but I wanted to take the chance to emphasize something I mentioned in the Home Recording panel.

I said that the only real hardware you need to start with is a good microphone. (Decent headphones and speakers are also important, but you can get those later if you're really working on the cheap.) And I suggested that Musician's Friend is a good place to look, especially their Stupid Deal of the Day.

Which, today, is a decent-quality Audio Technica USB microphone for fifty bucks, half-price.

There were also a few cheap and free programs I pointed out:
  • First, of course, is Audacity, which may be enough for all your basic recording needs and certainly is enough for all your audio processing needs.
  • For those who would like to quickly lay out a song, but aren't ready yet to shell out for Band In A Box, the inexpensive and quite handy all-MIDI auto-accompaniment program ChordPulse does a nice job, and also has a free version.
  • Sony's free Acid Xpress is great for beginners, as long as you don't need to use third-party VST plugins.
  • Open Labs' StageLight is easy to figure out and surprisingly full-featured for only $9.99.
  • KVR Audio is the place to go for news about new products, forums with lots of information, product sales, tech advice, and a fairly nice community of musicians from around the world.
  • Even more tech advice and gentle hand-holding can be found at AudioTuts+ and The Recording Revolution.
  • Some of the best information on the indie music business can be found at
  • Last but not least, there are many sources for excellent free VST effect and instrument plugins. Some of my favorites include:
    • Camel Audio, where you can get the Camel Crusher effect and the fantastic Alchemy Player
    • Variety of Sound (especially epicVerb, Thrillseeker, and TesslaPRO)
    • u-he (mostly commercial products, but two superb free synths, Zebralette and TyrellN6
    • HG Fortune, your one-stop shop for all things electronica and ambient -- he's got a lot of free versions of his synths, and even the full-price versions are pretty cheap
    • Okay, I lied -- depending on the type of ambient you like, you may need some of Krakli's stuff, especially Harm, Gargoyle, and Cygnus
    • And, the Antress Modern series of effects plugins is constantly expanding.
Any other cool audio stuff we need to know about?
filkertom: (science)
Woulda hyped this sooner, if I'd seen it. [personal profile] madfilkentist is trying to fund a book called Files That Last, evangelizing and explaining digital preservation to a wide range of computer users. Thing is, it's only got about 8 hours left. If you like the idea, won't you help?
filkertom: (Default)
The nice folks at GoldWave have a brand new audio/video editing program, VideoMeld. They've released a 1.0 version which is Free For A Very Limited Time Only. While this is often a fancy-schmancy way of saying Still In Beta Ha Ha Ha, it seems to have a lot of potential.

Any cool freebies we should know about?
filkertom: (science)
Any programmers out there want to talk to a mad scientist about a text-to-song app he wants to get started? And are you willing to suspend any pre-conceived notions until after you hear his insane filk-induced rant?

If so, post here, and he'll get back to you.
filkertom: (Default)
Download and vote. Most stuff for Windows, some for Mac and Linux, all free.
filkertom: (jawdrop)
I use lots of different music tools. Just as there are game companies that I tend to buy from en masse, e.g., Popcap, there are certain music software companies that just do most everything right -- solid products, solid support, excellent sound. Cockos, Cakewalk, PG Music, Camel Audio, MeldaProduction, XLN Audio (the lameness of Addictive Keys notwithstanding).

And IK Multimedia.

For reasons that escape me, IK has something of a bad rep. I have no idea why -- I've used SampleTank and Amplitube for years, and I've never had a problem with software nor web site. Their service has always been excellent, they've really streamlined their product registration, and -- by far the most important of all -- their products sound great. If there is a flaw with their products, it's that you have to buy them on sale, because they've been way overpriced for a long time now.


IK has just overhauled their price structure. And come up with a couple of bundle deals that you simply cannot let pass.

Okay, actually, unless you fervently hate a stupid good deal on effects, you technically can let pass the really great deal, and just get the Total Workstation XL, which has some 43 GB of instruments for $299. Whoops, did I say $299? Until Oct. 31, that's $199.

But Total Studio 3 (normally $399 under new pricing) gives you all that plus Amplitube 3 (with the Metal and Jimi Hendrix expansions), the T-RackS 3 Deluxe effects suite, and Classic Studio Reverb, all for $249 until Oct. 31 -- that is, an extra fifty bucks.

If you create music on a PC or Mac, you really should look at the Total Studio 3 deal. Fortunately, you have a month and a half to do so before the price goes up.

What computer noisemakers do you like? I'll throw in a couple more, just for fun -- and best of all, they all are free or have free versions!
  • the ambient music synths of H.G. Fortune
  • TyrellN6 by u-he (definitely check out the rest of their stuff)
  • Applied Acoustic Systems' Swatches (e-mail sign-up required). I love AAS's stuff, but you have to get it on sale.
  • Variety of Sound (another great bunch of free effects)
filkertom: (ThumbsUp)
Recently, I got a copy of Cakewalk's Sonar X1 LE Starter Kit. Let me show you why:

If you're interested, that very same LE Starter Kit is on sale for $19.99 for the next two weeks. Also on sale is the upgrade from that to Sonar X1 Studio, only $79.99.

(Just leapfrog Essential, the version between LE and Studio; the power/utility difference isn't worth the savings. The Producer edition has a few nice tools and extra instruments, but I don't really think they're worth the extra few hundred bucks for our level of sound work. On the other hand, even just the LE edition is amazing, and Studio includes some excellent tools and instruments and lets you use 64-bit plugins.)

Any other great, cheap software we need to know about?
filkertom: (frog)
There is now a free version of Studio One for Mac and PC. One problem: It doesn't use VST plugins. Neither does their first commercial level above it, Studio One Artist. For some, that's a deal-breaker.

You can also get Ableton Live Lite 8 free if you have a free Soundcloud account. (And if you have a commercial version of Ableton, you get five free months of Soundcloud Pro.)

For what it's worth, having played with a number of DAWs over the past few weeks (I love Reaper, except for the routing), I think the most ass-kicking deal is Sonar X1 LE Starter Kit, which you can pick up for less than $45 this month at Cakewalk's download shop. You might want to drool a bit at Sonar X1's new Skylight interface, and maybe even try it without restrictions for thirty days. (Sorry, this one's Windows only.)

Any cool or cheap music stuff we should know about?
filkertom: (frog)
For everyone using the Audacity open-source audio editor, it's now officially at 2.0. For everyone not using it, it's a superb free editor for Windows, Mac, and Gnu/Linux, with a smallish download (<20 MB for the full Windows installer, <8 MB for the .zip), and the newest release squashes bugs and adds new features.
filkertom: (jawdrop)
If you're in the market for a web site design and content management suite, one of the biggies is FREE, today only. Image-Line's EZGenerator can be had for the download and registration at Giveaway of the Day. (Yes, Image-Line is the same company that has FL Studio, the former Fruity Loops.)

(Note that when I say "registration", I mean you have to create an account at Image-Line and download a small registry file, which you activate by double-clicking it. A number of the ungrateful children in comments at GAOTD seem to think this is a problem, and I suppose in their own way they are Sticking It To The Man or something. GAOTD comments are nearly as bad as Yahoo comments, honestly -- people complaining about free commercial software is never pretty, especially when it's too complex for them. One guy honestly recommends that, rather than download this web site software, people should learn to code HTML with a text editor. Which is a useful thing, but I can only assume he also likes assembling toothpick Taj Mahals. But I'm not cranky.)

Any other cool freebies we should know about?


Jan. 25th, 2012 05:27 pm
filkertom: (mamushka)
Here's something interesting: SonicCouture is working up a new Kontakt instrument, CrowdChoir, which will use voices from around the world.

As in, folks like you and me.

Click here for all the details. Basically, every time you load the web page, it picks a note at random for you to sing, for about ten seconds' worth if you can. Record it as cleanly as you can, and e-mail the .wav to 'em. Everyone who contributes gets a copy of the final Kontakt instrument.

And, the more notes you sing, the more chances you have to win a gorgeous cherrywood Mbira (which they used to record a different software instrument).
filkertom: (skyrim)
Bethesda is rolling out the 1.2 patch for the PS3 version of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, with the PC and XBox 360 patches estimated for tomorrow. As always, don't believe it until you see it.

Meantime, here's the combined themes from Morrowind and Skyrim:

If you know of any great gaming or anime music online, why not link us up? Let's get the two biggies out of the way first: VGMusic and Final Fantasy VII: Voices of the Lifestream.
filkertom: (Default)
Attention PC gamers.

If, by chance, you have not played Dragon Age: Origins, either because you didn't have the time or (more likely) you thought it was too freakin' expensive, has Direct 2 Drive got a deal for you:

Get all of it -- the original game, the Awakening expansion, and all the available DLC -- for $7.50. Not a typo -- seven dollars and fifty cents.

Apparently this was part of an EA weekend sale. D2D tends to change their prices between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern, so there's likely just a few hours left. But it's there now, and I don't think you're ever going to find a better price for this amazing RPG.

Any other fantastic game deals we should know about?
filkertom: (Default)
For those who would like to see the short film The Consultant, starring S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson, but who don't want to buy Thor on Blu-Ray, here you go. Ignore their b.s. about downloading and the Veoh player. The download thing doesn't work, and the Player tries to install a lot of bloatware. Nowhere near worth it for a four-minute vid.
filkertom: (Default)
All Windows unless otherwise specified.
  • Until the end of September, BFD Eco (normally $149) is $29. (You can buy it downloadable at audioMIDI.) I've been waffling on whether to eventually buy JamStix 3 (PC) or MDrummer 4 (Mac and PC), both of which do a lot at very reasonable prices, but I hadn't even considered BFD, which is too frickin' pricey. But BFD Eco sounds amazing, rich and full and easy to use, and at this price it's an absolute no-brainer.
  • Samplitude 11 Silver is a free version, with 8 tracks, each of which can use up to four VSTs.
  • Melda Productions, the MDrummer people, have a new EQ in beta.
  • Native Instruments has updated Kontakt to version 5, and that means a new version of the free Kontakt Player for Mac and PC as well.
  • loops de la crème has a bunch of interesting sounds at good prices (better if you use the discount code cream1 before the end of September), and the Clap Pack, Kick Pack, and Worlds Sounds Vol. 1 are free (or, more properly, Name Your Price).
Any new audio toys you've found? Please specify links and OS.
filkertom: (Default)
What that actually means is a contest, sponsored by the German company Best Service: create a track, up to three minutes long, using only sounds in this download (scroll down to find it) powered by their Engine 2 player.

Contest? Hey, sure, cool. But what's really cool is that you get 2-1/5 GB of noise, demo'ing some of their awesome (if pricey) sound packs. Ambient, synths, percussion... as always, be sure to hold the key down to hear the full sound -- it's amazing how deep noises are getting lately.

Any new music on your side?
filkertom: (Default)
audioMIDI is having another of their No-Brainer sales, and it's a doozy: Rob Papen's RP-Delay (normally $69-99, depending on where you look) for $10. Some of their No-Brainers are more so than others; this is a Jayzus Pounce On This deal. I think it's only good until the 10th or 12th of August. I also think it's only PC.

For those of you looking for a free software resource, Gersic is plug-in heaven.

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