Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10 Great, FREE Software Programs for Musicians and Sound Engineers

This is my selection of programs, that can be really useful for you, if you are composing, recording or editing music. They are/was useful for me. All presenting here software is free (usually GPL license) and mostly cross-platform (Linux, Mac OS X, Windows).

I have been using all of these programs. They are very well made. Some of them just works like a professional, expensive software. It's a helpful stuff for home recording.
Descriptions are short - I think it's better to check out their official pages, or even install some of them for some tests, to know how they are working in practice.

1. Ardour - – A really professional (but free), digital audio workstation. Got everything necessary for recording and editing tracks. I really like to work with this software. Works well with Jack \/ .

2. Jack - – An audio connection kit - system for handling real-time, low latency audio. Very useful if you need to connect together few audio programs, or many inputs and outputs. I'm using it with Ardour, Hydrogen, Aqualung and Jack Rack – everything works well. (Not all audio programs can work with Jack)

3. Jack Rack - – A virtual rack of effects. Made to work with Jack software. Works with LADSPA plug-ins (Linux). Has got simple and effective interface. Only for Linux.

4. Audacity - – A simple sound editor. Good enough for simple and quick recording or editing.

5. MuseScore - – A nice WYSIWYG music notation program. Very user friendly. Has got awesome „live instruments” simulation, when you will save a score in an audio format. I'm having sometimes some little problems in 'beta version' (it's august 2010), but it's going to be really good software.

6. Muse - – A MIDI/Audio sequencer with recording and editing capabilities. Has got many useful tools (more than I need). Really nice for working with samples.

7. Rosegarden - – A MIDI/Audio sequencer, score editor, and general-purpose music composition and editing environment. Has got maaaanyy tools. (For score editing I prefer MuseScore.) Very useful, if you want to connect together many ways of music composing (scores, digital, samples, direct recording).
Rosegarden is similar to Muse, to some degree. For some of you Muse can be better. I recommend to install both of them, if you need that kind of software.

8. ZynAddSubFX - – A great sounding virtual synthesizer, with a lot of sound options.

9. Hydrogen - – A virtual drum machine. Can sounds really good after some regulations of „swing” and „timing”, almost like live instrument. I recommend to download some additional drum kits for it. I think, that some of them will be better then standard one. Works well with Jack.

10. Aqualung - – A music player which looks simple, but it's very advanced. Works well with Jack software, so can be used in recording process.