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Thread: Recomendations of Free Software to Record/Mix Tracks

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Recomendations of Free Software to Record/Mix Tracks

    Anyone recommend any free software that I can use to record my music playing? I would like to combine, for example, me playing/strumming rhythm ukulele, me picking the melody, me picking some leads, me playing bass, and then drums (from my keyboard). This goal/endeavor is to create/produce music playable via standard CD for fun/friends, and not to be sold.
    Last edited by SonSprinter; 01-05-2016 at 09:14 PM. Reason: clarification

  2. #2
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    There's always Audacity http://audacityteam.org/

    But you might want to check out Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm/) or Tracktion (https://www.tracktion.com). Both have a lot of power for under $100. Reaper is "free to try" the full version for 60 days.

    Of course you'll need some hardware like a microphone(s) and audio interface.

    Oh wait, you didn't mention what platform. Windows? Mac? iOS?
    Last edited by Jim Hanks; 01-06-2016 at 01:48 AM.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
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    I am a big fan of Reaper - you can get a good idea of what it can do with the 60 day trial, and it can do A LOT - even use virtual instruments, many of which are free.

    But I think you may be skipping a step. If you want to multi-track, as it seems you do, you will need an interface, which will allow you to hear playback and play along in synch. I don't know of any of those for free, but you can get them for well under $100. I just got one on sale for $50 that allows for two tracks in, but you can get one with a single track in for #30 - http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-a...r-u-phoria-um2.

  4. #4
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    +1 on Audacity, at least for Windows. Free, easy to understand, will do all of the things you want.



  5. #5

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    What Jim said ^

    +1 for Audacity. There are native versions for Windows, Mac, Linux & FreeBSD.

    Learning basic concepts on Audacity can give you the skills to easily understand other software should you want to spend money later for a different DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) program.

    There are tons of Audacity tutorials on Youtube.

    As per what Jim said also about a mic or an audio interface, this is required since if using the built-in 'sound card' of your computer, your recordings are 99% likely to have electronic 'noise' in the audio of your recordings due to the EMI/RFI that exists within all computers, and if you want a clean signal, you need to have the ADC (Analog-to-Digital converter) OUTSIDE the actual computer, hooked up either by FireWire, USB or Thunderbolt. iOS devices have either a native 30-pin or Lightning connection, to which some devices can attach directly, otherwise if the audio interface you want to use is 'Class Compliant' USB, you can use one of the $29 USB adapters that Apple sells to give a USB port to your iOS device...

    SonSprinter, Lots of us here on the forum have been down this path before - ask away and I'm sure you'll get lots of helpful replies.

    Jim has quite a few great albums on BandCamp (great sounding audio fidelity too, I might add), and I am in the process of recording songs for a new album right now to be released soon.

    Many other folks on this forum (too many to list) have done home recording of themselves for many different reasons, and simplicity seems to be a common theme, which is good for guiding a beginner such as yourself.

    [edit: after I hit submit I see other replies that were not there when I was initially typing mine here, so no slight is meant by not referring to the other posts above mine. Like I said, many folks are here to help]
    Last edited by Booli; 01-06-2016 at 02:09 AM. Reason: see edit
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  6. #6

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    I should add that there's software that just records audio only (like Audacity), and other software that does audio AND MIDI, such as those mentioned above, as well as GarageBand which exists for both iOS and Mac OS X.

    You can start a project on iOS, and then bring it over to the Mac for more polishing if needed, but not the other way as far as I know.

    Last time I checked, the iOS version of GarageBand was $5 and the Mac OS X version was $15, both from the respective app stores. You will need an iTunes account to get them.

    If you want to use your keyboard as a MIDI controller, and/or MIDI synth triggered by your recording program, you want a DAW with MIDI capability.

    Using your keyboard as a MIDI controller you can make use of a ton of softsynths, virtual drums or virtual instruments, of which many are included with various programs including Reaper and Auria and Garageband. Others can be purchased and some are free too.

    Also, to use your keyboard as a MIDI controller, you might want to look at an interface that has BOTH audio and MIDI I/O, otherwise you can get a 1-in/1-out USB MIDI interface such as the M-Audio Uno for ~$30 everywhere, and you would connect this to your keyboard or any other device that has MIDI ports, and to your computer.
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  7. #7

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    Here's one guy showing how to record ALL the instruments, using only a Blue Snowball Microphone.

    This mic normally sells for $69 but frequently goes on sale for $49 from time to time.

    He is using the program Audition by Adobe (used to be called Cool Edit Pro before Adobe bought that company back in 2003-ish)...


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUqXERXXjpc
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  8. #8
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    I remember Cool Edit Pro. Wow, now I feel really old.

    The Blue Snowball is a good option if you're on a budget. There are better options, but not for that price.



  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichM View Post
    I remember Cool Edit Pro. Wow, now I feel really old.
    Ha Ha - me too - I was so upset when Adobe bought Cool Edit Pro, and then shelved it for like 2 yrs before being reborn as Audition.

    That was what lead to me using Audacity instead of going back to Cakewalk (which I had used for a long time prior since Windows 3.11). Then in 2005 when I switched to Mac from Windows, one of the reasons I switched to Mac was specifically for GarageBand. I still have a newer Mac mini which is my music computer and exists only for that purpose and to act as a hub for my iOS devices. My daily-use computer runs Linux as I refuse to touch a Microsoft product ever again.....anyway....

    Back when I was solely on Mac, I had also used Digital Performer, Logic Express, Logic Pro and also ProTools, and all of them are a royal PITA, and by the time I was able to hit record after launching the app, the song idea in my head was gone.

    With GarageBand, I can fire up the iPad app and be recording in SECONDS, not 4 mins later. Very important for capturing song ideas when the inspiration hits me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RichM View Post
    The Blue Snowball is a good option if you're on a budget. There are better options, but not for that price.
    I agree. Blue Microphones is a top-notch company, and ALL they make are microphones. Many folks still love the Snowball, and when the first model came out, there really was nothing else like it on the market.

    Now there are lots of choices (and a few in that price range), but a Samson Go Mic, or Samson Meteor Mic is about what you'll find at that price, both of which have only a 12mm diaphragm inside whereas the Snowball has a 30mm diaphragm, and better electronics inside, yielding a much flatter frequency response, and much wider dynamic range.

    I have an Apogee MiC, which is easy to use and sounds great either via iOS devices or USB to Mac or Linux, but not everyone wants to spend $200+ just for a mic.

    The sound is at least as good as my AKG Perception 200 large diaphragm condenser when I run it through my ART USB Dual Tube Pre, which is a 2-channel 12Ax7 vacuum tube based preamp and USB interface with some other features.
    Guinea proverb: "A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    That was what lead to me using Audacity instead of going back to Cakewalk (which I had used for a long time prior since Windows 3.11). Then in 2005 when I switched to Mac from Windows, one of the reasons I switched to Mac was specifically for GarageBand. I still have a newer Mac mini which is my music computer and exists only for that purpose and to act as a hub for my iOS devices. My daily-use computer runs Linux as I refuse to touch a Microsoft product ever again.....anyway....
    I used to use Cakewalk as well. I thought it was a very good program, but unnecessarily complex. There's something to be said for plug, play, record, and that's why I like Audacity. The learning curve is very quick, it works reliably, and wav editing is simple and logical.



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