Does anyone know any good FREE music making software?

I want to make a SynthV original song, but I don’t know any good music software. Can anyone recommend a software?


You mean a Digital Audio Workstation ? I think Studio One 4 Prime is a good choice and it’s free.

I would never recommend that. Tons of people would say Reaper would be a good option, but if you’re going to just make covers and not do this commercially you might be able to find a free DAW somewhere.

However, as soon as you try to enter the realm of actually making originals, you have to be ready to start putting in some real money.

Not only that, you won’t really go very far unless you have enough theory knowledge because that’s how you’re going to input the notes you want as accurately as possible. Otherwise it’s just a shot in the dark. Rhythms and subdivisions are what will actually help you most.

Another thing I should add is that, I’ve said it many times and I have to say it again. The more serious you are about a path, the more it’s going to cost you, and the same rule applies to any occupation you’re aiming for in the future.

I know it’s going to be really painful but the best advice I can give you is to save up as much money as possible for a few years and then be ready to pay about $550. That’ll give you StudioOne 4 Professional to get you on a relatively workable spot to get started. Depending on what genre you’re trying to do, it can cost you a lot more, or just a little bit more, but more likely than not, a lot more, as you have to also be ready to buy some good quality drum plugins or drum sample libraries which will run you at least another $100, then you need FM8, Massive, and/or Xfer Serum which will run you another $100-$200 each (unless you really luck out in the upcoming Black Friday). And even if you aren’t going to do anything electronic you still need a drum plugin like GetGoodDrums, and if you’re going the rock/metal route the instruments will run you anywhere from $600 to $3,000 each (and you need a guitar and a bass for a bare minimum, and my bass cost me $2,500, although if you aren’t doing crazy tunings like my band is you can get away with a $300 or $500 bass).

So to sum it all up, save money for a few years and then come back.

side note: The necessary maintenance fee for my bass is insane. I have to pay another $120-ish every half-year point just to get new strings and get the DI signal back up to snuff. Not to brag or anything, but it goes to show you how expensive it all gets.

of course…i would recommend…not free…but popular…it’s FL Studio :stuck_out_tongue:

you can actually get thing for free if you feel no guilty when you doing “that way”

Hey Mike!

Delighted to hear it! The more people making original Vocasynth the better!! If you need a hand with anything at all, DM me. Aint a damn thing wrong with Reaper. I’m an Ableton Suite user primarily, but I’ll tack guitar on Reaper because of latency issues with Ableton. It can be compensated, but I mean it’s annoying and Reaper is right there.

If you wanna go that way, hit up: for all of your tutorial needs.
I also use Reaper for audiobook and spoken word stuff as well when working for Audible. I’ve used it in professional settings for years. It is extremely flexible, but it is not for everybody.

FL Studio, Cubase and StudioOne are great options too. There’s no real right answer here bud. I know awesome producers that use each of those DAWs There are also free trials for pretty much everything, so sign up, try them out and make your decision with what you feel most comfortable with. Also, ignore x DAW is better than y DAW. There is far too much elitism in music production. The goal is to make music, right? So find something that you enjoy, gets the job done and you like using - find YOUR DAW, YOUR music making platform and ignore other peoples BS. Its about finding the right platform for your own creativity.

What kind of music do you wanna make?

If it helps, I make both guitar based and synth based music depending on what I’m feeling at the time. My setup including plugins is:

Ableton Suite
Reaper (for tracking - not exactly free. Never ending trial, but the licence is cheap (if you decide on it, support the developers if you can)

Ableton Stock
Serum (Can rent to own from Splice)
OTT (Free)
Komplete Start (Free) This includes free versions of a LOT of stuff. Including Guitar Rig which will be good enough to get you started.
Audio Assault Ultimate Bundle (I actually got this for 12 bucks… join their e-mail list/Facebook page and they do deals constantly. Do not buy it for 200. They’ll do a 90% reduction again soon) The Dominator guitar plugin is fantastic. Druminator drums plugin isn’t too shabby either.
Getgood Drums They also have a free kit. I haven’t used it, but it’s probably workable.
Piapro Studio (Vocaloid)

Note** Do not get addicted to buying plugins. I actually have several times more than this, but these are the ones I use the most and I deeply regret owning so many for no real reason.

Mastering (you really don’t need to worry about this yet though):
iZotope Ozone (Also available as rent to own. I think from Splice, but maybe Plugin Boutique)
IK Multimedia T-RackS 5 (Though to be honest, I’ll usually only use The ONE for fast masters)

Like plugins, I once had a serious sample addiction. Which is annoying because I rarely actually used any. For the moment, go over to Cymatics and get their free packs. Also join their Facebook/Instagram pages as they do deals all the time. I’ll use their dubstep kicks in pretty much anything.
Again Splice is awesome for picking up random whatever samples.
Also, WA Production do a subscription service and you can download three sample packs a month, a few templates and a few plugins.

I really want to encourage you or anyone else reading this to start writing original songs. It’s a frustrating and rewarding process that I have been doing for the past (almost) 20 years. Also, it helps spread awareness of SynthV, that I personally really want to see succeed.

Don’t let any lack of music theory or using cheap gear get in the way - just do it. Rent to own is becoming more and more commonplace. Plus, the free options have never been better. You do not need to empty your bank account. Besides, you’ll get better as a writer and producer as you develop and if you want to invest in more expensive stuff, do it.

I am of the strong opinion that the Vocaloid/UTAU/SynthV community need more original producers and I would love to see it.

I use Cakewalk by Bandlab and it is now free.

Reaper though is the only DAW right now that works bidirectionally with Synth V. That is, while Synth V will chase all other DAWs as you work about their timelines, Kanru was only able (so far) to get Reaper to chase Synth V as you work along Synth V’s timeline. You will discover in short order, this is everything.

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@bitman Only in the past half hour have I realised this is free. It comes with the instruments suite doesn’t it? What’s the kit like? I’m totally gonna put a free DAW/Plugin song together. There is a lotta good stuff out there.

I have heard of FL Studio, I will definitely try it if its relatively cheap!

I will try it for sure!

tbh I am already saving up money for VOCALOID5, but I will definitely put money aside for the things you mentioned.

Those are…wow…allot of suggestions and tips. I definitely want to find the best DAW for me. Then again I don’t really know how simple these DAWs are. Also I just wanna say I have the same opinion when you say Vocaloid/UTAU/SynthV needs more original producers!

Thank you for your feedback!

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@Mike-E Not a problem bud. Didn’t mean to overwhelm you. I just wanted you to know some options. I’m gonna check out Cakewalk over the weekend. Also, remember for a lot of DAWs there are student discounts if you are a student too :slight_smile:
Lots of options. Give it a go. You wont regret it!

Although a lot of your words are encouraging to the guy, I strongly advise against misleading him into thinking that there are ways to do anything media-related for cheap, because there isn’t. Not to say that he can’t do what he wants to do for cheap, but if he wants to actually do music for real to the point his stuff would get commercially viable, no, sorry to say, but it will cost him bigtime. I have firsthand experience in this, and I’ve taken music industry classes in college.

@Mike-E You’ll really have to think the path of music really thoroughly, because choosing to do music will essentially mean you’ll be giving up at least half your life savings and always be in a do-or-die situation unless you get lucky enough to draw your out and win big (an out is more of a card game term where the one card you draw essentially wins you the whole hand).

Also, there are a lot of good effects plugins you can use for free, but the same cannot ever be said about virtual instruments. The only way to make your compositions commercially viable is either paid virtual instruments or recording real instruments altogether.

Very likely you’ll come across two options unless you plan to go the classical/orchestra or acoustic route: either go all electronic which means all your instruments will be MIDI and plugins, or go the rock route where you’re recording real guitar and bass. In both cases you’ll definitely need good virtual drums unless you miraculously save up enough to record a real kit in a studio (hint: it’ll cost you $500 a day).

Just to give you a rough idea of what I mean, here’s my detailed setup list. Keep in mind, unless I specify otherwise, the prices I list down here are Canadian dollars.

< Instruments >

I started doing rock mixed with Drum and Bass back in the day, but over the years I’ve gone over to the side of metalcore, and because the type of stuff I do now is heavier, the minimum equipment I need grew more expensive significantly.

Jackson JS32-7 - It’s very unlikely a beginner would have a guitar with more than six strings for a first guitar, and it took more than a whole decade for me to transition into 7-string guitars completely, but due to the fact that the songs I write would never sound right unless the tuning is low as Drop G, it became obvious rather quickly that I needed a 7-string guitar. This particular model is more of an entry level for a 7-string guitar so it won’t cost you that much. Roughly $600-$700 depending on where you get it from. Then from there I have the new DiMarzio D Activator 7 set installed on it which will cost you another $450 because entry level guitars generally have really bad stock pickups and whenever anyone gets a guitar they’re the first to go.

Agile Interceptor 727 EB CP Oceanburst Flame - Whew, that’s a mouthful alright… After being fed up with the fact that my 7-string guitar has no tremolo (because I’m mainly a Floyd player) I needed a bit of an upgrade. Not only that, because my band is expanding, it became clear that I needed a second 7-string guitar so that I can hand one of them to the other guitar player whenever applicable. For those two reasons, I got this guitar. It’s got almost everything I needed. The blue finish, 27" scale length, 24 frets, a Floyd Rose tremolo… the main problem though, was that the bridge pickup was essentially another neck pickup due to how it was wound, and that meant that it lacked the treble to actually get proper amp tones out of the guitar. So I had to get an upgrade on this as well, but it was just the bridge pickup this time. DiMarzio CrunchLab 7. Shipping and other fees including the upgrades added to the total, it set me back another $1.2K at best.

Ibanez SR405EQM - Now we’re getting to the bass. Bass is the single most overlooked instrument in mixes across all genres, professional and amateur alike. A bass in any song will make or break a mix, and if you can’t hear the bass, you essentially have a lifeless song. I tried to get this thing upgraded because I wasn’t happy with the preamp, but the people at the store refused to do the job. I got a little more satisfied when I got new DR DDT strings on the bass, though. Drop G tuning on this was doable, although it’s hard to get a proper bass tone out of it so I suggest getting something more like a 5-string P bass or a Sub Ray 5. The SR405EQM was a bit of a steal, although the price tag is still no laughing matter. $800. Basses are usually more expensive than guitars.

Epiphone Toby Deluxe V - I won’t get much into this particular bass because it’s useless for tunings like Drop G, but if you’re going to do standard tuning or Drop B, it does the job. Slightly more respectable price at $550. Not using it at the moment but that might change.

Dingwall NG2 Laguna Seca Blue 5 - I saved the big one for last. This has the most personal story of all of the instruments I’ve acquired so far. I had no clue I was even going to be able to save up money for something like this, but when I got the opportunity, I immediately jumped to get this bass. It was no walk in the park to pick it up either. I had to go on a two-hour drive all the way to Toronto just to get the dang thing at Bloor Street. Then I had to go through the gauntlet of my other relatives’ shopping spree followed by some stops for some Toronto-exclusive delicacies (by that I mean food). I endured all that, because I wasn’t going to give up buying this really expensive big honking bass, especially when I’m getting it for my birthday. So after all that endurance test, I finally bought the bass. It really was worthwhile as well, because it was the only way I was going to be able to get a clear-enough bottom G out of my bass playing, as it was a multiscale bass with the bottom G clocking in at a 37" scale. Total price, again, $2.5K when you count the taxes and all that. The story doesn’t end there. As I said before, it’s another $120 every half-year because there is only one company that makes bass strings that are compatible with this beast of an instrument, and that’s Kalium. The guy that runs the brand, Skip, is a really cool guy, though.

< Other Hardware>

Darkglass Alpha-Omega Ultra - This and the Dingwall NG2 bass mentioned earlier are an absolute must if you want a bass tone that gives you that final 10% you need to make your songs sale-ready. Don’t crank the Drive knob up too much, though. You want a good balance between a throaty and a clangy tone. I always use the built-in XLR output with the cab sim on, and the impulse response I use in it is the proprietary Nolly Mega Meld. Something like this sells for $450 if you want to snag one of these.

AudioBox USB Black Edition - Discontinued model, but it still does the job. Unless you’re going to record drums, you won’t need to spend a lot for an interface per se. In USD, this used to sell for $99, and it came with StudioOne Artist along with several free third-party plugins you definitely want to take advantage of. I’m certain you can buy the one that it’s a successor to this and get a similar deal though.

Wacom Intuos Pro - Because I do more than just music. You kind of have to be ready to do your own graphics unless you’re filthy rich, but you won’t absolutely need this… yet.

< DAW >

Studio One 4 Professional - Cheapest one other than Reaper. Only thing that has even a remote chance at beating it when it comes to automation features is Ableton Live. The drawback is that it stutters and lags a lot. Different strokes for different folks.

< Plugins >

Waves (SSL E-Channel, CLA-76, CLA-2A, Infected Mushroom Pusher, API-2500, RBass, etc) - If you’re any serious about doing original songs for real, buying from Waves will be something you spend half your lifetime doing. With sales happening very often and all of the plugins having really hard-to-beat prices, good luck getting better deals anywhere else.

Amplitube 4 - There are only two reasons why I use this. Ampeg Flip Top and ENGL Powerball. They average out to $40 USD each. ENGL Powerball is a really good virtual amp for its value though. The personal favourite of mine so far.

Neural DSP (Darkglass Ultra and Fortin Nameless Suite) - The Darkglass Ultra is another way to get that clang-throaty bass tone and this is for when you’re in a hurry. Fortin Nameless Suite is another really cool high-gain amp for guitar. They’re usually anywhere from 100-200 Euros.

Poulin LeGion - Really cool last-resort amp that can actually go toe-to-toe with paid amp plugins. Best part? FREE.

Antress Modern Deathcore - An absolute must-have compressor that can work for just about any purpose. Also free. Get it and watch your whole mix get ten times better. Dead serious.

Joel Wanasek BusGlue - Six plugins for the price of one. Absolute must-have if you want any of your tracks to cut through without masking each other. Not doing metal/metalcore? Get the Billy Decker BusGlue instead! This runs you about $250.

Xfer Serum - As stated before, you can do a rent-to-own. I just couldn’t trust it enough so I ended up paying full price and buying. I only use it for stuff that only it can do, but even anything outside that, you might get away with anything with this synth. I ended up paying about $200 if I remember correctly.

FM8 - Black Friday deals are always the best with NI. This is my primary go-to synth, even though I use it primarily as an additive synth more so than an FM synth. Although it’s known for the Skrillex-style yoy basses and I highly suggest this for the same reason, I use it primarily for leads, and it can make some really nice leads as well. With Black Friday, expect to get this for about $90. Really cheap for a synth at that value.

Massive - Not as great as FM8 but if you have it you can follow a lot of tutorials and… you can do a lot of the most commonly used synth sounds. Only the most commonly used ones though. If you want to make your own synth sound you’ll have a better chance with FM8 or Serum. Also got this with a Black Friday deal, costed $100 USD at the time.

Orchestral Essentials - Not all that great for orchestral leads but it definitely won’t disappoint with its professionally-recorded orchestral rhythm sections. Great for adding that extra flavour to any rock/metal track. This came at about $400, and along with it I also use the free version of VSCO 2 which has really good cello and violin lead sounds.

Top Shelf Drums - Great-sounding drum kits for just about any purpose. $50 USD for the whole set which includes at least 10 drum kits along with all of the cymbals these guys recorded. That’s the good news. The bad news? The kick and snare sounds are just @#$%, but the cymbals are amazing.

GetGoodDrums - To combat this @#$% sound I use the Matt Halpern signature pack from GetGoodDrums. Be sure to buy the full version, though, because you’re going to need the Periphery pieces if you want your drums to sound any good. The kick and snare sounds are great, but where these lack is the cymbals. Ran me about $40 due to a sale.

Taylor Larson and Luke Holland’s Drumshotz - I use a kick enhancer and a main snare out of this pack as triggers to really empower the kick and snare sounds a little bit more. Very cheap. They’re like, $10 last I checked?

Anyway, it’s time for some more serious talk. I’m passing down the same things I was taught by music industry professionals in my college programme and I say this onto you as an honours graduate. Unless music is your only option and you’re more than willing to lay down your life doing music, do something else, and quit while you still can. This is a big risk you’re taking and very few make it out alive in this cutthroat environment. If you are serious enough to take the risk and accept the consequences, you’re dang right you’re going to have to really hone in on your craft because it will determine if you will even have a chance at having food on your table or not. This is why saying that learning your theory is something that cannot ever be stressed enough is an understatement at best.

The virtual singer market really could use more users who make original tracks, yes, but do you want to know why there are fewer and fewer people doing such things? Even outside the virtual singer scene, it’s more difficult than threading a camel through a needle’s eye for any new band to barely get their heads above the sand, and imagine having to do that while getting all the more hate messages just because the songs are Vocaloid/UTAU/etc and therefore “anime”.

I’m not trying to discourage anyone from doing this, but if you are going to do this, though, you’ll have to really be dead serious about it like your life depends on it, because your life really does depend on it.

EDIT: Okay, okay, I’m calming down. I am going to admit that there will always be ways to buy certain things for cheaper than usual, and I am going to admit that you technically could make original songs with only the free stuff, heck, you could make an original song with only the stock stuff if you really wanted. The point I was trying to get at though, is that commercially viable anything is always going to be really expensive to make, and that’s why I’ve been saying that the more serious you are about something the more it’s going to cost you. It’s not that I actually want people to quit, although in this bad economy it’s really hard to have hope, but it should go without saying that regardless of which path one wants to go, it’s always going to be real tough. All that being said, Synth1 has provided some amazing results to people who really knew how to use it, so it seems that all hope is not lost. There is this video that shows a mix with almost all free plugins except the cabs and the drums…

Please don’t laugh about the Dingwall NG2 story though. I know I got a little Drama Queen there but it is a true story and I was really panicking that I might not get the bass at the time. We got lost in the middle of the city and we were scrambling just to get back on track. It was almost a nightmare…

So… yea… maybe you’re right… maybe I was thinking way too much into this… maybe I got too caught up in the moment because it’s way past my bedtime and it’s already morning and I haven’t slept…

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“Although a lot of your words are encouraging to the guy, I strongly advise against misleading him into thinking that there are ways to do anything media-related for cheap, because there isn’t. Not to say that he can’t do what he wants to do for cheap, but if he wants to actually do music for real to the point his stuff would get commercially viable, no, sorry to say, but it will cost him bigtime. I have firsthand experience in this, and I’ve taken music industry classes in college.”

I got this far and stopped. At what point exactly did he say that he wants to make commercially viable music? This is someone who was looking for advice on where to begin in making original songs. Not how to build their own studio and musical empire.

You can do this with a free DAW and a couple of free sample packs. Like I said at the end of my first post, if you like it, then start investing.

If someone is trying to get into music making and dumps their life savings into production tools and decides “na, this isn’t for me”, then what? For the love of god, don’t try and put someone off trying to be creative and pretend that there’s some sort of financial barrier that only the elite of the elite can afford to cross. Why on earth would you want to tell someone that there’s no point making music unless you can afford the expensive stuff.

Screw that. It’s not some sort of exclusive club.

Make music.

I can’t believe I’m having to justify trying to encourage someone. My part in this conversation is most definitely over.


Yea, it’s obvious you only got that far and stopped, as I concluded that I was never trying to discourage him from doing original songs but was trying to caution him that if he wants to go down that path he’s got a tough road ahead. This isn’t exclusive to the music industry either. We all have to face the same problem regardless of what occupation we pursue.

I never said it’s pointless to make music unless one can afford the expensive equipment. Also, how expensive the necessary equipment gets depends on how serious he is as well as what style of music he’s going to do. Obviously nobody would be dumb enough to dive into the realm of Drop G tuning like I did unless they knew what they were in for, so that’ll take a lot of the weight off his back, as he won’t need that many specifics like I do.

I may be 12 but I know how to handle things. If things don’t work out then I’ll take a different path/career, but for now my heart is set on music.

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Kind of late to the game, but I use Soundtrap currently. The free version is not the best, but it does offer a lot instrument libraries/sound effects/loops that are not half-bad. It’s also a website so you can access your work on any device!

Good luck dude… it’ll take at least another 12 years before you can actually make a living out of this thing. No pain no gain though. If you want it that bad you have to work the grind like everyone else.

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If You want a software for learning the basics of midi creation, I would recommend Garageband if you’re a Mac user. In terms of sound it’s not the best, but it really helped me learn the basics before I moved on to more complex softwares.