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$0 recording studio
May 21, 2011 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Help me construct a computer-based hip-hop production studio for $0.

I teach music at a high school, and one of my students asked me for help in getting started making beats and recording vocals over them. He has an old Dell and no money.

What software would you recommend for him? (I'm asking for recommendations because yes I could just do a Google search, but 90% of that stuff is junk/clunky/gateways to malware, etc.)

I'm looking for free-to-use and CPU-light.

Off the top of my head:
* Reaper
* A link to KvrAudio
* Audacity
* ASIO4all?

What else? What have you found to be free and helpful? (I already gave him a pep talk on how creativity is more important than gear...)
posted by audiodidactic to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Check out the1shanti's Open Source Hip-Hop.
posted by Marquis at 8:28 PM on May 21, 2011


Check out Ubuntu Studio.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:29 PM on May 21, 2011


Heh..the first link on the Open Source Hip-Hop link is to Ubuntu Studio :) That's validation!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:30 PM on May 21, 2011


(I already gave him a pep talk on how creativity is more important than gear...)

Not just that, but the roots of hip-hop were cheap drum machines for making beats and cheap multi-track tape recorders for layering vocals on top. Everyone may be promoting expensive software, sample libraries, and instruments now but there is something more real about discovering how to make your beats as cheap as possible.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:38 PM on May 21, 2011


REAPER doesn't nag you but it isn't actually free. I don't think you should sign off on him using the demo forever; he can learn how to warez stuff on his own.

Hammerhead
Rebirth
MODPlug Tracker

(I had so much fun using trackers to make music on my lowly Amiga 500 in the 90s--maybe I'm a freak but I think it's a very intuitive way to think about beatmaking and I'm surprised they seem to have been forgotten in favor of Maschine et al.)
posted by substars at 9:14 PM on May 21, 2011


Reaper etc are good, but not the easiest to get into. What about Acid Xpress for now, then he can graduate to the other ones.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:31 AM on May 22, 2011


If you download some prepared 'loops' rather than random samples they will be easy to work with.
posted by Not Supplied at 12:35 AM on May 22, 2011


LMMS is the freeware version of Fruity Loops. Very simple and intuitive.
posted by windbox at 1:09 AM on May 22, 2011


I'm going to second windbox's suggestion of LMMS above. I just played with it and it's a LOT more stable, clean and usable compared to the last time I tried it over a year ago (though it still completely bombs out when trying to import flp files).
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:40 AM on May 22, 2011


Wow, *awesome* - many great resources here I had no idea about! Thanks all (and keep 'em coming if you've got more! :)
posted by audiodidactic at 7:17 AM on May 22, 2011


LOADS of free VST effects and instruments here. (Not hacks or cracks but legitimately free stuff.)
posted by tantrumthecat at 12:29 PM on May 22, 2011


One way to get a taste of creating drum loops without having to install anything is Aviary's Online Music Creator. It's a little slow at times (also, never ever right click on the page!), but it will give an idea of how to visualize rhythms in a way similar to a drum machine. You can upload samples, and export the loops you've created to mp3.
posted by baniak at 1:21 PM on May 22, 2011


Isn't there a free version of Fruity Loops? It's a basic program that many new producers get started on these days. It's been used on some commercial stuff, I believe.
posted by tremspeed at 3:45 PM on May 22, 2011


Substars' mention of Trackers reminded me of the awesome free Buzz!
posted by dirm at 7:48 PM on May 23, 2011


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