Free Fruit?
April 12, 2005 4:13 PM   Subscribe

I want to spend some of my creative currency creating music using software such as Fruity Loops. However, I would really like to have a freeware/open source option since I am not sure if I will enjoy it or not.

I would like to be able to import samples, edit samples, lay drum beats and FX over it, adjust tempo. You name it. The more flexible the better. I also want to be able to actually SAVE the files which is why I have not just downloaded the Fruity Loops demo to play with. I am not interested in doing this in any "professional" way - I just want to express my musical side. Any advice from the electronica set?
posted by jopreacher to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is, of course, barring any ventures into the grey-shaded world of demoing and then deleting fully-functioning warez...

Look into current efforts in "tracking" software. Back in the day, .mod trackers like ImpulseTracker and FastTrakker II were the shizzle; there should be any number of current software projects in the same arena, many free, some with a lot more muscle and sophistication to them. I recall seeing an awful lot of such projects on freshmeat, for one thing.

For the record, FruityLoops is pretty entertaining stuff. I would recommend you do download the demo and see if you enjoy playing with it -- just don't build anything too elaborate with the demo, so you don't have to deal with the heartbreak of letting it go. (For that matter, Reason is even cooler, though incrementally more expensive as well.)
posted by cortex at 4:28 PM on April 12, 2005

As far as I'm aware, there's nothing in the freeware/shareware/open source world that matches FruityLoops or any of the other commercial offerings.

There's AudioMulch, an impressive interactive audio generator based on graph modeling, but it doesn't have a sequencer, and it's not much good on its own. Four Tet swears by it, though.

Then there's Buzz, a modular synthesizer. I haven't tried it yet. From the blurbs on the web site, it's probably a more integrated solution than Mulch.

For your waveform-editing needs, there's Audacity.

This list may be of use, though it's mostly Linux software. What's your OS? If you're on Unix, there's a sequencer called Anthem.
posted by gentle at 4:29 PM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: buzz is awesome. its not as pretty as fruityloops but it can do all the same things. With the added bonus that if you choose to get fruityloops you can import all your tracks and plugins.
posted by phyle at 4:31 PM on April 12, 2005

Garageband alone is worth buying a Mac for. It, plus a breakout box and a USB keyboard, is the easiest music-making setup you can get. And it's "free" with every new Mac!

If you don't want to go that route (though it is the correct one), at least get yourself a decent USB keyboard. It's way, way easier to compose and beats on, IMO. Edirol makes several cheap ones (around 100 bucks), and they do not need any power source other than what USB provides. You can use it with any software that speaks MIDI.
posted by yesno at 5:58 PM on April 12, 2005

I find that Buzz can be a bit temperamental at times.

Modplug is a great, free, stable tracker that's beautifully simple and lightweight. All you need then are some samples/a wave generator/editor and a bit of imagination. There's a basic but fun sound sample archive bundled with DirectX to get you started and used to tracking.
posted by nylon at 7:05 PM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: Have you seen Sony's ACID? (Formerly from Sonic Foundry.) They have a fully-functional free "Xpress" version to download and play with. I've done so... lots of fun!
posted by Tubes at 10:27 PM on April 12, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the info - I am going to give acid a free spin for now since I am a windoze user ATM. :)
posted by jopreacher at 11:40 PM on April 12, 2005

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