$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 (13 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Check out the1shanti's Open Source Hip-Hop.
posted by Marquis at 8:28 PM on May 21, 2011

Best answer: 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

Best answer: 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.

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

Best answer: 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

Best answer: 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

Response by poster: 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

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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