gc wants to make the bleepy bloopy sounds =(
June 5, 2008 12:22 AM   Subscribe

Tracking software makes me weep. Help me find a simple program for making music on my computer.

I've played around with nanoloop, LSDJ, LittleGPTracker, and a couple of Mac trackers. I find trackers obtuse, like I need to have grown up with a Commodore 64 as my only means of communication with the outside world. But it seems like trackers are the way to get to sound I want. I've read some of the guides online, and I'm sure with practice I'll start understanding the programs (I hope), but there's got to be a better way. Here's what I'm looking for:

* A music program that will allow me make music easily. Something point-and-click is preferred.

* Classic 8-bit sound.

* Mac is my preferred platform (and thus, I know about Garageband), but Windows and Ubuntu are both close at hand.

I have Garageband 08 installed. I don't have a USB keyboard, and using my MacBook keyboard for realtime input is awkward. Otherwise, I'm open to suggestions for GarageBand.

I suppose what I'm looking for is Mario Paint, but you know, a little more flexible. And something that doesn't make me feel like I'm 13.
posted by gc to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Point and click? You could do that with pretty much any daw that has piano roll editing capablities. Through in some 8 bit sounding vsts / audiounit plugins and you are set. For an all in one package, have a look at Reason - they have a demo. There is a learning curve, but it's no where near as steep as with a tracker.
posted by bigmusic at 12:47 AM on June 5, 2008

Fruity Loops seems to fit your description. I haven't played with it in a while, but I remember having lots of fun with it. If you want to go higher end, then yes, Reason would do the trick. Propellerheads also made Reason's predecessor, ReBirth, into freeware, and while it's not nearly as flexible, you can still do cool stuff with it.

Finally, there's Logic Pro (or Logic Express), which may be overkill for what you want to do, but if you happen to be a student, the academic discounts on it are pretty ridiculous right now. (I hear the theory is that since Apple bought it up, they're making it super cheap so more people migrate to Macs. Clever bastards.)

Hope this helps!
posted by speicus at 2:06 AM on June 5, 2008

I can't recommend Ableton Live enough. Reason's fun, but I feel like it's a little too closed in some respects. Live takes some getting used to, but once you get over that small initial hurdle, it's a fantastic playground.

Don't get me wrong though, if you want to make bleepy bloopy/electronic sounds/dance music Reason may indeed be your app of choice. Give them both a shot.
posted by soplerfo at 8:07 AM on June 5, 2008

I second Ableton Live....great program...but a little expensive. You can get the LE version though and it's a bit cheaper.

Another thought was Reaper...shareware, cheap...I understand it's supposed to be pretty easy, but I don't know that for sure cause I haven't played with it myself.

And I could swear there was a MTV loop creation app for I think PS2 awhile back..can't remember the name of it though. It was loopy and easy to get into, but not alot of power. but it didn't make you feel like you were 13 (although I may have been 13 when I played with it) hehe

Good luck :)
posted by AltReality at 2:40 PM on June 5, 2008

If you were to go to Ubuntu you should take a look at sound and midi software for linux. Some of this stuff is great but be warned that many of the packages on this list are going to have a serious learning curve, weak documentation and a tiny user community.

I use Ardour and it works well for me.
posted by bdc34 at 6:18 PM on June 5, 2008

This article on CDM is probably a good start.
posted by phax at 6:01 AM on June 6, 2008

Well, I know it's a tracker, but you really should look into Renoise. I find it to be an excellent upgrade to the standard tracker that fixes a lot of the issues I've had with them in the past.
posted by atomly at 1:54 PM on June 6, 2008

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