Tag Archives: Software

f.lux – Software to soothe your eyes during those long studio nights

While not directly related to making music, this little utility f.lux has been a blessing for me in the studio lately. It automatically changes the colour balance of your screen to be ‘warmer’ at night, which much easier on the eyes. It took me a little getting used to but now I can’t live without it. Free for PC, Mac, Linux and jail-broken iOS.

f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.

Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. F.lux will do the rest, automatically.

ATT: People having trouble with MEGAMaschine IMAP Macro Controls

***ATTENTION PEOPLE HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE IMAP MACRO CONTROLS ***

Download and use this alternate Maschine template:  http://goo.gl/a8C3D
This template does not need the IMAP script so no need to set ‘Maschine-IMAP’ as a control surface. The downside is the knobs will not automatically snap to the correct value, instead it will ‘pick-up’ like a standard midi controller (depends on your settings).

foobar2000: An iTunes Alternative for Windows

For the first time since Winamp 2.wateva I’ve found a music player that I’m completely satisfied with. I’m not a fan of iTunes, it’s bloated and I don’t really like the way it manages your library.

Foobar2000 has been around for a while. It’s known for being light on system resources, and infinitely customisable through it’s use of plugin components and it’s flexible theme system.

After messing it for a while I’ve finally come up with a layout I’m happy with, with all the features I need, with only minimal external components to keep it as lightweight as possible.

Download foobar2000 here.

I had a hard time finding a theme I liked that didn’t require 20 other compents, or that was up to date with the current version of foobar2000. So I spent a bit of time and came out with the above layout using no external components, except one to get the track and artwork to display properly in the Windows 7 task bar.

If you like the bare bones layout you can download it here: MEGAlite-foobar2000. (To install: Preferences>Display>Default User Interface>Import theme)

Add your folders to the library with Library>Configure>Add… Then you can filter by album, artist, folder etc. instantly. Then just right click and select Create Autoplaylist, which will create a new tab for the album.

Open any other audio file from your hard drive and it will open in the Default playlist (there might be a setting you need to tick for this), leaving your other open play lists in tact. I like to think of my open play lists like a stack of records, and set the play mode to Default so you have to get up and change the album when it’s finished. I just think it’s a good way to listen to music.

I have a whole selection of meters and visualisations prominently displayed down the bottom. I really like the spectrum analyser, it’s fast and accurate and with the number of bands I have it set to I find myself learning a lot about different mixes by just paying attention to it while I’m listening.

Free Portable Music Studio

Well I was going to have a series of posts to help people build their own “Dirt Cheap Software Studio” but this guy beat me to it. And done a pretty nice job. And I would’ve never got around to it anyway.

Free Portable Music Studio*

Using Reaper with a nice selection of free plugins, this little download contains everything you need in a free software studio, and because Reaper runs off a thumb drive it’s portable!

There’s a few free VST plugins that I would class as must-haves that didn’t make this list, so I’ll follow up with a few blog post + links some time soon.

* Note: Reaper isn’t exactly “free”. The evaluation version is uncrippled, and unexpiring, but after 30 days you should buy a license, which as I have mentioned before is dirt cheap! You’ll no doubt want to support the development of such a great piece of software, fork out the cash and feel good about yourself.

Dirt Cheap Software Studio

If you want to make great sounding music on your computer, you do not have to spend hundreds of dollars. Infact you don’t have to spend anything at all. All the tools you need are available for free (or dirt cheap) on the internet. All the software I use to produce music is either free, or very affordable.

This post will be the first in a series where I present some of the great free (or dirt cheap) tools I’ve stumbled across in my travels, with the hope that it can help some people who are starting out and also promote the fantastic work of some independent software developers. It will focus on VSTs that I consider to be exceptional; the free plugins so good that I use them in nearly every project. But to host these VSTs you are going to need a DAW, and for value for money you can’t go past Reaper.

REAPER
Reaper
Mastering my live EP

Reaper is awesome. Whether you’re just starting out and wondering which DAW to drop your money on, or if you’ve been using Cubase/Logic/whatever for years, Reaper is worth a try. I think Reaper actually suffers because its so good; no one believes that a program that’s a 4mb download with $60 license fee can be as good as a hundreds of dollars program that comes on 7 DVDs. But the truth is, its better. It is uncrippled and unexpiring, so you can try it out for as long as you want until you realise how good it is and decide to support the developer with your $60.

For me, the work flow is its strong point. Watch to time stretch? Just hold tab and drag it. Fade in/out? grab it, drag it. Accurately find transients? Just press tab, then ‘s’ for slice, drag drop loop, beautiful. You can mix file types, differing bit-rates etc. all within the one project without converting. Tabbed projects! Copy and paste whole FX chains between tracks, or projects just with “ctrl + c”. Undo anything and everything, VST parameter changes, inserts send. Unlimited routing possibilites, route any track to any other track, sends to any track etc. Everything is customisable so tailor it to your needs. The list goes on and on, that’s just some stuff I can think of off the top of my head. I swapped from my cracked copy of Cubase SX3 in for Reaper about 3 years ago and have never looked back. Its easy to learn, but after all this time I’m still finding new features and shortcuts.

If you’re still not convinced: the developer updates it regularly, its light on resources, can run off a thumb drive, heaps of great inbuilt FX, runs on OSX and Windows, can run on Linux (with a little effort)… Just download it and give it a go.