Making Music For The Financially Challenged

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Why pay for what's out there free...and totally legal! Edition 2 - Jan 2003

Not being able to afford a 24 channel pro mixing desk, a dedicated soundproofed studio the size of a cathedral or your very own live in studio engineer shouldn't stop you making good music and employing many techniques normally reserved for those with mega expensive stduio gear.

My 'studio' is made up of begged and borrowed gear, which whilst not being the norm for many accomplished musicians, works fine for me and can still achieve good results….using a 25 watt guitar amp I had spare as a preamp for example.

Obviously, there's certain expenditures which you've gotta make – the pc, mics etc (and in the case of these, always get the best you can afford) and the software itself (cubasis in my case)…but theres loads of handy little add ons which are available free and can enhance your studio recordings no end. Admittedly, most of these are cubase(is) plug ins and might not be any use to some of ya, but theres a few others too!

All of the software I'm mentioning is full working freeware stuff, no demos, or stuff that works for ten minutes then crashes your machine or whatever…enjoy! : )

If you come across any really good ones, let me know and I'll have a look and add them to the list!

Cubasis Effects


This site contains loads of handy plug ins for download (see the list below), and this should be your first port of call…plenty to get you started!

Particularly good is 'beatbox' which coverts any signal to a drum noise – so by clapping your hands or clicking your fingers you can make a drum track. I use this loads cos I havent got the room or money for a full drum setup. The Combo feature's great for guitar parts as it emulates various amps…in fact everything on here's useful for something!

  • Bandisto - Multi-band distortion
  • BeatBox - Drum replacer
  • Combo - Amp & speaker simulator
  • De-ess - High frequency dynamics processor
  • Degrade - Sample quality reduction
  • Delay - Simple stereo delay with feedback tone control
  • Detune - Simple up/down pitch shifting thickener
  • Dither - Range of dither types including noise shaping
  • DubDelay - Delay with feedback saturation and time/pitch modulation
  • Dynamics - Compressor / Limiter / Gate
  • Envelope - Envelope follower / VCA
  • Image - Stereo image adjustment and M-S matrix
  • Leslie - Rotary speaker simulator
  • Limiter - Opto-electronic style limiter
  • Loudness - Equal loudness contours for bass EQ and mix correction
  • Multiband - Multi-band compressor with M-S processing modes
  • Overdrive - Soft distortion
  • Re-Psycho! - Drum loop pitch changer
  • RezFilter - Resonant filter with LFO and envelope follower
  • Round Panner - 3D panner
  • Shepard - Continuously rising/falling tone generator
  • Splitter - Frequency / level crossover for setting up dynamic processing
  • Stereo Simulator - Haas delay and comb filtering
  • Sub-Bass Synthesizer - Several low frequency enhancement methods
  • Talkbox - High resolution vocoder, for a more natural, less electronic sound
  • TestTone - Signal generator with pink and white noise, impulses and sweeps
  • Thru-Zero Flanger - Classic tape-flanging simulation
  • Tracker - Pitch tracking oscillator, or pitch tracking EQ
  • Vocoder - Switchable 8 or 16 band vocoder
  • VocInput - Pitch tracking oscillator for generating vocoder carrier input
Some good freebies here too, especially the Strangled Cat chorus/flanger effect.
Check out the 'freeware' pack, which contains a flanger, lofi thingy, overdrive, an ring modulator, a tremolo and wavechanger.
CamelPhatFree is a brilliant compression effect, which simply gives more 'kick' to bass or drum lines. Brilliant!
Some good compression tools designed with vocals in mind on here…and there's three more due soon which'll be worth having...
Hexaline is the best of these – just seems to adds a little sparkle to recordings!
few useful bits in here…use a few of these now and then – don't really suit my style of music, but might be more useful to a lot of you than they are to me.
Loads of links on here to free / shareware stuff, not had chance to get all these myself yet...

Audio Software
Far too much to mention here – something for warned though that much of the stuff on here is demo versions only – but still well worth a look.
more useful free stuff…the wallpapers are cool enough to warrant a visit alone!

Drum Loops / Samples
A must have for any home musician…this site have a comprehensive collection of copyright free drum samples played on a real kit…invaluable!
552 sampled drum loops…again, very good – but don't get sued for copyright infringements, as most of these are just stolen from other peoples music. John Bonham on your track anyone?
links to various free sites…havent checked all these out yet, so bear with me!
tr808 drum machine samples
some cool dancey loops and samples


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