Xij - Zero Cost Electronica [Free Electronic Music Production Crash Course]
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×
 

Xij - Zero Cost Electronica [Free Electronic Music Production Crash Course]

on

  • 530 views

This is a short guide taken from a talk/course I give on getting into electronic music production. It is essentially a guide on producing electronic music, using only freely, legally available tools ...

This is a short guide taken from a talk/course I give on getting into electronic music production. It is essentially a guide on producing electronic music, using only freely, legally available tools and your computer (which you already have, right?). So basically, everything's free (including the guide).

It's based on a curriculum I originally developed for young people who didn't have much money, but who DID have a passion for media and music making. The charity I wrote it for has long since folded (and no, this wasn't my fault ^_^). As a longterm musician who feels I guess…empowered by the ability to produce all the music I want without paying anything or needing anyone else's assistance - I wanted to pass on the ideas and knowledge here so that others could do the same (it might be easier than you think)…

And, I've used this freeware setup (i.e a laptop using only this software) to create entire songs in COCKOS Reaper. So it works, if you do.

Like most of my guides it's pretty short and is made up of bulletpointed lists, hyperlinks, and signposts to further reading. More killer, less filler.

So, as I say, if you've never ever used a sequencer before, and making electronic music without paying ANY money upfront is your thing, this was made for YOU. Enjoy.
-Jack

Statistics

Views

Total Views
530
Views on SlideShare
530
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

Xij - Zero Cost Electronica [Free Electronic Music Production Crash Course] Xij - Zero Cost Electronica [Free Electronic Music Production Crash Course] Document Transcript

  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven Zero Cost Electronica Jack Oughton / Xij ˚,§’˚
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven I’m Not Making This Up These days, if you've got a PC or a Mac, a little hard disk space and an internet connection you've already got everything you need to produce music. No, you don't need to buy any more hardware and you don't need to spend any money on software. None at all! So, getting started is simple. But, as any dedicated producer will tell you, simple doesn't always equate to easy. After all, the best tools are wasted on the inexperienced craftsman, right? So, no, I can't help you become a production wizard with this guide, but I can help you down that path, and honour my promise that you can start without a single penny/cent’s outlay. And who knows, maybe a fruitful career in the music industry awaits you, a little later down the line? Too Much Choice And Too Much Information But there's the all-pervasive software problem. Of all the masses of freely available software, where to begin? Well, take it from me, as a composer/producer since about 2006, I've tried a lot of stuff, both on Windows and OSX. I've wasted many hundreds of hours testing glitchy software, suffering crashes, hard drive failures and pretty much all that bad stuff technology throws at you. But I've also found some real diamonds in the rough too. So, the purpose of this article is to cut through all the noise and give you a list of things that have stood the test of time and just worked. I intend to spare you many hours of frustration. Let's see how we do.
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven Thus Simple: Good And, obviously, with so many styles of music to produce, so many types of plugins and so many individual ways of working - we're simplifying a little here for the sake of your convenience (though it sure beats information overload). So, let the simplifications begin! Introducing The DAWs A 'DAW' (Digital Audio Workstation) is essentially the tool that you use to take your musical ideas into musical reality. Everything from recording, to synthesis, to sampling to eventually mixing and mastering, is handled by your DAW. Commercial DAWs start at around £30 and go all the way into the four figure range. True, you aren't going to get £1000s worth of functionality with a piece of freeware - but you don't necessarily need all of those features if you are. In fact it might be better not to get stuck on detail and face the all to prevalent overwhelm which can get in the way of your actually making music... COCKOS - Reaper Windows/OSX First up is COCKOS' Reaper. Reaper comes up as #1 because in terms of speed and flexibility, I've found nothing to beat it. REAPER isn't actually free, but COCKOS as super cool guys have made the trial effectively endless, and priced it quite reasonably for personal use. They probably find that those who stick with it eventually buy, and for $60 it's a steal. Try it and see. MU.LAB - Windows/OSX I don't have quite so much experience with MU.LAB, spending most of my time in Reaper, but from what I've seen of it I don't know why it isn't more popular. Unlike many other freeware DAWs the UI is sophisticated and the featureset is quite extensive. Considering you pay nothing, it's a sweet deal.
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven Ardour - OSX/Linux Again, I don't have all that much experience with Ardour either, but it's got a clean & intuitive interface, excellent plugin compatibility and awesome functions, such as matrix style plugin patching. Again, sweet deal for nothing... The Plugin Suites An audio plugin, as it's name may suggest, is a piece of software that 'plugs in' to your DAW, expanding your sonic possibilities. For our intents and purposes they come in two main formats; VST, and AU (OSX only). Plugins can do pretty much anything, but simplifying again, we'll divide them into 3 types… Synthesisers: Generate (synthesise) a unique sound, which ranges from obviously digital in nature, to more 'natural' sounding, and everything in between! Samplers: Are used like 'loaders/players' for existing sounds (often banks made up of pre recorded sounds - 'samples', such as a drum kit, or a brass instrument) FX/Processing: Are used to take an existing sound and make it sound different. An example of an FX is reverb, which creates the psychoacoustic impression of space and can make things sound 'big'. There are many hundreds, possibly thousands of these plugins available. To save you time I've grouped them into 'suites', by developer…. Native Instruments - Komplete Players Windows/OSX Native Instruments are one of the biggest players in the music production industry. Their Komplete range is an amazing (and expensive) set of plugins that pretty much covers the bases in synthesis and sampling . But they also do a little free giveaway in the form of their Komplete Players, which though just a fraction of the paid offering, are still incredible.
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven u-He's free giveaways Windows/OSX Triple Cheese, Zoyd, TyrellN6, Zebralette u-HE are one of my favourite developers, and they make some seriously incredible and versatile synths. All of their free synths are worth trying out too, being just as quirky as powerful as their paid offerings (albeit with a little less functionality) Blue Cat's Freeware Plugins Pack Windows/OSX A very non gimmicky and useful set of FX plugins from Blue Cat that includes most of the studio essentials, equalisation, a flanger, spectral analysis, and so on... TAL - Effects Suite Windows/OSX TAL's free FX are very handy, and include some more unusual offerings - such as a bitcrusher and a tube saturator, both of which can make your mixes much harder and edgy. DSK - Synths Windows DSK are beyond ridiculously generous in their (pretty awesome) free plugin offerings. There's way too many to list here, but it runs from traditional Indian instruments to synths that specialise in making spacey pads. Shame there's no OSX offerings... KResearch - Free Series Windows/OSX KResearch's free series are a generous reverb and delay plugin, stripped down and based on the incredible KR-Space, one of their commercial offerings, which combines both reverb and delay. Illformed - 'Old VST Plugins Pack' Windows Which contains a bunch of plugins under the FSU category (I'll let you guess what the acronym stands for) Glitch 1.3, Crusher, Stretch & TapeStop. As of this date the plugins were no longer supported, but they still work, and for adding carnage to your mixes, it's hard to beat them. Soundhack - Freesound Bundle Windows/OSX Soundhack (who teaches computer science) has some FX offerings that are slightly more…esoteric than some of the other free FX you might
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven find. They're presented in that wonderful minimalist UI that you might come to love and treasure. As to what they do exactly? It’s easier to try them and find out. Smartelectronix Windows/OSX It's hard to categorise Smartelectronix, being a loose collective of extremely talented and inventive audio programmers. You don't always know what you are going to get from them, and it's not all free, but a lot of the plugins here are worth checking out. They vary in application from the relative straightforwardness of Magnus’ Ambiance to the speaker blasting insanity of Bram's CrazyIvan. These are 5 of my favourite Smartelectronix developers: http://destroyfx.smartelectronix.com/ http://mdsp.smartelectronix.com/ http://mda.smartelectronix.com/ http://bram.smartelectronix.com/ http://dmi.smartelectronix.com/hammer.html Michael Norris - Soundmagic Spectral OSX All I can say is that the plugins here, which involve spectral processing of your sounds, can be used to create some of the weirdest, most far out noises you can imagine. Limitless, undirected and demented sonic possibilities. The Single Plugins These are same as the above 'bundles' but are individual plugins. Though not grouped in any convenient collection, these ones were too good to miss... Applied Acoustics Systems – Swatches Windows/OSX AAS are perhaps best known as masters of creating realistic (and far out) sounding string synths. Think note for note reproductions of Eddie Van Halen's lead guitar tone or crazy alien violins. Swatches is preset player that lets you try out the best sounds from all of AAS's synths.
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven FXPansion - ORCA Windows/OSX FXPansion's ORCA is a somewhat stripped down, yet pretty powerful subtractive synth that was released as a showcase for new & experimental audio technology. One worth collecting. YMCK - Magical 8bit Plug Windows/OSX This is, IMHO, the best plugin to create the 8bit/'chip tunes' sound in the style of the Nintendo gameboy. I use it regularly and love it. Sam - CHIP32 Windows/OSX Sam's CHIP shows it's age a bit now, but is capable of creating similar kinds of lo-fi sound to the 8 bit plug we mentioned above. alphakanal - Automat OSX Automat is a pretty straightforward and useful synth. It's workhorse capable of all kinds of sounds, from spacious pads to punchy leads. It's a pretty good 'all rounder'. Linplug - Free Alpha 3 Windows/OSX Linplug's Free Alpha is a stripped down version of the Alpha synth. It also shows its age a little now, but is still capable of some cool noises, especially with pads. IK Multimedia - Sampletank FREE Windows/OSX IK's Sampletank is the smallest of IK's sampler series. Packing 58 free instruments and half a gig of samples, all sampled in the high quality IK is known for, it's worth getting your hands on this one. Camel Audio - Alchemy Player Windows/OSX Camel Audio's Alchemy is an extremely versatile sampler/synth hybrid. The full version is incredible, and the freeware 'player' still comes with over 200 instruments and a gig of samples - I think this one's an essential! Audio Samples Here's some places you can find some free samples that are likely in the Creative Commons or Public Domain.
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven This is important if you ever intend to release music and don't want to be sued too much. :3  http://www.freesound.org/  http://sampleswap.org/  http://www.looperman.com/  http://free-loops.com/  http://ibeat.org/  http://ccmixter.org/view/media/samples/browse  http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sound_samples [this is a torrent]  http://soundsource.servus.at/ Conclusion This should be enough to get you started. Hopefully I've landed this guide somewhere in that sweet spot between too little and too much information. What do you think? Contact me if I can be any help and happy music making! -Jack
  • Zero Cost Electronica v1.0 // Jack Oughton http://xijmusic.com// https://www.facebook.com/XijMusic // 2013: CC BY-NC-SA // Wanna chat? Tweet @Xij “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” ~ Ludwig van Beethoven About Jack Oughton, AKA Xij AKA Koukouvaya is a freelance writer/copywriter, composer/sound designer and digital artist/photographer from South London who has serious problems writing biographical information about himself in the third person. Jack has written for the likes of The Guardian, The Independent and FHM, and currently spends all day sculpting alien sounds using wavetable synthesis. Asides from using and writing about music technology, Jack also arranges workshop series and one off clinics on music production for a variety of different organisations. You can contact Jack for more information Cover Image Credit: altemark