Thursday, February 26, 2009

PC Music creating software

[Edited (1st of Av)! Even newer things have come up! Comparing TrakAxPC, Majix Music Maker, Mixcraft, and Adobe Audition]
Things have been happening in the PC music industry. There have been some developments lately and I want to tell you about them.

  • - Thats NOT the ancient software JamStudio, no! It's a great site with great software. It even has an alternative to Band in a Box. (On other alternatives to BIAB read on).
  • - Didn't really check it out, but sounds just as neat. I think they give you software to download, and then you can upload the output to their site.
Here's a list of some new and great music creating software: Most of the following are not free, but cost VERY LITTLE, and give you what you always wanted: A music creation studio on your PC without the need for anything else.
All intuitive, with an attractive interface and great functionality, that you never had before:

So here goes: Comparing music creation software (they all have video synch and video effects too) : TrakAxPC, MixCraft4, Adobe Audition (formerly CoolEditPro), Majix Music Maker 15
  • TrakAxPC - Free (open source) and great stuff. Comes with a limited amount of loops, but you can purchase more online directly from the program (that's the business idea...) or just get loops from anywhere. Has a somewhat none-intuitive integration with the beat synchronizer, and not too many editing tools integrated inside. Also some of the UI could do with an improvement, but all functionality is there! (and its free)
  • MixCraft - !! Top and formost - easy to understand, feature packed out of the box, allows you to create audio and MIDI, directly on the PC without anything else.
    Helps you make loops and tons of other things. Watch it being used and taught on YouTube.
  • Reaper - !! Almost as great, BUT: Only a "framework" to launch various external tools. When working with Audacity you have a winning pair. Seems more powerful than MixCraft but less intuitive to get working.
  • Majix Music Maker 15 - Some UI quirks (cant change track order and other things like that), some installation problems (all solved after a while by googeling intensively) and not everything integrated, but the $56 package has many sounds, and the $99 premium is LOADED with interesting tools which are both simple to use and powerful. A video with all the exras is shown on the site. You get these great VSTs like a drum machine, but each one is a tool to learn. On the other hand, after experimenting 5 minutes with each you get most of it. They also some interesting unique features like automatic music following and a human harmonizer. So you are almost buying one of the expensive Yamaha keyboards.
  • Adobe's Audition - with the unprecedented fantastic UI from the CoolEdit guys, is a whopping $350 - with no demo download! (From the website it seems somebody forgot to notify the rest of the "Adobe Production" sales people). Also missing seem to be out of the box VSTs (as opposed to Majix MM15, no drumboxes or voice harmonizer synths or anything fancy like that). They do have VST support and even made a crappy VST synth to show off. But then again, nobody compares to these guys in the intuitive interface and integration, or in the vast amount of audio (and video) effects and tools they give for the person creating the music.
  • Cognitone's SynFire and Harmony Navigator have a new approach for music creation user experience - with a new way of showing the notes and chords, and creating music by setting and changing the chord progressions. Take a look at these interesting PC music composing software. Make way for the next Band in a Box replacement for making music that actually sounds good (and not out of a tin can). Problem is: Its EXPENSIVE.
  • Abelton Live - great mixing and music creation software - I never liked their default sounds - their choices always gave me a headache, but the software comes with tons of options and is real easy to make anything you wish. And you can record LIVE!!! Take a look at the videos on their site. Tons of effects you used to search for and try to get from the web or from friends. No need to use stolen and hacked components installed. It also includes various instruments and loops (like latin/afro/carribian drumming loops and sounds).

Relatively new programs that bring in new paradigms

CoolEdit Pro that started it all is now Adobe Audition discussed above.

Propellerhead Reason - last time I tried my PC's weren't up to it, but I got the idea...

Fruity Loops - Another one of the founding fathers of new music software, and still improving every day! (Or as the topmost google result says: "Create Music in Minutes".

Acid Pro - now called Sony Music Creator is getting easier and better all the time. They started the audio looping thing, and automatically getting sounds to the correct beat.

Then there's the old windows 3.11 type interface software
  • Finally PowerChords and Band in a Box (BIAB) where put together with some modern sound technology to get something that sounds almost good: Its called RealBand.


Mark said...

Great Post for people who are new to music production and want to know an inexpensive way of getting software to help them learn and progress, the other day i creating some bad synth sounds. Your the third person that has recommended Reaper although its a little unstable on my OSx

pashute said...

Thank you Mark. I now updated the post...