In the period before Christmas there are a lot of interesting online deals for the computer musician. Because of these deals and the decrease of sequencer prices, nobody has a reason to install pirated software anymore. In this article you can find some tips for building a complete budget studio on your computer. Also some interesting deals you can find on the internet today are mentioned.
1. Go for a budget sequencer: REAPER or energyXT
In the last few years prices of the “big” sequencers have been decreased due to competition. You can buy a complete professional software studio package for less than €500 euro, including synthesizers, drum computers, samplers and effects.
Is €500 still too high? Then you can buy a non-commercial license for REAPER, which only costs $40 (€30). REAPER offers all the tools you need to make professional music: audio and midi tracks, automation, a flexible mixer, vst and REX support. It also contains a simple synthesizer, a drum sampler and a few effects (compressor, equalizer, limiter, reverb and delay). REAPER is stable and available for most platforms (Windows, Mac OS and Linux). It’s regularly updated and you can even run it from an usb stick!
Another option is energyXT. This sequencer costs €59 and also offers all you need to make music: midi and audio tracks, automation, support for vst and REX, a simple synth and sampler, it’s all there. This package is well known because of its flexibility, has a low footprint on the hard disk and is also available for all platforms (Windows, Mac OS and Linux).
2. Use the Computer Music magazine plugins
You can find a special edition of energyXT on the dvd of Computer Music magazine (CM). This magazine might cost a bit more than a regular magazine, but comes with a lot of software. You get energyXTCM, an impressive amount of vst plugins and samples. It’s also interesting when you already have a favorite sequencer.
The quality of the vst plugins on the CM dvd is good. A lot of plugins are special CM editions of commercial products: SynthMaker, a package which allows you to build your own synthesizers, the synthesizers Dominator, Astralis CM, FabFilter One, Genesis, Junglist, RhinoCM, ZebraCM and the effects Artillery 2 CM edition, CompressiveCM, CMVocoder and a lot more.
3. Use free vst plugins
On the internet you can find a lot of free vst plugins, for example on the KVR forum where enthousiast hobbyists discuss the best plugins. KVR has a huge database with both commercial and free plugins. A lot of them are reviewed by the forum visitors. Recommended free vst plugins are Komplete 7 Players by Native Instruments, plugins by Togu Audio Line (TAL Noisemaker, TAL Elek7ro, TAL Bassline), the Clavia Nord Lead 2 simulation Synth1, Crystal, Superwave P8, the Classic effects by Kjaerhus Audio (official website is closed), ReaPlugs VST FX Suite (by the developer of REAPER), Voxengo Span (handy for spectrum analysis), Ambience (reverb), Glitch, and the effects by GVST and Variety of Sound.
4. Get the “No Brainer” deals by Audiomidi or Don’t Crac[k]
5. Keep an eye on Group Buys
On KVR’s Market Place a lot of Group Buys are announced. When you sign in for a group buy before the deadline then you can get often a very high group discount on software or samples. The discount depends on the amount of people who sign in for the group buy.
6. Buy plugins during “Holiday Sales”
Just like last summer some software developers have great discounts during the “Holiday Season” The website Gearjunkies has a web page with some deals which are going on at the moment.
- Cakewalk has the Holiday Sale until 29th November with discounts until 80 procent on Dimension Pro/Rapture and Z3ta to name a few.
- Native Instruments has the five day sale until 29th November. You get a 50 percent discount on Kontakt, Reaktor, Battery, FM8, Absynth and Massive. The discount is interesting when you only want a few plugins, otherwise you might be better off with the Komplete bundle with all plugins and sampled instruments by Native Instruments.
7. Get the older, lower priced synthesizers
Prices of older synthesizers are decreasing, for example for the excellent Z3ta. Since last week you can buy the individual synthesizers of the Korg Legacy Collection for only $50 (€38).