Top free (and cheap) audio software.

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If you’ve downloaded an rnb beat from the internet, you’ll want to record yourself singing with the track, preferably at home using your computer. But music recording software can be pricey: $200 up to $10,000 + is out of the price range of up and coming independent artists. However, there’s a great selection of free software for PC and Mac users readily available on the internet for recording you vocals with. I’ve taken the time to find the best for you, and here they are…
Cockos Reaper

Reaper is the new “poster boy” for affordable music/audio software. Whilst not strictly free, the developer allows an un-timed and un-limited trial download of the software. Personal licenses cost as little as $50.

The program features a comprehensive selection of tools for recording, editing and mixing audio, as well as support for third-party software and effects. In fact, the feature list is so comprehensive, it might be a little too much for a beginner. Still, the software is free for as long as you feel you’re evaluating it, it’s under active development, and should make a good bet for future-proofing your studio set-up. Visit the Reaper website.

Audacity

Audacity is an “Open Source” program, and is developed by an active team of volunteers. As such, it’s completely free. Audacity features a simple interface, and a multi-track recorder/editor. Recordings can also be mixed easily, although the effects aren’t as extensive as offerings from other programs.

Audacity may well be suited to the beginner. There aren’t too many options to confuse new users, and there’s an online community to help you out should you hit a bump in the road.

The program is available for both PC and Mac users. Visit the Audacity Website.

MU.LAB (Free version)

Marketed as a powerful music recorder and editor for beginners, MU.LAB claims to feature all the tools you’ll need for recording, mixing, and editing audio and MIDI. The user interface is obviously aimed at beginners, but the program is surprisingly capable and feature-rich. There are various ways of editing and mixing sounds, and the program comes with a good selection of effects.

A full version of the program is available at reasonable cost, however, a free version (with some restrictions) is also available. Visit the MU.LAB site.

Garageband

Garageband comes as part of the iLife suite of programs, but is also pre-installed on any Mac sold in the past couple of years. So the chances are you already have it! Garageband features audio tracks, virtual instruments, and a mixing environment. In other-words, everything you need to begin recording to beats and editing audio.

Best of all, Garageband is based on the same “audio engine” that powers Apple’s Pro Line of audio software, such as Logic. So you’ll be using the same sounds as the ‘Pros’ use. Highly recommended. Visit the Garageband Website

Kristal Audio Engine

Created and distributed by Kristal Labs, this program features 16 audio tracks – more than enough to record multiple layers of backing vocals and harmonies! It comes with a basic selection of FX plugins, such as EQ and Reverb, so you can add some polish to your vocal recordings. The program also features a complete mixing environment.

The Kristal web site features an excellent help guide, and active user forum, so beginners should find it easy to start creating music.

Kristal Audio Engine is available free of charge for personal use, although if you start making money using the software, the developers ask for a nominal fee. Visit the Kristal Audio Engine website

Disclaimer: These links and guides are supplied as advice only. Users download and install software at their own risk. The programs above offer general features of interest to the recording artist, however, I offer no guarantee that the the software will work on any particular computer, or that the programs are 100% compatible with products downloaded from SmoothBeatsOnly.com.

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