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Hi, my name is Quinten, Regular HackZone visitors may know me as that grey haired dude who hangs around in the dome. Recently, as a member of the CZ20 Badge team I rediscovered how fun it is to make music. I also found out it can be quite a challenge to actually get the right tools set up, get a hold of instruments and samples before being able to play a single note.

In this workshop I'd like to share what I've learnt and how we can use our awesome Ærpane to help us make some funky tunes using DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software. The focus will be on the follow prerequisites for music creation:

  • Installing your DAW
  • DAW basics
  • Adding the Ærpane to your DAW
  • Configuration options for Ærpane
  • Using Ærpane with the DAW
  • Adding instruments, effects and samples to your DAW (time permitting)

The DAW we will be using in this workshop is Reaper, a great multi-platform (yes, it even runs on a Raspberry Pi), easy to install piece of software by the same people that created Winamp. Feel free to download it if you want to follow along.

CZ 20 Badge REAPER Keymap.jpg

As we only have one hour for this Workshop we will not dive into the actual music creation, but rather set up the tools to do so. A good place to start learning how to use the software are Reaper's own video tutorials. There Are also tons of other training resources by much better musicians than myself to be found on YouTube

Thanks to No13 we have a dedicated Reaper control App for your badge: Midi Reaper Control. You can install it through your badge's WebUSB UI. The Reaper keymap for Ærpane, as depicted on the right, is included in the App directory on your badge.

Here some useful links to get you started:

Instruments, effects and other resources:

KVR Audio has a nice, searchable page packed with all sorts of fun, music related plugins.

VST4Free has a less fancy layout than the KVR site, but also a good source of goodies.

Lastly VSTplanet has a rather plain look, but is regularly updated.

Samples and Loops:

Musicradar, one of the prominent sites for musicians has a vast library of royalty free samples & loops.

Looperman is another source for tons of sounds to add to your composition.

Mugent, created by a group of music producers has a very interesting interface offering the possibility to mix and match samples according to category, key, tempo and genre. Also free to use.

Loopmasters, although not free has some very nice, tightly integrated sample packs.

Other DAW software worth taking a look at:

Tracktion Waveform Free is a very good, fully loaded free alternative to Reaper, but, in order to install it you need to register an account.

Cakewalk by Bandlab, an excellent, feature packed DAW, unfortunately for Windows only. You do need to register with Bandlab and install their companion software though :-(

Steiberg Cubase has been around a long time and a favourite amongst musicians. It's not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

FL Studio is the latest incarnation of another "old friend", Fruity Loops.

Ableton Live, the de-facto standard for Live performers and many music producers.

Bitwig Studio, my personal favourite, created by a group of former Ableton employees.

Links to many more can be found on the related Wikipedia page.