Q. My friend has an Apple mac and uses a program called Garage Band to make his own music, is there anything like this for the PC that I can get for free.

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I found hundreds of individual pieces of software all reporting to be music making/creation, the choice was bewildering. I have reviewed three below that I think are as close to Apple’s Garage band software as you can get on a PC.

Acidplanet Xpress is free but quite limited and not the easiest to use I found it quite difficult to add new tracks, the help section is very good and it has a nice show me how function. The software is made by Sony, it has a number of different pro versions starting at £45.

http://www.acidplanet.com/downloads/xpress/ (free but you have to register)

Mixcraft has a demo version for download, the interface is very nice, I am no musician but within a few minutes I had multiple tracks and virtual instruments playing along in something resembling a tune (in the loosest form of the word). I found it very easy to use and to save the final version to mp3 or other formats. There are a large number of loops some free and some pay for available on the Acoustica web site. The help is good and the web site has a number of video tutorials. If you want to create your own music then Mixcraft is Good value for money at 75$.

http://www.acoustica.com/mixcraft/index.htm (75$, about 52 euros) (Recommended)

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Fruit loops has been around for a while so it is well established, it has a great looking interface. It’s maybe a little more difficult to use than Mixcraft but has a huge amount of functionality, it didn’t take me long to get it making some very interesting sounds, with loops and echo. Again I was able to produce something resembling a tune in a very short amount of time. The help is very good and is backed up by a very comprehensive web site with plenty of resources and video tutorials. If you want to create your own music then FL Studio is good value for money at 32 euros for the Express edition. However the demo has everything enabled and is closest to the Producer version which is considerably more at 138 euros.

http://www.image-line.com/documents/flstudio.html (Express version 32 euros)

Ableton, For a the more professional music makers then have a look at Ableton, they have a number of versions starting from 99 euros for the Ableton Live intro to over 600 euros for the studio version. This software is very powerful indeed and the functionality mind blowing, the shear range of items that can be linked together to form your own rack to produce the most extraordinary sounds is incredible. There is a free trial version but the download is over 600Mb for the live intro version alone, the full install of the studio version is more than 7Gb (7000Mb) showing just how much you get with the more professional software.

http://www.ableton.com (Live intro version 99 euros).  

If you need help or have any questions about your computer please give me a call or send me an email for FREE advice. Bruce@mirax.org or Telephone 05 61 60 84 23.


Bruce Taylor.

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