If you’re reading this, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve probably invested plenty of money into your audio setup as it is. And while there are tons of free plugins and tools for music production out there, you’re sure to come across many that aren’t worth your time. Luckily, we have some solutions for you that will help boost your creativity and collaboration efforts without having to bust out your credit card (again).
In this week’s video, Fabio from Noize London walks us through our recommendations for some of the coolest free tools for music production, plugins, and websites for 2023. So if you’re on a budget or just want to give some free software a trial run, be sure to keep reading. These six tools could be what you’re looking for.
Best FREE Tools for Music Production 2023:
- VK-1 Viking Synthesizer
- Decent Sampler
Let’s get into it.
The VK-1 is an authentic reproduction of the classic monophonic Moog analog synthesizer. This plugin has three continuously-variable wave oscillators, a multi-wave LFO, two ladder filters with a Dual Lowpass or Highpass/Lowpass configuration, and two modulation buses. The VK-1 synth uses the latest DSP technology to accurately emulate the sounds of the hardware.
- Modeled on the infamous Moog Voyager, this monosynth is perfect for big basslines, arpeggiators, and leads.
This is another free sample player plugin that lets you play sampled libraries in its own format. And look no further than Pianobook to download hundreds of various free sample instruments that you can add to your Decent Sampler library. You can even create your own instruments and samples for the plugin, albeit not without the trouble of writing code manually, but don’t worry. If that’s your thing, the site provides a detailed tutorial on exactly how to do it.
- One of the best sampler alternatives to Kontakt
- A good range of fun, quirky instruments designed to inspire
- Desired controls, like filters and effects
Up to 600 grains can be generated in four streams, each with their own set of parameters that will control grain generation. A single grain is not very interesting by itself, but when you overlap hundreds of grains together? Magic. Create gorgeous layered soundscapes or complex delay patterns. Click the link below and check out a few of the demos to get a feel for what Emergence can do.
- Real-time granulator
- Records a signal into a buffer which plays back that signal into short pieces called grains
- Grains then bounce around in a delay-like fashion, creating some genuinely captivating sounds on a wide array of instruments
BandLab brands itself as “music creation for all.” You can record, mix, and even collaborate on any of your music projects. It allows unlimited multi-track projects and even free cloud storage. Add up to 50 collaborators too. Their site (link below) also offers BandLab Mastering, allowing you access to master your tracks with the world’s leading online mastering service. Also free! Help your tracks sound their best without spending another dime.
- Completely free DAW that runs in the web browser
- MIDI and audio recording capabilities
- Contains a range of instruments
- Add effects to the built-in instruments
- Easy-to-use MIDI capabilities
- Record audio signals via your audio interface or preamp of choice
Yes, shameless self-promotion. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t call out the free version of Boombox.io as one of the best music making software tools on the table in 2023. Boombox is the new way for music professionals to work. When you sign up, you gain 4GB of cloud storage for free. Also offers simple playback and playlist features to give you listening access wherever you are. Automatic version history on every file. Ever need to literally “hum” what you want something to sound like? The ability to comment with time-stamped voice memos is a big win here too for when written texts just don’t cut it. And with a simple tool to build splits, you can access legally legit contracts that everyone can sign with just a few clicks.
- The perfect platform to store and share your music projects
- Ideal for inviting collaborators
- Add new projects and upload your audio files
- Leave timestamped audio file comments for feedback or to let other collaborators know what changes are needed
- Add voice notes. This allows you to describe something vocally that might be tricky in text format
- Once audio files are uploaded, quickly add collaborators, both old and new.
- Allocate different songwriting splits
Lalal offers high-quality stem-splitting based on the world’s number one AI-powered technology, and it allows for video too. Lalal brands itself as a next-gen vocal remover and music source separation tool for fast and easy stem extraction. You can remove any kind of audio source (bass, guitar, vocals, synth, etc.) without any quality loss. Lalal offers paid packages with different features, but fortunately, their starter kit is completely free.
- An incredible AI machine that can separate any song into different stems
- Extract individual instruments, accompaniment, or even vocals
- Hear vocal tracks separated almost perfectly
For more info on the tools featured in this guide, including tutorials, follow the links below:
- How To Get Signed By A Record Label In 2023 w/ MOTi – Boomcast Ep. 2
- The Secret to Success in Today’s Music Industry (Music Collaboration Tips) – Boomcast Ep. 1
- Logic Pro vs Ableton
“Hi. Welcome to Boombox, home of online collaboration with me, your host Fabio from Noize.
Before we get started, I just wanted a chance to remind you that every week that we upload a video, we give you the view, the opportunity to enter a competition to get professional feedback from myself or Lukas. So make sure to follow the link in the description below and submit your track via Boombox.
Today I want to share with you my favorite tools, plugins and websites that I’ve been using to help me with creativity, collaboration and getting the most out of my studio day.
Starting with synths we have the VK1 Viking synthesizer. The VK1 is modeled on the famous Moog Voyager and is a mono-synth perfect for big bass-lines. Arpeggiators and Leads.
Decent Sampler has to be one of the coolest alternatives to Kontakt. They’ve sampled a range of really quirky instruments that are very inspiring and get your creative juices flowing immediately as well as having great sounds. There are also much desired controls such as effects and filters.
Next, we have Emergence, which is a real time granulator by Daniel Gergely. The granulator records a signal into what’s called a buffer. The buffer, then plays back that signal in short pieces called grains. Those grains then bounce around in a delay like fashion and can sound really cool on an array of instruments.
Now, for those of you who have enough plugins, here are some awesome websites for creativity, collaboration and organization.
BandLab is a completely free DAW that actually runs off of a website and has MIDI and audio recording capabilities as well as a range of instruments. You can also add effects to the in-built instruments. The MIDI capabilities are easy to use and you can even record audio signals via your MacBook microphone or you can plug in a proper microphone, guitar, synth, or any instrument of your choice.
Now, once you’ve finished your project and you’ve exported it, regardless of your DAW you’re going to need somewhere to store it, to be able to share it and to invite collaborators.
Boombox is a platform in which you can do all of those things. You can add new projects, upload your audio files, and then you can even leave timestamped comments on the audio files for feedback and to let other collaborators know what changes need to be made. But what I really like about this is that you can add a voice note. Voice notes are great because sometimes it’s hard to describe exactly what you want in text.
For example, hey, can we change the melody to da da da? Once the files are uploaded, I can very quickly add collaborators, either new people or people who I’ve worked with in the past. And then from there, if I want, I can even allocate different songwriting splits.
LALAL.AI an incredible AI machine that can separate any song into different stems. So let’s say you just want to extract the vocals. You can take your track, drop it in let it upload and do. It’s clever little AI magic and then we can hear the two paths separated almost perfectly.
I hope you enjoyed this video and all the free tools that I showed you today. And don’t forget that you can have professional feedback on your track from Lukas or myself. Just go to the link in the description below. – submit your track via Boombox and follow the instructions and please leave a comment down below. Let us know which plugins you’ve been using this year or you plan to use next year.
Also, it’s been a real pleasure being the host here at Boombox. Don’t forget that this is the home of collaboration and we’ll see you very soon. Peace.”