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11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Folks, here I am going to list a compleat studio setup that is totally FREE, and that anyone can set up and use with relative ease. I have had this setup running on a P3 700 with 640mb memory and it did fine. I made my first CD, Middle Of The Storm, and half of my 2nd one, Scattered Showers, with this setup. (you can check them out by following the link in my sig). This setup has been put together and tested over a 2 year period by myself and a few other artist on the Kristal forum.

And sorry all you Apple folks, the software is PC only. So here we go.....

The Kristal Audio Engine. A free and easy to use piece of software. Will record up to 16track's, has ASIO support, and you can use VST effects along with the good ones that are built in. And it has great support thru the forum.

These 3 VST effects are the ones I use 99% of the time with Kristal, and I think they are must haves!

Kjaerhus Audio Classic Series

Digital Fish Phones (look to the left, the Fish Fillets rock!)

GlaceVerb, the best reverb I have found.

The following are a couple Audio Editors that I have used....

Tiny Wave Editor and Sound Engine Free

These don't have all the bells and whistles that Audacity has, but they import the files right back into Kristal, which means you don't have to line the tracks back up!

And this is a way cool plugin called VB Strip Tool. Striptool is a virtual channel strip offering various types of digital audio processing. This is a compleat channel that has a parametric EQ, compressor, and it sounds great.

Next is mine, and a few others, number one choice for a drum machine, and it is called Leaf Drums 2.33. When you add the ns_kit7free sounds to it you have the most realistic sounding free drum machine that you will find anywhere, and better than some you would pay for!

I have also used Hotstepper and HammerHead with great results. Don't think that these are "rap-dance" drum machines. Even tho they come with those sounds you can swap them out. All 3 work fine, and are free.

By using all of the software listed above with the Kristal Audio Engine you can have a compleat 16 track home recording setup, with some nice sounding drums, for FREE!

The rest are some links to other VST effects that work well with Kristal. The links might be outdated, I didn't check them all. But the 3 listed above will give you most everything you need to make some good recordings!

A list of VST's....

Freeverb2, and others.

MDA VST Plugins. The Combo one is nice.

Check out r8Brain. It does a good job of converting 48bit files to 44.1.

Some Wave Editors and Sample Tools

Luxonix, a free multi effect (sounds good on guitar).

A nice reverb that works well for back up vocals.

A BIG list of plugins.

Another cool site

And here is a multi track that is free at the moment, but it will be a pay for when it gets out of Beta, called Reaper. It is a big step up from Kristal, has unlimited inserts, can use VST and DX effects along with VSTi's instruments. The development on this is unbelievingly quick, and even tho it is a Beta it is quite useable. And here is a link to a thread over at the Reaper site that has a ton of VST's listed....

Reaper VST Link Thread

For hardware I use 2 soundcards, a Soundblaster PCI512 running the kX Project 3537 drivers, and a Echo Darla20. I use a Behringer UB802 mixer. For mics I own a MXL990, DAK 2001, and a Audio Spectrum plastic 58 copy. I also have a Duncan Performer soundhole pickup for the Rogue acoustic. And that's it for hardware.

I am posting all of this in the hope that some people may find it helpful. I own Cool Edit Pro 2.1, Acid, Tracktion2, and Cakewalk8, but I still find myself using the setup listed at the top 80% of the time, it is just quicker loading and easier to use IMHO! :D 8) Have Fun!

7 Posts
Right on thx

Hey i have been using audacity for quite a while but found that it had alot of problems with many vst effects whereas krystal doesnt seem to have these problems. there are many sites that you didnt list that also have many great high quality plug ins if you take the time to search you can find alot of great stuff to make this program even more versitile. also i would suggest finding a vst chainer to load more then two plugins per channel anyways thank you for pointing this out :rockon:

69 Posts
I totally agree with you Smurf.
I might only differ in opinion with the recording software.
I have Tracktion 1.6 (the free copy Mackie gave away when they bought the software companie a few years back) and I use it exclusively to record.

I did use Krystal prior to Tracktion but never really liked it.
One important factor for Tracktion over Krystal is it has a MIDI editor built in.
But it is not free anymore so your suggestion of Krystal as a free software is very good and to the point for a free recording digital studio.

Besides that, I basicaly use the same plugins as you, the Kjaerhus Audio classic series, the Digital Fish Phones, the MDA's, GlaceVerb, etc...

I do have the VB Strip Tool but I never eally understood how to use it besides as a simple channel compressor. I guess I should read the docs. :D

As a wave editor, I have Adobe audition 1.5 (formerly Cool Edit Pro) and I'm very happy with it. It can do a lot more than just wave editing but that's basicaly all I use it for.

I gotta try Leaf Drums, though I don't have much patience when it comes to programming drum beats (nor do I have any talent at that either)
I have an older version of Band In A Box that I use to generate drum, bass and keys tracks that I import into Tracktion as MIDI files and use VSTi plugins to generate the sounds. Simple enough for my limited musical abileties.

Anyways, great post as it should help out any new guys wondering how, with what and how much.

33 Posts
Very cool list ! Thanks very much. Do you have any more links for Free Drum samples ? I am already using the free kit you mentioned and it sounds great but I am looking for more variety.

2,799 Posts
Nice to see a fellow Reaper user here. I've been using it for the past few months myself and I think it's a great DAW. BTW Justin Frankel (the guy who developed Winamp) is the person who created Reaper and it's not unusual for him to update the software 2 or 3 times a week. He's very responsive to requests and any bugs that crop up. BTW when he posted this back in 2006,Reaper was still free but now it's shareware but it's fully functional and there is a nag screen but it only comes up once a week. You can read the terms on the Reaper website if you want to buy it and believe me it's not expensive at all. BTW I've also got a few of the plugins you mentioned.
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