I remember when I first dabbled in song writing. This was over a decade ago and I have no idea what software was available at that time, all I had was my Pod 2.0, mixcraft recording DAW and a crappy 4 track recorder. Well since those days of the stone age( I know i'm being dramatic) I have worked with and accumulated a respectable amount of software plugins and virtual instruments. This brings me to my entire point for writing this blog post! My recommended music software for beginner songwriters is as follows.
Keep in mind, you will need yourself an audio interface before you can get the most out of laying down your first kick ass music tracks. I am assuming most readers of this article already have themselves an interface. If not, here is a great yet inexpensive one- Saffire Scarlett Solo
Reaper is an extremely powerful and easy to use Digital Audio Workstation. As far as I know, Reaper can do everything that Pro Tools can do and with far less of a hassle. Bonus points to reaper for also allowing you to dress up the software to look like any DAW you want by downloading from the extensive community theme library. What else? oh yea, Reaper is cheap! Free to try for 60 days, then 60 bucks for non commercial license and 225 for a commercial license.
Here is a nice comparison between Reaper and Pro Tools 11
I forget how long ago it was, but the first virtual instrument and production software I ever purchased was Komplete 9. It was to this day the most worthwhile music software investment I ever made. Best part is I purchased it off of ebay for a huge discount and you can likely do the same. So what is Komplete? Here is an excerpt from Native Instruments website:
KOMPLETE is the world’s leading collection for music production, performance, and sound design. All the tools you need – any production task, any type of music, anything you can imagine. Delve into an enormous collection of 45 inspiring and innovative virtual instruments and effects. Radical synthesizers, classic drums, larger-than-life sampled instruments, and avant-garde sound design plus the world’s leading sampling and synthesis platforms REAKTOR and KONTAKT. All at a fraction of the combined cost of the individual components.
From guitar amp modeling and drums to synths and orchestral strings, Komplete literally has everything you need to be inspired and create (my personal favorite synth is Absynth). It also comes with the industry standard Kontakt player, which opens a world of possibilities to future 3rd party software purchases such as Geosonics (one of my personal favorites). Once you have your DAW and interface, I would definitely make Komplete your first purchase.
Although Komplete does come bundled with some decent percussion, I was looking for something with a more polished sound to make it that much easier for me to get inspired. Enter EZ Drummer 2, another game changing software for songwriters. EZ Drummer 2 has by far the most amazing sounding drums right out of the box. Not only are the drum sounds amazing, but there are genre specific addons that you can purchase to get closer to that exact sound you are hearing in your head. Hmm what else? Oh yea, EZ Drummer 2 also comes loaded with hundreds of pre recorded midi grooves that you can insert right into your session. The grooves are easily modifiable, allowing you to tailor your own custom drum beats. EZ Drummer 2 is a must have for beginner songwriters!
For now I am going to leave you with those three recommendations to start. Believe me, these will keep you busy and creative for an endless amount of hours :)
If you're interested, here is a sample of something I did before I made these three purchases
Here is a sample of a demo I did using elements of each of these three recommendations.
Dead Eyes Demo
Thats all for now, get your ass into creativity mode!