Free Host for some students

Plug-in hosts and other software applications discussion
chk071
KVRAF
21844 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat Sep 21, 2019 9:38 am

No_Use wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:40 am
That on the other hand could be rather overwhelming for kids.
True, that was actually a consideration for me as well. Maybe something like Tracktion would be better suited indeed.

jonljacobi
KVRian
1182 posts since 16 Jan, 2013 from USA

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:41 am

You can dumb down the Cakewalk interface to hide all the tough stuff. Okay. Most of it. See below. I own Waveform and I wouldn't call it simple or intuitive. At the very least, it takes a different approach from the major players.

Mulab is pretty simple, but it has it's own unique approach as well. However, it was modular long before Bitwig and would be absolutely sensational for demonstrating signal paths and flow. That part of it is superb.

So I stick with my Cakewalk recommendation as the knowledge will translate far better to other DAWs. Then the Mulab demo or whatever Jo has going on at the moment.

Then again, there's also Pro Tools First if you're teaching with them getting an actual job in mind. It's still what most studios use because it's engineer-centric and has a huge installed base.
cakewalk simple.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Izak Synthiemental
KVRian
611 posts since 4 Aug, 2010

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:08 pm

If you choose Reaper (advantage: lightweight, works fast on older computers, kind of free), this mini series of videos might serve as a good template for your course:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw4pekL ... 02AGxAEt-A
Last edited by Izak Synthiemental on Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://soundcloud.com/samaritageto

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors

chk071
KVRAF
21844 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sat Sep 21, 2019 12:09 pm

Reaper isn't free.

Nice edit, hehe. :)

Ok, must admit that i also use Reaper "for free" every half a year or so, to test something. It's just 5 minutes though, and, i doubt the devs would have anything against it. Not sure about a situation like this, though. Seems like a pretty intensive use case.

FutureHorizons
KVRer
7 posts since 11 Dec, 2016 from New Zealand

Bitwig 8-track free

Post Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:33 pm

Bitwig 8-track FREE ( FROM Computer Music Magazine )

https://www.bitwig.com/en/8-track

The most recent DAW to be released. (Fully featured one)

V2.0 DAW focused review, "In terms of creative workflow, however, version 2 is a cut above the competition."
https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/bitwig-studio-2

V3.0 Grid focused review, "Bitwig has delivered what could be argued as the most fun, creative and powerful DAW on the market today."
https://www.musictech.net/reviews/digit ... -studio-3/

V3.0 Grid focused review, 20% of this article is free
[ur=]https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/bitwig-studio-3[/url]

Runs on all 3 platforms macOS, Windows, Linux.

It was bundled with a Computer Music Magazine CM and they always said it was a limited time offer but........

Bitwig 8-track FREE

Thanks Computer Music Magazine! CM https://www.facebook.com/computer.music.mag

From Bitwig website:
"WHEN WILL THE COLLABORATION FEATURES BECOME AVAILABLE?
Collaboration features are planned for future versions of Bitwig Studio. Network support is already built into the core of the software and the Bitwig Studio project file format is designed bearing collaboration features in mind. So collaboration is part of the DNA of Bitwig Studio. We are dedicated to further develop our own collaboration technology."
Last edited by FutureHorizons on Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
ruslan.st
KVRist
252 posts since 23 Oct, 2009

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:04 pm

Cubase LE or Bitwig 8-track could be good choices, but if they should be installed on several computers, their activation is limited. LE for example can be used only on one computer with softlicenser. So every student should buy its own copy. Not sure about Studion One Free. Cakewalk also uses some kind of activation, but if every student will create separate account, maybe it will be ok. Reaper is the easiest with its copy protection and installation, but costs $60. Still $60 may be cheaper than buying magazine with Cubase LE for every student.

jonljacobi
KVRian
1182 posts since 16 Jan, 2013 from USA

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:39 pm

Cakewalk is mature and has zero limitations, where nearly all of the others that are free, are limited in some fashion. But if this is just for teaching the basics, I suppose it doesn’t matter. I personally use Live, but there’s no free option and it’s a bit of an odd duck in many ways. Another freebie I haven’t seen mentioned is Soundbridge.

User avatar
BlackWinny
KVRAF
3878 posts since 17 Jun, 2013 from very close to Paris, France

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:57 am

Isn't there a simple DAW made free by Magix recently? (with enough features for a teaching activity on kids)
Build your life everyday as if you would live for a thousand years. Marvel at the Life everyday as if you would die tomorrow.
I'm now severely diseased since September 2018.

User avatar
whyterabbyt
Beware the Quoth
27610 posts since 4 Sep, 2001 from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 5:08 am

jonljacobi wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:39 pm
Cakewalk is mature and has zero limitations, where nearly all of the others that are free, are limited in some fashion.
Tracktion 7 isnt limited, its just an old version; the full version as was released and sold in 2016.
"The bearer of this signature is a genuine and authorised pope."

CasualHobbyist
KVRist
65 posts since 20 May, 2018

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 6:28 am

FLOSS software (which are free) are only limited by the hardware you have (track or instrument count), otherwise they are often full featured ready to go.

Commercial/Proprietary software is another matter (don't recommend it for schools myself) but REAPER's trial does not impose any form of limitations whatsoever and only has a nag screen telling you buy it, not unlike's Winrar. Tracktion 7 is a full version released in 2016, there are others too but I think the rest of the posters already chimed in with their recommendations so whatever.
Last edited by CasualHobbyist on Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

codec_spurt
KVRAF
3736 posts since 21 Sep, 2005

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:01 am

Tracktion is very powerful. You can save and load projects. Use whatever VST you like. You could record and mix and master a whole album on it no problem. Whether it is stable on your system (goes for any DAW) is another matter. Whether you click with the workflow and paradigm is another again. It might just be what you are looking for.

Same for Podium. Saves, loads, use any VST. What more do you want? It's pretty stable, but the free version is a bit old now and iirc it had a tendency to crash with certain plugins. But it's a beautiful piece of software and not limited in any way (for a noob).

All software has limitations. Tracktion can be a bit fiddly to set up and get your head around to start with. Exporting is not elegant and you need to spend time to work it out if you do a lot of it. Then again, for your workflow it might be no problem.

One thing with Cakewalk is that it is very difficult to use for some functions. You need to read a manual and spend an hour or two to figure out how to export between markers if you just want a loop to render out. At least that was how it was when I used it last. I love Cakewalk btw - great software, but it would be my last choice for a beginner. There are also many other things about it that buck the general linear DAW paradigm. The most non-intuitive DAW I have ever used. YMMV.

Cakewalk is overkill anyway for starting out. And so is probably Tracktion and Podium.

Studio One Prime is a good call. It may not load any VSTs, but it does include Presence XT and therefore you have a load of drums/synth/bass/hits at your disposal. It might be perfect for someone just starting out.

Sure, Cakewalk is the most full featured FREE DAW available - I don't think anyone would dispute that, but it's my last choice for a complete noob. An hour to figure out how to export a loop is not what a noob needs, plus there are many other pitfalls with it as well, and that is for someone like me who is definitely not a noob (ok a bit of a noob :hihi:).

Then again, to be fair, Podium has some weird workflow stuff going on as well. In fact, it's not even possible to export a loop selection in it! I spent hours and hours trying to figure it out and then asked Frits (the dev) and he just said 'oh, no, you can't do that - not interested in implementing it'. :o

Really, for a beginner, Tracktion would be the best bet overall. I taught a friend of mine how to use it and he had learning difficulties. Ableton fried his brain, but he came back a few weeks later after doing some stuff in Tracktion with some great music. It clicked with him at least.

Tracktion is a very powerful program and has come a long way since the first version they gave away all those years ago. With a little bit of effort you can be making music in no time. In fact, why not couple it with Studio One Prime? Export what you do in Tracktion then import in to S1P to arrange and edit. If you need to overlay or add any extra stuff then you have a very powerful sampler at your disposal and some very useful effects to polish things off.

But sure, go for Cakewalk, and spend all that time scratching your head how to figure it out. Maybe it was just me, but I had to spend a lot of time with it. Made some good music in it though...

And finally, don't discount Ableton Live (the most basic version that people sell here in the market place for a tenner). It's only 8 tracks of midi and 8 tracks of audio, iirc, and something like only 3 vst can be used in a project, but you can still make great music with it. I sometimes make finished tracks with it just for the challenge (I have the full version).

Knock up some loops and ideas in Tracktion and Ableton, then import them in to Studio One Prime to arrange and mix. Import the final render back in to Tracktion or Ableton for 'mastering'.

Would still be easier and quicker than learning how to use Cakewalk. Maybe.

Good to know it's still being worked on though and that it's getting more stable. I do like it a lot as a DAW. But that workflow still doesn't translate to any other full featured DAW such as Cubase or Studio One Pro, should you choose to 'upgrade' later on. They all do things quite differently. The 'arrange page' linear workflow paradigm only goes so far. Once you start really using a program, they all diverge from that commonality quite a bit.

Really, and I know this is 'cheating', but I'd stump up the 15 quid or so for EnergyXT2, for the fastest and most streamlined DAW experience going. You can install the entire program in two minutes and it only takes 2 seconds to start up. No scan time at all for new VSTs and it's pretty stable, at least, if not more stable than Tracktion or Podium, and Cakewalk (last time I looked).

For a noob, the EnergyXT paradigm wouldn't be any more jarring than any other. It's even very fast for recording in audio (I use it as a scratcpad to quickly record in guitar and bass ideas). The fastest DAW on the planet. Maybe not free, but pretty close.
"you're all GUI whores." - banned KVR member 'snooky'.

Kenmac
KVRist
62 posts since 3 Oct, 2006 from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:41 am

BlackWinny wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:57 am
Isn't there a simple DAW made free by Magix recently? (with enough features for a teaching activity on kids)
Yes, Magix Music Maker free: https://www.magix.com/ca/music/music-ma ... usic-maker

User avatar
mgw38
KVRAF
1995 posts since 26 Jul, 2015 from Philadelphia

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:08 am

I feel I need to repeat this comment because this is not commonly known but actually important for everybody working in education. Tracktion made their entire software suite completely free for educational institutions:

https://www.tracktion.com/education#school

You just send them an email and they give you a master account that you can use to unlock all lab computers. In my case it took them less than a day to set that up. License includes everything from the Tracktion store (Waveform, Biotek, Retromod, Spacecraft, Waverazor, etc). They say you can use it on 30 machines but they will give you more if you need it. All they ask for are pictures of your students playing around with their software.

In terms of complexity; first of all, calling high school students "kids" is a bit of a stretch. And these days you no longer need to worry about overloading high school students with software that is too complicated. They usually handle these things better than their teachers. ;)

User avatar
whyterabbyt
Beware the Quoth
27610 posts since 4 Sep, 2001 from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:13 am

Kenmac wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:41 am
BlackWinny wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 4:57 am
Isn't there a simple DAW made free by Magix recently? (with enough features for a teaching activity on kids)
Yes, Magix Music Maker free: https://www.magix.com/ca/music/music-ma ... usic-maker
Didnt they make the ability to use 3rd-party plugins a paid option, though?
"The bearer of this signature is a genuine and authorised pope."

User avatar
Saffran
KVRist
266 posts since 20 Oct, 2018

Re: Free Host for some students

Post Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:19 am

Bandlab also has the online daw for schools.
https://edu.bandlab.com/

Return to “Hosts & Applications (Sequencers, DAWs, Audio Editors, etc.)”