Roland’s cross-platform mobile DAW Zenbeats is now free

Roland have made the full version of their awesome music making app free for all you self-isolators.

Whilst the Coronavirus pandemic gripping the world is a troubling thing and a concerning time for many – the upshot is that we are seeing a lot of awesome software and applications being made free to keep us all entertained whilst we’re stuck at home.

Roland are the latest to treat us with an awesome DAW for iOS and Android. Their Zenbeats app is a simple to use but powerful to master digital audio workstation that runs on your mobile so you can create full tracks from your hand.

It uses sounds new and old with samples, loops, instruments and more to put the creative power at your fingertips to create whatever you like. You’ll recognise some of the legendary equipment that they’ve modelled in there, including their historic drum machines like the TR-808 and TR-909.

The app has always been free but their Zenbeats Unlock tier is now free down from $15. The Unlock tier adds many more instruments, effects and presets for the music-making app. It’s free for a limited time so make you sure you get it while you can.

The projects are streamlined with sharing abilities that allow you to save your work to various Clouds as well as sharing it with friends and others to collaborate upon.

If you really like it then there’s a $150 Ultimate pass which provides every loop pack, preset, and over 6,000 sounds to use. But for now there’s a whole lot of fun to be had for free.

You can get the app and unlock the Unlock V1 features free now on iOS and Android.

The 5 best free plugin synths available now

There’s no better time to load up your DAWs and get creative with a selection of brand new and exciting plugins.

These are the 5 best synthesiser plugins that we have found that are completely free for you to download and use. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other amazing digital synths out there or that you have a personal favourite that doesn’t appear.

Share your best free finds in the comments below. Here are ours:

Voltage Modular Nucleus

This whopping modular synth package has been made free for the “foreseeable future” (sorry to any readers in a potential future where this no longer applies) to keep you isolators entertained and creative. With 22 modules and over 130 presets to play from you’re not short of fun here.

VK-1 Viking Monophonic Synth

This synth present a promises of authentically emulating a classic monophonic analog syntheseizer. Whilst you try to guess which classic synth it’s based on you can play with the incredible array of control on offer through this powerful yet free synth VST.

Tal-Bassline

For all you low-end lovers out there this wonderful synth gives you bass sounds with heaps of customisation on top. Featuring a -18dB low pass filter it has been designed to feel warm and analogue. Oh and, of course, it’s free.

Dexed

You won’t be short of potential with Dexed with more potential for custom sounds than you could discover in a lifetime. It’s a brilliant plugin to spend an evening with exploring the potential and working out just how it all works!

TyrellN6

Want to get a truly unique sound form a synth? Try TyrellN6 for a new, warm experience that puts you in mind of indie game music and sound effects – so if your creativity lies near that then do try this synth.

Endless offers a virtual hang out for collaboratively jamming out music with loops

Endless is the perfect companion to those itching to get creative with others but stuck socially distancing themselves with only a smartphone for company.

Jamming with people around the world has become shockingly plausible with the internet and there are many ways to go about achieving this in entirely different and creative ways. One that has been newly brought to my attention is mobile app Endless.

It offers a loop-based creative space that allows its users to collaborate in jams together. Using drum shots, melodious notes, effects and more contributors can bring their additions in the form of loops for others to riff off of or as their own segment of someone else’s jams.

You can link up with friends and jam together or explore Endless’s wider community and discover new creators. It’s simple to hop into but excitingly broad in its potential under your control. It can be connected up to Ableton Link for use with external instruments as well.

If you’re really into what you’re creating then there’s an export option that uses .aiff files to convert it to your DAW of choice. The app is free and is available to enhance with many more additional sounds and effects for a monthly subscription cost.

The app is available for iOS devices now and is hopefully coming to more platforms soon.

These 200+ Roland TR-909 samples are available for free

Get your hands on over 200 delicious sounding samples to enliven your music at a cost of absolutely zero.

We could all do with a little treat considering the current consideration. Few are the gifts we love more than fuel to fire our musical engines in brand new ways.

BVKER have made a new pack of samples from the iconic and beloved Roland TR-909 and are offering it to all of you self-isolaters, and I suppose to any of you who aren’t as well, absolutely free.

They say themselves of the TR-909’s defining punch and saturation which stood it apart it’s famous predecessor the 808. They say: “The drum machine is most famous for its dirty kick drum and open hat which is usually placed between the kick hits.”

They promise a faithful and high quality replication of this in their huge sample pack containing 100 drum loops and over 100 drum shots.

You can download it for free right now here: bvker.com/free-909-samples/

Mix on Algoriddim with Hercules DJ Controllers

Get mixing tracks from streaming services on Hercules controllers with new support on Algoriddim DJ apps.

Algoriddim have introduced support for the latest range of controllers from renowned DJ tech makers Hercules. With Algoriddim’s apps like their flagship Djay users can use their mixing controllers to control their mixes with a world of music from streaming services at their fingertips.

By mixing via the djay app for iOS, users of the DJControl Inpulse 200, DJControl Inpulse 300 and DJControl Starlight now have instant access to millions of songs from their premium account on the world’s most popular music streaming platforms.

Once the djay application is installed, the DJ can use the controls of the Inpulse and Starlight controllers to mix, loop, add effects, scratch and even use the Assistant button, specific to the Hercules DJControl Inpulse range, to trigger the automix feature in the djay application.

Hercules has designed their controllers from the ground up to appeal to the aspiring young DJs, so this new hardware/software integration is a great new way to bring first-timers into the mix. Adding the ability to mix via the djay app creates new possibilities for DJs who still continue to master the fundamentals to explore their own unique style while mixing. 

DJs can now mix their favorite tracks from streaming services on their iPhone or iPad with the latest range of Hercules controllers. The result of close collaboration with Algoriddim, Hercules announces the integrated compatibility of its latest DJControl Inpulse 300, DJControl Inpulse 200 and DJControl Starlight controllers with the award-winning djay app for iOS.

More information about compatible controllers and djay integration can be found on Hercules.com.

Spotify are ending their support for third-party DJ apps

DJs only have a few months left to use Spotify’s music library in their favourite DJing apps. 

Spotify have announced the sad news that they’ll no longer be available in DJ software. The partnership opened up their library of tens-of-millions of tracks for DJs to splice into their mixes and scratch with on third-party software.

Spotify haven’t revealed quite why, but they are ending their partnership with DJ apps and software like Djay on July 1st. It could well be due to Spotify’s new licensing deals with major labels that they’ve signed recently, which might not cover the use of music in third-party apps anymore.

SoundCloud on the other hand have spent the last year partnering with as many DJing apps as they can. When Algoriddim announced that SoundCloud music could be accessed through their Djay app, as well as Tidal’s library, in January they removed Spotify from their website.

So it seems as though they knew it was coming, but now it’s official and will apply to all third-party DJ apps. Algoriddim are providing guides on their website for how to migrate their mixing library from Spotify to SoundCloud or Tidal to help the transition for DJs and users of their DJing app.

Moog & Korg’s synth apps are free to abate self-isolation boredom

If you’re going to be stuck at home for a while then Moog and Korg have some fantastic ways to keep yourself entertained.

Coronavirus may lead to us self-isolating and finding things to do day-in and day-out for a few weeks. What better time to download some awesome synth applications to play and maybe even create on.

Korg has dropped the price of their wonderfully deep Kaossilator app to absolutely nothing. The powerful and very customisable synth app usually costs $20 / £18 but is available on Android for free until March 20th and on iOS until the 31st of March.

Korg said in a statement: “Schools, workplaces, and meetings worldwide have been requested to close by their respective governments and so many people are studying and working from home. To help you with a musical way to occupy your mind we have decided to make the Kaossilator app for iOS and Android free of charge for a limited time.”

Moog have also made their Minimoog Model D synth app for iOS free. Moog’s app was less expensive in the first place but is still a real nice touch in these potentially hard times. Moog haven’t said whether the price drop is for a limited time so get it now in case it goes back suddenly!

Get the Korg Kaossilator: Android | iOS

Get the Minimoog Model D: iOS

Top platforms for music buyers

Over the past ten years, the market has almost completely shifted to streaming platforms, however there are still sites for purchasing music should you prefer to own your media with no monthly costs.

Most streaming platforms have adopted the same deal, around $10 a month for unlimited, ad-free streaming. So what are the advantages of paying around $10 per album?

You own the media. When you purchase music from iTunes, it’s DRM-free meaning you will be given the music file to do with as you please forever.

It can be more cost effective. For example, some people prefer to have radio soundtrack their life and buy the occasional album from their favourite artist. If you’re buying more than one album per month, you’ll probably want to make the switch to streaming.

Next to each store, you’ll see the price of an example new album on each store (Eminem – Music to Be Murdered By). The MP3 cost for all remain very similar across the board.

iTunes ($11.99)

iTunes still remain king of the digital music stores, pioneering the shift from CDs and pirated music in 2003, with a clean and well integrated platform. This method is certainly favourite if you’re mostly listening on your iPhone, to save from any syncing or extra apps.

Amazon MP3 ($11.49)

Amazon have three music services. Amazon Music Unlimited (premium streaming), Amazon Prime (basic streaming) and Amazon MP3 (download store). There’s also the main Amazon site where you can buy physical media, such as CDs and vinyl, but we’ll stick to digital services for now.

7Digital ($11.99 MP3, $18.99 24-bit FLAC)

7Digital offer many services to people and businesses. They also offer multiple formats, so this is the one for you if you’re after uncompressed, hi-res audio, though you’ll pay a premium.

  • 320kbps MP3
  • 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC
  • 24-bit/44.1kHZ FLAC
Google Play ($11.49)

Like Apple and Amazon, Google Play offer both a store and streaming service. The Google Play Store comes bundled with all Android phone, so this may be favourite for Android users.

eMusic (subscription based)

eMusic actually beat iTunes to the punch launching way back in 1998. Their model is unique, offering three subscription choices:

  • $10/month – 20 tracks
  • $16.99/month – 40 tracks
  • $23.99/month – 60 tracks

With savings if paid annually. If you fit perfectly into any of the above, this may be the one for you, though their music range seems limited.

To get your music on any of the stores above and more for free, sign up to RouteNote and start distributing.

The 5 best DAWs for music production and recording (2020)

With so much amazing music making software out there it can be hard to find the one that’s right for you. Our top list will make sure you know which DAW is right for you.

We put it to our Twitter community to find out what music programs they love the most. From electronic producers big and small, bands recording in their garage, to multi-instrumentalists in home studios the votes came in and these are the top 5 DAWs voted for by our music community in 2020.

Fl Studio won our poll last year and it seems the song remains the same amongst producers and music makers. Fruity Loops’s accessible yet powerful software got a whopping 60% of the total vote, over 3x more than any other.

There are many great things about FL Studio but the main thing I hear from so many people is how simple it is to get started. The workflow makes sense to production veterans and recording newbies alike.

With multiple options of recording including an intuitive sequencing format and accessible piano roll notation it’s simple to jump straight in to beatmaking. Despite how easy it is to grasps the software is sophisticated and deep with a wealth of great built in plugins, effects and consoles.

FL Studio is available from $99.

Apple’s Logic Pro won Silver in the votes showing that after years in the game their sleek simple design and powerful functionality is as popular as ever. It’s a straightforward recording experience that holds a lot of power under the dashboard.

Logic Pro is hailed for its vast array of great functions; Smart Tempo snapping your tracks together, Brush Drum Kits providing even more options for authentic sounds, and a massive collection of effects and instruments to name but a few.

If you use Apple devices then the Logic Pro experience gets even better. You can use your iOS devices as multi-touch mixers or as a touch instrument. It also makes taking your projects on the go super simple. However, this does mean that this lovely little DAW isn’t available on Windows.

Logic Pro is available from $199.

Reaper

Reaper has always been on our radar but we weren’t expecting as many people to get in touch and tell us how much they love it. This DAW is a complete music production and recording offering available for free for 60 days and is mega cheap if you’re eligible for the discount afterwards!

It may be one of the cheapest offers on the market, but don’t be fooled, it has all of the features you’d expect from a top DAW like powerful audio and MIDI recording with multichannel support. There is support for all of your favourite effects and instruments plugins and there are hundreds of tools already built-in.

Import, record and render your music in high quality with 64-bit audio processing and make full recordings in a studio-ready DAW. It’s no surprise that Reaper is so popular with the online community as it truly does offer a fully loaded, professional recording and production solution that is one of the cheapest packages on the market.

Get Reaper now free for 60 days then $60.

Ableton is a top choice for many producers and studios. It’s one of the staples in music productions for its seamless interface (once you’ve got to grips with it), powerful handling of MIDI, and it’s two iconic layouts for recording and performance.

Session view makes recording, editing and mixing on Ableton a fairly straightforward affair with a timeline left to right. Then there is Grid View, which opens up a world of possibility by allowing you to record clips which can be looped and activated on the fly. This makes for an incredible beat making workflow but has also been an incredible solution for many DJs and producers performing live with samples, hits and loops.

Ableton Live also lays claim to one of the most expansive and quality libraries of effects and instrument plugins. It’s not quite as accessible as some other DAWs but it is a favourite for a reason.

Ableton Live is available from $99.

Propellerhead’s Reason is a pretty incredible DAW. It works with plugins in a unique way to create a world of possibilities. Imagine a combination of the power and visuals of some of the best plugins and combine that with the possibilities of rack synths and you’re on track to what Reason is all about.

Reason has an incredible list of instruments, synths, drum machines, and effects with customisation and control the likes of which you won’t find many places else. It makes for a great general DAW but it shines when it is used for its plugin capabilities.

If you want software that doesn’t just provide you a place to record, produce and mix your music but gives you a wealth of sonic possibility and experimentation then Reason just might be the choice for you.

Reason is available from $99.

Is NetEase Music safe?

NetEase Music is one of China’s big three in streaming, with over 800 million users. Is the streaming service safe for users and artists?

China’s restricted and monitored internet has sparked much controversy over the last few years, but is your information safe on NetEase? We never ask for or send any of your personal information to our partner stores. We only require your music, metadata and a PayPal email address to safely send revenue directly to. As for NetEase’s users, the service is largely free, so for any skeptics wanting to test run the streaming app, we’d recommend only entering in the essentials details when signing up.

Launched in 2013, NetEase has built a catalogue of over 10 million songs. The service offers users many of the same basic features you’d find in Spotify (which isn’t available in China) such as playlists, personalised recommendations, sharing music, along with download and streaming options on it’s mobile and desktop apps. Most features are free, with some artists choosing to have their music accessible for paid users only.

To get your music on NetEase and more of the major music stores around the world for free, sign up to RouteNote today.