Make music with this free audio software
LMMS is a free and open-source digital audio workstation software that enables you to create and arrange music. Originally developed by Paul Giblock and Tobias Junghans, this program stands for “Linux MultiMedia Studio” and supports handy plugins that enables it to work on different operating systems. You can use LMMS to synthesize existing sound samples, compose your own music from scratch, and even use electronic instruments to quickly record melodies on it.
Advanced but helpful tools
LMMS prides itself on being straightforward with its intuitive interface. Although the program will look intimidating to any user without experience in audio-mixing, it has extensive documentation on its official website. The website also acts as a forum and a sharing platform for anyone who would like feedback on their work. Before long, you’ll find the features easy to use and versatile with its wide support of ready-to-use plugins. It also has cross-platform capabilities should you wish to switch to a different OS.
This software’s other core functionalities include note playback using a MIDI or keyboard, a user-defined track-based automation process, easy MIDI and Hydrogen project file-importing, and the many music editors you can access. There are five major ones: the Song Editor, the Beat + Bassline Editor, the FX mixer, the Piano Roll, and the Automation Editor. These have easy controls such as the drag-and-drop function for audio tracks, color codes, and various hotkey combos with your three mouse buttons.
No lack of support
For instrument support, the program is compatible with different presets and VST. It has 16 built-in synthesizers, including emulated copies of Roland TB-303, Commodore 64, Nintendo ® NES and GameBoy, and the Yamaha OPL2 chip, among a few others. The features also include built-in 64-bit instrument support with a 32-bit VST bridge and a ZynAddSubFx synthesizer. It also has native multisample support for SoundFont, Giga, and Gravis UltraSound formats—allowing you to make use of high-quality instrument patches and banks.
The variety of plugins available is quite wide so you will be able to play around with different audio effects. There are the drop-in LADSPA and drop-in VST effect plugins and other built-in tools like a compressor, limiter, delay, reverb, distortion, and bass enhancer. You can also fiddle with visuals using the bundled graphic and parametric equalizers, and the built-in visualization and spectrum analyzer. It’s similar to other audio programs like GarageBand and FL Studio but it’s still a bit limited in what instruments and beats it offers.
Not easy for new users
All in all, LMMS is a great cheap alternative to anyone interested in sound generation software. It’s easily available on most platforms at no great cost and has a lot of supported extra features that enable you to go beyond what built into it. It could use some more tools and features and a more beginner-friendly interface, but the program is overall a good choice if you don’t want to get the premium audio programs just yet.