The Software Master List
Our master list contains all the software requirements for our course. With the exception of the phenomenal value of Reaper at $60 (and even Reaper is fully functional in its non expiring trial mode!), nothing on this list will cost you a penny/cent and we have painstakingly curated it to ensure that you have everything you need for pro quality music production. Installing everything is the most tedious part of the course but it only needs to be done once so take a deep breath and get it out of the way!
Some software requires registration in order to download, but we vouch for everyone on the list. You might get the occassional email from them, but it’ll only be about cool (maybe even free!) stuff and the software is totally worth it.
Which software you need to download will depend on your operating system. If you are running Windows, you should get the Windows VST versions. If you are running Mac, then you will sometimes have the choice between the VST version and the AU version – and on the whole it doesn’t matter which you use (with the exception of Independence Free, which we recommend you get the VST version of). However, it does matter whether you download 32 or 64 bit versions. If you’re not sure, you should try the 32bit version of Reaper and 32bit versions of all the plugins. This will ensure you get a smooth experience. If you know what you’re doing and know your computer is 64bit compatible, then try the 64bit versions. There is a caveat here, and it’s that whilst Reaper has a ‘bridge’ to allow you to use 32bit VST plugins in its 64bit version, it doesn’t have one for AU plugins so a 32bit AU plugin will only work in the 32bit version of Reaper and likewise the 64bit versions (this isn’t much of a point for Windows users, so don’t worry!). If that last paragraph just seemed scary, stick to 32bit.
Depending on the software, there will either be a super easy installer, or you may have to manually drag certain files into certain places on your computer in a simple one step process. We can’t be responsible for the actual install process because there are just too many variables, but if you’re having any trouble at all just let us know and we’ll try and make sure you get sorted straight away. We have provided a guide for plugins that don’t have an installer below though:
Windows: You will find a file with the name of the instrument/effect with the file extension .dll in the archive you download. This file needs to be placed in a folder that Reaper looks in, and by default it is usually C:\Program Files\VST Plugins. You can choose any location you like, though – you will just need to make Reaper know where to look in its Preferences. We will go over how to get to Preferences in the video tutorials, but this screenshot should help!
Mac: You will find a file with the name of the plugin and either a .vst or a .component file extension. These should usually be placed in the following location: Macintosh HD\Library\Audio\Plugins and then either the VST or the Components folder.
Finally, we allude to a special trick using Independence Free in the course, and that trick is to create an alias (on Mac) or shortcut (on Windows) to your Reaper Media folder and place it in the Yellow Tools Root folder’s Audio Files subfolder. To create a shortcut right click the folder and select Make Alias/Create Shortcut. By default the Reaper Media folder is in My Documents (or just Documents on a Mac, and you may need to start Reaper for the first time for the folder to be created)/Reaper Media, and the Independence Free installer will tell you where it is going to put the Yellow Tools Root folder, so keep an eye out!
This trick should allow you to import files to Independence Free that are located in your Reaper Media folder, but if you can’t seem to get it to work then it’s not the end of the world – you’ll just have to place sounds you want to import directly in the Yellow Tools Root folder. You could even start saving your projects inside the Yellow Tools Root Folder rather than relying on a shortcut/alias, as this will automatically put your recorded media into the right place. Don’t worry if this is a little confusing – when the time’s right we talk about it in the videos!
DAW – Install First!
Reaper is the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that we’ll be focusing our entire course around. Why? It’s extremely powerful, good looking, stable, and quick, and the best thing is there’s a 30 day trial and a massive discount for home users that brings it down to $60! This is the only piece of software that you will have to buy to complete our course, and Reaper won’t lock you out of the software if you don’t pay, just remind you every time you start it – so if you can’t get to your computer for three weeks after installing you won’t miss out (of course you should pay for Reaper when you can, though, it’s never good to take advantage of someone’s good nature!).
If you’re using Windows and you experience latency issues (sound seems to have a delay between when it is triggered and when it starts to make a sound) that don’t go away when you have set Reaper up correctly as per the setup video, you can try installing ASIO4ALL, which is a very safe driver that will allow your sound card/audio interface to operate in a slightly different way to Windows defaults and should reduce latency.
At the time of writing ASIO4ALL 2.10 was the latest stable version and we recommend you download that instead of the 2.11 beta. Installing ASIO4ALL is a very simple process; simply download and use the installer’s default settings to complete the installation and then go to Reaper’s Audio settings as described in the setup video and select ASIO as your audio system, which should make ASIO4ALLv2 pop up in your ASIO Driver section.
That’s it! Adjusting latency is as simple as pressing the ASIO Configuration button and adjusting the ASIO Buffer Size – lower is better, but harder for your computer to handle. 512 samples is good middle ground, but you may find you can go lower. The screenshot below should make things clear!
Independence Free is an amazing sampler that we’ll use extensively in the course. Since OD Total Music Production was first created, Magix have acquired Yellow Tools, the original developer of Independence Free. The link will take you to a download page with PC and Mac links to a download manager that will then download Independence Free, and you should enable all content when you download and install.
We’ve had a couple of users on Macs report some difficulty with installing Independence Free since Magix took over, and whilst we try to make a completely foolproof guide firstly please make sure that you install the main software package for Independence FIRST, before clicking ahead to install the content files. Not doing so will require you to reinstall the content files afterward and repair the installation (via a zipped app downloaded by the Download Manager – pictured below. Double click the zip file to make the app appear and then double click that), and this is an easy mistake to make because the Magix installer blurts the installer for the content files straight up at you half way through installation. Take things slow and you’ll be fine!
Kontakt Player is a sampler/ROMpler that, when combined with the free Factory Selection from Native Instruments, adds a dose of luxury to your sound library. Just register and download both!
Reaktor Player contains some great sounding and varied synths. Register and download just like Kontakt Player!
We use Elek7ro a lot in our course because it’s laid out extremely logically and will make you understand synthesis in ways that can transfer to other synths!
NoiseMaker is a more powerful, but slightly more complicated synth than Elek7ro – but it’s worth it!
AAS Player is a ROMpler that contains some great sounds in the free Swatches pack. This one’s not really used in the course, but it’s worth a download (and the free registration required) because of the quality of the sounds inside it.
Blue Cat Phaser/Flanger/Chorus
The Blue Cat series of phase plugins are invaluable tools!
TAL Reverb II
Not all incremental updates instantly mean ‘better’ – and we’re using TAL Reverb II in the course because it makes a lot more sense and, like Elek7ro, will help you to learn the basics that you can apply to any reverb.
TAL Dub III
We are using v3 of TAL’s Dub plugins, though – this plugin will help you get those dub reggae sounds (and a whole lot more besides, of course!).
TAL Filter 2
This is a very cool filter plugin that has some nifty features.
Tone Boosters Time Machine
Toneboosters provide a bundle of all their trial versions, and it comes with Time Machine, a free bit crusher plugin. You don’t have to install any of the trial versions to make use of Time Machine!
Camel Audio Camel Crusher
Camel Crusher is a nice, simple distortion unit that sounds great and WAS free with registration. Unfortunately Camel Audio was acquired by Apple in early 2015 and have stopped providing Camel Crusher as a free download. It is still available on the internet and we don’t believe there are any legal issues with acquiring it, but unfortunately we can’t provide a link because we can’t guarantee we can keep on top of the validity of the link and don’t want to compromise your computer! If you’re interested in obtaining Camel Crusher try Googling. It’s not a requirement of the course in any way, though!
Voxengo Marvel/Overtone GEQ
These two graphic equalisers are excellent quality, look great, and sound fantastic!
C3 Multiband Compressor
Don’t be put off by the Japanese writing, this multiband compressor gives scarily professional results (when we’ve taught you how to use it, of course!). Windows users can click to download directly, Mac users will be directed to another page (dedicated to ‘porting’ Windows plugins to Mac) with the download on it about half way down.