Ultimate Freeware – Computer Music issue 244

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What a year it's been for free software! As technology evolves and developer communities grow, 2017's haul of free software is one of the most fruitful ever, but who's going to sift through everything and tell you what's worth downloading? We are, of course!

This issue we've whittled the past 12 months of free software releases into one authoritative list. You'll discover the best free Instruments, environments, effects and even DAWs, and they all come with the CM seal of approval. 

In the video below, we check out the modular mangling talents of Inear Display's Regressif. You'll find loads more excellent freeware on display across 15 more videos too!

XILS-lab StiX CM – free drum machine with this issue

Get the grooves rolling thick and fast with this free drum synth and sequencer combo from XILS-lab. StiX CM brings virtual analogue synthesis and sample playback together in its powerful three-oscillator architecture, and enables you to edit kits of up to ten pads, then program beats and grooves in its onboard sequencer.

To celebrate, we've also got a six-part video course to show you exactly how to use this powerful drum machine in your tracks. Find out more about StiX CM in the below video, or check out its full spec on the dedicated StiX CM spec page.

Producer Masterclass: Songwriting Special with Sheila G & Si Hulbert

The name Si Hulbert might not be immediately familiar to you, but if you've listened to a pop music radio station over the past decade, you've almost certainly heard his work.

Now Si's collaborating with exciting new vocal talent Sheila G, and we tracked the two down to Si's Kent studio to see how they wrote, recorded and produced their tropical pop banger Skin on Skin.

Check out part 1 of the video below, and get the full version only with this issue of Computer Music.

Build a House Track for Free

We're taking you on a journey through house, putting together a whole track from scratch and giving you everything you need to follow along, step by step. To continue this month's freeware theme, we're doing the whole thing using only freely available software tools. 

Sample Pack Inspiration

When you're making music, you have to choose the best ingredients, but we've all got hard drives full of stale samples and less-than-ideal loops. Across this feature and its 10 videos, we're aiming to give your tools a fresh new identity, with ten techniques for spinning any sample into pure gold. Don't be without the best, most inspiring sounds.

2GB of free samples with this issue!

Need more authentic vibe in your tunes? This month's Sampled Funk & Soul pack brings you a virtual crate digging experience with 500 exclusive loops and one-shots. Elsewhere, our Experimental Soundscapes Vol. 2 pack has 799 WAVs, form sci-fi atmospherics to sinister drones, feedback loops and tape-mangled echoes. There's also a bonus pack from sample kings Loopmasters, who bring us some choice selections from their most recent offerings.

Also in this issue…

We find out how Soulwax created their new album in a one-take recording session.

Dave Clews fills us in on the music theory behind slash chords.

Get our verdict on Teenage Engineering's PO-32 Tonic pocket drum machine.

Discover how the Oberheim Matrix-12 and Xpander synths influenced a generation of hardware.

Machinedrum gives us the lowdown on his five fave pieces of music software.

Uncover the secrets behind making breakbeats harder and louder.

…and loads more!

Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.