Samples, DAWs, Plugins: Free, Cheap and Awesome



Got an Octatrack? Contact Elektron support about getting the MkI sample pack; or the MkII Sample pack.

Check out a bunch of the commercial sample sellers; e.g. Loop Masters; Wave Alchemy; Black Octopus Sound; F9 Audio etc. they often have intro/freebie packs; and tasters.

And even more importantly, give these cats some money! They work hard to provide you with awesome samples and sound fodder. A sample pack or two will cost you a pittance, and helps them pay rent, bills and put food on the table.

The free packs still cost them money to provide to you; at least throw them some money to help with their costs.

I recommend buying a sample pack or two. Make sure it is a quality pack; with a wide variety of one shots; synths, drums etc. Not crammed full of synth/drum loops. Put that, and only that on your Octatrack and see what you can do with that. Enforce limitations on yourself and the instrument and see where your creativity takes you. All the below will cater for your needs/tastes.

Check these out for starters:

Loop Masters

Black Octopus

Wave Alchemy

F9 Audio

Check out the Future Music / Computer Music archives… download 63,728 free samples; all of which originally appeared on either a Future Music or Computer Music cover CD:

Check out FreeSound. Shed loads of samples.

Want a cheap / high quality DAW?

Check out Reaper:

Want plugins? I can point you in the right place for that as well…

Check out PlugIn Boutique and/or PlugIn Alliance

Final thoughts:

Remember kids, support the cats who create the tools, software, samples and so forth that help you create music.

Without them, and their hard work, you would have none of the above. No excuse for pirating and torrenting now, is there?

If you can’t make music despite all of the above resources; with or without an Octatrack, nothing will help you I’m afraid. Downloading the latest and greatest VST; or a shedload of sample cd’s aint going to fix that.

And learn to master your tools… much better songs and albums then you will ever write, were written on much lesser gear. You should know your gear inside and out, learn it, master it, loving it is optional.

Oh… and most importantly, have fun :wink:

Best places to score free .wav samples on the internet?
Free Loops and Samples

I’m lazy and therefore tend to stick to a single set of 707 samples i found on rolandclan a few years ago.

With that being said, the goldbaby stuff always looked good and he’s got a bunch of free stuff on his website

#3 is a nice resource too


Thanks! This topic should be sticky :slight_smile:


VCV Rack for open source modular synth mayhem that integrates with DAWs via AU or VST bridge:

Literally hundreds of free modules from authorised ports of Mutable Instruments (Braids, Clouds etc) to delays, sequencers, phasers and just about anything else you can think of. It’s truly amazing.


Free DAW:

Free DAW:

Both of these are full-blown DAWs with all of the features you’d expect from a costly big-name product. T7 used to be a commercial DAW and offers a terrific GUI that’s easy to use.

Ardour is a free and open source DAW that has been around for years, always being developed. It’s essentially the same product as Harrison MixBus, but with a slightly different mixer channel. It’s free if you want to build it from source, or if you have a Linux distro. However, you’ll have to donate at least $1 if you’d prefer the Mac or Windows binary installers.


Many of those CM sounds come from my own studio - I provided samples for Computer Music’s cover disc for over a decade - everything from vintage synths to a full collection of multi-sampled orchestral instruments.


I always recommend people that are looking to get into “music production” to buy an issue of Beat/ComputerMusic/FutureMusic Magazine for the bundled CD and - depending on preference, either download REAPER or get an intro version of Ableton Lite.

That´s not “free”, but it´s usually a less-than-20-Euros investment even with the Ableton Lite option.

speaking of which:
At some point I had almost 10 Ableton Lite licenses/CDs kicking around since they came bundled with every other controller, keyboard, audio interface or other studio gear… handed those out like candy to friends.

So go ask on a forum if maybe someone has a demo version to give to you. :wink:

great thread by the way, every forum needs something sticky like this.


As an aside / addendum, I’ve just discovered that reaper now exists in Linux native format - using Windows VSTs via Wine now seems tricky, and there’s no support (yet) for LADSPA plugins, but it works well enough.

Edit: using the Carla rack, LADSPA (and more, including Windows VSTs) FX and instruments are all functioning well. Nice.


Wait for Black Friday / Cyber Monday and do your major DAW/sample/plugin purchases then. Many developers discount their products to an absurd degree during that period.


@ViolentMeals: Try or any US Government archive


I wanted to contribute something I find very useful. This software allows you to run single VSTs as standalone applications. It works on several platforms and loads quickly. It is available for free or donation. It’s a great way to test out VSTs or utilize them in all their sonic glory without all the sometimes unnecessary features of a DAW. Plus you can sequence plugins from your electron machines midi tracks. So simple yet powerful.