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Best Free Beat Making Tools

There’s a bit of a misconception that in order to get into making beats, you need a lot of money to get started. The truth is, when you’re new, there’s a bunch of free-to-use tools that can wet your appetite and get you familiarised with various interfaces, programs and tools. 

The best part is that for software that has a free and paid level of the program, once you’re used to the free version, leveling up into the full version will be a smooth and easy transition. 

Beat Maker: Serato Studio

First up, you’re going to need a digital audio workstation (DAW). This is the host of your beatmaking, and any further plugins or instruments need to come through here. If it makes it easier to think about, to write words on a page, you need the page itself. The DAW is your page. 

Serato Studio is the perfect beat making software for beginners. With handy tools like Auto Chords and Make Beats, you can get everything rolling in a matter of minutes. There’s a free edition of Serato Studio that anyone can download and get cracking with.

Whilst feature-limited compared to the full version, you still retain the ability to save and export projects. You’ll be able to use four decks, which allows you to develop some percussion, bass, synth and lead layers.  

The software’s intuitive and simplistic interface allows for easy progression, and within one or two sessions, you’ll notice an instant improvement in your beat making. If you’ve used Serato DJ before, this will feel like second nature. Serato Studio is designed to be a DJs answer to beat making. 

You can download Serato Studio for free right here.

Synthesiser: LABS by Spitfire Audio

One plug-in, endless instruments. Not set up is complete without quality synths. Synths and keys give you all the texture, emotion and feel in a song. It dictates how someone is going to feel when listening to your beat.

Created by musicians and sampling experts in London, LABS is a jazz influenced synth plugin that is perfect for creating mid range textures, rich chords and funky toplines.

If you’re creating boom bap hip hop or funky house, you’ll find a lot of the presets in here very helpful. 

Synthesiser: Dexed by Digital Suburban

If you love 80s style music, then whether you know it or not, you love the Yamaha DX7.

The DX7 was a beloved synth keyboard that produced the warm, lush pad sounds that were widely used throughout 80s pop, and is still a big go-to for producers today.

Dexed is a utilitarian FM synth engine that’s capable of loading any of the classic patches from Yamaha’s hardware FM synths like the DX7 and TX81Z. Essentially, it’s a vehicle to travel back in time to get that retro sound.

Delay: TAL-Dub II by Togu Audio Line

Using a delay is a fantastic way to give your beat a new sense of depth and space. It can provide new rhythms to previously straight synth lines, give drums a stadium sound or bring a unique vibe to a vocal chop.

The TAL-Dub II is the perfect delay to get your feet wet on. All of the knobs are laid out in a simple fashion and it’s easy to manipulate it to get the sound you’re after. A reliable, easy to use plugin that will always be ready to spice up your sounds.

Compressor: OTT by Xfer Records

Why do you need a compressor? Great question.

Essentially, it gives your track, or elements to the track, a consistent mix. Compressors read the loudest and quietest parts of your track and ‘compresses’ them so they’re operating in the same space as each other. It ensures nothing is too loud that it’s ruining a section, or too quiet that no one will be able to hear it.

The re-creation of an iconic multiband compressor used by bass music producers, OTT is one of the best free compressor plugins on the market. With two direction compression (up and down), it’s a great way of brightening or dampening elements of your track.

It’s especially good for making your drums pop, an important aspect to EDM. Keep those hi hats and snares crispy.