MAGIX has announced the release of Music Maker, the free edition of their flagship music creation software for Windows.
Music Maker is the basic free version of the software. It can be further expanded via in-app purchases, although the users also have the option to purchase more advanced versions of the program, namely Music Maker Plus Edition (€59,99), Music Maker Live Edition (€99,99), and Music Maker Premium Edition (€129,99) on the company’s website. All versions apart from the free edition can host third-party VST plugins.
Needless to say, the lack of VST plugin support is quite a limitation for a digital audio workstation nowadays, but does the free version of Music Maker feature enough built-in content to make it worth your while? The application includes three virtual instruments (a grand piano, a surprisingly good virtual analog synthesizer, and a very good acoustic drum module), four insert effects (compressor, 10-band EQ, reverb, echo), a master limiter, a spectrum analyzer, and a collection of audio loops. In addition, Music Maker can record audio, import external audio files (meaning that you can use third party samples and loops to make music), and even play video files (it comes with a video monitor which can also operate in full-screen mode for dual monitor setups). The app also includes a song generator which creates musical ideas based on Music Maker’s construction kits, although I didn’t really test this feature because none of my friends would ever speak to me again if I did.
As already mentioned, the bundled content can be expanded through in-app purchases. Additional virtual instruments are priced at $29 each, which is a decent price for beginners who only want to add, say, a drum machine or an electric bass guitar to their arsenal. For those who require a larger collection of virtual instruments, the Premium Edition would be a much better investment as it 12 instruments and over 8,000 audio loops.
In conclusion, Music Maker is an interesting free option for beginners. The user interface is far more intuitive than those in Tracktion 5 or MuLab Free and the included content, along with the ability to use samples and record audio, provides enough flexibility for less demanding users. The app also doesn’t require account registration, so it’s quick and easy to download and install. If you’re only just starting with music making on a computer, or simply want to have some fun playing virtual instruments and sketching out song ideas on your laptop, Music Maker can provide hours of fun. The most positive surprise for me was the bundled synthesizer called Revolta 2 – it is a genuinely nice sounding subtractive synth with a user interface which is perfect for learning synthesis.
On the other hand, anyone looking for a serious music making and music production platform should look elsewhere. The lack of VST plugin support in the free version of Music Maker is one of the biggest deal breakers for advanced users, who should either take a look at Music Maker Premium Edition or check out some of the many other DAWs available on the market.
Music Maker is available for free download via MAGIX (4.54 MB download size, EXE installer, standalone application for Windows).