A free open source MIDI sequencer and composer running across multiple platforms.
Pros & Cons:
LMMS, Linux Multimedia Studio, is a free open source MIDI sequencer/composer for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
Ease of use: When I first ran Linux Multi Media Studio I initially found it a little bewildering. On startup one is faced with what appears to be a battery of complex looking expandable windows, none of which bear any similarity to other applications I have used. Thankfully, LMMS is very well supported by it's own online user community, with forums and wiki style user guides and tutorials. It does not have the raw simplicity of DarkWave or the beautifully presented single window GUI of Temper, but don't be put off by this: once you get going with it, LMMS is a pleasure to use. Of all the apps I have tested since starting this category (and prior to), LMMS took the longest to fathom, and apart from the piano roll editor it is not (in my opinion) intuitive at all, but it's worth taking the time because the rewards are great.
Functionality: Where to start? As a stand alone application, one would be hard pressed to find a more comprehensively full featured and versatile free music creator than this. There are so many instruments and effects to choose from, it's difficult to know where to begin, so I recommend using the LMMS wiki. No inbuilt or plugin recorder is necessary since your music can be saved to wav, should you so choose. LMMS supports .ogg (look it up) and .wav sample files. It supports VST, VSTi and LADSPA (again, look it up) plugins. The onboard Beat/Bassline editor removes the need for a separate drum sequencer and is a very nice touch: LMMS really is a "one stop shop". Maybe somewhat paradoxically, this app is so good I'm finding it hard to know what else to tell you about it except this: YOU NEED TO TRY THIS SOFTWARE!
Performance: As with the other apps reviewed I am initially road testing it on my laptop: I should mention that the laptop has a dual core cpu, three gb of ram and duplex sound capability, so I don't know how any of these apps would perform on an older lower spec laptop. If they don't run well on the laptop, I run them on my desktop pc. Thus far, LMMS hasn't been anywhere near my desktop pc and like Temper, it is ultra stable. Amazing freeware. Until or unless I find a better app, LMMS is king of the castle. A winner.
- New version of LMMS released. Users of older systems should read this.
- Note that you'll be asked whether or not you want to install the Babylon 9 toolbar during the 4th step of the install process.
LMMS was reviewed by Gizmos Freeware on based on version 0.4.13.