Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Linux MultiMedia Studio: Free FL Studio Alternative?

Familiar with FL (FruityLoops) Studio? This popular professional commercial program is used to create music as well as create remixes. From their website, they offer a demo version which actaully has full functionality…. except for the fact that the save project (as FLP-Fruity Loops Project) is disabled. Therefore, unless you finish the whole thing, then export the project into a music file and never intend to work on it again, you would have to buy the program. While this might be okay, are there free programs that might come close?

Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMMS)
Designed for Linux. For Windows (Windows 98SE and higher) and Linux. Free and Open Source.

This free and open source project is currently in beta stage, therefore, it does not come without bugs. Some of the obvious bugs are the fact that the play button often becomes a pause button. However, overall, the program works great!

It even supports VST Plugins (used by FL Studio) and FLP (FL Studio Project Files)! Works and looks quite like FL Studio. If you’re familiar with FL Studio, you should have no trouble getting used to LMMS (or vice versa).


The interface feels a bit cluttered depending on your screen resolution. This screenshot shows how it looks playing one of the preset samples. It supports .ogg, .wav, and .mid media files. Unfortunately, there is no .mp3 support at all right now. You can also import .flp files. You can learn more about how to use this program at their Documentation here.

Basically, you can drag the media files into the Song or Beat Editor. In the song editor, each part can be a series of notes. Double click on the part then you will be a large grid with a keyboard on the side. Clicking on the grid adds that certain note. You can also use their collection of beat, drums, and much much more. Full detailed guides can be found at their Documentation.

Don’t worry, it may seem very confusing at first. But once you use it for a while, you’ll get used to it and even have fun making your own music. You can even share your songs with the world.

This program is new and is in beta. It is quite strong and a possible alternative to FL Studio. The program could become a very successful open source project.

It doesn’t cosume much system resources when its idle. CPU Usage depends on the number of tracks you have on the song. When I tested it, it consumed around 150 MB of RAM.

Click here to learn more and download Linux MultiMedia Studio (LMMS)