Getting Started with My New Thing

I decided to get a new interest or hobby, and settled on playing around with computers for recording music.

A DJ pal years ago had software that let him compose dance music. He simply downloaded files – loops or whatever, and messed about with the software. He had no instruments, no inputs or anything to worry about; it was all self-contained.

We played about with various software packages, Cubase, Cakewalk, Reason, Fruity Loops, and Reaper, and they were easy enough to play with. I think we stumbled with driver at first, and it was frustrating for a while before everything settled down. I might be in for a rough ride.

I need to decide on software. And I need to find out how to get instruments plugged into the laptop. I only have one small jack input – which seems to be for both a mic and a set of headphones. How can I hear what’s going on if the socket is used up by a mic? Hmm?

Software first. This seems to be called a “DAW”. I have Audacity, but something better is needed.  Went along to a local studio and had a chat. They use Pro Tools on a Mac. It is expensive, but dead easy to use – very intuitive.

I scoured subreddits and after an afternoon reading on-line stuff, I saw Reaper as something everyone liked and used. It has a trial version, and for personal use it’s affordable. Perfect.

None of the stuff I looked at seemed to be much good with Linux, so I will have to use the old Windows 10 laptop which has less RAM. I downloaded Reaper.

To be honest, I couldn’t get Reaper to do anything. It’s just not working. I tooled about a  bit on line and downloaded/installed ASIO4ALL drivers from their website.

Next was the  lame_enc64.dll missing problem. I downloaded this file, but so far I’m not getting a peep. I had to download the user guide from Reaper’s site. This is going to take a while.

Hardware-wise, the studio nerds recommended some kit. I am considering my options with what to get.

It’s not much progress, I will admit, but I feel I have some of the foundations down.


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