Using LMMS for Music Production: The Best Free Open Source DAW

LMMS is without doubt the best open-source alternative in Digital Audio Workstations, which include Cubase, Reason, Ableton Live and FLStudio. Although not as feature packed as its pricier alternatives, it doesn’t cost a dime and is in a class of its own when compared to the next most popular audio editor: Audacity. While Audacity is great for recording vocals, it lacks the ability to separate tracks into beats or patterns as well as the inability to load VST Instruments.

LMMS supports many popular VST instruments. It has chain-able effects on instruments as well as support for MIDI controllers. New emerging music genres like Dubstep and DnB can be created in LMMS without spending a single penny. Where LMMS is lacking however, is in the ability to use sample libraries effectively. Although LMMS doesn’t directly state support for it, for commercial quality music, sample or hybrid sample libraries are a necessity. Loading a sample library in LMMS is not often reliable and in my experience, causes LMMS to crash around 50% of the time. Quality music production depends on sample libraries, which are also resource intensive. This might be why LMMS is not able to handle them at the moment.

A production session with LMMS is very labor intensive, if one decides to use a sample library.

Using Kontakt, after one recording of a single instrument, the file must be exported as an audio file. LMMS cannot support more than one instance of Kontakt and cannot load project files that has the Kontakt plugin loaded. This means that music production is extremely painful. The benefit is that the software is free.

For the moment being at least, I’ll persevere with LMMS, but will probably move to using FL Studio or Reason by Christmas time.
Now LMMS is an amazing piece of software and is great for techno, electronica or classic video game music. It even has a gameboy sound emulator built in. However, if you plan on using sample libraries, you either need nerves of steel or better software.


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