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And to check out a little of what can be done with this software, take a listen to my Music - especially the newer pieces on "mutation".

Hey! I am Arvid Tomayko-Peters. I am creating this listing to hopefully help some people to have fun with and become inspired creating electronic music with their Macs (because it IS the best digital music platform)! This list is subjective and not meant to be comprehensive. It is based upon my own likes, dislikes and interests. So all of this stuff is work having, I would say : )

Last Update: 1/16/07


Choose your operating system:

Mac OS 9

Software for the Classic Mac (OS 9, version 9.2.2 recommended)

Note: I know Mac OS 9 is going bye-bye, and my main machine doesn't even boot it anymore, but some people still use it, and some stuff here is classic environment compatible. I probably won't be updating this page anymore, and have therefore separated it from the OS X page. Enjoy.

Pro Tools Free  - The BEST free piece of music software out there for OS 9: Sequencing of Audio and MIDI, effects, 8 tracks Audio, 48 MIDI. I used this as the basis for my setup for 2 years. Needs semi-extensive setup (memory config, etc.). I have written an Applescript to automate this procedure - and also to set stuff back to defaults (i.e. turn virtual memory back on). You can download that here. Pro Tools Requires Mac OS 9, 128 Megs of RAM, G3 processor and fast, decent size Hard Disk (That is no problem now days, thankfully). Also Requires the free OMS (Open Music System) from Opcode, even if you don't plan to use MIDI. Opcode is dead, but you can still find OMS with this link and part of the Digidesign site says Pro Tools Free is no longer avaiable, but it apparently is. Pro Tools Free is Not Classic Environment Compatible.
Logic Fun - The little known baby sister of Emagic's powerful Logic Audio series, this sequencer focuses on MIDI and gives a cool basic version of Logic's superlative real-time notation. Options for printing scores are severely restricted, but it is fun to compose in, after which MIDI can be exported for use in a score editor like finale or in a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like Pro Tools Free. Also includes 4 audio tracks with chorus and reverb effects. Available to Students / Educators.
  Audio Editors:
SonicWORX Studio/Powerbundle - Now made available for free, this full-featured two channel audio editor/processor is really sweet. It can playback and edit in classic emulation on OS X using prosoniq's classic AISO plugin. Kudos to Prosoniq for making this available for free after its commercial worth is mostly gone.
SonicWORX Artist Basic - Basic 2 Channel Editor with a lot of power for a free product. I use it a lot to put reverb etc. on tracks in my Pro Tools Free sessions (no reverb is included in PT Free). Just consolidate a section you want reverb on (edit menu of PT Free) and open the resulting file in the Audio Files folder of your session in SonicWORX. Apply reverb and save. Done.
Audacity - I want to mention this because it is free, open-source and cross-platform and is therefore bound to improve in the future. Now it is a little unstable and annoying, but it is very promising offering unlimited audio tracks, VST effect support, ability to record while playing back (like a sequencer), mp3 export, non-destructive volume automation. Check it out. Versions for OS 9, X, Windows, Linux, etc.
  MP3 encoders:
iTunes - A little bit annoying because it is aimed at consumers who want to keep a list of their music etc, but is a very high quality encoder, better than BladeEnc below. 
BladeEnc - A free mp3 encoder with powerful options - can be used through command-line interface or GUI. Not as high quality output as iTunes. 
  Simple Recorders/file converters: 
Coaster - An easy stereo recorder with volume-activated auto-record feature. Free.
SoundApp - Batch convert sound files and extract AIFFs from Snd resources! Great OS 9 App. Does everything except MP3 encoding! I used to use this extensively.
  Software Synthesizers:
Sampletank Free (RTAS) - A great quality (but limited in number of sounds) software synth module that plugs right into Pro Tools Free as an RTAS plugin! I have used this on several projects. Great free bass, organ and Latin percussions sounds. Versions for OS 9, X and Windoze. Problem: when I put this in my Pro Tools Free plugins folder, it caused the "time compression-expansion" plugin to disappear for some reason. The Fix: Add a bullet (option-8) to the beginning of the Sampletank plugin name (in System Folder:DAE Folder:Plug-Ins) and it will load last when you start PT Free. Solved.
Soundforum Synth - A fun, free Synth from Native Instruments: 2 oscillators, Ring Mod, filter, etc. To include these types of standalone synths in your Pro Tools Free mixdowns, just create a stereo Aux track and turn the mac's volume down to Zero (not the PT Free master fader, but the one in the control strip/sound control panel). This keeps everything from feeding back. Then somehow (with cables and/or a mixer) connect the output of the sound card to its input. Then mixdown. Its not "all-pure-digital-oh-so-perfect", but it is OK.
Wave - A free analog-type dual oscillator synth with built in analog-type sequencer and a handy AIFF file recording function for importation into Pro Tools. Audio quality is not that great, but you can get some cool grungy sounds - and it doesn't take too much CPU power. Made in Japan. Unfortunately documentation and web site are only in Japanese.
  Pro Tools Plugins (RTAS and Audiosuite):
North Pole - A filter/distortion/delay RTAS and VST plugin from Prosoniq. Can generate some cool wah-wah, EQ, distortion and delay effects. It is simple, but I find it very fun. Download includes versions of both RTAS and VST formats for OS 9 and OS X.
jk Audio Pluggos - Some awesome RTAS plugins based on the Max/MSP Pluggo system. Includes samplers, drum samplers, tape machine malfunction emulators, distortion limiters, file loopers and more. Made in Poland. Requires the free Pluggo Runtime 3 from Cycling '74. Unfortunately, Pro Tools free will throw these plugins away when you close and open session again - so mix them down to disk before closing the session or same your settings and be prepared to remember where you had each plugin. Issue fixed in Pro Tools 5.1, but the latest free version of Pro Tools is 5.0.1.
Gleetchplug Bundle - A bundle of RTAS, VST and MAS Pluggos made in Italy. Includes:

D-RIVE: an overdrive simulator
Sonic Reducer: a Sample frequency and BITs reducer plus a graphical multimode 2pole filter
Malestrom: Morphing Convolution and Ring Modulator
Therevox: a mouse Theremin
Pluggo Bus Send: links plugs each other

I haven't even explored half of these - but they are really cool. These also require Pluggo runtime 3 like the jk Pluggos above.

Percolate Pluggos - A set of astoundingly weird Max/MSP pluggos for RTAS, MAS or VST from Columbia University. My favorite so far is Snow, a granular resynthesizer and sequencer with MIDI input that can make one trumpet track sound like an entire brass orchestra. My newest piece is one simple trumpet track with two of these pluggos on Aux tracks. Wow. And there are about 10 more equally strange effects and synths included. A must have for any OS 9 based sequencer or DAW user. I just discovered them myself and wish I had earlier. A shame they won't work in OS X. These also require free Pluggo runtime from cycling '74.

And more free pluggos!!

http://www.wildfrontear.co.uk/plugs.html (careful with these, they used to crash my iMac)

  More Experimental Stuff:
Check out this page for some far-out (and sometimes far-outdated) software for the adventuresome! http://music.calarts.edu/~tre/CompMusMac/
Cecilia - A graphical user interface (GUI) to the very powerful csound language. Even with no knowledge of csound, you can do amazing things. My knowledge of csound is very limited, but I still use this to apply insane effects I have found nowhere else to my audio. One of my favorite audio programs actually. If you know csound or want to learn it, have fun creating the most insane effects you can dream up - I think - and applying them to your sound files. Cecilia is a bit hard to get used to at first, but so fun. And it runs ok in classic mode. Versions are available for OS 9, OS X (see above), various Unix flavors and windows via tcl/tk and the csound engine. The OS 9 version is very easy to install.

Arvid Tomayko-Peters Squish the Squid Productions

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Arvid Tomayko-Peters Squish the Squid Productions

A Guide to Free Macintosh Music Software (OS 9)