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Guess I'm back, for AIM 2020. Made entirely with free DAWs, plugins and samples.

Art inspired: Under Ice by Eurns

Your mind would probably immediately jump to... How was it possible to make this entirely with free stuff?

Here's how.

Weeks back, during the time I was experiencing severe creative's block, I basically was rage quit and nuke my production Linux laptop, and installed Qubes OS to repurpose for offensive security (yes I also hack). But something in the back of my mind urged me to come back to music, so all it left was my Windows laptop. Because I nuked all my paid instruments and too lazy to redownload them, I had a spark of idea, to continue my journey for exploration of production with free plugins. And thus my search began. I repurposed the machine with powerful Samsung Evo SSD, upgraded RAM to 32GB, uninstalled all the games (with exception of Running With Rifles cos I fucking love it) and started to install every free DAWs and plugins I could find.

Fast forward to May 1st, being bored that I stuck at home because May Day parade was cancelled, and the fact that gun ban happened made me sad, I needed some fun activity. So the question moved from "Could you produce music with free stuff?" to "Could I produce the type of music like Collapse and Desertion, with free stuff?!" That was a very tough question to tackle because:

A) I cannot find a replacement sampler for Kontakt. Solution: Big Fish Audio Momentum is the best free alternative, but it's buggy.

B) Orchestral Tools Layers is fucking awesome, but I suck at theories (hint: it's chord based, so lots of trial & error)

C) VSCO 2 sounds like shit on dry mode. Solution: Dragonfly Reverb + Fruity Convolver

D) FL Studio 20 Demo crashed like hell when you load too many Momentum instances. Solution: Tracktion Waveform

While browsing for free stuff, I came across few things. First, it's Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover was recently released, and free if you fill out survey. While I feel more with OT Layers, BBCSO has the most complete selection of articulations and instruments, just what I need to replace VSCO 2 (still my 4th choice in my orchestra palette). ProjectSam also previously released The Free Orchestra on Kontakt Player, so now technically I have five powerful free orchestra plugins (BBCSO Discover, Layers, TFO, VSCO 2, Labs), in additional Embertone Arcane and to Soundfont orchestral libs like SSO, BAB's SFZ collection and Garritan Orchestra.

The next one I discovered Keepforest released 3 free SFX sample packs for trailer music. Now I got the complete epic percussion stuff I needed. In addition to shit loads of other free perc instruments like DrumMic'a, Anarchy Drum, NI Factory Selection.

This track took over 10 hours to produce, because FL Studio Demo can't save project, I literally had to do it all in one go. I just sat on the laptop all the time and only leave for piss and food. Since the piano roll is the only valuable thing about FL Studio beside its plugins, I use it to create complex melodies, exported to MIDI and then edit the rest in Waveform. I also do drum programming on FL. All the FL Demo stock synths are basically Sytrus, Harmor, Harmless, 3xOsc, Autogun. I also happened to use lots of Drumaxx and Gross Beat. Then free synths like Dexed, VK-1 Viking, TinyFM8. Guitars and other plucked instruments came straight from Labs and DSK. Vocals came from Virgin Choir, TFO and Arcane then manipulated with Momentum and Audiomodern Filterstep. Reverb from Dragonfly Reverb and Fruity Convolver. Mixed with Ozone 9 Element (currently free).


  • Orchestral Tool Layers
  • Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover
  • ProjectSam The Free Orchestra
  • VSCO 2


  • Virgin Choir
  • Embertone Arcane


  • Spitfire Audio Labs
  • DSK Guitars


  • KeepForest Devastator Deathmatch Free (only used stuff such as brams, risers, perc, hits. No loop used)
  • AizerX - Free Try Pack (same)
  • DrumMic'a
  • Anarchy Drums
  • NI Factory Selection
  • NI Kinetic Treats


  • 3xOsc
  • Autogun
  • Harmor
  • Harmless
  • Sytrus
  • Dexed
  • VK-1 Viking
  • TinyFM8
  • NI Play Series Selection

Manipulation plugins:

  • Big Fish Audio Momentum
  • Gross Beat
  • Audiomodern Filterstep
  • Izotope Ozone 9 Element
  • Dragonfly Reverb
  • NI Guitar Rig Player
  • NI Reaktor Player


  • FL Studio 20 Demo
  • Tracktion Waveform
  • Audacity

Anything is possible if you had enough patience :)

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This is amazing! It's incredible how it was all done on free plugins.

Bonnot responds:

Thank you :)

Check out my other tracks that was also made with free plugins if you enjoyed this one.


This song represents your inspiration very well, i love it! This clearly shows that expensive equipment don't automatically make a musician good, but rather a good musician can make free plugins sound good. I've been looking for free vst's, so the list of all the stuff you used will be very useful :D

Great track!

Bonnot responds:

You got that right :), tools don't define your music, you do. It's not a challenge to make good stuff with free or cheap tools, people just feel like they have some need to get expensive gear so they could make things sound better. The reality is that it doesn't matter what you use, you could have had Omnisphere or Serum and still sound like shit.

Thank you for your review. Take care.

Holy cow, you used a lot of stuff for this track! Good work explaining it all in the description :D I loved the track, it's so energetic! But I feel like the art called for a somber, more ambient tune. To each his own though! Excellent work, really :)

Bonnot responds:

Thank you Larry :)

Oh, I love how you explained wich free vst's you used, it's like an demo of free stuff online, thank you for that and nice track as well :)

Bonnot responds:

More stuff like this coming. Or say, something better :)


+1 as for good novel writer ;)

Bonnot responds:

Thanks :)

Credits & Info


4.46 / 5.00

May 20, 2020
4:28 PM EDT
File Info
12.4 MB
5 min 25 sec

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