Get Started Making Music

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  • glicol

    Graph-oriented live coding language and music/audio DSP library written in Rust

    Live coding is another way for hackers to get started with music making:

  • ardour

    Mirror of Ardour Source Code

    Ardour ( is probably the most fleshed out one, but it's still pretty bad compared to popular commercial options.

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  • M8HeadlessFirmware

    M8 Headless Precompiled Firmware

    Dirtywave have shipped plenty of M8's in the last year. They just produce them in batches, there have also been shortages of the Teensy 4.1 microcontroller used IIRC and they are highly sought after. You can also "build your own" from supplied firmware

    This is not the fly-by-night kickstarter you are implying.

  • nih-plug

    Rust VST3 and CLAP plugin framework and plugins - because everything is better when you do it yourself

    I don't think Max4Live is not a good choice for building audio plugins. It's a weird platform that was designed for 'institutionalized academic music,' as I once read someone describe it. It's difficult to program in and not efficient. None of my favorite music software is made with it. It's also quite buggy, in my experience. For doing some basic extensions to Ableton Live specifically, beyond what VST allows access to, it's OK, since it's the only official way to do so.

    If you want to just dive into DSP using wires and boxes, with some additional code sprinkled in, SynthEdit or Reaktor Core are faster, more fun, and produce better results. If you don't mind C++, check out iPlug from REAPER's WDL codebase: — there are some forks of it.

    There's also JUCE. You'll find some people complain about it and some people regret using it, despite it being relatively popular.

    There are some Rust things for doing VST (and AU) development. Here's one that I've seen a few things made with: I wouldn't worry too much about the differences between C++ and Rust in this world. Audio software tends to be buggy, so the bar for being considered 'good enough' is pretty low.

NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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