It's hard to wrong when a program is free. The Kristal recording software deals with a few issue's, especially when it comes to large amounts of latency.
Although I wouldn't recommend it for any serious recording (try REAPER if you're using Windows, or GarageBand if you're on a Mac), if you just need a musical notepad to record a few idea's, Kristal can be a great addition to your recording library.
You can download Kristal here. The price is $0.00 ($-3.06 Canadian).
This is the spot where you get to piece together all your recordings. You have the option to record from an outside source (Microphone, Effects Pedal, Soundboard with USB output, etc). It generally works very well for detecting any of these, although you sometimes may need to restart the program if you just plugged your hardware in.
When piecing recordings together, you can have them "Snap to grid" which is especially useful for when you have to move them (you WILL, because of the Latency when recording) or you can choose not to snap to the grid at all. Copying, Cutting, and Pasting is generally fairly easy to do as well.
This is the window that tells you the time/place in the song. It also holds the metronome (which works very well), and the option to have a pre-count for the metronome. The stuff here is fairly standard and all works just like any other DAW.
This is where you get to go around and change the volume levels of each track, add VST effects, work with the equalizer, and change Master Sound Levels.
The Volume control is quite standard and works fairly easy. The one problem is that it can't boost levels that high (but you shouldn't be doing that anyway unless you are looking for your sound quality to turn to rat feces).
The VST Effects that come with the program are neat, but just don't measure up to the real effects that you would use in a real professional setting. It has 4 "Kristal Original" effects:
This is exactly what it sounds like. The Kristal Chorus includes options to change the Delay, LFO Frequency, Width, Stereo Width, Feedback, Mix, and Volume. You can make many useful combination's, and there 5 presets to help those who don't like to experiment.
This is basically just an Equalizer in the form of a VST plug-in with a few different options. You can change the gain, threshold, and Drive. There are 8 presets, such as different compressors and distorting effects.
An advanced plug-in. There are 10 different Delay spots where you can change the time, feedback, and Volume giving infinite possibilities in what your delay will sound like. 5 presets with the option of 5 Custom Presets.
A reverb VST with options for Room Size, Width, Damping, Freeze, Dry Level, and Wet Level. Comes with 5 Presets.
LiveIN is meant to be a way for you to plug your guitar/mic into the computer, and play along to the music in Realtime. It would be great, except for it's not really Realtime at all.
I found that the sound of what I was playing always was affected by intense latency, not cool.
Overall "Kristal" is not even close to the most powerful software on the planet. Although it is better than most other free software (beats the crap out of Audacity) it offers no value in the Market of paid DAW's. Heck, there are even a lot of FREE DAW's that are better.
I suppose you can always try it though. It is free so you have nothing to lose. If you really wanted a good DAW, I would you try out REAPER. That's a DAW (which has a very generous trial period) that really is high quality.
If you're on a Mac, you needn't worry about any of this as Garageband has got your band.
What about paid DAW's though? Well there's a few great options. For PC, I recommend Pro Tools or Reason 6.
For Mac, I recommend Pro Tools, Logic Pro, or Reason 6.
If you are looking to do more electronic DJ type stuff, I would also recommend Ableton Live for that. A lot of famous artists such as Flying Lotus use that (combined with Reason) to perform their electronic music live.
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.