PortableApps.com Music Production Suite Beta Released

John T. Haller's picture
Submitted by John T. Haller on February 19, 2010 - 6:53pm

PortableApps.com Flash DrivePortableApps.com is proud to announce the first public beta of the PortableApps.com Music Production Suite. The PortableApps.com Music Production Suite is a complete collection of portable apps produced in conjunction with OpenSourceHipHop.org. It includes an audio editor, video processor, image editor, scalable graphics editor, web browser, email client, office suite, calendar/scheduler, instant messaging client, antivirus, audio player, sudoku game, password manager, PDF reader, minesweeper clone, backup utility and integrated menu, all preconfigured to work portably. Also included are songs from the1shanti and Bonita Applebum along with the various tracks from the songs for remixing under a Creative Commons A-NC-SA license. Just drop it on your portable device and you're ready to go. And, as always, it's all open source and completely free.

The public Beta is available from the PortableApps.com Music Production Suite homepage.

Read on for more details...

Included Applications

PortableApps.com Screenshot
Additional screenshots are
available in our Press Room
All versions of the PortableApps.com Suite include the integrated PortableApps.com Menu (pictured at right) and the PortableApps.com Backup utility along with a set of custom icons, an autoplay configuration, folders and a quick start shortcut. In addition, the packages include:

Installing and Upgrading

Whether installing or upgrading, with PortableApps.com, it's a snap. Just download and install it to your portable device's root directory. If you're upgrading, it will automatically detect your existing install. Please note that if you are using a modified version of the menu or a theme from another release, it will be replaced with the official 1.6 menu and theme.

Download Today

The public Beta is available from the PortableApps.com Music Production Suite homepage. Download it today!

Story Topic:


I like the theme, I might dl just for the theme Smile

"It's just an online installer. It's not going to mug you.", JTH
"The shell is the key to unlock Linux's greatest advantages."

Chris Morgan's picture

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

digitxp's picture

Looks more like the USB counterpart to Ubuntu Studio.
Maybe PortableApps.com Studio would be more appropriate ;-).

Insert original signature here with Greasemonkey Script.

LOGAN-Portable's picture

I have to agree about the suggestive name and then see things like pdf readers, instant messaging, browser, etc, etc.

I think these kind of 'collections' could eventually created by more personalized way, instead of have one giant installer, have a small one that downloads the most recent apps in a collection. That can then also be used for the 'suite' and other future collections having those always up-to-date.

Because I have most of the apps already and there are some I'm not that much interested in I'll skip it for now. And if I later decide to get them, it might be outdated. (Unless you would rebuild the collection every time an app is updated..)

Darkbee's picture

I think this is more about giving PA.c greater exposure, which means more financial opportunities, which means free, free, free for the likes of you and I.

While it's true that I was under the impression we were going to get some new applications, I can't say that I blame John (and others) for their marketing strategy.

Ultimately this kind of stuff can only further PA.c's mission in my humble opinion, even if the rest of us are left a little underwhelmed.

I would think a Music Production Suite would have more for music production than one app... Perhaps you should portablize "Traverso DAW" and include it in this suite. It's GPL multitrack audio recording and editing suite. http://www.traverso-daw.org/

I love the promotion of Open Source Hip Hop. I checked it out and they have my support simply because they have a song about Olivia Munn, lol.

John T. Haller's picture

That's actually why it's a beta. We're looking for suggestions of more apps and working on some licensing for some non-open source ones before we call it a stable release.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Apart from the fact that there are no music production apps on it!

I've looked at Traverso DAW before, which seems to be the only GPL DAW for Windows that gets close (although no MIDI or VST, so maybe not that close). Perhaps Traverso Portable is on the cards later today...

Is there really a fully capable open source or freeware DAW?

The nearest I can see is the freeware version of MU.LAB (which I briefly mentioned in the Wavosaur thread) which supports MIDI, VST, ASIO and Rewire. It only allows six tracks (which might be a blessing if you're running it off a USB stick). I put it into PA.c Format a while ago but never uploaded it. I've never really used it in anger so maybe I'll dust it off... as it says on the page "a creative soul can do A LOT with that".

And there's always REAPER (Portable). It's not free but it runs unrestricted, is cheap, very portable and streets ahead of most of it's type.

There are also a few well regarded, free and portable VST plugin packs around too. Kjaerhus Audio or GVST (which even features an "auto-tune" type plug!) spring immediately to mind.

I understand the marketing opportunity here (and it looks great!) but, beta tag or not, the music production title is a bit of a stretch in my opinion. Hopefully we can put that right.

EDIT: Just to add that I had a look at both Traverso & MU.LAB. The project files for both apps use absolute paths to any recorded files so they'll break on every drive letter change. It's technically possible to update them but how would a launcher know which files (the user's projects) to update?

I do have a working solution for this type of scenario so let me know if anyone wants to pursue either of these apps.

Darkbee's picture

LMMS, as suggested by AtmanActive looks interesting, if you're bored and looking for apps to do. Smile

EDIT: Looks like there is a portable version here.

I while I think of it, this is just a general shout out..that Paul Stretch program should probably be included in this suite.

Pyromaniac's picture

...after spending a half an hour reading everybody's post Blum

I agree--the Stretch program should be included.

For an open source portable studio, shouldn't it include MuseScore Portable, which I found on this site not too long ago? That might give it some very useful midi capabilities. Or Canorus (which may even be portable already) if you prefer to use that. Maybe even the FOSS educational music software like the already-portable (in one version or another) GNU Solfege would round it out.

The following claims to be a portable software studio with a portable Linux OS dedicated to audio but doesn't seem to have a "free as in beer" free software effect to it:


That's a whole lot of audio software on that tiny stick though.

John T. Haller's picture

That's actually why it's a beta. We're looking for suggestions of more apps and working on some licensing for some non-open source ones before we call it a stable release.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

horusofoz's picture

Applications to include:
Songbird (Portable) - Open Source - Music Library
XnView (Portable) - Freeware - Image Viewer/Editor/Organizer/Converter
Linux MultiMedia Studio (Portable Dev Test) - Open Source - Music Production
Mixxx (Portable Dev Test) - Open Source - Music Production
Avidemux (Portable Dev Test) - Open Source - Video Editor
XMedia Recode (Portable Dev Test) - Freeware - Media Encoder
XMPlay (Portable Dev Test) - Freeware - Audio Player
DVDFlick - Open Source - DVD Authoring

Note: I am aware that nearly none of the above are officially released software but I think they are worth developing specifically for the proposed suite. They are all popular applications and most have portable development tests under way which need only be accelerated by John's expression of interest for their inclusion.

Applications to exclude:
Sudoku Portable
Mines-Perfect Portable
CoolPlayer+ Portable

PortableApps.com Advocate

So it includes the full suite and more applications and a theme.

I have one change that i really think you need to make for it to be more useful for music production: audacity 1.3.x it has more features and better Windows vista/7 support which is useful for portability.

Its just silly 1.2.6 is like 2 years and soon 3 years old...

NathanJ79's picture

...or so I thought. Could have sworn I made a post about Audacity 1.3. The feature I use to make ringtones is only present in 1.3.x forward. I can do what I want in 1.2.6 but why would I want to? It's almost 3 years old as the person above me pointed out. We use newer versions because their features make common tasks easier. Generally speaking that's why.

With Audacity 1.3.x, I ask the person (myself, or my wife, her sister, or her brother usually) what part of the song they want. I find it, find a good "starting" point, and towards the bottom, under Selection End/Length, I put it to 30 seconds of length and crop it down. Works like a charm. Takes a little bit more effort in 1.2.6.

And I'm not even an audio engineer. Such a person would want, more emphatically than I do, the latest versions. Even if they have a label like "beta" that isn't really accurate. (It's not like a Windows beta where beta really means beta, it's an actual release that just happens to say "beta".)

...But John knows all this, 1.3.x "beta" is supposed to be coming officially as an alternative; 1.2.6 is still the one that will be in the suite and pushed via the updater.

John T. Haller's picture

Nathan79 did make a post about it and I responded... but I don't know where that comment is now... odd.

Anyway, we won't include a beta app in a suite. Beta means not fit for production use... test version... subsequent betas may horribly break your configuration... etc. This is what it means to people unfamiliar with the app. Audacity labels it a beta. So, to the world, it's a beta.

We will be making audacity beta available, but it won't be the primary/recommended download.

Honestly, Audacity is losing potential users over this and should just suck it up, do a freeze, finalize and post a stable version and then start the infinite beta process again. Perpetual beta is a step above perpetual nightly build (the reason we dumped MPlayer), but it's an issue and to many normal users, it indicates something that's not safe to use. We've discussed this many times here, so let's leave this out of this thread, please.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Chords http://www.qmidi.com/

Says it's designed for writing guitar music but it's more versatile than this suggests. It's also very fun to play with.

(I'll second the vote for Audacity 1.3.0.)


To be a musical production suite, it needs, imo, a nice sheet music app, musescore! Now you can compose music on it... and maybe something to make music... I am not an expert in that region, since the best I have played with is ORGView from Pixel, but its cool if you want to make some music and hear it... but then again you can do that, to a certain extent, with musescore.

John T. Haller's picture

That's actually why it's a beta. We're looking for suggestions of more apps and working on some licensing for some non-open source ones before we call it a stable release.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Just 'cause of the kinda guy I am, ya know....

Saying that your beta is OK to use, but someone else's isn't OK is a bit of a stretch.

However, I agree that beta programs present moving targets for portabilization and for use by standard users.

neutron1132 (at) usa (dot) com

John T. Haller's picture

We call this release a beta because it's a beta and may have changes before the final version. And to get feedback and suggestions from users. We're not calling it final and telling everyone far and wide to use it.

Same with audacity. There's a stable official version that we recommend and support. And that we'll include in a suite. There's also a beta release that, while it has more functionality, is not feature or translation complete and is a moving target that is likely to break things on each upgrade since it hasn't been thoroughly tested as a 'stable' release. We're going to make it available for those that want it, but will continue to recommend and bundle the stable version in suites.

Beta vs stable. Now can we please stay ON topic. If you think audacity's beta should be - or IS - stable, tell them to get out of perpetual beta and post a new stable release. That's outside of our control, unfortunately. Like I said, I like and use Audacity, but they really are losing potential users over this.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

solanus's picture

Should we be adding app request suggestions here, or should we have another stickied post for that?

Oh, and I would drop the games. If we are producing targeted suites, they really should stay on focus, and leave out any apps that aren't related to their purpose.

Personally, while I like the idea of adding more multimedia apps, I'm still not down with the Giganto-download idea of suites. I'd rather see the PA updater added, with "collections" pre-configured, so that someone could DL the platform, then select a collection and fine tune it to DL just the apps they need.

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

I have Muzys v3.14 which is no longer available, and I was very lucky to get. But v1.5 is good though only has 8 tracks. It is totally portable, though certain VST's aren't. I am no expert but I found it easy to pick up and learn from never having used a DAW before. It was developed partly by Mu-Lab's developer but, I believe the project was bought out and deliberately abandoned.

It may be worth looking into though.

Now for the downside!

Muzys 1.5 was developed for 'Computer Music Magazine' I think around 2003. But if you talk with them, it may be possible for you to persuade them to add the .paf wrapper/installer to it and you could have it on your site as freeware online installer. Here's the link just in case you want to check it out -

Just a thought...

Live for an ideal and leave no place in the mind for anything else.

AtmanActive's picture

Muzys is now rebranded as MU.LAB and costs 49 EUR.

Looks good, but open that in one tab of your browser and open this in another and after few minutes of comparing them you'll soon get the picture. And the pricing of both is more or less the same.

I also like the theme but i miss the VLC player.
I use VLC to play the youtube videos in my playlist

NathanJ79's picture

There ought to be a build of this with just the theme and the songs.

How do the songs work? Mp32EXE or something similar?

I also agree VLC is missing and shouldn't be.

AtmanActive's picture

First of all let me congratulate everyone for this idea.
I'm really delighted to see this happen and I will contribute as much as I can.

For the moment, the situation about open source music production on windows is not looking vey bright, but hopefully this initiative will spark some interest and get things moving.

What we need to distinguish in the world of music production software is the area of production a software is fit for. Here we have:
* sound editors, mastering, post-production
* multitrack workstations, MIDI, audio, or hopefully both
* virtual instruments

Definitions: DAW, MIDI, VST, ASIO, SoundFont

Let me elaborate what I know so far:
* sound editors: Audacity, Wavosaur, SoundEditor, together they represent a
complete solution, do everything that's needed, render $$$ packages like SoundForge, WaveLab and Audition obsolete.

* multitrack workstations:
- Traverso (OpenSource) looks promising, still young but getting there
- Temper (Freeware/Shareware) had a good start but it looks a bit abandoned now. However, very capable. VST and ASIO
- TrakAx (Freeware/Shareware) audio multitrack software
- KRISTAL Audio Engine (Freeware) beginner's choice multitrack audio sequencer with VST and ASIO support
- DarkWave Studio (OpenSource) MIDI and audio sequencer, VST and ASIO
- DDClip Free (Freeware/Shareware) rudimentary audio/video multitrack editor
- Reaper (Shareware) this is kind of unlimited trial (nagware) type of software, but actualy it is top of the tops. MIDI and audio multitrack workstation with literaly thousands of features. Completely leaves in the dust serious $$$ packages like Cubase, ProTools, Cakewalk, Sonar...
- LMMS (OpenSource) pattern based MIDI sequencer with VST support

* Linux only (for now):
- Ardour (OpenSource) is a flagship open source MIDI and audio DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that looks very, very promising, but unfortunately it is not available for windows, only Linux and Mac for now. It is worth watching/contributing as that may change some day
- Qtractor (OpenSource) MIDI and audio multitrack, still in early stage

* trackers (old school):
- Aodix (Abandonware) is a complete VST MIDI tracker, very capable, but is abandoned and is now freeware after it's developer's tragic death.
- Psycle (OpenSource) modular music creation studio/tracker
- OpenMPT (OpenSource) VST tracker

* virtual instruments:
- LinuxSampler (OpenSource) multiplatform full featured stand-alone, VST, AU, DSSI, LV2 sampler workstation, very, very promising
- HighLife (OpenSource) VSTi sampler with a unique feature to host another VSTi and automaticaly record it's notes so it can do a 'VST freeze' or transform a VST synth into a sampler bank
- orDrumBox (OpenSource) Java Software Drum Machine. Audio Sequencer with Drum Kits and Automatic Composer
- SynthFont (Freeware) collection of SoundFont editors and VST SynthFont, SoundFont player for VST enviornment
- KVR Audio holds a link library of thousands of freeware VST, AU, DSSI instruments and effects. In my experience, most of the freeware VST and VSTi plugins are completely portable. Majority of them don't have installers, just extract and run from a VST host.
- VSTHost (OpenSource/Freeware) a simple program to host a single VSTi so you can play an instrument from your MIDI keyboard, for live performances or testing purposes.

* DJ software:
- Mixxx (OpenSource) DJ mixing software, looks very promising
- OpenSebJ (OpenSource) realtime audio samples mixer, looks very rudimentary though

I'm using some of these regularly and all of them are working portable for me.

Let's make portable music production on windows a reality.


That was an awesome list AtmanActive and a wonderful intro to downloadable audio stuff whether or not the Portable Apps developers decide to put them into a suite.

The only way to make it more complete is GNU Solfege (for education and ear training purposes) and if there is an open source or freeware version of something like Band In A Box http://www.pgmusic.com

Thank you for the very nice list of programs to explore.

Some of these are in the test release section at: https://portableapps.com/development/test

I think Best Practice (found from the above list) might be handy to musicians too.

Chris Morgan's picture

I am a Christian and a developer and moderator here.

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

I just tried out Reaper, as suggested, and it really is a gem.

Took me a little while to get it configured, but it is solid.

The others may be good also, but I stopped when I tried Reaper.

I would think if it has Music in the App name it should be strictly audio/music related. Either way a suggestion or 3 might be calling it,
Music and Video Production Suite or Audio and Video Production Suite or any variation, or maybe Multimedia Production Suite ?. Although with all those apps, I'm not so sure, it seems like it might be like calling a Windows Operating System an Office Suite.
Just a thought.

Darkbee's picture

Yeah, I was trying to figure out how Sudoku helps me make music too. Wink

I'm guessing that the promoters of this suite are trying to target a particular demographic and so naming it "PortableApps.com Generic, Definitely Not 100% Based on Music-Only Applications Suite", probably might not work so well in getting the message out there.

I'm guessing that the promoters of this suite are trying to target a particular demographic and so naming it "PortableApps.com Generic, Definitely Not 100% Based on Music-Only Applications Suite", probably might not work so well in getting the message out there.

The problem with that is that it's false advertisement.

Also John, if you're not supposed to be recommending this to everyday users because it's beta, why does the front-page link to it not have a "Beta" tag in it? That gives the impression to everyone who sees it that it's an officially supported, stable release rather than a beta.

John T. Haller's picture

It says it in huge letters in the title of this page. And there's a huge "Beta" right on the download button. It's as obvious as can be that it's a beta. No need to nitpick.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Darkbee's picture

False advertising might be a bit strong, slightly misleading perhaps. There are indeed some apps that could be used as part of music production. There just happen to be quite a few that can't. Smile Either way, regulars that know better will simply ignore it. I'm assuming any apps that make it into this suite will be available outside of it, so regular users will benefit in the long run.

So really it comes down to this: Anything that gives PA.c more exposure has got to be a good thing. As much as we might not like commercialism creeping in to this predominantly open source project, the fact is nothing is for free, there are always costs involved. Some other Open Source projects have shown that you can be commercially successful while still remaining rooted in the spirit of open source. I actually think it's a great business model if done wisely.

(and in this particular case, while no commercial apps are being offered, it is marketing and cross-promoting, so it's definitely more for commercial gain in whatever form that may prove to be)

John T. Haller's picture

The goal of the Music Suite is to take the Standard Suite (which is why Sudoku is in there) and add things to it that would be used in music production. We worked with a couple of different artists and producers to determine what would be of use. That's why things like GIMP and Inkscape are included, even though you can't make music with them.

We're not done adding in apps yet. We did have one major one fall through at the last minute, which is why the suite is lighter than planned. We'll be adding in about 4 more music apps for the final version which will debut within the next few weeks.

This suite is not a commercial venture. We make no money on it. Nor does OpenSourceHipHop.org. It's something we thought would be of use to the wider community. The money collected at the door for the launch party was for the venue fees and then the bands.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

"We did have one major one fall through at the last minute, which is why the suite is lighter than planned."

That explains it then.

I like the idea of a suite for Art production and editing, another for Music production and editing, etc.

The concept has potential.

solanus's picture

I know that the next release of the PA.c menu is going to include the Updater. Is it technically possible to build "Suite Collections" into the Updater, so that by choosing an option, it automatically selects the apps in that collection to begin the DL via the Updater?
We could then very easily set up a Standard Suite, a Lite Suite, a Music Suite, an Office Suite, etc, without having to maintain a large conglomerate download.
This would also help make sure all the apps are up-to-date in any Suite installation.

The current method we use to create suites (one mega DL) means that either they need to be updated every time any one app in the Suite is updated, or you are sure that at least one or more app in the suite is out of date - which means that the user needs to separately DL the updated version of that app anyway.

Whaddaya think, can it be done?

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

Simeon's picture

the idea.

"What about Love?" - "Overrated. Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate." - Al Pacino in The Devils Advocate

DarkbeeYeah, I was trying to figure out how Sudoku helps me make music too.

Can't solve a hard sudoku? Grab your keyboard and bang it against your monitor. That brings a nice sound. Biggrin

I vote for FreeMat Portable to be included in the music suite. All hip-hoppers love maths. Smile

I probably dont know that much about apps and so, I am sorry for my question about this music making app...
are you giving a step longer then your leg can reach ?
The point is, this is to work as an app, apps are to be use in a USB stick wish at the moment I dont find bigger than 16GB.

If I have to install a music program with all the vsts etc... I will do into my computer and for shore I will use proper software, not apps.

Now, if we talk about a kind of sketch to have in my USB stick to take music ideas, I dont think that will be need all the extra apps,a simple app music program will do.

This is just my point of view and doesn't mean its the right one but I will like to recommend something more easy, some files with loops, a board to drop the samples and loops in and some additional features in the board to work a bit in the sounds, tempo etc...

I can go back in time and remember one of the most efficient and complete game to make music (music 2000) simple and easy to work but if you are looking for open source music programs , I will like to leave here some ideas...



AtmanActive's picture

It is true that USB flash sticks are the major reason for pushing forward the portable applications idea, but there are many other usage scenarios that fit perfectly with it.
For example:
I use my entire portable system from a SATA attached HDD with a dedicated 100GB partition. To fit in my pocket, I have a 60GB 2.5" SSD with both SATA and USB ports on it which is synced regularly. To provide for a good night's sleep, there is also an external 160GB 2.5" SATA HDD present for mirror backups, stored in a drawer away from the rest of the computers. And, I can use each of them anytime, anywhere I want.

Big thanks for that perfection goes to John T. Haller, thank you John!


D'oh!! Why didn't I think of that! All your resources, all the time! Thank you..thank you..thank you.


Pyromaniac's picture

The first one was if you could perhaps put up a little category in the topic saying "Suggestions?" and maybe ask if anyone had suggestions for apps that should be added to the menu.

The second one was if you could put it up on the banner with the other news of "PA.c Platform + Updater."

But then again, I'm not sure if your looking for too much publicity, given that its a beta. Pardon