Jumahat Leman’s old PC laptop hosts a delicious menu of free VSTs. Photo via Flickr; used with permission.

An old PC laptop could be relegated to the closet or (worse, since it’s highly toxic) landfill. But filled up with tasty freeware plug-ins, it’s a virtual studio full of tools and oddities. Via the feast of gear that is the CDMusic pool on Flickr, our friend Jumahat Leman aka uncle bigbrown artfully captures his budget software setup, described as follows:

  • A 4+yrs old Acer laptop (a desktop replacement to be exact)
  • Ableton Live 5.01 w/lots of freeware VSTs
  • using same earphones/headphones/ToneportGx for recording

** My observation:
If you’re a “free VSTs/plugins” hunter/user like me, there’s tons of them available for download for the Wins platform in the worldwideweb. That’s where “cheap” Mac users/lovers (like me) are at a disadvantage with our OSX. So its always good to have a Wins machine at your disposal…

Jumahat Leman’s Mac becomes a digital guitar-ready desktop. Photo via Flickr; used with permission.

The Mac doesn’t get left out either, though. A G4 tower has become a virtual guitar stompbox and recording studio:

  • 9 yrs old Sawtooth “Earache” G4 Mac
  • Ableton Live 5.01 w/freeware plug-ins
  • $80 Toneport GX
  • old iPod earphones or $50 Sennheiser Headphones (for recording/monitoring/mixing)
  • **most times i load the “mixed songs” into the iPod to listen/compare/mix and check eq/volume.

(The guitar is a PRS SE Paul Allender.)

If these visuals got your attention, there’s another lesson to be learned here. Not only does this visual illustration give you a sense of what his workflow is about and perhaps passes along some tips, but he uses photos and illustrations as a great promotional tool. It helps that Jumahat is a talented designer. I love his mini-portfolio, below. He also makes wonderful promotional posters and stickers. As I noted earlier this week, the ability to make something visually expressive that is meaningful to your music can be powerful – starting with album art, but going beyond that.

Or, to make a more important point, Jumahat has one of the only tasteful MySpace pages I’ve ever seen — and that’s a feat.

Happy weekend projects to everyone; hope this provides some inspiration.

drechohead, Jumahat’s MySpace page
echoinmyhead @blogpspot, with more visual goodies

Jumahat’s portfolio.

Updated: Plug-in List

Now, the answers revealed. (See if you guessed any of these correctly.)



ALL of my plug-ins are freeware coz i’m cheap! ; )

  • phil

    I dont recognize any of those plugins 🙁 … I dont suppose there's any way of getting a list is there?

  • a quick google:

    TonePort GX: $49.99

    Shopping results for Toneport GX

    Line 6 TonePort GX $49.99 – Sweetwater

    Line 6 TonePort GX USB Recording Interface $49.99 – Musicians Friend

    LINE 6 TONEPORT GX $49.99 – Elderly Instruments


    system requirements


    Intel® or Power PC® based G4 1.5GHz or better (G4 1.67 or better recommended)

    OS X 10.4 or better

    512MB RAM minimum (1GB or more recommended)

    1GB free HD space minimum (10GB or more recommended for recording)

    Drive speed 5400rpm minimum (7200rpm or faster recommended)

    CD-ROM drive

    Internet connection for online features


    Pentium® 4 1.2GHz or better (2.5Ghz or more recommended)

    Windows® Vista and Windows® XP (with SP2 only)

    512MB RAM minimum (1GB or more recommended)

    1GB free HD space minimum (10GB or more recommended for recording)

    Drive speed 5400rpm minimum (7200rpm or faster recommended)

    CD-ROM drive

    Internet connection for online features

  • Here's a list of the plugins:

    The ones in the Windows laptop:

    – BTE Audio Juicy77 (for most of my guitar distortion needs)

    – BTE Audio TSS (tube screamer stompbox simulation)

    – Audio Damage Pulse Modulator (for crazy sounds)

    – E-phonic Retrodelay (for mild delay needs)

    The ones in the Mac are:

    – Studio Devil BVC (for my guitar needs)

    – Togu Audio Line TAL Tube (to "tubify" guitar or other sounds, or "overdrive" them more)

    – TAL Dub (for my delay needs)

    ALL of my plug-ins are freeware coz i'm cheap! 😉 Hope the list is helpful. 🙂

  • ed

    don't forget the weird (best) ones!

    Destroy FX

    Buffer Override and Skidder are awesome.

    AU and VST


  • I've had an original iMac that I thrifted for $15 for two years, and I've had a devil of a time finding any old music apps that would run on it. Surely a 300 mhz processor isn't a total pariah? I just got another iMac for $7 – there must me something really cool I could be doing with these instead of landfilling them! I've also got a G4 tower that a friend gave me. It's got OSX, so I should have an easier time finding music software for it… Still I was very surprised that there wasn't a repository of older music apps around somewhere so I can breathe new life into those iMacs.

  • TJ

    If you could run OS 9.2.2 (???) on that original iMac, you'd have options. Studio Vision (free) was an awesome DAW (tho more for MIDI than audio). There are older versions of Logic, Cubase et al that'd work out and be almost free. Lotta stuff got made on such gear.

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