Synth Britannia - 1:30h video

Depeche Mode, OMD, Pet Shop Boys - Synth Pop generation documentary Watch

15 interesting synths

Virtual synths that somehow went under the radar Read article

NI Kontakt instruments

Free and affordable NI Kontakt libraries Read more

Sylenth EDM Soundset

165 modern presets, created by me, for Lennar Digital Sylenth synth. Visit

400 Modern presets for V-Station

Tons of presets that will bring a new life to the Novation V-Station synth Visit

Cakewalk Z3ta+ 2 presets

155 Synth / lead and bass presets inspired by many modern electronica genres. Visit

Free Organ synths / samples

Best, free organ synths / multisamples Read more

Soft Synths released in 2011

Interesting soft synths released in 2011 Read more

Free String Machine vsts

Freeware String Machine plugins Read more

Ravenspiral Guide to Music Theory

It's getting harder and harder to find some nice tutorials, guides about music production. But luckily, there are still some resources ;) Ravenspiral Guide is a freely available online resource for those who want to know a bit more about music theory. The guide is in PDF format, has 92 pages but it's still, as author - Simon Bennet states, unfinished just like the art of music itself :)
Music theory puts some people off terribly; it's all charts and scales and practice and effort and a big load of arse which is mostly irrelevant to someone who wants to bang out a few tunes. Some people are openly hostile to symbols such as bVIma7-I and phrases such as dominant seventh sharp ninth.

But the thing is that i'm a tune-banger myself and would rather actually write music than read about writing it. So my sympathies are very much in your corner if that's what you're like. I'm not going to try to lie to you and say that this guide doesn't have any charts or scales, but that's where the similarities between the Ravenspiral guide and Composing for the Modern Music Student end.

First off, music theory might not even be that useful to you. If you've never been stuck for any length of time at any moment of writing music, good for you. Always known what notes come next? Happy with your tunes? Great. Go do what you do and all the best of luck to you; may you be the next Aphex Twin. This book probably won't teach you anything you need to know and may well ruin the things you've already picked up.
Download: The Ravenspiral Guide

Future Music - In the Studio with Ian Carey

Another very good music production videos from Future Music Magazine "In the studio with...". This time it's a session with house producer / dj Ian Carey . As previously, the quality is not the best (especially video resolution is pretty low) but still you can hear some nice tips and overall see how the pro's are doing :) Of course, you can subscribe / buy Future Music Magazine (I strongly recommend it) and then you can watch "In the studio with..." videos (usually, each issue has one new video) in much better resolution.

Drums (part I) (36 minutes)

Drums (part II) (22 minutes)

Ian Carey Bass Sound (5 minutes)

Mastering (9 minutes)


PushTec 5+1A EQ

PushTec 5+1A is a 6-band mid-range and program EQ modelled after some famous analog EQ. Some say that PushTec is a recreation of famous UAD Pultec Equalizer but the author clearly ;) states: "We're not saying it is - but we didn't say it isn't, either."

Well, it doesn't really matter - the point is that Pultec sounds very good. If you need another EQ plugin - check PushTec.

Download: Leftover Lasagne | PushTec 5+1A EQ

Kjaerhus Classic Reverb

Kjaerhus Classic Reverb is a nice and smooth reverb that does a good job on almost any instrument. It can be adjusted to sound like most any acoustic space, ranging from a small shower to a large concert hall. With the "Hi-Damping" control, it is possible to change the sound from bright and sibilant to a more natural / warmer sound.

Download: Kjaerhus Classic Reverb [Link Dead]

Kjaerhus Classic Phaser

Kjaerhus Classic Phaser emulates analog phasers from the 70’s and 80’s. These vintage phasers got their characteristic sound from the analog phase shifting filters used, unlike the delay lines used in most modern digital phasers. To get a deeper and fatter phasing effect, more filter stages were cascaded. The Classic Phaser works just like an analog phaser, and with selectable filter stages from 4 to 12, it can resemble anything from phaser pedals to expensive studio phasers from that time period.

Download: Kjaerhus Classic Phaser [Link Dead]

QuikQuak UpStereo 2.0 Enhancer Vst

QuikQuak UpStereo is a simple, useful tool - it makes your mixes bigger, in stereo width and loudness. There are three stages which create which enhance sound:
1. A fixed frequency EQ designed to lift the highest audio frequencies, and boost the bass.
2. A stereo width unit, for expanding stereo sounds so they appear wider and fatter. At extreme levels other characteristics are also brought out of the sound, so this can also be used as a tonal control for individual instruments. This also has a mono setting, useful for squashing up those aggressive samples that take over the mix.
3. A loudness button that raises the waveform to the limits in a smooth curve. This saturation gives the mix a more perceived loudness, without clipping.

These stages create an overall loudness effect on the final output, so a gain control is included to keep the limits in check. The main 'bubble' display on the plug-in is really a basic meter, when one of the stereo halves flash white, then the output is in danger of being clipped. Try and keep the levels so the white flashes only occasionally, this enables the loudness saturator to work at it's best.

Download: QuikQuak UpStereo 2.0

Future Music - In the Studio with The Freemasons

Another amazing music production videos from Future Music Magazine "In the studio with...". This time we'll meet The Freemasons. As previously, the quality is not the best (especially video resolution is pretty low) but still you can hear some nice tips and overall see how the pro's are doing :) Of course, you can subscribe / buy Future Music Magazine (I strongly recommend it) and then you can watch "In the studio with..." videos (usually, each issue has one new video) in much better resolution.

Uninvited (30 minutes)

Compression Techniques (9 minutes)

EQ Smearing (10 minutes)

Master Output Set-up (9 minutes)


Kjaerhus Classic Compressor

Kjaerhus Classic Compressor is a classic analog style VST Compressor Plugin with a lot of warmth and punch. Special designed to use on individual Instruments and Vocal, but also useable on your final mixes. Like every Kjaerhus plugins, this one is top quality. Whole Kjaerhus Classic series is a must have.

Download: Kjaerhus Classic Compressor - Link Dead

How to Make Nice Pad with Synapse Toxic II

In this 8 minutes tutorial, I would like to show you how to create some nice, warm, dreamy pad. Again, I use one of my favourite synths (and actually one of 3-4 commercial synths I only have ;) ) - Synapse Toxic II 2.5. No other external effects used - just limiter to avoid some very loud (and distorted) sounds.
At first, I activated all six Oscillators - my goal was to create some movement so I slightly fined / detuned some Oscillators. At the beginning, the movement is pretty big (especially OSC 4) but later, thanks to some effects, fm matrix it slightly fades.
I tried to use most of Toxic's tools such as: 1x LFO, Filter + Envelope, Amp Envelope, Unison, Chorus, Delay, EQ and FM Matrix. Even without FM Matrix the sound seemed nice but with FM Matrix you can reach the exact sound you want. Feel free to comment.



ChordSpace is a vst plug-in that generates MIDI chords. No knowledge of theory is needed to use it - you simply click around until you find a progression that works for you. ChordSpace has a palette of 226 chords per key.

Chordspace is based upon jazz harmonic theory. Jazz is predominantly homophonic music, meaning that it has a single melody line working over chord progression. This describes the overwhelming bulk of modern popular music, but jazz has the most developed and best understood theoretical base.

This software is inspirational, educational and best of all...free. It's great especially for beginners who don't know or understand how chords and chord progressions flow into one another. Definately worth checking out. Doing smooth chord progressions is really easy with this little plugin.

Download: ChordSpace

Arguru Stardust Vst

Arguru Stardust is powerful MultiFX plug-in designed for channel processing as well as mastering. Audio is processed at five stages: Bass enhancer, Treble enhancer, Stereo enhancer, Multi-band Compressor and Wideband Compressor. Almost every stage has VU Meter or Oscilloscope for monitoring purpose.
It's very nice tool, not only for pure music production purposes (which means using this plugin in your DAW application) but also for audio editing - it works nice with, introduced earlier, freeware Audio Editing Software - Wavosaur

Download: Arguru Software - Stardust

Sweetwater Buying Guides

You want to buy studio monitors or microphone but you have completely no idea about it ? Sweetwater.com has wide range of Audio related Buying Guides. Sure, it's not the deepest stuff but thanks to such guides you can, at least, learn some basics. There are 33 buying guides which will provide you the answers to basic questions you might have about purchasing mixers, microphones, keyboards, speakers, guitars and much more.

More info: Sweetwater Buying Guides

Future Music - In the Studio with Benny Benassi

Each issue of Future Music Magazine expands an amazing music production videos serie called "In the studio with...". While the quality mp4 videos are available only for those who subscribe / buy magazine (which I really recommend), you can find some over the Internet. Of course the quality is much worser (well, the sound is still good), it's harder to spot the details but still you can learn quite a lot from this.

This time you can learn something from Benny Benassi

Part I - Getting started (23 minutes)

Part II - Bass (7 minutes)

Part III - Synths (30 minutes)

Part IV - Arrangement & Automation (29 minutes)


Synth1 Presets MegaPack Vol.2

Synth 1 MegaPack Vol.2 contains 7 soundbanks, each 128 presets so that's about 896 presets. As usually, you'll find there wide range of sounds - leads, basses, pads, arps and more. I'm more into trance so my favourite soundbanks are created by Nolwenn (especially some nice pads) but other banks are of course nice too.
As earlier, there are some pretty old presets (but seriously do presets are getting old hehe ?) and also newer ones. All credit goes to the authors - readme files are included in zip file.

Synth1 soudbanks are easily managable (each preset is one *.sy1 file) so my advice is to check every preset and then create your own, custom bank with selected, best (best = nice sound, fit you style, music genre etc.) presets. I know, it's boring job but at the end it's better to have ie. 300 presets you like than navigate through 10-20 soundbanks.

There are still some Synth1 free soundbanks available so I guess there will be third part for sure.

Download: Synth1 Presets MegaPack Vol.2

Scanned Synth Pro

Previously available for 60 EUR, Humanoid Sound Systems Scanned Synth Pro is now available at an astonishing price of whatever you want to pay!
Scanned Synth uses a unique new form of synthesis inspired by advances in digital music theory. It is designed to create rich complex digital tones and fantastic sound effects, while using simplifed controls and traditional synths techniques such as filters, lfo's and effects. Perfect for biting metallic growls, movement filled pads, and weird modular-like sound effects, ScannedSynth Pro provides a unique sound that is constantly changing and new every time you press a key. Featuring a revolutionary synthesis engine, combining the powers of both Physical Modelling and Wavetable synthesis, with simplified controls and full MIDI automation, ScannedSynth Pro is both simple and complex, powerful and easy to use.

As usually, don't forget to check the demo version first (host compatibility etc.) :)

Sam Inglis, Sound On Sound, October 2007
"...I like Scanned Synth Pro a lot. I like a synth with an individual sound, and Scanned Synth Pro has personality and character in spades… It seems to create an unsettling, ominous atmosphere without even really trying… SSP is also capable of producing some surprisingly punchy analogue-style bass and lead parts that would work in the most conventional of dance tracks... It seems to produce sounds that fit well into an arrangement, whether it’s surrounded by electronica or live recordings. There’s little of the glassy, unreal quality that can make other types of digital synthesis so hard to work with in a mix... Scanned Synth Pro has already brought a new dimension to the projects I've used it on."
Hollin Jones, Music Tech Magazine, November 2007
"When it comes to unusual synth noises, there's a lot on offer in the VST world - and Scanned Synth Pro competes with the best of them... A VST plug-in for Windows, it combines physical modelling and wavetable synthesis to create a new method of sound generation that the company calls scanned synthesis. Using this method, Scanned Synth Pro can create unique and unusual digital tones and sound effects, but its interface retains the kind of terminology and controls that are familiar to synth users."

PRICE: whatever you want (50 euro cents is the minimum I guess - paypal processing cost)

More info: www.humanoidsounds.co.uk

Cableguys Curve Synth

Cableguys Curve is free wavetable synth that allows you to draw your own waves. It has 3 oscillators (each of them can be set to either one of four user-waves or to sine, saw, pulse, triangle or noise) as well as two synced and two unsynced LFOs. Of course it has volume envelopes, filter envelopes, ... in fact it's envelopes can be used to modulate plenty of parameters.

It's still in beta and currently there are no effects included so you need to use your own external delays, reverbs, eq etc. But i'm telling you - it's a beast and it has a potential. There are 32 presets included + 120 presets available to download from official website.

Cableguys Curve deserves much more attention because it's very versatile synth, with nice and clean design and the core feature (drawing wavetables) - wavetable editor works very well.

Download: Cableguys Curve

Cakewalk Z3TA+ Skins

Cakewalk Z3TA+ is a classic (legendary), commercial vst synthesizer with great waveshaping algorithms. It was released pretty long time ago (November 2002) so if you still use it, you have fully right to hate the GUI ;) Who knows, maybe it's time for a (gui) change ? Below there are 5 different skins you can use in your Z3TA+. Don't forget to make a backup :)

Quick installation instruction. Essentially, you just need to find the folder containing the bitmap (.bmp) files for the original skin, back it up, and replace that folder/files with the new skin:
1. Find the "Resources" folder in your Z3TA+ folder (usually at C:\Program Files\Cakewalk\z3ta+ on WinXP); this contains the default Z3TA+ skin.
2. Rename this folder "Resources_backup" or something similar so that you can restore the original skin at a later time.
3. Create a new folder in the same directory and name it "Resources".
4. Place the .bmp files for the skin that you want to use in the newly created "Resources" folder OR if the skin files are already in a folder, make sure the folder is named "Resources" and copy that folder to the Z3TA+ directory that you located in step #1.

Ovni 7's Orgone 7 Skin - Download

Skala's Ableton Skin - Download

Cryophonik Nordique Skin - Download

Roland Berdo's Snow Skin - Download

Freuby Skin - Download



AG Works CH-2 Chorus Vst

CH-2 is a very good sounding chorus effect from AG Works. It offers a high quality modulation engine, and many other original features: one of these is the practical user interface, which allows the user to obtain thousands of different sound configurations. The user can choose the number of voices to be generated by the modulation engine. Each wet voice is represented in the XY screen in relation to the currently selected couple of parameters. This is very intuitive and powerful. It's really nice plug-in useful not only for standard "chorus job" but also for ie. adding a backing track on vocals.

Download: AG Works CH-2 Chorus

Future Music - In the Studio with...

Each issue of Future Music Magazine expands an amazing music production videos serie called "In the studio with...". While the quality mp4 videos are available only for those who subscribe / buy magazine (which I really recommend), you can find some over the Internet. Of course the quality is much worser, it's harder to spot the details but still you can learn quite a lot from this.

So, for the good start - we'll check Stevie Angelo skills ;)

"In the studio with... Stevie Angelo" - Creating a Track from Scratch. (40 minutes)



Just a quick note - some downloads may be temporary unavailable as well as mp3 previews. It's just a dark side of using free storage hosts...

Update: OK, everything seems fine now...

ps. and small help for Mac users - all vst plugins compatible with Mac OSX too, have now "Mac Available" tag added - currently there are 25 plugins available for Mac too...

Kjaerhus Classic Chorus

Kjaerhus Classic Chorus is a great sounding and easy to use classical Chorus VST plugin. Nice Plugin for adding Depth, Fatness and Stereo perspective to almost any Electrical Instruments or Vocal. You can use Classic Chorus for good vibrato effect too.

Classic Chorus is just like every other Kjaerhus plugins - pretty straightforward, easy to use and sounds really great.

Download: Kjaerhus Classic Chorus [Link Dead]

Build a Laptop Studio on Any Budget

Electronic Musician's "Build a Laptop Studio on Any Budget" article will help you build your own personal studio. Six possible setups are introduced for three common scenarios: the software-only - all-in-the-box setup for the composer-performer, the songwriter's studio - which will need mics for recording voices and instruments, and the multitrack live-recording rig. Even if what you do doesn't fit neatly into one of these areas, Electronic Musican Magazine reasons for choosing particular pieces of gear may help you with your own buying decisions.
The latest laptop computers are powerful enough to make them a viable alternative to the tower in the personal studio, especially for musicians for whom portability is an important factor. Whether you are a touring musician, a weekend gigger, or just someone who wants to make music while on vacation, there's a lot you can do with just your laptop and a few choice pieces of gear. Play your cards right, and you can fit the whole setup into a gig bag or a backpack.
* Build a Laptop Studio on Any Budget

M-Audio Overdub Studio Production Guides

M-Audio Overdub are comic book-style guides to studio production. Currently there are two issues available: Volume I - A guide to Studio Monitors, Volume II - All about Audio Interfaces.
Volume I will help you to select the right monitors for your needs, you'll learn something about monitor placement (equilateral triangle positioning, tweeters at ear-level, distance from the back wall, subwoofer placement), room acoustics and much more. Volume II is all about audio interfaces so it covers analog inputs, microphone preamps, "phantom power", analog outputs, digital I/O and more.

I like the comic-style concept a lot - it's creative way to make people more interested in studio production stuff. Really, it's great especially for those who prefer images rather than text :) Sure, the last page of guide is usually covered with some M-Audio stuff but I guess it's fully acceptable.

* A guide to Studio Monitors
* All about Audio Interfaces

HG Fortune Atonoise VSTi

HG Fortune Atonoise is an atonal spooky noise Synthesizer suitable mainly for fairly spooky, SciFi and others alike sounds. It's got no filter by design and you won't hardly ever hear the basic waveforms. It's working atonal i.e. with no real defined pitch therefore it is not what you might expect - instead this one is especially for various kinds of noisy sounds.

Atonoise is basically not meant for full polyphonic play, rather than mono- or duophonic though 5 voices are supported simply to have some reserve at longer release settings of the ADSR. Using more than two voices even might lead to slight distortions - in such case lower the levels at the oscillators or Dry/Wet.

There are two oscillators each with a level adjust and both followed by one amp ADSR EG. The different waveforms simply provide different flavours to the modifiers.

There are four modifiers: Inferno and Spook 1 to Spook 3. Inferno adds via Inferno Mix some upper harmonics generated from the input very similar to the timbre feature of my Swamp VSTi. Spook 1 and Spook 2 modifiers can be used as single, in parallel 1|2 or in series 1-2 (see image Signal flow below). The spook amount is determined by the two spook knobs while the XY-Pad ads more or less density i.e. a fairly metallic sound in lower left corner or less density at upper right corner. This can be modulated by selectable and even invertible LFOs. Moving the 'Ghost' image like a joystick ball manually is another option to modulate density. Spook 3 adds even some kind of reverbish flavour when slider is moved to the right.

Anyway please note that using all four modifiers at the same time may soon be the overdose to the mix instead try with more subtle settings by selecting only two or three modifiers.

Overall, HG Fortune Atonoise is very unique synth, suited well for the job it was designed (Sci-Fi sounds etc.)

Download: HG Fortune Atonoise

Andy Duguid's Production Master Class

Andy Duguid is currently one of my favourite producers. If you've never heard before any of Andy's productions then listen to his biggest hit record called "Wasted".

But of course, Vst Cafe is about music production, not about favourite tracks from Beatport, Audiojelly charts ;) Andy Duguid Production Master Class is almost 8 minutes video which gives you an inside look how Andy makes his records. This time he focusses on making his monster hit Wasted. I hope you'll like it :)


Kjaerhus Classic Delay effect

It's time for some classic stuff :) Kjaerhus Classic Delay emulates three of the most commonly used delays / echo sounds types: Tape, Analog, and Digital, but without the introduction of noise. A quality control is included where the sound of the echo machine can be adjusted to give the preferred amount of "imperfection". The delay can be synchronised to the host, and the feedback can be reversed to give a ping-pong effect.

The presets are top notch, ping-pong delay is very nice, CPU usage is very low so if you're looking for standard, classic delay unit, Kjaerhus Classic Delay is for you (by the way, Computer Music Magazine use it quite often for their tutorials so it can't be bad :) ).

Download: Kjaerhus Classic Delay [Link Dead]

QuikQuak Glass Viper Synth

The official Glass Viper's website describes this synth very well. It's a synthesizer with unique waveform shaping, that has a deep and natural sense of movement. Going beyond analogue simulation, into a truly organic sound, from simple old synths to grungy filthy basses, or delicate pianos to strange unnatural film effects.
Instead of taking a sample or oscillator and applying just filters and FX techniques, Glass Viper bends the actual shape of its waveforms through a series of moving control points. Up to four of these swirling and changing sounds can be layered together to create a huge range of instruments. Glass Viper allows you to really shake things up with a deep, natural sense of movement.

From the start, Glass Viper's goal was to make sound creation visual, and distance itself from mathematics. Making something with a unique sound was also a priority, and in a world full of synthesizers, this had to mean a fundamental difference. Without the complexity of many changeable modules, Glass Viper encourages play and experimentation. Most of the presets available were born from experimentation, rather than setting out to make a particular sound.

Some people on music production forums are actually stunned that this synth didn't receive more attention. The whole "moving waveforms thing" is great. Maybe the GUI is not the best one but the rest is innovative, quality piece of software. Currently, on my list there are two synths I would love to have - Lenner Digital Sylenth (a little bit too expensive for me :| ) and Glass Viper.

Don't forget to check the demo too. After all, it's still just my opinion :) But to be honest, I have a feeling that it's almost mission impossible to find better synth for 35 pounds :) Mp3 preview demo shows some of the 128 presets (no external effects used - just pure Glass Viper)

Price: £ 35

More info: Quik Quak Glass Viper

Principles of Orchestration

Garritan Interactive "Principles of Orchestration" by Rimsky-Korsakov is a great serie of interactive articles based upon Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's celebrated text. There are 26 lessons, each one contains amazing flash player plugin (example below) which will surely help you to understand the basic of orchestration. It's an amazing that people still do such guides / tutorials for free.
A well-crafted orchestration is a thing of beauty. It is important for a well-rounded musician to possess a basic knowledge of orchestration. Orchestration is essential for film scoring, composing for interactive games, backgound tracks, arranging, editing, critique, copying (notating), conducting, orchestral performance, score reading, teaching and many musical endeavors.

In this revised internet edition, we have attempted to remain faithful to the original translated text which was written nearly a century ago. In the original written text, the musical examples are referenced and provided in score form taken from Rimsky-Korsakov's own works, but what was lacking was the ability to hear the examples of his works.

In this Interactive Edition we have provided exactly that facility: score excerpts which allow the learner to simultaneously listen and visually follow. Starting with Lesson No. 1, there are some 275 audio enabled scores that are embedded within the relevant portions of the text. In a few cases a substitute or supplemental example was provided if it could better highlight what was being conveyed.

Many of the illustrations were taken from the classic text. We also replaced the complex "Rimsky-Korsakov algebra" with easily understood graphics and added various illustrations for clarification and color. Also, we supplemented the text with dozens of our own exercises to apply the principles and concepts that were taught.

More info: Garritan Interactive "Principles of Orchestration"

Making a Bassline sit well with the Kick

This time it's about making, in Ableton, a bassline that sits well with the Kick. No it's not another sidechaining tutorial. Tom Cosm shows two different tricks - automating EQ's low frequencies and automating Gain. Very quick and overall a quite nice alternative to sidechaining. As you can see, I like Tom's tutorials quite a lot. Why ? It's quality stuff (stream and content), Tom seems to fit Teacher role and his voice is not annoying :)


KX-Synth-X16 free Modular Synth

KX-Synth-X16 is an awesome free synth inspired by EMS VCS3 - portable analog synthesizer with a flexible semi-modular voice architecture, initially made in 1969 by Peter Zinovieff's EMS company. KX-Synth-X16 has three variable shape oscillators and noise generator. It also has very usable X-Y Joystick but the main feature is huge matrix with 256 pins available to adjust the modulation.

One thing I like the most in KX-Synth-X16 - it's a creative, free synth. Even If you don't understand 90 % of pins, you can just randomly put some here and there, and you'll end up with great, unique sound you would never reach in other synth. Everytime I use X16, I have a feeling like I'm touching the history (you know - this big modular synths) :)

There's one downside. Not all knobs send midi CC (at least not in Ableton), so as a result, not every knob has an automation but still it's an amazing, unique synth. It's probably the best, free modular-like synth available.

Here's the mp3 preview but to be honest ... it's not the best one ;) KX-Synth-X16 can sound much better, much modern. It may be very nice for all kind of electronica genres and not only...

Audio Demo:

Download: kx77free KX-Synth-X16

FabFilter One VSTi - 5 EUR anniversary sale

FabFilter Software Instruments has announced their anniversary sale. Five years ago they released their first plug-in FabFilter One. To celebrate that moment, during 5 days (20 April - 24 April), you have a chance to get FabFilter One just for ... 5 EUR (it's 5.95 with VAT tax), instead of 49 EUR.

I'll be totally honest with you. I bought this synth about 5 minutes ago. So the rest will be just copy - paste stuff :)
For FabFilter One, we have put tremendous effort in creating the best cut-off filter ever. Our new design approach has resulted in the fattest and smoothest self-oscillating digital filter you have ever heard. It has been tuned carefully to achieve the character and warmth of a classic analog synthesizer. FabFilter One’s filter sounds raw but never cheap or ‘digital’, even at full resonance.

The filter is fed by an equally high-quality solid-sounding oscillator, developed from scratch to be completely aliasing-free. It features sawtooth, triangle, and square wave forms with pulse width modulation.
KvrAudio.com members reviews:
You can program great basses, leads, pads, effects and whatever You wish - keep in mind that this is one oscillator subtractive synth. It is realy hard to belive that you can make such a great palette of sounds with only one oscillator.
Great sounding synth, I use it in almost every track these days. It is very much like a Korg MS-10. I agree with their claims that the filter sounds great and is very musical. I love that FabFilter paid proper attention to the portamento as well...

PRICE: 5 EUR (20 April - 24 April)

More info: www.fabfilter.com

Homegrown Sounds Black Magic Lite VSTi

Homegrown Sounds Black Magic Lite, a free little sister of Black Magic - loop generating VSTi plugin for Windows, is now officially released. With the ability to quickly randomize and save out looped WAVs, the Black Magic machines make building a unique sample collection easy and quick. Even though Lite has fewer features than the big version, all of the important ones have been retained, so it is a fully functional synth in it's own right.

Some of the main features:
# 10 Samplers - each with many parameters and modulation options
# 128 Preselected Samples
# FX Section with SoundScaper, Delay, Flanger/Filter
# 10 Part 32 step sequencer
# Overview Mixer
# Master Section
# 1 Bar Recorder
# Much More!

Here's the preview of full version:

If you'll like Lite version, you can upgrade to the Big Version of Black Magic - currently it's £65 until the official launch on Friday 24th April.

To download Black Magic Lite, you need to register on Homegrown website.

More info: Homegrown Sounds - Black Magic Lite

Creating Ableton Live Set

It's time for another great tutorial created by Tom Cosm. "Megaset Tutorial" is 31 minutes video about creating a live set in Ableton. It's actually a result of 5 years shaping and tuning Ableton performance set canvas into what it is today. Over the last few months Tom worked hard to clean all the stuff and turn it into something publicly available.

This Ableton Live Set covers many areas including
* Compressing the layers of a tune down into a manageable format
* Cutting the tune into loops and samples, ready to jam out live
* Mixing easily between two, three, or any number of tunes in one single Ableton Live file
* Routing audio through sends and sub channels so real time audio effects can be used
* Chaining up channels with effects that suit each other
* Utilizing blank dummy clips to uniquely automate parameters of effect chains
If you are serious about learning what happens behind the scenes in a true live laptop performance and believe that keeping information like this as open as possible can only be a positive thing for the electronic music scene as a whole, this set is here for you to jump headfirst into the deep end and pick up your own techniques as you swim your way out. It has been tried and tested on dance floors all over the world and is now ready for you to get involved.

You can also register http://www.cosm.co.nz, become a Pro Member and watch the videos in High Quality and get some extras too. Don't forget to donate Tom if you like his stuff. It always a pleasure to see that people are donating and appreciating your effort.

Atom Splitter Audio - Free Samples

Atom Splitter Audio has very nice, freely available collection of sample libraries. Currently there are 25 sample packs. It's almost everything there - percussion, drum loops ranging from from ethnic to gabba, sci-fi effects, warm and ambient pads, basses etc. There are even various birds calls recorded around 5 am ;) Overall, it's about 160 mb of good, free samples. Worth checking :)

All samples are royalty free and can be used in your music production, however they may not be re-packaged or sold. If you make lots of money with them a donation would be great. The mp3 demo comes from Electro-Percussion Volume 1 library.


Atom Splitter Audio - Cobalt VSTi Sound Bank

Atomsplitteraudio.com has created nice, free sound bank for commercial VST synth - Leslie Sanford Cobalt, inspired by many of the digital synthesizers from the 1980s.

Though Cobalt is a purely digital synthesizer, it's overall architecture is very much like those early hybrid synthesizers. It features a selection of 26 waveforms, most of which were resynthesized from actual hybrid synthesizers, while providing traditional subtractive synthesis capabilities for sculpting its sound. It costs just 25 $.

As usually, mp3 demo of free sound bank is available

Atomsplitteraudio.com - Cobalt Presets Vol. 1

5005 Reason Patches

Attention, we have a quite big resource here ;) 2002 Malström Patches, 2222 Subtractor patches, 755 Thor patches, 66 RV7000 patches, 164 Scream 4 patches. All of this gives 5005 Synths and 222 effects.

Unfortunately no mp3 preview but the user reviews at Youproduce.net are ok.

Download: Youproduce.net - 5005 Synths and 222 effects

How to Make Bass Sound with TAL Elek7ro

This video tutorial shows how to create some simple bass with freely available TAL Elek7ro virtual (bass) synth. Well, i'm not trying to create one particular, great, unique sound. Of course, I ended up with something but to be honest, my goal was to show the meaning of most knobs and it's up to you to create your own bass :). There are so many options - even if you set the knobs 100 % same as me, you can still create (in just few seconds) some unique bass, thanks to FM knob.

Feel free to embed this video on your websites, blogs etc.

Various Articles

As usually, some pretty nice (in my opinion) articles, tips found over the internet:

* Create a track with Ableton Operator - Computer Music's guide to Frequency Modulation synth called Operator (PDF Format).

* Don't cripple the Mastering Engineer - good tips by Mastering Engineer - Amit Shoham, to make the all important process of mastering your tracks a joy for your engineer of choice.

* Making the Best of a Cheap Mic - 7 tips for getting the most from your cheap microphones - hometracked.com.

* EQ - "Cut narrow, boost wide" explained - well, it just explains "Use narrow adjustments when cutting frequencies, and wide adjustments when boosting." tip :)

Wavosaur - Free Audio Editor

Wavosaur is a free sound editor, audio editor, wav editor for editing, processing and recording sounds wav and mp3 files (and some other too). Wavosaur has all the features to edit audio (cut, copy, paste, etc.) produce music loops, analyze, record, batch convert. Wavosaur supports ASIO driver, multichannel wav files, real time effect processing. The program has no installer and doesn't write in the registry. Use it as a free mp3 editor, for mastering, sound design. The Wavosaur freeware audio editor works on Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Honestly, I like it a lot. I'm actually stunned how did they manage to put all of this (it's not an application with just 2-3 options) into 0,5 mb application ?!! It's very lightweight but also very powerful. There's (at least) one thing I love. It's VST Rack. You can use any VST plug-in (ie. EQ, Chorus - just everything) you want to modify the sound of your wav / mp3 file. You can use VST Instruments too.

For a long time I used an old Cool Edit Pro application (for some reason I like it much more than ie. Sound Forge or some newer audio editing tools) but few days ago I realised that I just use Wavosaur more and more because it's such a nice app ...

Download: http://www.wavosaur.com

Shepard Tone Effect Tutorial

Have you ever heard about Shepard Tone ? It's a very interesting effect named after Roger Shepard. It's a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the base pitch of the tone moving upwards or downwards, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends or descends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher or lower.

Electronic Artist - Tom Cosm has created very good video tutorial (actually two parts that last 18 minutes) about Shepard's Tone. Check it out - maybe It won't help you create ie. stunning trance track but the effect is very interesting.

Tom, in this tutorial, uses Ableton but actually any DAW can be used.


Morfiki Redu(p)cer Vst

Morfiki Redu(p)cer is a versatile bit-reducer and decimator type plug-in with unique morphing abilities. Combining it with additional filters and stereo spread functionality we achieved effect processor , that is fun and exciting to play with. What morfiki stands for ? It's the system of parameter control. Main goal of it, is to let You manipulate Your sound easly, without lines of weird automation.

Features include :
– stereo processing (lowpass, hipass & decimator have spread parameters)
– quantizer
– decimator
– all parameters are controlled by morfiki preset system
– easy parameter value reset-functionality
– moderate cpu usage

Redu(p)cer can generate extremely high levels at its output (for example,it can be caused by setting a high attenuation/resonance of filters) – it is recomended to set a limiter/soft clipper plugin in a fx plugin rack of your DAW right after the Redu(p)cer (or just set the master volume to low when experimenting).

It's an amazing, unique in it's own way vst effect plug-in.

More info:

Download: Morfiki Redu(p)cer

Togeo Studios Loops

Again some nice stuff from Togeo-Studios. This time no Ableton but pure wav format loops. Currently there are four packs available - it translates into 100mb of loops. Mp3 demo comes from "Electro Excursions 1" pack.

* Sonic Spheres - set of atmosheric loops designed for ambient, chillout, lounge artists. 10 evolving atmosherical soundscapes perfect for adding into the background of your next track and gently bringing out the emotion in your mix. Cool ambient breezes to machine like tones with just the right amount of fuzz and dirt for an earthy quality that reaches to the sky.

* LaPriest Beats - Deep resonating kick drums, solid bass lines and nice overlaying melodies and pads will get things thumping and bring out the raw energy in you.

* Electro Excursions 1 - ten royalty free drum loops from the Togeo Studios Drum and Percussion library.

* Electro Excursions 2 - 134 drumloops


Togeo Studios Ableton Free Live Packs

Togeo-Studios is very nice website providing free ableton live packs, loops and some other stuff too. Currently there are 12 Ableton Live Packs available. It's about 300 mb which translates into ton of Simpler Intruments and Samples. For example, the biggest live pack called SST GENS V2 - Soundscape Texture Generator (107 mb size) has 1085 simpler instrument presets and the samples. You can check the mp3 demo below.

Ableton Live Packs list:
* Beatmaker Classics - There are forty impulse set and ten of the kits using drum rack device groups
* Dreamscapes 2 - 160 dreamlike atmospheres, nightmarish effects and spacey pad presets. Each instrument rack has 8 preassigned macro knobs for controlling important tweaking parameters for the filters and envelopes.
* Buhya Bass - 25 basslines
* Dreamscapes - 135 atmospheres, textures, drones, sound effects and evolving ambient pad synths. The soundscape presets are divided into two sections for single and multisample pads and should be useful in musical styles with experimental, ambient, idm, soundtracks and most other music projects.
* Mixing Bag - 25 Accoustic and electric basses, 15 hi powered gritty leads, 40 atmospheric, evolving drones soundscapes and pads, 30 other diverse keyboard and electronic synthesizers.
* Wave Attack II - Biting, searing leads and basses with a unique sound, this live pack provides the tools to punch up your next mix. These presets work exceptionally well on sequenced or arpegiated riffs. The single-cycle waveforms allow for a very small file size but deliver a very large saturated sound perfect for use in electronic music genres of all types.
* Wave Attack I - fifty instruments in three categories: Arppegiated - Arp Sequences, Deep Fried - Screaming Saturated Leads, ModULater - Thick Chorused Leads
* Santa Synths - 125 icey pads, jingley bells and frosty bass instruments.
* SST KEYS v2 - 375 Keyboard instruments for the Ableton Live Simpler device. A little bit of everything from Honkey Tonk pianos to Rhodes type electrics.
* SST LEADS v2 - 350 lead synth instruments. These presets for the Ableton Live Simpler device have been carefully crafted to provide a large selection of sounds to add melodies, arpegios and riffs to your next tracks. Every thing from standard synth leads or fat trance swells to granulated IDM wierdness. There is something in this pack for everyone and every style and genre of music.
* SST BASS v2 - 500 Basses from classic deep plucky to wacked out electronic acid distortion madness.
* SST GENS v2 - 1085 simpler instrument presets and the samples


Sound Mixing: 10 Essential Tips to Know

"Sound Mixing: 10 Essential Tips to Know" by thewhippinpost.co.uk is a serie of 10 articles. Each one contains, well ... essential tips hehe. You might know all of these tips already - good for you ;) Some seems pretty nice, unique and hmm practical. For example: "Test your mix in mono! Why ? You'll hear if any phasing is creeping-in (like a comb-filtering effect). You can correct any sounds that have disappeared. Many club PA systems (believe it or not), use mono! Don't be embarrassed - I've read enough personal accounts on forums to know this is a fairly common pitfall!"

More info: Sound Mixing: 10 Essential Tips to Know

Rhytmic Tangent MultiFX Plug-in

Rhytmic Tangent, created by Matias Monteagudo & Jeff Rhodes, is multiFX having a compressor, bit crusher (with special freqency enhance mode), four effect routings, dual tremolo effect, the macro filter, along with an envelope follower and full featured LFO to go with it. It also has filter gates effect, phaser, delay gate effect, ring modulator and simple but useful 3 band equalizer. Uff, quite a lot, isn't it ? :)

Instead of selling Rhytmic Tangent, or only giving it to customers, the authors decided to enter it in the 2007 K-v-R (Plug-in) Developers Challenge and release it for free so that everyone can enjoy using it. So try it, and have fun :)

Download: Rhytmic Tangent MultiFX plug-in

Tweakheadz Lab's Guide to the Home and Project Studio

I guess it's pretty safe to just quote authors:
OK, so you are new. You have an idea of making and producing your own music. And you feel inspired. Perhaps you are a seasoned musician, tired of paying someone else to produce your music. Perhaps you are building a studio to record your band. Or you are into producing audio for video, film, podcasts. Maybe you have nothing more than the urge to create, to fulfill a sense of artistic vision. It's Cool. You are welcome at the lab. You have found the right place and good people. We are here to help you build your own recording studio that works perfectly within your needs and budget.
Consider the Guide as a classroom and each article a lesson. The guide starts with core basics stuff and then it progresses through more advanced concepts of studio production. Overall, there are 75 classes which cover very wide range of music production aspects. You can see the classes on the sidebar to the left.

More info: Tweakheadz Lab's Guide to the Home Studio

FM Synthesis Tutorial

Sonicstate.com has an amazing, practical tutorial about FM Synthesis. Frequency Modulation Synthesis is a form of audio synthesis where the timbre of a simple waveform is changed by frequency modulating it with a modulating frequency that is also in the audio range, resulting in a more complex waveform and a different-sounding tone. The frequency of an oscillator is altered or distorted, "in accordance with the amplitude of a modulating signal."

Pretty hard to describe, isn't it ? Video Tutorial does it's job much better.


ProXL VstNotes

ProXL VstNotes is a neat plug-in that allows you to create ... notes :) It works just like standard vst effect so you can attach notes to every track and of course you can have multiple instances of it. Notes / comments are automatically saved with a project + you have some text appearance options (font size etc.). Isn't it great ? :) If you collaborate and share your project with other people, you can just write your notes, comments inside project. It's really great because hmm it's just more intuitive. Ie. If you want to test different EQ settings for track 6 (and you need to close your project now), you don't have to write notes on paper or windows notepad. You just attach note to some track and save your project. Very simple but great tool.

Download: ProXL VstNotes

Luxonix LFX-1310 Vst

Luxonix LFX-1310 is a Free plug-in multi-effector including 24 types of algorithm and 3 serial slots. This freeware is the stand-alone version of Effecting Module of Ravity(S) & Ravity(R). Every algorithm realizes the very effect you have on your mind, and is fully optimized for low CPU load.

- S'Filter 12 / S'Filter 24 / 3-band EQ
- Peak Compressor / RMS Compressor
- Overdrive / Distortion / Amp Distortion
- Crusher / LP Noise / Stereo Image
- Chorus / Flanger / Phaser / Auto Wah / Tremolo / Auto Pan
- Delay / Stereo Delay / Ping-pong Delay
- Gate Reverb / Room Reverb / Hall Reverb / Spring Reverb

Maybe it's not the newest one plug-in here but a quality one for sure. It's worth mentioning that LFX-1310 has won the Free Plug-in Effect of the Year 2004 category.

Download: Luxonix LFX-1310

TAL-Elek7ro Synth

I admit, quite often I introduce some vst plugins that are good but also pretty old. So, here's something brand new released today (or yesterday ?) - Togu Audio Line Elek7ro. It's a virtual analog synth with 2 Oscillators + Sub Oscillator and some special features like oscillator hardsync and frequncy modulation. Synth contains 40 patches - mostly bass and some fx.

In my opinion, Togu Audio Line Elek7ro is a nice softsynth, suited mostly for bass sounds. Ahh, and there's nice manual too :)

ps. click on thumbnail - screenshot contains new bass preset created in 5 minutes by me ;)

Download: TAL-Elek7ro

DDMF IIEQ Pro Vst (Mac/Win)

DDMF IIEQ Pro is a software equalizer with up to 10 bands and 12 filter types per bank to choose from. The frequency response of all filter types is matched to their analog counterparts at the Nyquist frequency, which results in very balanced response especially at higher frequencies. IIEQ Pro was designed to deliver superior sonic quality while maintaining low CPU consumption. It is the ultimate track EQ which can be inserted into your project many times without having to worry about stuttering.

Filter types:
- AnaPeak (state-of-the-art peak filter-
- DigiPeak (digital peak filter)
- Notch (notch filter)
- LPF12 (low pass filter)
- LPF24
- HPF12 (high pass filter)
- HPF24
- BPF (band pass filter)
- APF (all pass filter)
- Low Shelf
- High Shelf

Thanks to an amazing pricing policy, IIEQ Pro can be yours at any price you want (minimum is set to 0,50 $). It's easy to use, it's CPU friendly and it sounds great (you can check the demo version too).

PRICE: minimum 0,50 $ (PayPal processing fee)

More info: http://www.ddmf.eu

The Electronic Century

Electronic Musician magazine has some pretty nice articles. One I really like is a four part serie called "The Electronic Century". In short, it's about electronic music history. Very informative and well written.

When did electronic music start? It's a question often asked. Was it in 1759, in France, when Jean-Baptiste de La Borde built the Clavecin Electrique, a keyboard instrument that employed static electrical charges to cause small metal clappers to hit bells? Was it in 1874, in the United States, when Elisha Gray invented the Musical Telegraph? In my view, these one-of-a-kind experimental devices, and many others that were built during the 19th century, were merely setting the stage for instruments to come. The answer, then, it is widely agreed, is that electronic music began at the turn of the 20th century.
* The Electronic Century Part I: Beginnings
* The Electronic Century Part II: Tales of the Tape
* The Electronic Century Part III: Computers and Analog Synthesizers
* The Electronic Century Part IV: The Seeds of the Future

Novation XioSynth Presets

New presets (well, not that new ;) ) are always appreciated, I guess :) This time it's 123 creative sounds developed by Riley (RDyt) for Novation XioSynth. This guy definitely has synth programming skills :)

Download: Novation XioSynth patches (by RDyt)

Voxengo Overtone GEQ plug-in

Voxengo Overtone GEQ is 7-band harmonic (overtone) graphic equalizer with multi-channel operation support (supporting up to 8 input/output channels, host setup-dependent). Overtone GEQ offers extensive internal channel routing capabilities, and supports mid/side channel processing. Beside equalizing, Overtone GEQ applies harmonic enhancement processing: it uses 7 harmonic enhancement modules, one for each EQ band. This generates a complex harmonic coloration you will probably like a lot.

Overtone GEQ was designed to allow audio engineers to apply quick EQ shape adjustments together with adding a bit of harmonic richness to the audio material (mainly mixes and sub-mixes due to a comparably high processing load this EQ puts on a CPU).

Download: Voxengo.com

Guide to Mixing by Nick Thomas

Guide to Mixing by Nick Thomas is a guide to the essential ideas of audio mixing, targeted specifically at computer based producers. It covers the basics of sound (what sound actually is and more advanced stuff such as Loudness Perception, Dynamic Range etc.), the preparation process (Monitors, Plugins etc.), DAW Mixer usage (busses, routing etc.), Equalization - changing the balance of the frequency components of sounds, Compression and the last one - Space Manipulation.

Well written stuff in PDF format.

Download: Guide to Mixing by Nick Thomas

Digitalfishphones Blockfish

Blockfish is a versatile compressor with countless ways to shape the incoming audio. Unlike many other digital compressors, Blockfish has 'soul'. It likes to bite, but it can be tamed easily once you've learned how to use its potential. You can remove the front plate and make further adjustments on the circuit board. Everything is possible: clean, transparent, loud, punchy, silky, subtle, fat. But still with a unique sonic character.

It's definitely a character compressor - it adds flavour to your channel. It can be made to be fairly clinical, but it's not crystal clear, nor is it meant to be.

As you can see the interface differs a bit from most compressors, but it looks (and is) very easy to use. The treshold and ratio parameters are put together under the "compression" knob, and the attack and release are here known as "response". Although it may seem that you lose a bit of control when grouping those parameters, it's actually this feature that makes Blockfish less static than other compressors. The compression knob also controls the makeup gain automatically, so that's another thing you don't have to worry about.

Overall, You simply tweak those 2 knobs until your sound is what you want :)

Download: Digitalfishphones.com

Ronald Passion - Equalizer Passion VST

I guess it's pretty safe to just copy the manual words. If you expect flat frequency response eq, just move to another Parametric Digital Equalizer available for free or commercial. Equalizer Passion vst effect was built to be different. It doesn't try to emulate specific brand/equalizer but it takes the concept of analog device in electronic scheme.

At least few music production communities recognize this plug-in as very good. It's soo smooth and it's just really different than most available Equalizers. That's why it's a worthy plug-in :)

Download: Ronald Passion - Equalizer Passion

EFM Micro Modular 1.0 Free Synth

EFM (Electronic For Music) Micro Modular 1.0 is free synth capable of creating some nice analogue type sounds. There are 4 Oscillators, 3 Envelopes, 1 Filter, Arp, Pan control, Chorus and Delay. If you have problems with understanding (in other synths) the whole Modulation Matrix concept then EFM Micro Modular is for you. It's main feature is well designed, easy to learn, modulation matrix.

To be honest, every part of synth is well designed. I like the GUI a lot - it's very intuitive and very clean. Micro Modular has almost 60 patches. It's not a monster synth but it's very CPU friendly. You can easily chain few instances of it, into one synth for example, and then you can do some big, analogue sounds.

Official website no longer exists so EFM Micro Modular is pretty rare gem worth downloading.

ps. I just want to let people know that if you have suggestions, comments, experience problems, or would even like to make a special request, or recommend some plugins please post them in the comments section. I will respond to them and do the best I can to answer or solve things.

Download: EFM Micro Modular 1.0

Camel Crusher FX

CamelCrusher is a free 'colouring' multi-effect plugin. It offers two characteristically different distortion sounds which can be blended together to create a wide variety of tones and textures. Great for guitars, drums and plenty more!

There's also a warm, smooth analogue-style low-pass filter with buckets of resonance. Finally, let's not forget the easiest-to-use compressor you'll find anywhere. It can 'phatten' up your sound as quickly as you can turn up the 'Amount' knob!

Camel Crusher not only offers heavy distortions but also very subtle ones. I use it quite often for (that's right) leads, plucks (if I want more gritty, analogue sound). Overall, very nice plug-in - you don't need to read manual to use it :) Also the presets seem ok.