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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

Understanding Audio Phase

Another nice article published on Electronic Musician. "It's Only a Phase" article, written by Brian Heller (he teaches in the Sound Arts program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College), is about understanding and controlling phase issues that can arise quite quickly, especially in the real world environment. It's a nice portion of knowledge :)


Article: Electronic Musician - It's Only a Phase
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The Remix Business

Simon Langford is a professional songwriter, producer and remixer who, as part of Soul Seekerz, has worked for some of the biggest names in pop music, including Robbie Williams, Rihanna, Sugababes. Thanks to Sound On Sound magazine we have a chance to read very informative series of articles about remixing business.
Remixing is a modern phenomenon that has turned into a viable way for hi-tech musicians to make money from their skills. But how do you get heard, how do you land a job, and how much should you charge to do it? We get you started with the insider’s guide.

Article: The Remix Business Part I | II | III
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Deviant States - Free Kontakt Samples

Looking for some hi quality & free NI Kontakt samples ? Brickwall Audio has released Deviant States library which contains some amazing sounds (such as custom percussion, hand drums, kitchen gear and pure electronic elements)! Library is suited for Kontakt 3,5+ (it works with Kontakt 4 Player too).
Just listen the demo song - it's commercial product quality

Don't forget to donate author if you appreciate his work :)



Download: Brickwall Audio - Deviant States
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Big Tick Rainbow

Bit Tick Rainbow was released about ... 10 years ago. It was a commercial product priced at 70 EUR but not anymore. About a month ago Big Tick changed it's license (as well as their other 'old' products such as Angelina, EP-Station) to freeware, which means it requires a some attention :)

Even if it's antique synth, it's still quite interesting. First of all - it was a commercial product. Second - well, this will be obvious - it's ... CPU friendly :) Third - current version is 2.50 while first public release had 1.63 number which means that Big Tick were improving their synth over time.

So, what kind of synth Rainbow is ? It offers quite a variety of synthesis types including FM, AM, additive, and subtractive, and features up to four identical oscillators, and up to 24-voice polyphony. There's Hi-, Low- Band- pass filter, built-in chorus, step sequencer, oversampling - quite nice features for 10 year old product, don't you think ?

There are about 300 presets available - you can find there some analogue leads, powerful basses, FM pads, pianos, bells, arpeggiated sequences etc. Overall, it's quite nice freebie with pretty interesting structure (it's not another standard, boring subtractive synth ;) ).

Download: Big Tick Audio (requires free registration)
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Flux Stereo Tool

Flux Stereo Tool is another plugin for adjusting the Stereo Image of your Channel / Mix. It's not necessary better than other plugins introduced in Stereo Image category. It offers all the standard stuff plus it has phase inverter available on each channel and, yeah, there's nice visual presentation of stereo signal :).

Flux Stereo Tool is available both for Windows and Mac.




Download: Flux Stereo Tool
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Ableton project : Making Dada Life - Let's Get Bleeped Tonight

Another Ableton Live project to analyze from Timofey. This time it's the recreation of electro house tune "Dada Life - Let's Get Bleeped Tonight"



You can download the Ableton project (it uses Live 7, Operator and Arturia Minimoog) at timofey.be

Download: www.timofey.be
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Creative Compression Article

Are you bored with all of these standard articles about compression ? "Advanced Techniques That Go Beyond Dynamics Control and Subtle Coloration" article, published on Electronic Musician, is much more ... creative.
An author explains the concept of reverse compression, the usage of sidechain compression in ... Rock Music (for example reverb on a guitar track can be ducked when the guitar plays loud notes), serial compression (using multiple compressors — mostly with very low ratios and high thresholds — placed on the same source) etc. Neat article.
Over the years, much has been written and discussed about compression. Everyone has a passionate opinion about how and when it should be applied, and what types of compressors should be used. Some people have gone as far as to say that the overuse of compression has destroyed the process of recording beyond repair. Personally, I love compression. To me, it's one of the great wonders of the production world.

Article: Advanced Techniques That Go Beyond Dynamics Control and Subtle Coloration
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Volker - the Funky Melodica Kontakt 4 Library

Christoph Hart has released free Kontakt 4 (full version is required, not just a player) instrument: Volker - the funky melodica.

A lot of brain work and programming effort was put into this instrument. Although you can download the files for free, consider it as tradeware: if you find yourself enjoying this instrument, I would like you to fill out a short poll about the quality of the instrument and your music production method.

I'm not a melodica expert ;) but audio demos sound amazing. It's worth mentioning that it's optimized for usage with Yamaha Breath Controller.



Download: Volker - the funky melodica
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Five DJ Mixing Techniques Video

While VstCafe is mainly about music production and synth programming, I must admit that I like to DJ a little bit :) There's pretty nice video available (created by the guys from DJ Tech Tools) which introduces five basic mixing techniques that will learn you how to blend from one track to another. NI Traktor was used as an example but most of these techniques can be recreated with virtually any setup.



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Fm Synthesis 101 Tutorial

Continued FM Synthesis tutorial created by Trifonic from Next Step Audio. This time it's about creating complex bass and lead sounds using NI FM8 synth.



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AudioMidi.com improved Crysonic deal

Two days ago I wrote about current AudioMidi.com "No-Brainer" deals. One of the deals was "Two-For-One" Crysonic plugins: SpectraPhyLe and nXtasy V3. But it's not over. To make this offer even better, Crysonic announced that the third plugin of your choice is freely available to any customer who purchased Crysonic plugins via "Two-For-One" deal.
So, what plugins do they have in their offer ? Well, there's Stereo Image Expander / Narrower (Sindo), there's Bass Enhancer (newB), there's "Spectral Audio Vitality and Enhancement Processor" (Spectralive NXT3) and more. There are demo versions available so you can test these plugins properly. I picked Spectralive :)

More info: AudioMidi.com "Two-For-One" Deal | Crysonic.com
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Making Stevie Angelo - Tivoli with Ableton 8

Pretty nice, short video presenting how to create Stevie Angelo - Tivoli tune using Ableton Live 8 and Lennar Digital Sylenth soft synth. Video Stream quality is great so you can see all the settings - EQs, Compressors, Sylenth preset etc. Good material for those who like to analyze stuff :)



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AudioMidi.com No-Brainer Deals

It's been a while since last VstCafe update but hopefully I'll have more spare time to write here :) Expanding home studio not necessary means huge costs. There are ways to get commercial plugins cheap. AudioMidi.com "No-Brainer" deals are great example.


1. Crysonic Two for One deal contains two plugins. SpectraPhyLe - Brickwall Limiter and Loudness Maximizer designed to be used for tracking, mixing, Mastering and Live use or when ever a large quantity of limiters are required per project. In my opinion it's better than any freeware limiter and low cost plugins (well, Barricade Pro has some nice reviews).
nXtasy V3 is a Harmonic Tube Saturation plugin designed for "enhancing and adding punch, clarity and warmth to any audio material as well as enhancing any sound lacking in harmonic content."

Cost of these two plugins is 170 $ but with AudioMidi no-brainer deal it's just ... 20 $. Honestly, I use these plugins and I like them a lot. I would say that they're worth these 170 $ so for 20 bucks it's a steal. If you're still unsure, there are demo versions available at www.crysonic.com

2. XILS 3LE is a virtual synth based on the architecture of the legendary EMS VCS3 synth (created in England back in 1969). Main feature is matrix with more than 450 connections (audio signal, controls signal, trig signals). It gives very nice "old modular feeling" and it sounds smooth, warm. I mean - sure it's not for everyone. People fascinated in old hardware will love it for sure. I don't use it a lot but it's mainly because I don't have time to master another synth :) Definitely worth it's "no-brainer" price - 20 $

3. Nomad Factory British Bundle "No-Brainer" Deal - latest AudioMidi deal which offers The British MLC-2269 - Master Compressor Limiter and NEQ-1972 Equalizer - digital recreations of well known 'British' mixing console. Can't say much more about it because I decided to skip it (I have enough limiters and equalizers) but the price is tempting. Instead of 299 $ (price at official website), it costs ... 30 $.

Remember, I'm just a messanger - use your own brain to value these deals :)
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U-he Ace CableDrum - free soundset

CableDrum is a small, free soundset for U-He Ace softsynth. It contains 32 presets suited for minimal / tech house genres. Drums & percussion, raw basses, a few exoctic groove-sequences, synthsounds...

Don't forget to visit CFA Sound website - there are more soundsets (commercial) available.



Download: cfa-sound.com
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Angular Momentum Freehand

Angular Momentum Freehand is quite unique freebie - I find it useful especially for basslines. First of all - Oscillators. There are three oscillators with 135 factory waveforms each. Each oscillator has a wavedraw ability which means that you can draw your own waveform or generate the random one. Neat :) Like I said, AM Freehand is nice for all kind of evolving sounds but, in my opinion, it shines especially for wobbly bassline sequencies. Why ? It offers double FM CV Sequencers as well as pitch sequencer. Each sequencer has neat "smooth knob" which creates the smooth curves (it reminds NI Massive curve abilities a little bit but of course it's not as sophisticated - it's just a smoothness).

AM Freehand is offered as free plugin, limited with 8 voices, 100 presets (which to be honest I don't like :) ) and as donationware plugin which brings 32 voices and additional presets.

Audio demo: Sequencer (with smooth knob automated) + LFO


Download: AM Freehand
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Basics of FM Synthesis - NI FM8

Frequency Modulation synthesis basics - Native Instruments FM8 synth used as an example.



and the second video - How to Create Telephone Sounds.



Feel free to visit nextstepaudio.com - there are more useful videos available (ie. some stuff for Logic users)
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Creative phase cancellation effect

Phase describes where in it's cycle a periodic waveform is at any given time. The relationship in time of two or more waveforms with the same or harmonically related periods gives us a measurement of their phase difference. Phase cancellation occurs when two signals of the same frequency are out of phase with each other resulting in a net reduction in the overall level of the combined signal. If two identical signals are 100% or 180 degrees out of phase they will completely cancel one another if combined.
Phase cancellation is handy if you want to, ie. extract vocal part from the song. You just need a track with vocal part and instrumental (dub) version of same track. If the signals are identical, you just need to invert phase of the instrumental version and every signal (except vocal) will be canceled.

But it's just one, pretty common usage - the video shows more interesting examples, usable for DJs and producers. It's helpful when building DJing effects, as it allows to utterly mutilate / phase / beat-repeat / delay / etc. the high frequencies of a track, without affecting the bass and kick in any way. One of the limitations of classic effects is that they apply to the entire audio stream, so they can make the kick messy or otherwise cause the energy of the track to drop. Isolating the bass and leaving it untouched avoids this problem entirely.



You can download the Ableton Rack shown in this video here

ps. the sound quality is not the best one but I find this video quite handy :)
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