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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

E-Play Divorce VSTi - 25 E-Pianos

Few days ago CFA-Sound has released E-Play Divorce - a rompler (32 voices and reverb) with 1.99 GB content included, which translates into 25 unique e-pianos, "modern, fancy, extraordinary, neverheard or hard-to-achieve keys, suitable for various styles from Jazz to Electronica". The mp3 preview indeed does sound very nice and unique.

But there's more - first 100 copies are discounted and cost 25 EUR, instead of 40 EUR which seems are pretty good deal.

I mean, there are tons of grand pianos everywhere but for like 25 EUR you won't find 25 e-pianos bundled into one plugin. Not mentioning that my Truepianos (second hand buy) plugin, contains 5 modules/pianos and the standard price is 160 $. But I admit, I love it :)



More info: CFA-Sound E-Play Divorce VSTi
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Best free virtual synths - part IV

I decided to continue my totally subjective list of best, free virtual synths. Like I said at the beginning (which was a half year ago or maybe even a year ;) ) - no samplers, romplers, real instruments recreations (ie. Solina, Electric Pianos) - just pure synths (subtractive, fm, hybrid).

I'll try to write down some attributes I value the most (random order):
# Overall quality (some synths don't bring anything new on the table but they're extremely well developed - ie. Lennar Digital Sylenth)
# Unique features
# Presets (Quality and Amount)
# Fun factor (some synths almost invite you to use them)
# GUI design (no, it's not about shining knobs ;) It's about utility )
# CPU usage

Morfiki MassTurboTar
Morfiki can always come up with something interesting and creative. First their Redu(p)cer - very nice vst effect focused on signal degradation, destruction and then MassTurboTar - hybrid synthesizer.
Unique feature ? Morphing capabilities. The basic goal is to let you manipulate your sound easily. How does it work ? Every preset has up to five so called MORFIKI sub-presets. Thanks to "morph" knob, you can morph between these sub-presets. It's very easy, very intuivite (and fun too :D) and actually it helps to quickly create (almost instantly) interesting presets.

I really like the FM Modulation functionality merged into one knob along with Oscillator's Waveforms. It's amazingly easy to create nice presets just by tweaking 2-3 knobs (Osc1 Ctrl, Osc2 + Morph knob). Clean design, low CPU, very intuitive. I think that everyone who likes creative synths should try MassTurboTar - it just brings a lot of fun.

I guess it's worth mentioning that MassTurboTar in yearly KVR Audio Developer Challenge 2009 (ended on December 2009) reached 5th place in general classification and it was a 2nd best synthesizer.

What would I like to see improved ?
More presets. Such synth requires more than 64 presets :)

+ very easy to create new, interesting sounds
+ fun
+ good GUI
- 64 presets only. We need More :)

VERDICT: 8/10

KX-Synth-X16-V3
I didn't put KX-Synth-X16 in my initial "the best of" list because of one thing - Midi CC automation didn't work properly for most pins / knobs + I knew that developer is working on it :) During that time, an author released two updates and the current version has a prefix V3.
KX-Synth-X16 is 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 modulations.
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 achieve in other synth. Everytime I use X16, I have a feeling like I'm touching the history - which means big modular synths and truly analog feeling.

It's probably the best free synth in the old, semi-modular virtual synths area. There are 128 presets available and each preset fits X16 perfectly.

What would I like to see improved ?
CPU usage is still noticeable higher than simple subtractive synths but an author worked very hard to improve it, and there are effects. I have XILS3 LE, commercial plugin which is also an emulation of EMS VCS3 and the CPU consumption is similar to X16. So, I would say it's much better than it was few months ago and it's actually pretty acceptable :)

+ unique synth architecture in the freeware world
+ love that old, analog feeling
+ quality presets
- little bit complicated for beginners

VERDICT: 8/10

Elektrostudio Sixth Month June
Sixth Month June is inspired by Roland Juno-6 - the first in a series of quality synthesizers from Roland's amazing JUNO, a six voice polyphonic analog synthesizer. It's an inspiration, not an emulation so Sixth Month June does not necessary sound like Juno ;) It also has some features added like unison, delay unit but I don't see any problem here. I belive this freebie brings it's own, unique flavour on the table. There are 64 presets available - all very playable. Actually all Elektrostudio plugins are about playability, about some fun and Sixth Month June is a great example. It's just ... I like it :)

Ok, so far there's MassTurboTar with some creative design introduced (morphing). There's KX-16 with some advanced synth architecture and nice, old analog feeling. What does Sixth Month June bring ? Hardware feeling. It's like during 80'. You bought a synth and you just played it :) Sixth Month June is the same. It's about using it, playing. It's extremely playable just like other Elektrostudio plugins.

While not everyone may appreciate it, there's certainly something about this plugin.

What would I like to see improved ?
Honestly, I don't know. It feels pretty completed synth. You'll like it or not :) Maybe a lack of presets (there are 64 presets only).

+ low CPU
+ very playable
- 64 presets only

VERDICT: 8/10

Official websites:
1. Morfiki MassTurboTar
2. KX-Synth-X16-V3
3. Elektrostudio Sixth Month June

Ok, there are still some very interesting plugins so stay tuned ;)

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GSI MrTramp2 Electric Piano

Probably I should add this plugin long, long time ago, but hey, it's better now than never :)
GSI MrTramp 2 is a free, physical modelling simulation of Wurlitzer 200A Electric Piano. Overall, it's a very popular Electric Piano plugin well known, in the freeware world.

ps. There's MAC version too...

Download: GSI MrTramp2 | GSI Official Website
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How To Get That Crazy Electro House Bass Sound Tutorial

I guess the title says it all. Step by step article / tutorial about creating "crazy electro house bass" ;) There's a mp3 demo preview at the end of the article so you can quickly find out it's what you're looking for :)

Article: Ableton Life - How To Get That Crazy Electro House Bass Sound
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Church Organ 2nd

I saw one comment (it was from a guy who claimed to be a church organist) praising Church Organ 2nd free plugin so I decided to download it, test it and ... I'm impressed.
The sound is big and it certainly does sound like a church organs :) Just download Church Organ 2nd, if you're into church organs ;)





Download: Church Organ 2nd (download at official website seems dead)
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Syntar - Sitar like instrument

Last two, three days were about LoFi/Chip music and now it's the time to bring some real instruments on the table :)
Syntar is a Vst Instrument (or more a Rompler with some additional effects) which produces Sitar-like sounds. I'm not a Sitar expert but still it does sound nice to me - I can see some potential there (ie. layering it with a guitar).
Small valuable plugin - probably the best you can get for free :)

Audio Demo


Download: Syntar
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Ableton Live - Sidechaining

A very simple, short, but actually well recorded (by Danny Bonicci) tutorial explaining most common effect (over?)used in Electronic Dance Music - Sidechaining.

How to use sidechain compression in Ableton from danny bonnici on Vimeo.


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Odosynths Unknown 64 Pro

It's just an another addition to our LoFi category ;). Unknown 64 Pro is a pretty rare plugin because it was a donationware plugin, then author changed it's status to freeware and shortly after the official website died. Unknown 64 Pro recreates the sound of a Commodore 64 (sound chip SID).


SID (Sound Interface Device) was designed by Bob Yannes, who would later co-found synthesizer company Ensoniq. Yannes criticized other contemporary computer sound chips as "primitive, obviously... designed by people who knew nothing about music" (wikipedia)

SID was one of the first sound chips of its kind to be included in a home computer and actually along with VIC-II (graphics chip) made C64 best selling computer in the history.

Commodore C64 - SID music example (sorry, couldn't resist ;p )



Commercial usage of SID chip
Elektron SidStation - hardware built around SID chip. The song was produced by Timbaland and there were some plagiarism controversy :) I'm not a big fan of pop music but I just love that C64 flavour ;)



How does Unknown 64 Pro sound ? Well, I must admit that the presets are accurate :) The above, Nelly Furtado - Do It, example shows that such synths do have an usage in modern music :)

Download: Odosynths Unknown 64 Pro

ps. Ok, 22 posts in August - that's the most in 2010. This proves that everybody need to take a break from time to time ;) and sorry for some grammar mistakes on Vst Cafe (I'm not a native english speaking person), I'm sure there are many ;)
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Z3ta+ 1.5.3 Soundbank & Factory Library Updates

I'm the one (from hundreds, I guess ;) ) who bought Cakewalk Z3ta+ 1.5.3 for 20 $. I remember that quite a lot of soundbanks were released few years ago but the problem is that older versions of Z3ta+ didn't have Oversampling implemented. As a result, old presets loaded into latest version of Z3ta (1.5.3) don't have oversampling set att all and they sound plain horrible LoFi.

I decided to pick randomly one, old soundbank and see if I can fix this. I picked "Vintage and Dance", originally created by Peter Schelfhout (somewhere around ... 2002 ;) ) and changed Oversampling for each preset to x1.0 (well, there are 4-5 presets with x2.0 oversampling) and quality to: High. Also, few presets were totally crashing latest Z3ta+ so I replaced them with init sound (which means silence) - about 3-4 sounds were replaced.

The soundbank contains some dance (trance) sounds but there are also pretty nice vintage synth leads, pads, basses.

That's not all ;) One of the most annoying things in Z3ta+ is a ... factory library. Non categorized 768 presets really drives me crazy but luckily CapdanX (from KvR forum) did a great job and categorized it. At the moment there are 525 presets so it's still "work in progress..." but honestly 525 categorized sounds are so much better than 768 placed in totally random order :)

Download: Factory Library Categorized
Download: Vintage and Dance Soundbank updated for latest Z3ta 1.5.3
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De La Mancha Basic

Somehow Vst Cafe lacks some LoFi, 8/16-bit virtual synths. There's only VOPM - an emulation of Yamaha YM2151 chip (Sega Genesis) with ... few thousand presets :D Now it's the time to introduce something new (or maybe I should say old ? :) ). de la Mancha Basic is LoFi synth inspired by the 8 bit sounds of the classic Commodore 64 (my first computer - all friends had "only" ZX Spectrum ;p).

There are 128 presets available suited for all kind of 8bit music, glitch etc. What sound does Commodore C64 produce ? Well, here are some examples with good music (my favourite games btw hehe)







De La Mancha Basic audio demo: Mick Rippon - Rainbow Train



Download: De La Mancha Basic | De La Mancha plugins
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NI FM8: How To Use the Morph Section

Native Instruments FM8 is an amazing (best ?) synth based on FM Synthesis. One of the cool features is a morphing which let's you pick favourite presets and morph between them.
Quick, informative video tutorial.


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Small rant about music

I used to (back in ~ 2000) love Trance music (just like many other genres: Rock, Pop, even Heavy Metal - probably because of my older brother who was listening a lot of Slayer, Kreator etc. ;) ). It was new, fresh, original (Chicane - Saltwater; Thrillseekers - Synaesthaesia) but during last 10 years it turned into repetive, non-creative music without soul. But is it about trance (well, uplifting trance on the videos below) music only ? Maybe the whole music industry has collapsed or even ... whole world is going into the wrong direction ? It seems like it's not about quality anymore - it's about quantity. It's about quantity in music industry, it's about quantity in cars industry etc. I mean, how many tunes are released on Beatport for example ? Hundreds, hundreds per day. Are there any tunes worth listening ? Yea, like one, two per day...

I really like this post about electronic (EDM) music overall.

"99% of the minimal and techno stuff released on the digital download sites, is shit. Not because I don't like it, or you don't like it. It is so, because we all feel that there was no real effort put in to make it, no real creativity used in the process of making it, there's no soul in the music, no thoughts, no message. It is again, sad, and depressing, but it is unfortunately true. "

"Have produced a tune? Is it crap? Never mind, find a small enough label, or start your own, release it. Probably no one will buy it, but U still can put it in your bio, U still can boast of it among your friends. You're a producer now, because you have a commercial release. Oh my, you can also find a radio station, there are thousands. You can surely find one, which will let you host a show, and so you can play your tune out. No one really cares if there's only 6 people listening to it overall..you have a show, you have a release, so you're now a decent dj/producer, and that's all what matters to *masses* of people nowadays."

What was the reason to write this blog entry ? Watch ;)




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Ableton Phat, Loud beats tutorial

Another great video tutorial from Dj Vespers (remember great Lady Gaga - Telephone glitch remix tutorial ?). This time it's about making loud, fat beats useful for Glitch genre but I guess, all minimal, techno, prog house etc. fans will find these tutorials useful too...

Watching this tutorial, you'll learn how to pick "correct" samples, which plugins to choose, and most important: beats layering, EQing and of course compression, limiting. The first video is an introduction with a small example of the final result :)












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Cakewalk Z3TA+ amazing skin

Did you buy Cakewalk Z3ta+ vst instrument for 20 $ (or more ;) ) but you don't like the UI ? There's an alternative - very nice one, well designed and very clean :) The skin is called Modern Retro and was created by Limeflavour. The installation is very simple (readme file inside the zip archive) - all you need to do is to backup your Z3ta+ resources folder and copy there the zip file content.



Download: Z3ta+ Modern Retro skin
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WusikStation Mid-2010 Group Buy

Only about 1 week left (the deal ends on 1 September 2010) and I almost forgot about it :) Wusik.com offers another group buy for their WusikStation / EVE products. I won't be subjective here because I'm a WusikStation fan :). If you don't have any "big" stuff like ie. Spectrasonics Omnisphere then WusikStation is probably the best deal you can get, packed with tons of sounds.

So, what's included ?
1. Wusik Station V6 (Windows only) - Wusik's flagship product. Sampler / Rompler and Synth instrument filled with gigabytes of samples. Since "unlimited credits membership" (credits are used to download additional sample / preset libraries) is included too then there's something around hmm 15 GB of instrumets / samples :)
2. Wusik Station V7 Preorder (Windows + for the first time I guess MAC !)
3. Wusik EVE V2/V3 (Win / Mac) - Electronic Vintage Ensemble synth, which recreates the early age of electronics in pop, rock and jazz music from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
4. Wusik Fuse Box Preorder (Win / Mac) - A Multi VSTi Manager / Chainer. "The idea behind Wusik Fuse Box, is to be able to work with multiple instances of any VSTi in the same location."

So far 82 people decided to join the Group Buy which means that we have reached Level 4.

Discount List: ( Full / Upgrade - prices in USD)
Level 4 - 76 ~ 100 Users = $ 69.95 / 49.95
Level 5 - Over 100 Users = $ 59.95 / 39.95

Note that every group buy ended with more than 100 users and I'm sure that this time will be the same :) If it end up with 100 or more people then new Sound Library (Ametrine Ravernator - Fire and Ice Edition) will be added too which means 8.4 GB / 700 new presets for Wusik for free :)

What kind of sounds Wusik offers ? Really, there's everything there. Synths, Pads, Atmospheres, Strings, Basses, Vintage stuff etc. If it's still not enough then you can get my small (well, not that small ;) ), released few months ago, 63 presets library (works for Wusik V5 / V6, but it's best to download demo presets since it uses lot's of "wusik membership" samples). Small demo - it's only one instance of Wusikstation, no tricks, just 100 % one synth.



More info: Wusik.com - 2010 Group-buy | Designasound.com Soundbank
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Is it the future ?

Take a look at short demo of large multi-touch screen using "Emulator" software.


töken experience
from yöyen munchausen on Vimeo

Wouldn't it be great to just stand up or even dance during music production or DJing instead of just sitting with a mouse ? :)
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Mr Wobble's Patchbank - Synth 1

Quick note ;) I've updated the link for Synth 1 vsti huge soundbank pack which contains (increased) 9006 presets + there's a new soundbank (valued very high by quite a lot of people) called Mr Wobble's Synth1 Patchbank. Just download it if you're Synth 1 freak ;). It requires the latest version of Synth1 (1.12)

ps. small hint. Synth 1 uses so low CPU - just use 3-4 instances of it, set different presets on each and you can end up with something "big" :)

More info: 9006 presets | Mr Wobble's Patchbank
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Free Sample Shootout articles

We all know that there are hundreds of free WAV, SF2, Kontakt etc. samples available. The problem is, as usually, proper selection.
Bedroom Producers blog tries to help us a little bit :) - so far there are four articles called "Free Sample Shootout" which contain list of selected, free samples. For example "Free Sample Shootout #3: Acoustic, Electric And Toy Pianos" article introduces 15 great piano samples available for free. Great idea! :)

More info: bedroomproducersblog.com | Free sample shootout #3: Pianos
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Justin Bieber vs Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch

Few months ago I introduced great application useful for extreme audio stretching - Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch. Finally there's some nice example of using it ;D



More info: Paul's Extreme Sound Stretch
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NI Massive synthesis tutorial

Two parts video tutorial about basic synthesis using Native Instruments Massive synth. Tutorials cover using oscillators, filters, performance editor and other features. As usually, good stuff created by Trifonic.





More info: nextstepaudio.com
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Camel Audio Planet Earth Sound Library

Planet Earth is a Sound Library released by Camel Audio with "Pay What You Want" pricing model used. What's more, by default 50 % of the amount you pay is split between Camel Audio and charity Friends of Earth. Sound library contains 150 sounds including deep pads, soundscapes, arps and basses. There's also Alchemy Player included with additional 150 sounds (which translates into 320mb of new samples) but, of course, if you have Camel Audio Alchemy, you don't need to install Alchemy Player.

The offer is available until the end of the August 2010.



More info: Camel Audio Planet Earth
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Togu Audio Line NoiseMaker

It's time for a latest soft synth released by Patrick Kunz (Togu Audio Line): NoiseMaker. It's an improved version of previously released TAL-Elek7ro and, according to official notes, has a completely new synth engine and a lot of improvements in sound and usability. There are 2 Oscillators + one sub oscillator. The synth also includes a small effect section with a reverb, chorus and a simple bit crusher effect. There are 128 factory presets included. Ahh and the name can be confusing a little bit. NoiseMaker is capable of producing much more sounds than just noise ;D

Audio Demo by Cubensick & uiiuiiu - Sick of this noise


ps. Just like most TAL plugins, NoiseMaker is available both for PC and MAC and is low CPU hungry. Good freebie.

Download: TAL-NoiseMaker
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NastyVCS - Virtual Console Strip VST

I guess, I'll just quote the official website: "Inspired by the smooth dynamic and tone shaping capabilities of some high-end mixing consoles and channel strips, this plug-in implements the most distinctive and much appreciated sonic effects generated by these devices.

Built around an entirely new opto-electric style compression unit, NastyVCS offers everything you need to shape your channels dynamics and tone. It offers a dedicated input stage featuring crunchy pre-amp saturation and a brickwall safety limiter in the output stage. Everything is set up to work in zero latency and so be available for hassle free tracking and mixing.

Two dedicated filters can be used in either the audio path or in the compressor’s sidechain which can be external as well. Whether pre or post compression, the equalizer section offers four interacting coloring tools with well-selected musical sounding curves. The concept gets rounded off by a phase alignment tool which can be used for coloring purposes as well."

My opinion ? Just read comments - more than 140 comments, mostly praising, ie. last comment:
"hi there, i will support your nastyvcs as a freeware vst on my dr. motte blog
http://blog.drmotte.de. big up and regards from berlin
dr. motte"
:)

Download: Variety Of Sound - Nasty VCS
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In the Studio with ... Mason

Another "In the Studio" videos from official Future Music magazine YouTube Channel. This time it's Mason (Dutch Electro House producers). Two videos, 55 minutes, HD quality :)






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EDM Soundset III for Novation V-Station

EDM Soundset III - new version (nine months after the release of EDM Soundset II) is a 256 patches soundbank available for Novation V-Station synth (ie. Armin Van Buuren in it's latest tune: Full Focus uses it). The soundset contains mostly synth/lead presets (about 130-140 presets), warm trance / progressive house plucks (about 40-50 presets) and the rest is filled with basses and pads.
Soundbank is suited for all kind of Electronic Dance Music genres but mostly for House (Tech, Progressive, Electro etc.), Trance, Techno, Dance etc.
The price is "donate what you want" (but with minimum set to 12 $) and it's used mostly for paying vstcafe.com / designasound.com domain, hosting bills.

Mp3 demos:

Synth patches demo. 100 % V-Station (one instance, no external effects, no layering, no 'tricks')


Short bass patches demo. 100 % V-Station (one instance, no external effects) except drums


Real world example, which means layering, compressing, EQing etc. Everything is V-Station except Drums and one instance of Truepianos (almost unnoticeable piano compressed with main melody)

More info: EDM Soundset III for Novation V-Station (also 50 free presets)
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Cakewalk Z3TA+ deal

Looking for a great synth for 20 $ ? Download version of amazing synth Cakewalk Z3TA+ is available for 19.99 $ instead of 99 $ What can I say. Amazing synth which can act as an FX plugin too which means that if you need a quality multiFX plugin (compressor, delay, EQ, reverb, chorus etc.), then Z3TA+ can be handy too. It's not a latest synth but quite often ... it's a good thing. There are lot's of third party soundbanks available, sound engine is still great, CPU consumption is low.

I always liked that 6 oscillators with ~ 50 (?) waveforms built and great waveshaping engine which let's you change the simplest Sine waveform into something unique. Actually, the only thing I don't like is the GUI. I mean, it's simple but somehow it feels not designed very well. But for 20 $, such synth, with so many abilities is a steal.

PRICE: 20 $

More info: Cakewalk Z3TA+ (US Store)
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In the Studio with ... Matti Schwartz

One of my favourite "In the Studio" videos. Matti Schwartz seems a very cool, positive guy and his tips are actually useful. Good stream quality, not HD but ok :)








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Image-Line Yardsale

Probably most of you, interested into VST plugins, already know about this deal but maybe there's someone who doesn't ? :) Till midnight August 31, 2010 most Image-Line plugins are available at amazing 49 $ price. There's Drumaxx - great synthesized Drum Machine (99 $ before sale), there's Sawer - classic VA Synth (old price 99$), there's Sytrus - FM synth (49 $ instead of 179 $ !!), Toxic Biohazard - FM / Subtractive synth (was 99 $) and plenty of other plugins (Maximus, Sakura, Morphine, Poizone, Harmless, Ogun etc.).

I guess it's one of the best deals, this year :) I'm not sure what to choose. Already have Harmless, Drumaxx. My sure bet is a vocoder plugin + something from Sawer / Toxic Biohazard / Morphine.

More info: http://www.image-line.com

ps. Ok, summer holiday season is going to an end - Welcome back ;)
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