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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

Creating & Using Synth Pad Sounds Article

It's just an article from Sound On Sound magazine (issue May 2010) about Pads. "Creating & Using Synth Pad Sounds" guides you through the process of creating a pad sound.
So what is a pad, exactly? Well, in its basic form it’s just a simple chordal keyboard part that follows the chords of your song, its function being to fill out some aspect of the production sonics. What a given pad fills out exactly varies from case to case, though. An important part of the effect is usually in the frequency domain, where the concordant harmonics are capable of filling in spectral gaps and smoothing harshness. But there’s more to many pads than that: the synth can also appear to increase the sustain of chordal instruments such as rhythm guitars and keyboards, and it can also be used to exaggerate the sense of stereo width in your mix.
Overall, it's very informative article (I like that part about "Stereo Width") with some audio examples included.

Article: Sound On Sound - Creating & Using Synth Pad Sounds
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Ajatar Kantele - Finnish Instrument sampled

Kantele is a traditional plucked string instrument of the zither family native to Finland, Estonia, and Karelia. It is related to the Russian gusli, the Latvian kokle and the Lithuanian kanklės. Together these instruments make up the family known as Baltic psalteries.
In Finland's national epic, Kalevala, the mage Väinämöinen makes the first kantele from the jawbone of a giant pike and a few hairs from Hiisi's stallion. The music it makes draws all the forest creatures near to wonder at its beauty. Later, after losing and greatly grieving over his kantele, Väinämöinen makes another one from a birch, strung with the hair of a willing maiden, and its magic proves equally profound. It is the gift the eternal sage leaves behind when he departs Kaleva at the advent of Christianity.

Ok, enough ;) The Ajatar Kantele is a sample-based, digital recreation of a Kantele instrument. The entire sample library is about one gigabyte in size (different microphone positions can be separately downloaded and are smaller in size). You need the Native Instruments Kontakt Player or Native Instruments Kontakt v2.0+ to use these samples. Great freebie :)



Download: ajatarsampling.com
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E-Play Divorce VSTi - 25 Electric Pianos Review

There are tons of electric piano synths / sample libraries available, both free and commercial. Most popular (random order) are:
- Andreas Ersson LazySnake (free)
- GSI MrTramp (free)
- NI Elektrik Piano (discontinued)
- AAS Lounge Lizard EP-3 (199 $)
- GSi MrRay Mark II (32 E)
- AcousticsampleS E-Pian (49 E)
- Scarbee Eletric Pianos (69-109 E)
- Pianoteq Electric Pianos add-on (49 EUR)
- Motu Electric Keys (209 $)

Motu Electric Keys offers stunning 40 GB sound library, which translates into 50 keyboard instruments (electric pianos, organs, clavs etc.) but other products usually offer just one (or two) electric piano sampled / synthesized. CFA Sound E-Play Divorce is an exception here - it brings 25 electric pianos on the table.

What does Electric Piano mean ? Unlike a synthesizer, it's not an electronic instrument but electro-mechanical. It produces sounds mechanically and the sounds are turned into electronic signals by pickup devices. The earliest electric pianos were invented in the late 1920s but the popularity began to grow in the late 1950s, reaching it's height during 1970s. Tone production method varies from one model to another. For example tone production in all Wurlitzer electric pianos comprises a single steel reed for each key, activated by a miniature version of a conventional grand piano action and forming part of an electrostatic pickup system using a DC voltage of 170v.A mechanical sustain pedal similar to that of a conventional piano is fitted [wikipedia]

Do you need some real world examples ? The first one is typical and popular Wurlitzer EP-200A piano. The song is: Queen - You're My Best Friend



The other example comes from Fender Rhodes piano and it's: The Beatles - Don't Let Me Down



Let's get back to the main topic, which is: CFA Sound E-play Divorce.

The whole package weights 1.99 GB. It contains a rompler unit (VSTi) with 25, 32-bit Mse piano multisamples (1,1 GB) and 25 NKI Kontakt files, so you can use Divorce as a Vsti synth/rompler or as Native Instruments Kontakt Sample Library. I like this concept a lot. Not everyone has NI Kontakt (ie. I don't have) and on the other hand Kontakt users will (probably) prefer to use Divorce NKI files instead of rompler.

Ok, so first - the rompler unit. It offers pretty basic stuff such as ADSR envelope, panning options (modulation + speed) and reverb. Not much to be honest but ... I like it. It's not CPU hungry, I could easily insert 4-5 instances of E-Play Divorce and ie. route them to my "effects" channel with custom (DAW) effects such as EQ, Reverb, Delay. One more thing - scrolling through different pianos is very fast - samples are loading instantly.

How does it sound ? It DOESN'T recreate standard electric piano sounds, it's not an emulation / recreation of famous electric pianos. Instead, it really tries to bring something new, unique. There are 25 (which is quite a lot for one product) different pianos:
- so called "Lo-Fi" pianos (8-bit, Lo-Fi, Bit crushed, Degraded).
- pianos passed through the tubes, amps etc.
- "weird" pianos passed through the phaser unit for example
- gentle, warm sounding pianos.

I can see at least three ways of using Divorce:

Layering

Rompler is low CPU hungry so it's perfect for layering. Just load three, four Divorce instances and play with presets a little bit. You can achieve some unique sounds (ie. by combining "preamp" piano (nice lowend) with brighter one, you can produce quite "big", "full" sounds).

Demo - shows bells-like pad with 4 layered instances of Divorce (+ Ableton Live ping pong delay, reverb)



Divorce + other Products

I love playing Divorce along with my TruePianos Grand Piano. It turns out that all these "Lo-Fi" pianos add some very nice harmonics to the default sound. On the other hand "Tube" / "Amp" pianos can bring additional "air" or some nice low-end flavour. Of course, it's totally recommended to experiment. For example, you can layer it with guitars, pads, strings, as well as short, plucky sounds (bells, marimbas etc.)

Demo - first Truepianos virtual instrument dry then Truepianos + one Divorce instance



One instance

Just follow your creativity. It's suited for many genres, from Jazz to Electronica. I can even imagine sidechaining Divorce (plus layering it with err some pad ;) ) just to create Progressive House tune similar to Deadmau5 - Ghosts N Stuff



Tons of possibilities...

Official mp3 demo:



My opinion

E-Play Divorce is a great addition (addiction ? ;) ) to my arsenal. I love to layer it and overall I'm impressed. You can't compare it to another product because the sounds are pretty much unique. It consumes low CPU and the price is very fair. As far as I know, demo version will be available very soon...

PRICE: first 100 copies are discounted and cost 25 EUR (standard price is 40 EUR)

More info: CFA-Sound E-Play Divorce VSTi

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Sidechaining Gate Effect

Sidechaining Gate effect is an easy way to get nice rhythmic cuts based on the other elements in your track. Great video - quick, easy to understand and actually very helpful (especially that trick with using Return channel as sidechain source). You can find more tutorials at thedspproject.com


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How to make Trance Arpeggio Melody

Again Ableton Live and trance tutorial. Sorry for that ;) The video is about creating typical uplifting trance melody which means picking chord and building manual arpeggio around it.


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AAS String Studio VS-1 "No-Brainer" Deal

Another "no brainer" deal from AudioMidi.com. This time it's another instrument from Applied Acoustics Systems - String Modeling Synthesizer - String Studio VS-1.
Official price is 199 $ while with this "No-Brainer" deal it's just 20 $. There is demo version available (sound is interrupted every ~few seconds and it requires restart after 20 minutes) so it's up to you to decide :)


String Studio VS-1 is a string modeling synthesizer plug-in that swaps the traditional oscillator, filter, and envelope pattern for real-life string instrument components. String Studio's pick, bow, hammer, finger, fret, damper, and soundboard let you control the materials, natural decay, grain, warmth, buzzes, harmonics, resonance, friction, tension, and component interaction that make up the sound of guitars, basses, clavinets, clavichords, pianos, and ethnic instruments. And that, with the same scope and versatily that you've come to expect from a full-featured traditional synthesizer.

More info: Audio-Midi No Brainer Deal | Official Website | Sound on Sound Review
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MVerb - freeware Reverb plugin

MVerb is a freeware Reverb unit created by Martin Eastwood. It's a C++ written plugin so the CPU consumption is low. I tested it a little bit and it sounds very nice - produces similar, "warm" sound as Jeroen Breebart's Omniverb. It's worth mentioning that source code is available via GPL license so if you know C++, feel free to improve it even further :) MVerb is also available for Mac users.

Short example (probably too much reverb - my studio monitors fried ;) First dry example then with MVerb )


Download: martineastwood.com
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Trance Rolling Bassline Video

Pretty neat video (if you're into fast 135-140 bpm, uplifting trance) which shows how to create nice rolling bassline with some additional variations. Synth used is NI Massive - video doesn't show how to create "bass" patch but Massive's Gui is open so I guess you'll be able to recreate the sound.



Feel free to visit trancemusicmastery.com - seems to be a great trance resource.
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Sylenth Sylenthlines Soundset

7aliens.com gives away Lennar Digital Sylenth soundbank - Sylenthlines totally for free. It's a techno / trance soundbank with 512 presets available.






Check the mp3 demos:


Download: 7aliens Sylenthlines | 7aliens.com
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Xhip Gate Vst Effect

Xhip Gate plugin is a typical gate effect. Tiny but clean GUI and overall, it seems to be pretty complete thing. I like "invert" option :)

Very quick, my real time ;) demo - not the best one but it's better than nothing ;)



ps. Feel free to download beta version of Xhip synth too - it's great :)

Download: Xhip Effects - Gate
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Phenome - Free Soundfont SF2 Player

Phenome is a pretty neat, free Soundfont (SF2 Files) player with multitimbral abilities (8 layers / outputs).

Best thing ? You can quickly layer different soundfonts and route them to different midi channels or same and play up to 8 soundfonts at once. Standard effects like delay, chorus are included but also ie. unison. There's 256 voice polyphony (8 layers x 32 voices) as well as 8x Oversampling (to improve quality).

Download: Prodyon Phenome
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Moog Minimoog Demo

Even if I don't undestand a word (Japanese ? :) ), Katsunori Ujiie's (MusicTrack.jp) hardware instrument demos are probably the best one, you can find on youTube. This guy certainly knows how to tweak the beast - very inspiring :)


The Minimoog is a monophonic analog synthesizer, invented by Bill Hemsath and Robert Moog. Released in 1970 by R.A. Moog Inc. (Moog Music after 1972), and stopped production in 1981.

The Minimoog was designed in response to the use of synthesizers in rock and pop music. Large modular synthesizers were expensive, large, and delicate, and were not ideal for live performance; the Minimoog was designed to include the most important parts of a modular synthesizer in a compact package, without the need for patch cords. It later surpassed this original purpose, however, and became a distinctive and popular instrument in its own right. It remains in demand today, nearly four decades after its introduction, for it's intuitive design and powerful bass and lead sounds.

You can't talk about the Minimoog without mentioning it's filters. Amazingly, Dr. Moog's filter design has yet to be surpassed by a better sounding filter. It's a filter that sounds so warm and smooth that Moog rival ARP tried to copy it for their 2600 and Odyssey synths. The Minimoog has a 4-pole (24 dB/oct) low-pass with the typical cutoff, resonance, ADS envelope and keybd tracking controls. There are also some very cool modulation possibilities via LFO, and external audio can be processed. Every editable parameter is on the front panel and clearly laid out.

It is used by The Chemical Brothers, The Orb, Kraftwerk, Jan Hammer, Nine Inch Nails, Vince Clarke, Gary Numan, Add N To (X), Rick Wakeman, 808 State, Air, Future Sound of London, Bushflange, Chick Corea, Überzone, Depeche Mode, Recoil, Tangerine Dream, Mouse on Mars, Apollo 440, Ultravox, Dave Holmes, Jean-Michel Jarre, George Duke, Blondie, Rush, Toto, Jimmy Edgar, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Yes, Vangelis, Joe Zawinul and Herbie Hancock and many more. [wikipedia / vintagesynth.com]

You can find more synth demos at MusicTrack.jp YouTube channel.
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TAL-DUB-III Delay Unit

I should add this entry long time ago ;) TAL-DUB-III is probably the best, free, classic delay unit available both for PC and MAC users.
"is an easy to use delay device with some special features. Its no tape delay emulation and has its own sound. It has an alias free saturation stage, a non-linear 6dB low pass and a 3dB high pass filter that are included in the feedback path of the device. An input drive knob allows to adjust the saturation level. Pop-up menues show the current values of volume, delay-time and feedback knobs. A tab button allowing to adjust the delay time for live sessions."

Download: TAL DUB III
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Cwejman Semi Modular Synth Free Samples

Need some glitchy, short, chip, mostly percussive sounds straight from semi-modular, analog Cwejman S1 Synthesizer ? Devinesound.net has released two NI Battery kits with 128 wav files each (archive contains wav files so actually any sampler can handle it).



Weird but actually very interesting sounds :) Short demo mp3 below...



Download: http://devinesound.net
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Sylenth Mulperi Soundbank

There's never enough soundbanks :) The latest one is free, 128 presets soundbank released by Mulperi and created for Lennar Digital Sylenth synth. "This is not a typical trance soundset. I tried to include very different types of presets and most importantly MUSICAL sounds. There are some famous sounds featured as well. Also, I tried to make use of modwheel as much as possible. "

Well, the demos sound pretty nice :)





Download: Mulperi Soundbank for Sylenth
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Magnus Chord Organ Multisampled

Another freebie - multisampled (by Audio Genetics Lab) Magnus Chord Organ instrument. Much like the accordion, the chord organ has both a keyboard and a set of chord buttons, enabling the musician to play a melody or lead with one hand and accompanying chords with the other. The sound is also accordion-like.
There are 7 patches altogether, and all require the full retail version of Kontakt 3.5 or higher to work. These samples are not compatible with the free Kontakt player. All of the raw aif samples are accessible in the download folders, for those who want to further mangle the audio genes of this charming old friend.





Download: Audio Genetics Lab - Magnus Chord Organ
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Tech-House Rhythms for 1 Euro

Loopbased - a new sample label has released Tech-House Rhythms. It's 142 mb (unzipped) sample library filled with drum loops and suitable for Tech, Minimal, Electro House, Techno genres. The best thing about it ? Introductory price is set to ... 1 Euro :)

Is it worth ? If you're into genres mentioned above then it's surely worth. Bought it, previewed all content (all loops are 128bpm) and I like it.

Overall, the library contains:
- 60 drum-loops
- 60 drum-loops (same as above but kick-free)
- 15 kick only loops
- 15 hi-hat loops

It's a nice addition to my current EDM sample library :D Hmm it deserves Value for Money tag :)

PRICE: 1 EUR (probably end soon (?))

More info: www.loopbased.com
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TAL Reverb II - free stereo plate reverb

It took me one year to add another reverb plugin ;) TAL Reverb II is a free, stereo plate reverb vst effect. What does plate reverb mean ? Well, it's a ... simulation of a simulation :)

A plate reverb system uses an electromechanical transducer, similar to the driver in a loudspeaker, to create vibration in a large plate of sheet metal. A pickup captures the vibrations as they bounce across the plate, and the result is output as an audio signal. (wikipedia)
It's quite similar in principle to shaking a piece of sheet metal to simulate thunder :) Plate reverbs have usually clean, bright, quite metallic sound and are suited (mostly) for vocal parts or percussion sounds.

Update: There is newer version - TAL Reverb III available.

TAL Reverb III in action by bjporter

Download: Togu Audio Line Reverb II / III
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Ableton Live - Bass Tutorial

Another Ableton Live tutorial ? Yep, that's my favourite DAW, I use it all the time, so I can judge correctly if something is worth posting or not ;) This time it's about creating the bass using Live's native plugins such as Operator instrument, Saturator, Compressor, Overdrive, EQ, Auto-Filter.

The first video is about creating nice Sub-Bass layer. The second is about Mid bass and third is about making it sound good ;) (sequencing, automation etc.).






Ableton Operator Bass tutorial from ThePurestData on Vimeo.



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Bamboo Chimes Multisampled Instrument

Another nice multisampled instrument by Mihai Sorohan - Bamboo Chimes. Same as previous (Trumpet instrument), it was recorded at 32bit, microphone used - Oktava MK319, preamp used - Art Tube MP Project Series and again in Yellow Tools Independence and Mu.Lab formats :) so just like before - you need to manually load these samples (archive contains wav files) into your hmm more popular sampler such as NI Kontakt. Nice stuff...

Check other free samples at Mihai Sorohan's blog



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Mihai Sorohan Free Trumpet Multisamples

Looking for free, trumpet sample library ? Mihai Sorohan has created very nice sample pack. It's a recorded at 32bit (and converted at 24bit) Bb Trumpet Amati ATR 213 (3 octaves) instrument.

Sample format is ... Yellow Tools Independence 2.5 and Mu.Lab but since the archive contains wav files then it's quite easy to import samples to NI Kontakt or any other sample player. You can use these samples in you commercial music too...



Check other free samples at Mihai Sorohan's blog


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Ableton Live - Midi FX

Another quick video tutorial by Danny Bonicci. In about three minutes you'll learn how to use three Ableton Midi Effects - Arpeggiator, Randomizer and Scale unit.

Midi FX Demo in Ableton from danny bonnici on Vimeo.


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Amazing 40 Piano Lessons by Andrew Furmanczyk

I don't know where to start because this is truly amazing :) 40 Absolute Free Piano Lessons which will teach you how to play piano for yourself right from the very beginner all the way to the late intermediate / early advanced stage of piano.

An author - Andrew Furmanczyk is a piano teacher - short demo of his skills ;)


I’m a piano teacher in real life, and I think people around the world should be able to have access to information that will teach them how to play the piano for themselves. There are no fees, or anything expected. I’m personally sick of the quick “play piano overnight” schemes. So I’m just a practical guy helping people learn how to play piano!
And here's a lesson one (at the beginning the sound volume is quite low but pls show some understanding, first videos are always tough to create :) It's much better later)



Lesson Outline

Andrew's YouTube Channel - 40 Lessons
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