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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

Daniel Kandi-like bassline

Another trancy video tutorial. It's about creating (using Sylenth and FL Studio) bassline similar to some trance tracks released by Daniel Kandi.


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Prime Loops Sample Libraries 50 % Off

Quite a lot of promotions - hope it's not getting too spammy ;) All sample libraries (which means around 130 products !) from Prime Loops are 50 % off. I found some nice products there and bought them because my sample library is getting old (whatever it means ;) ). Maybe yours is getting old too ;)

Anyway, the prices are very affordable (mostly below 10 UK pounds), there are quite many genres to choose from so it's up to you to decide.

More info: Prime Loops
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Arksun Soundbanks 50 % Off

Arksun has announced Christmas sale (valid 25th - 31st December 2010). This means 50 % cheaper soundbanks for U-He Zebra, Lennar Digital Sylenth, Rob Papen Blue plugins. Arksun specializes in several forms of electronica music - mainly trance and ambient so the soundbanks are naturally suited for these genres.

More info: www.arksun-sound.com
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How to Make a Trance Pluck Sound Like Cosmic Gate - Barra

Step by step video tutorial, how to make a Trance pluck sound similar to the one used in Cosmic Gate - Barra tune. This time a hardware synth is used as an example but the tutorial can be recreated with most virtual instruments.


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Elektrostudio Model Pro Vsti

Looking for an early Christmas present ? :) Elektrostudio has released Virtual Model Pro - virtual synth inspired by Moog Prodigy, a monophonic analog with 2 oscillators and a very raw character.



Feel free to download it, and if you like it, you can support Elektrostudio (and Robert) by donating him :)



Download: Elektrostudio Model Pro
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Hollow Sun Definitive PPG - $1 Giveaway

Now that Waldorf have released the magnificent PPG Wave 3.00, Hollow Sun has decided to discontinue the Hollow Sun 'Definitive PPG' library as it makes no sense to be in competition with 'the real thing', so to speak.

The library covers most of the characteristic sounds from this classic digital/analogue synth hybrid from sweeping wavetables to glassy and mellow pads, from delicate chimes to razor sharp textures that can slice through butter plus chunky and solid basses, digital vocal pads, analogue leadlines and much more in 50 Kontakt 3.5 programs containing around almost 300MB of multi-sampled data, much of it stereo directly from the PPG's outputs.



If you're into old, analogue synths, feel free to visit their website. There are some other libraries available, also affordable (Crumar Performer libary, VP 330, Vox Continental etc.)

More info: www.hollowsun.com
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Making Dada Life - Unleash the f* Dada

Download Ableton Live full project, made by Timofey. The project recreates tune released by Swedish Electro House duo - Dada Life, called Unleash the fucking Dada.

Project requires Live 8.1.3, Ableton Sampler and Ableton Operator. Great stuff to analyze and learn from (if you're EDM genres).



More info: www.timofey.be
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Sylenth and the Nordlead Pluck

Nice video tutorial created by 7 Skies. It's about creating so called "Nordlead pluck". Author uses Sylenth virtual instrument and Logic Audio DAW. Another trancy sound but don't forget it's about synthesis :) (the main trick here is modulating the pitch with an envelope)


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In The Studio with ... Sean Tyas - Trance

More than 100 minutes material from Future Music's "In the Studio With..." (Issue 226, May 2010) series. This time it's Sean Tyas, American trance producer. Sean creates a remix of the track W&W - 'DNA'. Good, 720p HD quality.

I like to watch such videos. It's a good way to find some small tricks, hints helping you to improve workflow etc.

<





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SoundCloud Account

Just wanted to let you know that I decided to setup a SoundCloud account. The good news is that mp3 demo examples, introduced on VstCafe, will be gathered in one place, available to listen, download and comment (and the I like that soundcloud widget with wav presentation :) ). It may be also a nice promotion for all of these small, "independent" plugins introduced on vstCafe.
What about the bad news ? ;) Free account has 2 hours audio storage limit so I would like to upgrade the plan to payware. But it costs and along with domain, hosting bills, it's getting expensive (and I don't want to cut my "buying vst plugins" (mostly second hand) budget entirely because I love tweaking knobs ;) ).

If you like VstCafe then feel free to:
1. Click on Google Ads
2. Donate via "Buy me a beer or pay hosting bill" banner
3. Alternate, you can just go on designasound.com and donate minimum 12 $, and receive 256 presets soundbank for Novation V-Station.

Ahh, almost forgot - feel free to visit VstCafe's SoundCloud account. Only few examples at the moment but I hope to add more examples soon :)
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Image-Line FL Studio 50 % OFF

Yep, that's the topic ;) Image-Line has started a Group Buy at Facebook and the maximum discount was reached in under 4 days at 50% OFF. This gets you FL Studio Producer edition for $99 (normally $199), or Fruity edition for just $49 (normally $99), with Lifetime free Updates. The discount also includes upgrades from any version of FL Studio to any higher version (including Signature Bundle). I love Christmas ;)



More info: Image-Line
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How to Write Hip Hop Beats in Ableton Live

Almost 40 minutes video tutorial, made by DJ Vespers, which shows how to create Hip Hop (or Glitch) beats using Ableton Live (and some third party plugins). At the beginning of the first part, you can hear the final result so it's up to you to decide whether this video is useful for you or not. I believe the video is very nice :)









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Wave Alchemy Christmas Sale and Free Samples

UK sample developers - Wave Alchemy has announced Christmas Sale :) Their entire product database is up to 50 % cheaper.

Best deal ? Drum Tools 01 - Minimal Techno sample library, which offers over 1950 minimal drum samples.

"All drum sounds in the collection have been built from the ground up using a jaw-dropping array of analogue circuitry and exclusive high-end outboard gear. Great care has been taken to capture the tone / vibe and warmth of the equipment used and all sample editing and file naming has been done by hand for maximum precision."

Now it's 50 % OFF :) Take a look at reviews - nine reviews, all rate this sample library very high.

Also Deep Tech & Progressive - Wave Alchemy's latest sample library seems very good deal. Over 950 mb of samples and now it's 25 % OFF

Don't forget to check their free samples - around 700 samples are available. Drums, hi-hats, glitch noises etc. Example (from their free "Drum Tools Teaser") below.



More info: wavealchemy.co.uk
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ARPG8R - 32 Step Midi Arpeggiator Vst Review

Pentacom ARPG8R is a midi arpeggiator unit available both for PC and Mac OSX. I must admit that I'm not a fan of typical arpeggiator plugins shipped with DAW applications. Most seem uninspiring and just too limited to impress me somehow ;)

But let's start from the beginning. While the plugin is still in beta, I didn't have any problems. The installation process went very smooth. Using ARPG8R in project is also easy IF you know anything about routing - you need to load ARPG8R as VSTi instrument, load favourite VSTi and route the signal from one to another. If you're beginner, don't worry - the official website has step by step tutorials how to setup up ARPG8R in popular DAWs such as Cubase, Fl Studio, Sonar, Live.

Features

ARPG8R has (up to) 32 Steps sequencer which means ... a lot of fun :) You can create your own patterns or use the existing ones (there are 6 presets). Creating patterns and overall using ARPG8R is very comfortable, mainly because of great GUI. The design is minimalistic, very clean. Reminds me great GUI designs created by D16.pl guys (ie. Nithonat). I like the interface a lot - it really invites you to spend some time with ARPG8R, to tweak some knobs, use pads etc.

There are six different arpeggio modes. While Up, Down, Up/Down are self explanatory, there are still three additional modes. It's Manual - the arpeggio is based on playing order. The first note you hit will be the first note in arpeggio. Poly mode just plays every octave at once (good for creating "trance gate chord" effect), and Custom mode helps you to create some unique combinations. The screen from the left describes modes pretty well.

You can set the arpeggio range to up to 4 octaves. Arpeggio can be triggered both by midi keyboard (good :) ) and just by laying down chords on piano roll. The other option is transpose arpeggio by +/- 12 semi tones. Small feature but can be a time saver (ie. you don't have to manually transpose your midi clip) - very handy.

Secret weapon

I used some midi clip, well it's a typical trance big chord (from Tiesto - Elements of Life track) with some notes stacked and spreaded across three octaves.
One feature I really like (best feature ?) is a section called Insert. It has three modes available:

Off - plays the typical, classic arpeggio just like any other arp plugin.
Lowest - it inserts the lowest note before each step which creates nice arpeggio bassline.
Highest - similar to lowest, it inserts the highest note before each step.

It really changes the way arpeggio plays and I like the effect.

Of course there is a Gate knob which makes the notes shorter and the Shuffle knob - tweak it and the whole arpeggio will start to swing :)

Final words

While I don't use standard arpeggiator unit, included in Ableton Live, at all, I'll use ARPG8R for sure. Why ? Because it's creative and it's fun. Some happy musical accidents may happen while tweaking pads, shuffle, gate konbs, insert modes. All parameters can be automated, and below there's an example. First - the raw chord, and then ARPG8R turned on :)

Raw chord - ARPG8R Turned OFF


Same chord - ARPG8R Turned On


The price is somewhere around 10 $ (it's converted from Japanase Yen) and it's a bargain :)

ps. The chords are from Tiesto - Elements Of Life :)

PRICE: ~ 10 $

More info: Pentacom ARPG8R
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DJing - Win the crowd tips

I like DJ Techtools articles - they're very long, very informative and somehow hmm positive :) This time it's about building loyal, following fans. There are three very good tips introduced - very practical (ie. how to handle a person that requests a song but you don't have it). Good article.


Marilyn Monroe once said, “If I’m a star, then the people made me a star.” While not every DJ aspires to become a star, you have to ask yourself, “What good is a DJ without people to hear their amazing music?” Building a loyal following should be the top priority for anyone wanting to take his or her DJing career to a professional level. It shows club owners and promoters that you can pull in regular clientele (thus making you more valuable), and the passion of your crowds will make you be the best DJ you can be.

Read article: Three Tips for Winning the Crowd With More Just Music
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NastyDLA - Classic chorus echo effect

NastyDLA is the latest plugin released, about a month ago, by Bootsie (Variety Of Sound). It's a classic chorus echo device with some signal coloring features and tape-delay simulation.

There aren't many chorus, delay plugins available for free so NastyDLA is pretty much a gem. The quality is very high - it's a commercial plugins quality. Just listen to the one of the Bootsie's examples.
In this short demo a static pattern is used and NastyDLA is going to be in charge as a tape delay replacement. The chorus is not used in this example but the plug-ins coloring possibilities are shown to some extend



Download: Variety Of Sound - NastyDLA
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Ableton Live Sound Quality

Does Ableton Live offer highest possible sound quality on default ? Nope. Settings are suited better for live performance rather than studio usage. Presented video (again by Certified Ableton Trainer - DJ Vespers) shows a few helpful tricks about setting highest possible sound quality.


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AraldFX Stormgate 1 - 208 gate patterns

Peter den Herder has released some new patches for AraldFX Stormgate 1 audio effect plugin - a free rhytmic gate effect that lets you shape audio with amplitude patterns. More info ? Well, there are 208 gate patterns / presets available so I guess this library covers many genres (you know trance gates and many other) :)

Download: AraldFX Stormgate 1 - 208 gate patterns by Peter den Herder
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Scanned Synth Pro - Free Presets

Julian Ray from julianraymusic.com has released free, 50 presets for quite unique synth - Scanned Synth Pro. The library is called "Mysterious Journey" and it contains great atmospheres, pads, leads, keys suitable for hmmm... my keywords are: ambient, space, universe etc. :)
Check Juilian's website for download and audio demos.

ps. If you don't have Scanned Synth Pro - don't worry, it's donationware.

Download: www.julianraymusic.com
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Ableton Audio Effects Rack - Make FX Smartknobs

"Make FX Smartknobs" video is about making few different, interesting audio effects and smoothly (or not, if you don't want to ;) ) morph between them. It's pretty much about Ableton Live's Audio Effects Rack chain feature.

What I really like about this DJ Vespers's (certified Ableton Trainer) video tutorial is that at the beginning of the video you can see the final result. Overall, it's well presented and very informative tutorial.




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Native Instruments Kore 2 Templates

I don't have NI Kore 2 controller but some of you probably use it :) Feel free to visit Fingermarks.co.uk - there are over 50 templates, both for vst synths and effects, available.

"They serve both as a layout for the hardware controller and as a template for the creation of your own sounds or importing presets from the plugin (where supported). They ensure that every time you load that plugin it will be set up with the appropriate parameters already mapped to controls."

Sounds like a good resource for Kore users :)

ps. There are also some free presets available (ie. for U-he ACE)

More info: fingermarks.co.uk
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Extraordinary Choir

Well, just take a look at this extraordinary choir. Ok, I admit, there's nothing constructive here - it's just a funny, interactive flash choir ;)


Link: www.cupsizechoir.com
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Presets Manager - Big Tick Zen

Navigating through the hundreds of presets can be a painful experience ... ;) Of course, there are some plugins with great preset browser implemented, where you can describe preset using tags, or even add some text but mosty it's just a typical FXB bank with tons of presets. My workaround is time consuming ;) I just scroll through every preset, then save the preset I like and then create "favourite sounds" soundbank. Usually takes about a day but it really pays off.

But there is another option. Big Tick Zen. It's a free presets manager vst plugin which works similar to ie. NI FM8 preset browser. This means that each preset can be described by the tag (you can create your own tags) and then you can simply search for ie. "Favourites" tag.

The main difference (compared to ie. NI FM8 preset browser) is that Big Tick Zen supports around 50 vst synths, both free (ie. Synth1) and commercial (ie. Sylenth, ACE, Zebra, Toxic). How does it work ?
It acts as a loader for other vstis. So with Zen, you can search for “Rhodes piano” and get a list of all matching presets – regardless of the final vsti (Rhino, Zebra, Absynth… whatever). When you select one of the presets in Zen, the corresponding vsti is automatically loaded to play the requested preset.
So, you just load preset and you "don't care" if this preset comes from Zebra or Synth1. All you care is that you're searching for "Rhodes Piano" and you don't want "Mono" for example. Sounds simple but actually there's much more behind it. You can ie. find some more presets online (or share) but overall don't expect to master this plugin in 15 minutes. Read the manual, FAQ. It takes a little bit of time to understand the whole concept but still it's much quicker than browsing through the hundreds of weird named patches ;)

Download: Big Tick Zen
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Single Cycle Waveform - AKWF Waveforms

Need some new, free Single Cycle Waveforms for plugins (such as Camel Audio Alchemy, FAW Circle, Harmless, Ableton Circle) ? Adventure Kid offers huge selection of Single Cycle Waveforms for free.

"I have been making and collecting one cycle waveforms for years. They have been one of my best weapons to use when making sounds. If you have a wavetable synthesizer that can load single cycle waveforms you might find them useful as well."


Download: Adventure Kid Waveforms
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10 December Deals

It's been a while since I updated Vst Cafe ;) I hope that, from now, the frequency of new blog entries will be much better. My new flat house renovation is almost finished so I'll have much more time to post some interesting stuff here ;) For those who e-mailed me and didn't receive a reply - sorry, I'll try to sort things out very soon...

Ok, I really like December. Why ? You know, Christmas and ... a good excuse to buy some plugins, DAWs for myself ;D

Here are some deals (mostly Vst Instruments) I find interesting:
# 1. XILS-lab PolyKB II - Great Vintage polyphonic synthesizer PolyKB II, from 4 December to 19th is available at introductory price of 89 $ (instead of 199 $)

12 instances of PolyKB II, even HiHats are Poly KB. Sweet and very tempting offer :)

# 2. Ableton - I'm huge Ableton Live fan, can't help it ;) Till January 15th you can save up to 25 % on Ableton Suite, Live, Upgrades, Max for Live. Last year, thanks to similar promo, I did update my Ableton Suite 7 to 8 :)

# 3. Novation V-Station - just 39 $ at NovaMusik.com. What can I say ? I just love this synth. Great to learn synthesis, still very nice sound.

Just one instance - demo (third party presets) comes from designasound.com

# 4. NI Traktor Duo / Pro / Scratch - 50 % off at AudioMidi.com. Great software if you want to start DJing

# 5. LinPlug.com - Synth Bundle (with great Rob Papen Albino, Linplug Octopus synths + other) for 299 EUR instead of ... 662 EUR.

# 6. Wusik.com - WusikStation V6 (8 GB of Sounds) and Wusik Eve V3 synth bundle for 59.95 $

# 7. D16 Group - polish developers are known from very good plugins. Their Winter Sale is valid till 15th January and this means all prices are up to 40 % off.

# 8. AudioMidi.com No-Brainer Deals - huge sales. If you're into classic, warm, analog sounds, try XILS-lab III LE - based on EMS VCS3 analog matrix-modular synthesizer. Just 20 $ which is a steal. Check demo first (as usually :) ).

# 9. Sugar Bytes - their entire offer is on sale which means that you can get Sugar Bytes Bundle for 250 $ less, or ie. their very interesting synth Unique for 99 E instead of 129 E.

# 10. Big Tick Rhino - last but not least :) Big Tick Rhino - great synth - 50 % off !!!
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