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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

How to Create Amazing Build-ups (DJ)

Two very nice videos about creating very nice build-ups. First video is about using Beatmasher effect (NI Traktor) and second is about Echo / Delay (any DJ Mixer).





Great DJ Effects guide.
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Camel Audio Alchemy Player

Camel Audio has announced an upgraded and completely free version of their Alchemy Player unit. There are 200 instrument sounds including evolving soundscapes, lush pads, and pulsing arpeggios. 150 sounds are included with 50 more when you sign up for a free account. It translates into 1 GB sample library. One of the neat features is that Alchemy Player can now load any SFZ Sample Library.

Very nice freebie.

Download: Camel Audio Alchemy Player 1.20
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Digital Illusions soundbank for Wusikstation now freeware

Previously available as donationware / pay what you want - Digital Illusions soundbank for Wusikstation is now a freebie.
It contains 63 dreamy, warm, soft (and sometimes with a touch of analogue feel) sounds with long releases for Wusikstation V5 (it does work on V6 too) virtual synth. All presets are available as WusikPRST files - native Wusikstation's preset format.

The soundbank uses samples from Wusikstation libraries so there's quite big list of requirements. More info at Designasound.com

Audio Demo - uses one instance of Wusikstation


Download: Designasound.com
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Commercial Piano Libraries Comparison

There are plenty of commercial sampled piano libraries available but which one to choose ? There's pretty nice comparison available on YouTube.

Libraries compared:
Sampletekk The Big One (Convolution IR added)
Sampletekk Seven Seas Grand (Convolution IR added)
Reason Pianos Yamaha C7 Close Mics (Convolution IR added)
Reason Pianos Yamaha C7 Jazz Mics
Native Instruments Alicia's Keys (Dry w/ Convolution IR added)
Post Musical Instruments Yamaha C7 (Convolution IR added)
4Front True Pianos Amber (Ambient Preset)
Galaxy Vintage D (Concert Grand Preset)
Galaxy Steinway (Concert Grand Preset)
Sampletekk Black Grand Close (Convolution IR added)
Sampletekk Black Grand Medium
Sampletekk Black Grand Ambient
Reason Pianos Steinway D Close Mics (Convolution IR added)
Reason Pianos Steinway D Jazz Mics
Native Instruments New York Concert Grand (With Overtones Preset; Convolution IR added)
Vir2 VI.ONE Black Grand
Post Musical Instruments Old Lady 1923 Steinway (Convolution IR added)
Post Musical Instruments Steinway D (Convolution IR added)

All libraries demoed with the same MIDI file, "Grand Illusion" by Jordan Rudess.




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How to get that 'Like a G6' Bassline

Another short video tutorial from Sounds/To/Sample. This time it's about creating that 'Like a G6' bassline - synth used: DCAM Strobe and some Logic Audio DAW plugins.


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ToneScape Animato - Free Samples

ToneScape Animato is a free sample pack which contains over 1000 sounds / samples (over 400 mb) for your productions. The goal was to deliver some quality loops, drums, fx and vocals for Dubstep, Drum'n'Bass, Psytrance genres. Well, I think that these samples have much wider use :) For example there are a lot of percussion sounds - some digital, some created / processed by various hardware synths (ie. Moog Voyager), as well as some recorded around author's neighbourhood (ie. Forest percussion :) ).

If you want to expand your sample library freely, go ahead and test this nice freebie. If you like it - donate the author :)

Download: www.tonescape.de
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Adam Szabo JP6K Synth Review

Back in 1999, Trance music was everywhere - on TV (Viva, MTV etc.), on the radio as well as in clubs, discos and huge events. Paul van Dyk was a god, so was Chicane and others. Plenty of tracks released and surprisingly most filled with modern, fresh sounds. Probably that's because released tracks were actually selected ? Ok, nevermind ;)

1999


Here are some classic examples of Trance music produced in 1999

Chicane - Saltwater



Thrillseekers - Synaesthesia



Do you like such trance ? Well, I love it (even if I also like Michael Jackson, Queen, Depeche Mode and my older brother was forcing me to hear Metallica, Slayer, Kreator ;) )

One of the trends was uplifting / epic / anthem / emotional trance focused on building huge trance anthem melodies powered with positive, warm, smooth, non aggressive sounds.

Supersaw


Rank 1 - Airwave



Cygnus X - Superstring



Do you recognise the sound ? Yes, that's the Roland JP-8000/8080 and it's Super Saw oscillator which described trance music for the next few years. Sure, at the end it was boring to the death, but the beginning it was creative, fresh and beautiful.

Adam Szabo JP6K


I remember that I always wanted to recreate that Rank 1 - Airwave pad (or other "supersaw" sounds) but for some reason I couldn't do it. I mean, sure, with tons of processing it was possible to get that smooth, warm, full pad but it was way too complicated. Every software plugin that claimed to have a supersaw oscillator (or something similar) actually failed. It was too thin, or too bright, or too dark, or too much phasing - well, it just wasn't good enough.

So how about now ? It's more than 10 years later - is there any synth which captures the beauty of the supersaw sound ? Yes ! One guy - Adam Szabo (you should know him from his great soundbanks) released his plugin named AS JP6K. It's goal is to remind you that good old, 2000's when trance wasn't such crap as it's now ;) What does it mean ? Yea, you know it - it means that JP6K has two "supersaw-like" oscillators implemented, as well as Filter section (12/24 db, High-, Band-, Low- pass filters), one LFO unit which can modulate pitch or filter or amp, there is an EQ, Delay unit and that's pretty much it :)

Compared to current monster synths such as Synapse Dune, Waldorf Largo, JP6K seems very limitating (for example you can't assign Mod Wheel to the filter env for example, you need to do this "manually" in you DAW; there is only supersaw "waveform", there aren't any sine, square, triangle waveforms :) ) but I'm telling you - it was designed for one thing (supersaw) and it does it perfectly. It lets you create all these lushy, smooth, warm pads, melodies, plucks and, I guess, it's the closest supersaw hmm emulation (?) I have ever heard and it's very easy to use.

Everytime I'm playing with the JP6K I'm surprised how flexible this soft synth is. It's just two, same (extremely flexible) oscillators but it turns out that there are tons of possiblities. The factory soundbank contains 114 presets and it's more than enough to give you that good old trance sound or "anjunabeats" trance feeling (without a piano of course ;) ).

The GUI is designed very well - it's clean, it focuses on main feature "supersaw-like" oscillator and that's a good thing.

So, is it worth ?


Well, if you're looking for pure Roland JP-8000 emulation then you should probably just ... buy the Roland JP-8000. But if you need an amazing supersaw sound (not necessary trance related) then 25 EUR is really a bargain. Why ? because these 2 oscillators are just the best :)

I absolutely love the pads, these machine can produce. If you're not a trance (or similar genres) lover then probably most presets won't fit your musical taste but still you should reconsider buying it. If you need some warm, smooth pads - JP6K is truly great for it (but not only of course - it's great for leads, basses too). Fully deserved "Value for Money" tag :)

Don't forget to check the demo. My reviews are subjective so use your own brain to make a decision :)

Below audio demo with some of the factory patches (credit goes to the authors)




ps. I did create few (factory) presets for JP6K, it was a pure pleasure for me (try my "PAD - Epic Trance" preset ;) ) - some good old trance memories came back :)



PRICE: 25 EUR

More info: AdamSzabo.com - JP6K

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How To Produce Black Eyed Peas Dirty Bit Bassline

Logic DAW + it's ES2 Synthesizer...



Visit SoundsToSample YouTube channel for more...
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Equinox Sounds - Free 1 GB Trance Library

Nice freebie from Equinox Sounds - 1 GB of Trance oriented material. There are 5 (small) construction kits, there are some "sequences" samples but I guess the biggest value of this pack is : FX Samples, Drum Loops (140 bpm so it's more like tech trance or uplifting) and a selection of 35 multisampled stereo synthesizer pads and strings (C1-C5 notes sampled) for Ambient, New Age and Trance music productions.

Download: Equinox Sounds - Trance Sample Library (look for a small, red "Free Loop Packs" link)
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Precisionsound Springsale 50 % off

Precisionsound, an independent soundware company based in Sweden, has announced "Springsale 2011" which means 50% off on all their SampleSets until April 30!

Sounds like a great deal. There are Drums & Percussion libraries as well as Flutes, Guitars, Accordions, Keyboards, Organs, Stringed Instruments - mostly in Kontakt, SFZ, SF2, EXS24 formats. For example Nordic Upright Piano for 19.50 $



Very tempting :)

More info: Precisionsound
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How To Produce Barbra Streisand

Ableton Live + DCAM Strobe + an Old track = Barbra Streisand :)


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How to make similar lead to Black Eyed Peas - Just Can't Get Enough



I like sound design and overall synthesis, and this short tutorial will show you some few synthesis tricks. The the final result, we are aiming at, should be similar (but not the same - musicians should be creative :) ) to well known BEP - Just Can't Get Enough Lead Sound. Synth used - Toxic Biohazard.
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Bad Mood & Syrup - 64 Sylenth Presets

Just visit Plughugger - the music tech review blog and go to the "free sounds" section and you'll quickly find two nice sounding soundsets, each 32 presets.
Audio demo means more than a hundred ;) words so just click play and listen :)



Download: Plughugger.com Free Presets
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The 5 Secrets to Writing Better Music Faster


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Sidechaining Compression & Ducking Tutorial

Another Sidechaining video tutorial but I guess, this one is pretty much complete (created by certified Ableton Live Trainer - Dj Vespers) :)


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Everything popular is wrong

"Everything popular is wrong: Making it in electronic music, despite democratization" is an amazing article / blog entry, worth mentioning. It's about electronic music, music democratization, it tries to answer some questions ie. why digital distribution fails.

Overall, very long and very good article.

Read article: Little White Earbuds - Everything popular is wrong
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RMI Rocksichord Sample Library

Just a nice freebie from Sonic Couture - RMI Rocksichord - sample library (350 mb) for NI Kontakt. To download the library you need to register at Sonic Couture but it takes like 20 seconds and I guess it's worth :)

The Rocksichord is an electronic keyboard invented in the 1960s to approximate the sound of the harpsichord. As its name suggests, it was primarily used in rock music (in the 1960s and 1970s and notably by 1990s band Quasi), but it has also been used in jazz (by Call Cobbs, Jr. and Sun Ra) and contemporary classical music (in the work of Terry Riley).

The Rock-Si-Chord, as it was named by its manufacturer Rocky Mount Instruments (RMI), a division of Allen Organs Inc, was a solid-state instrument using one or two transistor oscillators per key, and was the first example of a type of instrument generally known as the electronic piano (contrast electric piano). Later RMI instruments also included piano sounds (via Wikipedia).



Download: Sonic Couture - RMI Rocksichord
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Yamaha EX-5

Again some pure hardware inspiration coming from great japanese musician (Musictrack.jp). This time it's Yamaha EX-5.

The EX-5 features a unique Extended Synthesis system which incorporates a number of the most advanced tone generator technologies currently available...plus a full-featured sampling system. It offers a Four-Element Voice structure which allows for up to four independent waves from any of the tone generators. The tone generators implemented here include AWM (Advanced Wave Memory) Synthesis, AN (Analog Physical Modeling) Synthesis, FDSP (Formulated Digital Sound Processing) Synthesis and Virtual Acoustic (VL) Synthesis (http://www.vintagesynth.com)

It really doesn't matter that probably most of you (me too) don't know Japanese. Watching this guy playing some random things based purely on inspiration is entertaining and inspirating itself.


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U-He Tyrell N6 Amazona.de synth

U-He Tyrell N6 is the latest freeware synth. It was designed by Amazona.de online magazine readers and then programmed by Urs Heckmann (yep, the same guy who developed award winner U-He Zebra synth). To be honest, it took me around 15 minutes to realise that Tyrell Nexus 6 is the real gem - professional sound quality, around 500 presets, some very interesting features and there is MAC version too :).
Just download it and have some fun.

Audio Demos - all Tyrell made
Mulperi - Tyrell by Mulperi

Isle of the Dead - mleghorn by Mike Leghorn

Download: U-He Tyrell N6
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EDM Soundset III - Free 50 presets Edition for Novation V-Station

EDM Soundset III Free Edition is a free, 50 presets (from full 256 presets soundbank) soundbank suited for all kind of Electronic Dance Music genres but mostly for House (Tech, Progressive, Electro etc.), Trance, Techno, Dance etc. Nice freebie ;)




Audio demo: (comes from original, full, 256 presets soundbank)

One instance of Novation V-Station - no external effects

Download: EDM Soundset III - Free Edition for Novation V-Station
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Native Instruments Reaktor 5 / Mikro Prism Free Instruments

Native Instruments Mikro Prism is a new (well, not that new now ;) ), free virtual instrumet based on Reaktor Prism synthesizer. To be honest, it's one of the better freeware instruments available. 70 presets, mostly bell, chime sounds are probably the best sounds (of that type) you can get for free. To install Mikro Prism, you also need to have Free Reaktor Player 5 installed (which offers over 200 sounds).

Really good freebie from big, "commercial" company :)

Download: Native Instruments Mikro Prism
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Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra

"Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra is a free (creative commons-licensed) orchestral sample library. While not as advanced or ambitious in scope as commercial offerings, SSO contains all the basic building blocks for creating real virtual orchestrations. It's primarily aimed at beginners, but also more experienced composers looking for something lightweight and/or portable might find it useful."

The SSO samples are stereo, 16 bit, 44kHz. Melodic instruments and chromatic percussion are sampled in minor 3rds. Staccato/pizzicato patches have 2x round-robin. All samples have varying amounts of stage ambience, depending on their front-to-back placement, but in addition to that a good hall reverb is a must."

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra is available in SFZ format are most probably is one and only free orchestral sample library :)



Download: Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra
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Asio4All - Universal ASIO Driver

I remember that 7-8 years ago, I had Sound Blaster Live soundcard. The main problem was latency because SB Live didn't support ASIO protocol (specified by Steinberg). Of course, the best choice would be to buy better Audio Interface but I didn't have enough errr resources :)

Luckily there were (and are :) ) amazing drivers available called - ASIO4ALL (Universal ASIO Driver). Performance (much lower latency) boost is really great so if you use an old sound card or you're on laptop (without some external USB Audio Interface) then Asio4All is a real saver.

Download: ASIO4ALL - Universal ASIO Driver
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Who sampled ?

Do you want to know who sampled who ? Who Sampled is the ultimate database of sampled music, remixes and cover songs. It contains over 92000 songs. Each entry shows the original track as well as sampled, so it's very easy to judge the amount of work required to create such remixed / sampled tune. Sometimes comparing can be very fun but on the other hand it can make some music fans pretty sad.

Very informative website.

More info: WhoSampled.com
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How to Stop Clipping but Maintain Richness in Dubstep tracks


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