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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

Timo Maas - Cash Johnny Remix Competition

Just in case you need some interesting challenge in modern electronic genre :)

Timo Maas and Rockets & Ponies label have teamed up with SAE Institute, Native Instruments, AiAiAi and Soundcloud to launch this interesting remix competition.

Timo Maas - Cash Johnny (Original Mix) /// Rockets & Ponies 2011

This is a nice opportunity for any aspiring artist who want to up their productions skills at SAE Institute facilities, launch their career with a commercial release on Rockets & Ponies featuring along Alan Fitzpatrick and Christian Prommer and take home some prizes worth a total of nearly 6000 GBP! (ie. 6 Months Electronic Music Production course, NI Komplete 7, NI Maschine)

Like I said, If you need some challenge then this looks pretty nice :)

More info: Timo Maas - Cash Johnny Remix Competition
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Cakewalk Z3ta+ - 3 days special offer

Those who missed earlier promotion for Cakewalk Z3ta+ synth, now have their chance. Till 30th June this waveshaping synth is available for $19.99 / £14.99 / €19.99 instead of 99 $. Ok, maybe 99 $ was a little bit overpriced, after all it's pretty old synth but with this promotion it's a real bargain.

Plenty of additional soundbanks, both free and commercial, very nice sound quality with Oversampling x2 feature. I bought Z3ta+ during last promo and I'm satisfied.

More info: Cakewalk Store
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AlgoMusic String Synth - free VSTi

I must admit that audio demo created by Polish website 0db.pl convinced me to introduce AlgoMusic StringSynth - freebie inspired by classic, string synthesizers of the 70s made famous by ARP and Solina. There are 40 patches available.
The characteristic -ensemble- sound of those machines of old was not realised by adding expensive oscillators, but by using a (at the time) brand new and relative low cost technology: the BBD chip (Bucket Brigade Device), which was basicly a analog delay line


String Synthesizer demo by 0db.pl

Demo proves that you can use such classic instruments in many genres, not only retro stuff (for example Chillout, Ambient could use some of these sounds).

Download: AlgoMusic String Synth
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Yamaha Motif XF

Again some pure hardware inspiration coming from great Japanese musician (Musictrack.jp) - Katsunori Ujiie. This time it's Yamaha Motif XF. Even if I don't understand Japanese at all, it's still a great fun to watch Katsunori videos - the excitement and expression tells it all.

ps. You can turn the English subtitles on :)


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Commercial Electronica Soundbank for Cakewalk Z3ta+ released

Commercial Electronica is a soundbank available for Cakewalk Z3ta+ synth. The soundset contains 125 patches - around 35 bass sounds and 90 synth/lead sounds (and new waveforms). Presets are suited for Modern Pop, Electro House, Progressive House, Synthpop, Trance, Dubstep and virtually any other genre which can use some sort of a main lead/synth sound and synth bass sounds.

Took me about 3 months to complete it but of course it wasn't 8 hours per day, more like "evenings" :) Just like my previous soundbanks, the price is: donate as much as you want but but the minimum is set to 13 $. Thanks to these donations I am able to handle Vst Cafe bills as well as buy virtual synths I can make the soundbanks for. And of course beer and coffee ... ;) + it's just my big hobby

First audio demo shows synth / lead presets, second shows basses. Only Z3ta+ used, no external compressors or any other production tricks (ie. sidechaining). Note that this Soundcloud widget audio demo is automatically compressed to 128kbps and I can hear that somehow it went worse than usually. So check designasound.com for full quality demo and more detailed info (for example some installation steps are required).

Commercial Electronica - Synth Demos

Commercial Electronica - Bass Demos (drums are NOT from Z3ta+)

ps. If you like custom GUI on screenshot, you can download it here

More info: Commercial Electronica Soundbank for Cakewalk Z3ta+ 1.5.3
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Free 130 Drum and Bass Soundscape, pad samples

SampleRadar offer tons of samples but the truth is that, as usually, some sample packs are better, some are worse. Also, it really depends what you're looking for. There are drum loops, construction kits, bass loops (never use them), synth loops, one shot samples etc.




"130 free drum 'n' bass pad samples" pack contains ... 130 one-shot soundscape, pad, atmosphere samples. Each sound lasts for about 10 secs, there are some samples with slow attack, as well as fast. I'm not into Drum and Bass producing (but I like listen to it sometimes) but I actually like this sample pack. I think that these samples are much more universal and if you're into some soundscapes, pads, atmospheres, textures you should just download this freebie (about 400 mb size).

Download: SampleRadar: 130 free drum 'n' bass pad samples
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Native Instruments Dive Into Summer offer

Almost forgot about this promotion but it's still 4-5 days (until 30th June) left. Native Instruments Dive Into Summer special offer means 50 % off from software updates, upgrades and crossgrades. Hmmm, it seems to be a good offer for existing customers, for example NI Kontakt 1-3 users can upgrade their software for 64,50 EUR, or NI FM7 users can upgrade to FM8 for 34,50 EUR.

Good to see that companies care about existing customers too. Sure, I can imagine that supporting old products is painful but still it's a good deal for existing users. I remember that Ableton pissed off quite a lot of existing users because of giving their Max For Live software 50 % off but only for new Live customers - yea, I was mad too ;) At the end they offered 30 % off coupon for existing customers...

More info: Native Instruments Dive Into Summer Special Offer
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Roland Gaia SH-01

As you probably noticed, I love watching synthesizers reviews (is this some kind of synth porn ? ;) ), especially made by Japanese - Katsunori Ujiie. This time it's brand new synth - Roland Gaia SH-01.




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Ableton Live - maximizing viewable area on your screen

Just some nice keyboard shortcuts, introduced by DJ Vespers, which will help you to maximize viewable area in Ableton Live. Great, especially if you're using laptop.


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The scroo - freeware synth

The scroo is another nice freebie developed by Full Bucket Music. Just like previously introduced Blooo it's native C++ coded which means low CPU consumption and high polyphony (up to 32 voices). Scroo is based on a spectral formant synthesis architecture. It has two band-limited carrier oscillators, three fully independent formant generator sections, three formant generation modes + some more common stuff (envelopes, LFOs etc.)

Main strength is an ability to create nice pads, atmospheres etc. (just like in the beginning of the audio demo). Scroo doesn't offer effects such as reverb, delay so you need to use external (if you need too).



Download: Full Bucket Music - The scroo
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Everything is a Remix

"Everything is a Remix" is a great, three part documental video dedicated to remixing. And this "remixing" is not music only related - for example movie industry loves all kind of existing material. The biggest hits are sequels, adaptations of comic books, video games etc.
Just like author Kirby Ferguson states - "Transforming old into the new is Hollywood's greatest talent" :)
Remixing is a folk art but the techniques involved — collecting material, combining it, transforming it — are the same ones used at any level of creation. You could even say that everything is a remix.






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Dance Pop Tutorial - song in 7 days



How to make a Dance Pop (you know Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry etc.) song in 7 days ? Well, Dave from boyinaband.com surely knows how to do it. Using Propellerheads Reason 5 he created 7 day song and of course he shared this knowledge with us by uploading videos and writing quite of a lot of text :)

More info: Boy in a Band - 7 Days Dance Pop Tutorial
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Free Ableton Live Rack: Korg Monotron

I guess the video speaks for itself. Korg Monotron is a tiny, little analog synth with nice sound. But it's controlled not with keys, but a ribbon controller which can make Monotron quite difficult to play in pitch. AfroDjMac sampled it, racked up in Ableton and added some more flavour ;).



ps. Don't forget to check other freebies cos every week AfroDjMac releases new racks.

Download: AfroDjMac Korg Monotron Ableton Live Rack
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How To Make Lead and Bass Like Dash Berlin - Disarm Yourself

This video reproduces the lead and bass line used in hmm vocal trance tune: Dash Berlin - Disarm Yourself

Official Music Video


Tutorial


Soft Synth used: Lennar Digital Sylenth
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Ableton Live 8 Warping - The Right Way



Warping can be still a little bit tricky in Ableton Live 8. DubSpot has released, probably the best warping tutorial. As one comment states : where was this video 600 tracks ago ? :)
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The blooo - freeware instrument

Still trying to find some interesting virtual instruments :) The blooo is a two oscillators synth which follows classic subtractive synthesis architecture. Unlike tons of SynthEdit / SynthMaker (these are the frameworks that speed up the process of creating new plugins) plugins, it's written in native C++ code which means that author definitely knew what he is doing ;)

The blooo offers up to 32 voices polyphony (including portamento), two band-limited oscillators (with Ring modulation and hard sync) powered by four waveforms (sawtooth, pulse, sawpulse, sine) with shape control + noise generator. Two multi-mode four-pole filters with resonance and panorama control, 3x LFO and 3 ADSR envelopes with exponential slopes.

The blooo doesn't offer effects such as reverb, delay but I have my own theory about it :) If developer doesn't implement standard effects then he really needs to make sure that the dry sound sounds good. And the blooo sounds good - just listen to the audio demo created by the blooo's author (up to 16 instances of the blooo used ;) and external reverb, delay ).



Preset whores would love to see some more presets (only 45 presets) though ;)

Download: Full Bucket Music - The Blooo
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Yamaha FS1R synth

Another hardware synth demoed by Katsunori Ujiie - Yamaha FS1R. As always, demo is great :) If you want some more products review, make a request at http://musictrack.jp/request/



ps. Love that choir preset :)
In 1998, after several years without producing a single FM synthesizer, Yamaha released a new FM powerhouse...the FS1R. This little beast is far from your average FM synthesizer. Not only is it an eight-Operator variant, as opposed to the six- and four-Operator FM of the DX/TX lines, but it also features a new technology called Formant Shaping Synthesis. Formants are the spectral patterns making up the sounds of human speech. This allows for the creation of vocal like timbres but can also be applied in many different ways to create incredibly unique sounds that you won't find on any other synths.

The downside to the FS1R is the complexity of the user interface. With a tiny LCD screen and hundreds if not thousands of menus and sub-menus, editing from the front panel is tedious and nearly impossible. [...] The complexity of working with the synth is far outweighed by the amazing sounds that it's capable of. It truly sounds like nothing else out there. From huge evolving pads, to shimmering EPs, fantastic organs, screaming leads and booming basses.. this synth can sound industrial and cold one minute, and then warm and almost analogue the next. With some time dedicated to learning how to edit the patches, or create your own from scratch, there's really no sound that this synth isn't capable of making.

After an abysmal showing on the market, the FS1R was discontinued after only about one year. These days, more people have discovered what this synth is capable of and it has seen a resurgence in popularity and has reached an almost cult-like status. It is rare to find one for sale these days, and when you do, the prices seem to be climbing. [Vintage Synth]

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Ableton Live - Sidechaining with Autopan neat trick



Great trick to achieve Sidechaining effect using just Autopan effect. What's the point ? First of all, you can't freeze (which means saving CPU) the track which has Sidechain Compressor active. Second, "Autopan Sidechain", if saved as Default Autopan effect is probably few times faster than setting up a sidechain.

Personally, I see this as "quick preview" effect which almost instantly can be added to every channel.
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243 Free Vinyl Samples

Despite the fact that our computers enable us to produce music that sounds crystal clear, the crackle and hiss of old vinyl is still much in demand by many producers. 243 Free Vinyl Sample Library originally appeared on Computer Music magazine's cover DVD and introduces vinyl-style samples which means crackle, drum hits, drum loops, hits and skipped stuff. 106 megabytes of zipped material.

Download: MusicRadar.com - 243 Free Vinyl-style Samples
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The Akaizer Project

Akaizer is a freeware application for Windows / Mac OS X / Linux which can time stretch and/or pitch shift any WAVE or AIFF sound file in the style of the 'cyclic' time stretch, which featured on old Akai sound samplers, like the S950 / S1000 / S2000 / S3000 series.

This is ideal for DAW-based music producers who want that classic metallic-sounding effect, as used in many old school Hardcore / Jungle / Speed Garage tunes from the 1990s, without the need for an actual Akai sampler.

Hmm sounds nice for Akai samplers lovers :)

Download: The Akaizer Project
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Interesting Vst Mashup Effect

Normally, I don't write too often about commercial stuff but I like when developers create something creative, innovative and such job was achieved by Quik Quak and their Mash Tactic Vst Effect.
MashTactic was initially designed as a mashup tool. It can separate different parts of a full mix, manipulating different frequencies and stereo location. Up to eight zones can be created that can then be panned, emphasised or cut out completely. It can be viewed as an eight band filter that exists in stereo ranges as well as frequency.
Transients of varying length can be separated from constant sounds, which allows the user to manipulate the initial punch of percussion, either by emphasising or softening the attack, this can be done separately in any of the eight zones.
Ok, enough of bla, bla ;) Just watch the video and decide whether the plugin "is there" or not :)



More info: Quik Quak MashTactic
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Cakewalk Z3ta+ 1.5.3 Old Soundbanks Fixed

There are plenty of free soundbanks available for Cakewalk Z3ta+ Synth. Unfortunately most are very old and were created for earlier Z3ta version. As a result, such soundbanks loaded into (current) 1.5.3 version sound horrible loFi (because of default quality settings set to the lowest). But there is a cure - community :) RetroHead spent some time and fixed these old soundbanks so they load in current Z3ta version, with high quality settings.

The following banks were fixed:
- 10Trance bank
- 50 ARPED SOUNDS By MfLI
- Bruce Rainier Cat9-1 Pads
- CCpurnos Dual Reality
- default_v13
- EddoGQ MoreQuality
- HaraldKarla_Cat1
- Kire_Fat Analog
- Kire_Trancemania
- KvR Collab 1
- KvR Collab 2
- Llunasol32
- Matt Baka Disco Treats
- Power-Supply
- PSchelf Vintage and Dance
- Simesf Zeta Bank
- Speed 16Soundbank
- Speed NextLevel
- Trancebank

Download: 1-2-Many Cakewalk Z3ta+ 1.5.3 Fixed Soundbanks (scroll to the bottom of page)
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Parallel Compression Tutorial - Ableton Live

Parallel compression, also known as New York compression, is a dynamic range compression technique used in sound recording and mixing. Parallel compression, a form of upward compression, is achieved by mixing an unprocessed 'dry', or lightly compressed signal with a heavily compressed version of the same signal. Rather than bringing down the highest peaks for the purpose of dynamic range reduction, it reduces the dynamic range by bringing up the softest sounds, adding audible detail.[1] It is most often used on stereo percussion buses in recording and mixdown, on electric bass, and on vocals in recording mixes and live concert mixes [via wikipedia]




Good video tutorial which explains parallel compression pretty nice.
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Making of 'Fatboy Slim - Gangster Trippin' in Ableton Live

I must admit that I kinda like such videos where somebody recreates some well known tune (this time it's Fatboy Slim - Gangster Trippin). It just shows the power of currently used DAW applications (and the power of sampling too, of course). 20-30 years ago you would have to bring tons of hardware (which definitely has some benefits - ie. it's inspiring to tweak real, hardware knobs, sliders etc.) and probably you would end up in the big studio. Now everything is packed in small laptop...


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The Warmest Moog Voyager



;)
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Ableton 101: The most Ableton Live tips video

Just like topic states - the most Ableton Live tips (there are 98 tips) packed in one video.


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D16 Effects Plugins Group Buy - last chance


Last days (offer is valid till 15th June) of Group Buy offer announced by D16 Group - a very solid plugin developer from Poland. How does it work ?
Purchase any plug-in from the SilverLine Collection to join the Group Buy promotion. The Group Buy counter will increase each time any customer purchases a SilverLine plug-in. When the number of participants reaches the next level, you will be able to get the SilverLine effect of your choice for free!

Each plugin from SilverLine Collection costs 39 EUR. There are: chorus unit, reverb unit, phaser unit, bit-crusher unit, distortion and multiband distortion unit.

Currently there are 778 participants which means that there are four (!) additional plugins free. So it's pretty much 5 plugins for 39 EUR.

A lot of producers use D16 plugins, especially Devastor - multiband Distortion unit seems to be a good deal. My budget is very tight at the moment but this deal is so damn tempting :)

More info: D16 Group - Group Buy
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Cheap Behringer real electric guitar Soundfont



Well, it's cheap Behringer electric guitar recorded and made into Sounfont (SF2) file. It's free, public domain, size is 19.5 MB.
It's not a great thing by itself, and there are some slightly detuned samples, but all in all, it works great for me. Or, at least, when I use VSTs of [u]virtual amps[/u], I get a better sound with this SF2 than with other ones I've got on the web; I suppose it's the tone of it, very muddy and cheap and gritty and real. No velocity mapping, because I'm lazy.

Download: Behringer Electric Guitar Soundfont
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V-DJM - Virtual DJ Mixer Plugin

Maffialife V-DJM 2ch is a virtual 2 channel mixer that reproduces key features of dj mixers in any DAW (it was designed to be use specifically for Ableton Live). V-DJM reproduces the "touch" of real mixers. Sliders and knobs reproduce the typical dj mixers eq bend and volumes and this can make your mixes sound more natural.
There are four typical DJ effects such as delay, filter, sweep, Reverb. Equalizer offers full kill which means that it can completely remove a certain bandwidth of sound from a song, or if you set three bands (low, mid, high) to minimum then you can enjoy the silence ;) There is a Master / Cue knob, host Bpm and two mic inputs.

All controls of V-DJM can be midi-mapped and automated. Overall, I like the idea of classic mixing in Ableton Live (or any other DAW) :) The plugin is free but not for commercial use.



Download: Maffialife V-DJM 2ch
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