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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

Farfisa Soundmaker demo



Built in 1979-81, the Soundmaker has Synth, String and Piano/Brass Sections. The Monophonic Synth section has 12 preset sounds (Tuba, Trombone, Trumpet, Sax, Clarinet, Oboe, Flute, Piccolo, Violin, Accordion, El Bass, El Guitar) and one Free patch which lets you use the controls to create your own sound. Basic controls for the filter, the one ADSR for the filter and/or the VCA, and the LFO are laid out plain and simple.

The Polyphonic Preset Synth section has Volume & Brightness controls for its four preset Piano type sounds (Piano, Electric Piano, Honkey Tonk, Brass).

The String section offers a fairly decent string sound with Volume, Brightness, Attack and Sustain controls for a choice of two preset strings (8" footage or 4" footage).

The Soundmaker is a bulky synth, weighing in at 27kg! Its keyboard may be split (at middle F only) and the Strings and Poly Synth sections play with the left hand and the Mono Synth plays with the right hand. The keyboard also has polyphonic aftertouch which can be used to control the Mono Synth Brilliance, OSC (vibrato), Synth Glide or Brass Brilliance. The String and Poly Synth sections can be switched to monophonic at the same time. The Farfisa is not the best String Machine you'll ever hear, but it is very rare and that alone gives these machines some serious vintage appeal. (via Vintage Synth)

It's really great that, thanks to YouTube, we're all able to watch some interesting performances, synth demos of some classic, pretty much forgotten stuff. (video found via Synthtopia)
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You Know 6 - affordable NI Kontakt 80s Polysynth

Just before Christmas, Hollow Sun released "You Know 6" - a homage to the famous 80s polysynth (guess, which one ;) ). It's a very affordable (currently during Christmas promotion it costs 2 UK pounds) NI Kontakt synth, which comes with 40 presets (467 mb zipped). Features ? "Firstly, it has a DETUNE control so that the waveforms can be detuned for a thicker sound that can rival the more serious two oscillator polysynths. It also has a multiwave LFO (compared with the original's triangle wave only), a 12/24dB/OCtave switch on the filter and perhaps, most importantly, has two ADSR envelopes, a vast improvement over the original's one envelope.

Not just that but we've sampled two banks of waveforms - one with the original's gorgeously crusty, analogue bucket brigade chorus in all its rich, stereo and swirly wondrousness but also the raw waveforms so that you have the best of both worlds. The chorused bank allows some truly massive sounds to be created, especially with the detune control.
"

Grab this Christmas bargain, if you want to. I couldn't resist :)

ps. Of course, this synth requires NI Kontakt (Full, not Player) min. 4.2.4.



More info: Hollow Sun | Hollow Sun - You Know 6
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I Love You - Free Spoken Word NI Kontakt Instrument



Interesting and free collection of 88 versions of "I Love You" in many different languages, just to spread a bit of love to your tracks! :)

Download: "I Love You" Project (direct link is available)
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Building Chords with Ableton Live









Few interesting tutorials about writing chords, melodies with Ableton Live's Chord and Scale Devices. Also you can learn how to create a custom rack with a selection of easy to play chords.
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Elektrostudio Model Mini - Virtual Synth

Another great virtual instrument, developed by Elektrostudio.
This time, it's Model Mini - mono synth inspired by a legendary Minimoog. The CPU usage is close to zero ;), and the sound quality, judging by people feedback, is amazing too. It doesn't sound worse than ie. commercial Minimoog emulations (such as Arturia stuff, for example). Great, hehe value :)

Download: Elektrostudio Model Mini
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The Dark Horse - Kawai 100f synth based Patch library



Affordable (currently 50 % off which means 3.99 UK pounds) sample library with Kawai 100F monosynth waveforms (saw, square, noise) multisampled, tape recorded and used as a basis for a set of 175 patches in NI Kontakt, EXS24, NN-XT formats.

I don't have this library but audio demo sounds very promising - hope it's a good bet ;) There are quite a lot of such (possible) gems available on Sampleism - community based Sample Libaries store.

More info: The Dark Horse
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Glitchmachines Spore - Free SFX Pack



Spore is a Free download of 50 royalty free sound effects by sound designer Ivo Ivanov.

This Nanopack features a collection of hyper-stylized sub bass impacts, massive cinematic drones, and eerie mutated atmospheres suitable for game, multimedia, or music projects in need of fresh audio assets with a modern, high tech aesthetic. Just like the previous pack - Cybernetics, the quality is great.

Download: Glitchmachines Spore - Free SFX Pack
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Tokyo Dawn Labs - Free Feedback Compressor Vst Effect

Tokyo Dawn Labs - Feedback Compressor is another interesting freebie with good feedback received from the community.
The author describes the plugin as: "carefully designed dynamic range compressor. The processor is dedicated to sum/bus compression and is the result of an intensive study about the musical behavior of the feed-back compressor topology. Most modern compressors analyze the input signal to control gain reduction. The feed-back compressor design however “listens” to its output. This non-intuitive approach delivers an unobtrusive and highly musical compression characteristic that is able to handle complex signals with ease.

These unique characteristics were combined with a minimalistic audio-path and state of the art digital signal processing techniques. The compressor is carefully tuned for intuitive and musical operation. We want to emphasize the fact that the processor neither tries to emulate any previously available device, nor does it follow popular trends like “virtual analogue”, “vintage” or similar buzz terms. This is a proud digital processor, made with an immense amount of love and care. Just listen for yourself! :)
"

Download: TDR Feedback Compressor
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How Basic Chords Work - Music Theory



Basic Major and Minor Chords explained in a simple way. Useful if you want to learn to play the piano :) Feel free to check other piano lessons if you're interested - especially Andrew Furmanczyk 40 free piano lessons are great way to learn playing the piano.
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Native Instruments Driver - free distortion and filter effect - Christmas gift

Another Christmas gift. This time it's from Native Instruments. The plugin is called Driver and it's a filter and distortion unit. They describe it as: "an inspiring creative tool from the creator of MASSIVE featuring the rare pairing of a high-quality filter with a punishing distortion unit. The smooth filter section delivers a wide range of effects, from ultra-subtle to incredibly rich, while two modulation sources produce dramatic textural shifts.

The distortion section is capable of everything from light saturation to complete sonic destruction.
".

DRIVER will be released as a $49 / 49 € Komplete effect early in 2013.

Download: Native Instruments Driver
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u-he Podolski synth - Christmas Freebie

u-he Podolski is a simple, CPU efficient, virtual analogue soft synthesizer.
Basically a cut down version of FilterscapeVA with just one oscillator, one filter, one envelope and two LFOs, it also features a Zebra-style arpeggiator/sequencer plus chorus and delay effects. Podolski's unique features are the Click parameter (emphasizes the filter attack) and its ability to seamlessly morph between three waveforms (WaveWarp).

This vst instrument brings over 300 presets on the table so it's worth checking out :)

Download: u-he Podolski
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Ableton Push - new controller for Live Audio Workstation



Just a preview of new controller for Ableton Live DAW called Push. To be honest, as Live user, I'm in love with this. It seems that I could make music with ... my fingers again, not with mouse. What's wrong with the mouse ? Hmm nothing but for some reason, I always feel much more inspired using ie. Akai Mpc or other synths, controllers that have physical knobs.

What differs Push from the other is the veeery deep connection with the DAW. This video shows that you can actually do anything in Live (ok, it's about beat making) without touching a mouse. You can set ie. quantisation, swing, and tons of other (all ?) parameters. Ooooh I like it ! :)
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KX-Polymod - free modular polyphonic synth



I guess the above demo made by the author of KX-Polymod speaks better than 1000 words. KX-Polymod is a analog modular polyphonic synthesizer suited best for 70's analog leads. If you ever tried any of KX77Free plugins you probably know what to expect (tons of knobs and that classic, vintage, analog flavour) :)

KX-Polymod includes 128, very nice, presets so it's pretty much ready to use in your own music productions.

Download: KX77Free - KX-PolyMod
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Christmas Deals

End of year is, as always, great opportunity to expand home studio. There are plenty of deals available - most of them are listed here. Since I'm a synth freak ;) I'll just write down the most interesting software synth deals.

Synths :
- Image-Line all plugins for 45 $
- AudioRealism - 30 % off all plugins and bundles
- FXpansion - Geist, DCAM Synth Squad, and Tremor for $99 each (instead 249 $)
- SonicProjects - Up to 40% discount on OP-X, OP-X PRO-II, Stringer
- SynapseAudio - ie. Dune for 99 $
- Wusik - Wusikstation V6 with 15 GB sound library for ... 9,99 $
- Linplug - 33 % off all plugins (ie. Albino, CrX 4, Octopus, MorphoX)
- KV331 Audio - Synthmaster synth 25 % off
- Dmitry Sches - Diversion for 89 $ instead of 169 $
- East West - 50 % off all (?) their plugins / libraries

What would I buy (if i didn't have some of these synths) ? hmm Wusikstation V6 for 9.99 $ is great deal, especially if you're on the budget and you don't have any Romplers in your arsenal. Sure, the presets are hit or miss but still 15 GB of presets is definitely worth 9.99 $.

Then I would buy Synthmaster - maybe the sale is not a huge one (25 % off) but it's the "best software instrument in 2012) by MusicRadar (which is pretty much a Computer Music magazine) and seriously, with testimonials coming from Armin Van Buuren or Martin Solveig you really can't go wrong :)

Some synths from Image-Line look tempting too. Harmor seems to be a great synth for all Dubstep, Wobbles / Robotic Voices lovers. Toxic Biohazard is a synth I personally love - 6 oscillators + FM matrix + a lot of oscillator waveforms = veeeery flexible synth. I remember that when I was designing pop / dance soundbank for it, I could quite easily replicate sounds from some popular artist such as Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Kesha, Nadia Ali, LFMAO, Pryda, David Guetta, Wynter Gordon and it was quick, without tweaking hundreds of knobs / sliders.

Personally, I'm tempted with Groove Machine, but at the moment, I don't know anything about it - need to find some reviews and demo it first :) Same applies to Morphine.

If you're into romplers, huge sample libraries then East West sale looks great too. FXpansion DCAM Synth Squad is very nice too - I own it and I really like Strobe - perfect for rough bass lines. But I don't use other DCAM synths, to be honest (probably because of CPU hit - my computer is quite old :) ).

Overall, spent your money wisely - it's very easy to become a virtual synths collector ;) (nothing wrong with it, I actually like it ;) ).
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Sound Magic - Piano One - Free piano

Sound Magic Piano One is a recorded Yamaha C7 concert grand piano. It does sound nice, it's free, it's available both for Mac OSX and 32-bit, 64-bit Windows.
Maybe the effects are not the best one, maybe the expression could be better but still it's pretty useful. I prefer a little bit more bright pianos so I like to add some EQ, and remove some undesired "muddy" frequences as well as some adding some reverb, delay, maybe even some compression, especially if I want some Pop, Dance hmm crap ;)

Below some quick example (with Ableton Live effects):



Download: Sound Magic - Piano One
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Dmitry Sches Diversion sale

In my opinion, Diversion software synth was the biggest surprise in 2011. It came out of nowhere and it didn't try to be another pure, old analog-like synth. Dmitry Sches - software developer from Minsk, Belarus put a lot of effort into creating pure digital synth. I remember that I tested demo version and I really liked what I saw.
The GUI was clean and the overall workflow was very nice. Diversion's sound was very clean, bright - reminded me Sylenth (but with much more sound design possibilities). I also loved Osc Morph windows and Main morph which quickly offered lots of variation to existing presets. Since then, few software updates appeared so I assume, the synth is even better now.

I'd buy it but since I bought NI Kontakt, during black friday sale, my "hobby budget" is over :) But it may be not a bad idea, for you, Vst Cafe readers :) - Diversion is currently on sale - instead of 169 $, it costs now 89 $ (excl. VAT).



More info: Dmitry Sches - Diversion

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Glitchmachines: Cybernetics - Free Nanopack



About 250 mb (which means 50 sounds) of free sound effects perfectly suitable for all kind of sci-fi, futuristic, robotic stuff. Very good quality. To download the file you need to add it to the cart (price: 0 $)

Download: Glitchmachines: Cybernetics - Free Nanopack
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Avicii Bromance Style Sweep / Uplifter Sound Tutorial



You can achieve similar effect to Avicii - Bromance sweep / uplifter sound in many ways. The above example is just ... an example. It uses certain (Vengeance) sample, it uses Ableton Impulse device, but to be honest it may be any sample, and no Impulse is required. But still, it learns the effect :) I remember that I used any synth with a simple square waveform selected, then some basic Ableton Live's effects such as Saturation (or overdrive), Delay, Reverb and it blended pretty well with standard noise uplifter sound.
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NI Massive - 128 Free Presets



Feel free to download, around 130 presets, selected from commercial soundbanks, designed by The Unfinished. There are basses, pads, soundscapes, sequences, noises and more...

Download: The Unfinished - Free NI Massive Presets
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Synth1 latest banks



Here are three latest banks (I hope so :) ) for Ichiro Toda Synth1 synth.
Analog Dreams contains 128 lead, bass, pad, key and FX presets - all sounding very analog and warm. Xenos Dubstep and DnB bank is a 36 presets freebie made by Xenos Soundworks. And last but not least - AZ bank with 109 patches available.

Download: TNK's Analog Dreams SoundBank (via KvR Audio) | Xenos Dubstep and DnB Soundbank | Synth1 AZ Bank
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End of World Sale by Image-Line.

Image-Line has announced End of World Sale. From now till end of the world (or December 31th 2012 :) ) a lot of products* cost ... 12 (Month) + 21 (Day) + 12 (Year) = 45 $

* This means: Sawer, Toxic Biohazard, Drumaxx, Sytrus, Sakura, Morphine, Harmor, Harmless, Maximus, Groove Machine, Direct Wave, Vocodex and few others :)

More info: Image-Line
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Everything is a Remix - two examples



Do you remember Everything Is a Remix documentary, about Hollywood's greatest talent - transforming old content into the new one ? These are two great examples from movie industry.



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Waveshaper Modulok - Free Percussive Sample Pack

I'm sure you remember WaveShaper - a one man company located in France and producing great and very affordable percussive samples recorded mainly from vintage analogue drum machines processed through tube amps, compressors, and various hardware units.

WaveShaper Modulok is totally free sample pack made using two semi-modular analogue synths, a couple of vintage synthesizers and a bunch of analogue FX all linked together in a modular fashion.

The goal is to bring out the character of the analogue sound (both smooth and wild, futuristic and retro, raw and advanced), in a big & versatile drumsample pack, suitable for all kind of music. Analogue but not cliché, this pack knows no boundaries. Enjoy !

The Modulok pack features more than 380 drumsamples.




Modulok samples layered underneath a processed 808 beat + the Brazilian congo groove samples.

Download: WaveShaper Modulok
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The Total Composure Orchestra - Free NI Kontakt Sample Library



The Total Composure Orchestra is a full orchestral sample library created using only samples that are in the public domain. There are over 1500 samples in this library totalling more than 1.5 GB. Most of the instruments only contain one set of samples per articulation, and some only have one recorded dynamic layer – this is one of the many limitations found with using public domain samples, but still thanks to Kontakt's scripting capabilities it's a great freebie.

Download: Total Composure Orchestra (via KvR)
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Studio in 1985 - footage from Queen's - One Vision



Thanks to YouTube, and Queen's footage from the recording of One Vision, we can teleport :) almost 30 years earlier (1985) and realise how music production looks different today. Queen was on top in 1985, so the studio was probably one of the best too. And what we can see ? Recording to tape, strings on Yamaha DX7, other hardware (ie. Jupiter 8), real Guitar, Percussion, Bass, Freddie's Voice.

It's pretty amazing to see such bands perfecting their art (and they had tons of fun) but at the same time, it's a little bit shame to see so many amazing tools we have now, yet music produced is quite often repetitive, uninspiring and simply boring.
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Commodore 64 - 30 multi-sampled instrument patches



Nice freebie for all 8-bit lovers, especially C64 (not Atari ;) ) - 30 multisampled instrument patches available as NI Kontakt library, SFZ files and Zampler, created by another nice music production blog - Bedroom Producers Blog and Rhytmic Robot.
The Commodore 64 Synthesizer Sessions Deluxe sample library contains 30 individual instrument patches. These patches cover a range of well known Commodore 64 era video game sounds, as well as some classic synth sounds which were recreated using the SID chip.

Our goal was to capture the true character of the SID chip, from its beautiful analog filter to the gritty digital oscillators. The 30 included patches are only a starting point, from which the users can further sculpt the sounds using the included SFZ, NKI and Zampler mappings.

Download: C64 Synthesizer Sessions Deluxe
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Create Evolving Percussion / Drum Loops in Ableton Live



There's always something new you can learn and this tip is really amazing. There are plenty of percussion, hi-hat, drum loops available everywhere. Using them unchanged is ... boring, chopping them is flexible but ... boring too ;)

By watching the above tutorial (created by Quantise Courses), you'll learn how to automatically create / generate "new" loops from the existing ones. I don't know what you'll think about it but personally, I think that the way "new" loops are created is very entertaining. Why ? Because you don't need to pay attention to the rhythm, you only need to focus on ... sound :)

All you have to do is to learn a little bit more about Live's Launch section...

Overall, it's one of the tutorials which really learnt me something :)
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Beat Zampler by Synapse Audio - free SFZ samples player

Beat Magazine and Synapse Audio (remember Dune ? No, not the movie / game ;) ) released (few months ago) free SFZ samples player called Zampler.
Of course, there are at least few other SFZ players available such as SFZ Sample Player, Camel Audio SFZ Player, Wusikstation Sampler can open SFZ files (as far as I remember) but Zampler just seems to be the best. Why ? First, GUI - it offers very similar style to Dune - it's clean and user friendly. Second - preset browser. I like it's simplicity, with just few clicks I'm able to create some new patches and save them as bank. Third - features. Zampler offers user friendly (again Dune) Mod Matrix, Arpeggiator, three LFOs, Filter, Amplitude / Filter Envelopes but what's most important, it brings quality effects on the table:
- Drive - 9 types
- Two EQ - 3 types per each EQ
- Phaser / Flanger / Chorus - 3 Phaser types, 2 Flanger, 2 Chorus
- Delay - 8 types (ie. simple, ping-pong)
- Reverb - 5 types (or maybe I should say more like a adjustable presets - Cathedral, Hall etc.)

I mean, I just like it. It's the first time I have enough of will :) to categorize my SFZ files, load them, adjust some effects and save them as FXP presets / FXB bank. If you're looking for good SFZ player - pick Zampler. It's available both for Mac OSX and PC.

Are there any good, free SFZ libraries available ?
- Sonatina Symphonic Orchesta
- Salamander Grand Piano
- Skerratt London Piano
- Beat Zampler Official Website libraries section
- The Poor Man Rock Drum Kit
- Ibanez Bass Guitar

Download: Zampler - Official Website
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The Biggest Drum in The World Documentary



50 minutes documentary about Wojtek Sówka, the musician and musical instruments constructor. He has built the biggest drum in the world - 12 meters long.
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g200kg Kamioooka - Full Modular Synth

Kamioooka is a full-modular synth with patch cable system developed by g200kg (known mainly from nice pitch correction "auto-tune" plugin called Kerovee). Kamiooka scored third place in KVR Developer Challenge 2012, which is the fourth free-for-all audio plug-in / audio application / soundware design event, where people vote and there are prizes, hand shakes etc ;)

First of all, it's very low CPU consumption plugin. It offers real (well it's modular :) ) flexibility. If you need to, you can choose ie. five voltage controlled oscillators, or few LFOs and connect everything with nice cables :) I would say that Kamiooka is a very interesting plugin especially for those who like program (modular) synths. If you're a preset player then there aren't many presets available. The factory bank contains only 38 patches (first 5-6 are more like a tutorial), but luckily you can extend it - there's an additional 30 patch bank available on official website.

I like it - would love to see some more presets available.



Download: G200kg - official website

ps. Welcome back :)
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