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15 interesting synths

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Sylenth EDM Soundset

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Tons of presets that will bring a new life to the Novation V-Station synth Visit

Cakewalk Z3ta+ 2 presets

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Free String Machine vsts

Freeware String Machine plugins Read more

Charlatan – free VA soft synth

Charlatan is a free, virtual analogue software synthesizer. At first, it looks like a perfect synth for those who want to learn basic subtractive synthesis – clean GUI, not overcrowded with knobs, sliders. But there’s more – it’s actually a tiny, little beast well coded (C++), low CPU consumption, very “smooth” controls ie. glide. All in all, it deserves to be mentioned 🙂

Feature Summary

* 2 oscillators with triangle, sawtooth, rectangle and noise waveforms
* oscillator pulse-width modulation (PWM) and slew rate modulation (morphing between triangle and sawtooth)
* oscillator hard synchronization and ring modulation
* 2 ADSR envelope generators
* 1 LFO
* 3 filter types emulating nonlinear characteristics of classic hardware: 4-pole (24 db/oct) and 2-pole (12 db/oct) lowpass, bandpass
* 3 voice modes: Monophonic with retriggering, Monophonic Legato and 8-voice Polyphonic
* low CPU usage
* 100% coded in C++
* native 64-bit support

Audio demo:
Solidtrax – Charlatan 21 by Solidtrax

Download: Charlatan VSTi – VA Synth

Phuturetone Phutura – Free 8 Voices Polyphonic Virtual Synthesizer

Phuturetone Phutura is a free, 8 voices, virtual polyphonic synthesizer inspired (quick note: inspiration != emulation 🙂 ) by 80’s hardware synth Alpha Juno, best known for the Hoover sound. It’s a pretty simple synth, with clean GUI and low CPU consumption. Factory bank contains 80 sounds. The video below quickly shows some of best features (ie. watch the first minute). I kinda like this synth and I think that it deserves to be on Vst Cafe.

Download: Phuturetone Phutura

Synth1 is available on Mac

I know that quite often Mac Osx users complain about small amount of freeware plugins available for Mac (at least compared to PC) but this info should, I believe, make them happy 🙂
Synth1 – legendary and free virtual synth with more than … 9000 presets is now available on Mac platform too. Note that it’s a beta version, so it may introduce some bugs but still, I think that is a great news. Some soundbanks are really tasty. My personal favourite is Gecko soundbank which offers some old 80s leads 🙂

Download: Synth 1 Beta for Mac

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

Martin Lüders Pg8x VSTi – JX-8P inspired synth

PG8X is the latest freebie inspired by Roland JX-8P analog synth. The author – Martin Lüders used SynthEdit software as a framework (GUI etc.) but the modules are custom written (C++/Assembler).
I don’t have JX-8P so I’m not going to compare it vs PG8X but the official topic on KvR Audio forum has almost 30 pages and is full of people who had JX-8P and their comments are mostly very positive.

Audio Demo by KvR Audio member Shiffbauer

Download: Martin Lüders Pg8x

Togu Audio Line NoiseMaker

It’s time for a latest soft synth released by Patrick Kunz (Togu Audio Line): NoiseMaker. It’s an improved version of previously released TAL-Elek7ro and, according to official notes, has a completely new synth engine and a lot of improvements in sound and usability. There are 2 Oscillators + one sub oscillator. The synth also includes a small effect section with a reverb, chorus and a simple bit crusher effect. There are 128 factory presets included. Ahh and the name can be confusing a little bit. NoiseMaker is capable of producing much more sounds than just noise ;D

Audio Demo by Cubensick & uiiuiiu – Sick of this noise

ps. Just like most TAL plugins, NoiseMaker is available both for PC and MAC and is low CPU hungry. Good freebie.

Download: TAL-NoiseMaker

Novation V-Station Synth

Novation V-Station is a VST Instrument with the same real 3-oscillator flexibility as the award winning, hardware K-Station, with awesome liquid analog filters, 8-voice polyphony, FM Synthesis, FX and the kind of phatt sounds similar to all Novation synths. Amazingly, after 6 years it’s still the truth 🙂 Getting the best from the new V-Station is easy. All the primary sound-shaping controls are there on the main screen – clear, concise and refreshingly simple. Recall a named factory preset, tweak it to get ‘your sound’ and instantly save it in any of the 400 program locations. Need more? Just click and you’ll find additional functions and controls on the other three screens.

Novation V-Station is written very well, code is highly optimized . With current computers, you can run a lot of instances and you won’t kill your CPU. Also, all users of Novation Automap controllers should be very happy. V-Station fits there very well, mainly because of the natural values that each knob has. For example that values for Oscillator waves are: Sine, Square, Saw, Triangle… not like in most plugins just 1, 2, 3, 4 (or even 1.345, 2.534, 3.654 – some SynthEdit made plugins). Well, if you don’t use Novation Controllers it won’t matter, but if do (for example I use Remote Zero SL with nice leds), you’ll really benefit from such natural values.

Novation states that you can load sysex preset files from Novation K-Station and A-Station but to be honest there are some problems. For example, Oscillators are always set to sine wave. Another thing is just 8-voice polyphone. While it’s enough for Leads, Basses, FXs, Arps, it can be not enough for Pads. But still you can ie. sample your pad and then you’ll have more polyphony. Don’t forget that this synth was released at the beginning of 2003. Six years ago, 8-voice polyphony was enough.

I know that there are many dealers selling V-Station. But the problem is that in some countries prices hasn’t changed for years (and remember that at the beginning, the V-Station price was set to 150 pounds !). But thanks to ebay, you can find some better deals :). For example, I bought V-Station (for a friend) from Inta Audio (registered UK company) just for 25 pounds (+ shipping). With RoyalMail, it took about hmm 5 days to deliver it to Poland. But remember, it’s an Ebay – use your brain to calculate risk 🙂

It’s worth noting that after six years there are tons of presets – free (the second example) and commercials too (first example created by vengeance-sound quite a loong time ago 😉 – it’s 128 kBit mp3 quality so not the best one).

Some would laugh 🙂 but Novation V-Station reminds me … LennarDigital Sylenth (or vice versa 🙂 ). Why ? There’s the same simplicity, GUI is not overcrowded. Some would even call those synths simple, especially compared to for example U-he Zebra2. But there’s one thing – amazing sound quality. Yes, still after 6 years, V-Station has an amazing sound quality. When I bought Novation Remote Zero SL controller (5 months ago) and mapped all V-Station knobs I had a feeling like I use a hardware synth.

More info: www.novationmusic.com

PRICE: 25 pounds + shipping (via Ebay or via www.dv247.com)

TAL-Elek7ro Synth

I admit, quite often I introduce some vst plugins that are good but also pretty old. So, here’s something brand new released today (or yesterday ?) – Togu Audio Line Elek7ro. It’s a virtual analog synth with 2 Oscillators + Sub Oscillator and some special features like oscillator hardsync and frequncy modulation. Synth contains 40 patches – mostly bass and some fx.

In my opinion, Togu Audio Line Elek7ro is a nice softsynth, suited mostly for bass sounds. Ahh, and there’s nice manual too 🙂

ps. click on thumbnail – screenshot contains new bass preset created in 5 minutes by me 😉

Download: TAL-Elek7ro

EFM Micro Modular 1.0 Free Synth

EFM (Electronic For Music) Micro Modular 1.0 is free synth capable of creating some nice analogue type sounds. There are 4 Oscillators, 3 Envelopes, 1 Filter, Arp, Pan control, Chorus and Delay. If you have problems with understanding (in other synths) the whole Modulation Matrix concept then EFM Micro Modular is for you. It’s main feature is well designed, easy to learn, modulation matrix.

To be honest, every part of synth is well designed. I like the GUI a lot – it’s very intuitive and very clean. Micro Modular has almost 60 patches. It’s not a monster synth but it’s very CPU friendly. You can easily chain few instances of it, into one synth for example, and then you can do some big, analogue sounds.

Official website no longer exists so EFM Micro Modular is pretty rare gem worth downloading.

ps. I just want to let people know that if you have suggestions, comments, experience problems, or would even like to make a special request, or recommend some plugins please post them in the comments section. I will respond to them and do the best I can to answer or solve things.

Download: EFM Micro Modular 1.0

Fuzzpilz Oatmeal VSTi

There are at least few vst instruments, always mentioned all over the world in all kind of “best free vsti” forum threads. Fuzzpilz Oatmeal synth is one of them. It’s a simple two-oscillator subtractive synthesizer – an author even called it mediocre hehe. But it’s far from the truth. Actually, Oatmeal is pretty unique and definitely one of the most versatile and best sounding freeware softsynth available. For example, one of the best features is an ability to draw your own waveform shape and use it in Oscillator !

I agree, default GUI is awful 🙂 but over time, Fuzzpilz Oatmeal grew a lot and now the whole zip package contains a lot of great skins (you can see the example by clicking on thumbnail) and huge amount of soundbanks (40 – 50 ?). It’s quite low CPU intensive so you can easily layer 2-3 instances of it and make some huge sounds.

Very good plug-in (with enourmous presets collection) that in current state could be even a payware – but fortunately it’s not 🙂

Audio Demo: Oat11meal – BrainOvulation

Download: Fuzzpilz Oatmeal