Z3TA+ 2 is now available on Mac - and stacks up nicely against other modern synths, especially at US$99.  Go invent a replacement for dubstep (brostep?) with it, if you like.

Z3TA+ 2: With Mac Release, QuNeo Live Control, a Classic Soft Synth Gets New Life

Even in 2012, one of the great wonders of computers is, they sure make some damned awesome synthesizers. Z3TA+ 2, around for about a decade, is one of the soft synths you might fairly call a “classic.” (Not just in a press release, either – I’ll defend that moniker.) You’ve probably heard it used in productions. But unlike a sought-after piece of hardware, you can make it your own for a hundred bucks. But what makes Z3TA+ 2 “news”? How about the combination, seen recently on Synthtopia, with the QuNeo controller? Here, all of those timbral parameters become touchable, aided …

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Rock Zebra2 Like Hans Zimmer: Dark Zebra Pairs Soft Instrument, Dark Knight Sounds [Video, Screens]

A shadow was unquestionably cast across the film by tragic events last week in Colorado. But while it became an unexpected stage for terrible events, The Dark Knight Rises itself is also a cultural object from artists we care about, and as musicians and sound designers, we value every chance to express ourselves. Composer Hans Zimmer and synth sound designer Howard Scarr are today releasing some of their work in a unique piece of software. It’s simultaneously a work of engineering – one of the most sophisticated software instruments available, Zebra2, and sound designs for that tool – and a …

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Circuit-Modeled Dynamics, Plus One Free Plug-in, From FXpansion

Quietly, FXpansion have been making some well-loved, circuit-modeling instruments in the DCAM series. They may not be a household name, but just ask around artists – producers I know consistently bring up the DCAM name and just talk about it sounding damned good. Now, DCAM turns to processing and not just synths. DCAM Dynamics is a suite of plug-ins, each based on models of analog circuitry. There’s a good range of stuff here, covering the gamut from fine-tune adjustments to more creative applications, and I’m eager to try them. Best of all, the freebie here isn’t just a cut-down throwaway, …

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Audulus is Simple, Elegant Mac Modular App for $15, Now With Plugin Support

Audulus Briefing from Taylor Holliday on Vimeo. In a physical studio – heck, even with some guitar stompboxes – it’s customary to get the rig you want by connecting different modules. So, it makes absolute sense that software might work this way, too. But many popular modular options, while insanely powerful, can overwhelm simple tasks. Audulus, by contrast, may be an accessible tool for users. It doesn’t do everything – I’d like to see more sequencers and such, please – but it does have a nice collection of useful utilities. The basic idea: hook up some modules graphically, and process …

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Cloud in a DAW: Free Plug-in Lets You Browse, Drag-and-Drop to and from SoundCloud

From iPads to desktop, apps have been adding SoundCloud integration. But this plug-in goes one better: you can navigate SoundCloud from an in-DAW browser, then drag and drop sounds to hosts like Ableton Live. (You can upload, too, also via drag-and-drop.) The plug-in is free for native hosts on Mac and Windows. One major criticism: without the ability to see SoundCloud’s licensing terms, you can’t be sure if the samples you’re grabbing are something someone wants you to use. Unless I’m missing something, it’d be great to have Creative Commons search support – indeed, it’d help people who do want …

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iZotope Iris: Paint with Spectra, Make a Real-Time Synth [Videos, Gallery]

Imagine working with sound design by painting with spectra, then applying those spectra to instruments you can play in real-time, and you’ve got the basic notion of iZotope Iris. The dream of combining graphics tools, a la Photoshop, with sonic ones has been in the minds of creative computer users for some time. Iris is a major landmark, though: instead of just being an editing tool, it turns sonic selection into something you can use in a synth. It lets you do your creative sound editing, but then play those sounds live, transforming the technique into an instrument. In fact, …

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Useful Music Tools, Built with Max 6, Released on the Mac App Store: Downloads, Developer Info

Make it with Max, sell it here. Photo: CDM. (and yes, this is now the desktop, not the mobile, App Store!) If you’re a Mac user, we’ve got some cheap and free tools for you. And if you’re a Max patcher, you may be surprised with how they were built: they were all exported from Max 6. This week, we welcome a guest writer developer Dan Nigrin. Amidst some new controversy about Apple and app distribution, here Dan looks at how Apple’s marketplace can indeed be useful to developers using Max 6, the popular graphical patching tool. (Incidentally, the libpd …

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Ozone 5 Arrives: More Visual, Space Age UI, and Updated DSP in Mastering Tool

Let’s get straight to it: Ozone has already established itself as a do-everything mastering tool. It’s a suite of interconnected modules handling frequency and dynamics, designed to work together in an integrated interface. It does so much, in fact, that it’s hard for an upgrade to do more, but Ozone 5 promises new sound and visual feedback that could further entrench this popular tool. And that could explain how Ozone 5 stole the Audio Engineering Society trade show in New York. AES is a flurry of knobs, dials, and faders, but some of the major buzz we heard was just …

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Celemony Unveils New Plug-in Tech That Goes Beyond Audio Signal and Control

Integrated Melodyne pitch correction in PreSonus’ Studio One is made more interesting by the technology behind it. Celemony this week describes a new technology they call ARA, or “Audio Random Access.” The notion is this: rather than just receiving or generating audio signal, the plug-in gets access to audio data. That means you can actually write a plug-in that rewrites the audio content in a recorded DAW track, as Melodyne does in Studio One. As developer Celemony describes it, “ARA opens an additional channel of communication through which the DAW and plug-in can exchange information about the audio file, tempo, …

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Omnisphere Review for Keyboard: Amidst Gigs of Sounds, Real Creative Sound Design, Too; Videos

I took a look at Omnisphere 1.5, the synth so big it’ll make your head hurt, for Keyboard in a story out now (and readable now). As I begin the story: Seeing its six DVDs of sound content, you might be tempted to duct-tape a key down and let Omnisphere finish your film scoring gig. While the director would probably love the results, you’d be missing out on the real fun. In other words, what I discovered in that review was that Omnisphere, particularly with additions in the new 1.5 update, is a powerful creative sound design tool, not just …

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