Cableguys Will Modulate Everything – Now Get a Free, Powerful Pan-Shaping Plug-in

They’ll modulate you when you’re at the breakfast table / They’ll modulate you when you are young and able / But I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get … modulated. Wow, that didn’t work at all. (Apologies,

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From the Woods of Germany, Beyond, Sonic Creatures in Mouse on Mars-Recommended Netlabel [Free]

According to legend, on Christmas Eve animals magically gain the ability to speak. If there’s a similar date for sound-making machines, it may have coincided with the work on the latest of two releases from a Mouse on Mars-curated netlabel. Mouse on Mars have quietly started “Recommended Records” as an online-only outlet of free, full-length downloads. Based on the debut offerings in December and January, you can expend electronic outings full of sonic invention, experimental but always full of forward motion and kinetic energy. Ironically, they’re immune to what deef, in RR01, dubs his first track – “boring ass oldschoolness.” …

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nanopadsequencer

Giant Steps for Step Sequencing: Two Free Ableton Sequencers, with a Twist

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of physical control of a step sequencer for immediate, musical results. But you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much more you can do with the concept. Think again. New step sequencers demonstrate how to get more with less, using clever tricks to maximize the musical variations you can get with just a few pads. They’re each free, and they’re each from Ableton Live, coming to us from our friends Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale, the obscenely-prolific musical inventor in Australia, and Matt Black (UK, of Ninja Tune / Coldcut fame) working with Ableton guru …

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plugwire

Windows VSTs on the Mac? Yes, We Can [Plugwire, Tutorial Link]

Windows PCs are from Mars, Macs are from Venus, Windows VST plug-ins won’t ever run on the Mac — wait, not so fast. Ornament Uncle writes with a solution for running Windows VSTs on the Mac as if they were native plug-ins. The tutorial describes a fairly meticulous process – if you’re expecting this to be plug and play, don’t. You’ll want to read the steps thoroughly, and results may vary on different OS versions or with different plug-ins. (I feel obligated to say that as, even with free solutions, we sometimes hear readers complain when things don’t work easily …

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From a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, Endless Synthy Sonic Variations: Free Ableton Pack

At this time of year, we come together, hearts aglow, and celebrate the simple pleasure of how much fun field recording and sampling can be in sound design. Or something like that. If you want a broader or more religious message, I’m sure you’ll find no shortage elsewhere. Having successfully weathered Armageddon (whew!), our friend AfroDJMac is back with a set of Ableton Live synths sampled from a Charlie Brown Christmas tree snowglobe. And as in the classic television Charlie Brown show, a single branch becomes a lush, full tree with some love. No, really: this is a perfect demonstration …

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A bare-bones UI belies a powerful engine - and a tool that could finally jump-start sound designers embracing an open format. Proprietary lock-in, no more.

Software Instruments, Freed From Sampler Formats: SFZ, Free Sounds, Free Sample Player

“Free As In Free Me From Proprietary Formats.” If you’re ready to explore sounds – as a novice sampler user or as an advanced sound developer – SFZ brings tidings of great joy. When they move from defining mere sounds or samples to describing whole instruments, sound designers need file formats. The problem has been that those formats tend to be particular to one sampler or another – just Kontakt, or just Logic’s EXS24, or just Gigastudio. Yes, there are converters, but because these samplers have different capabilities, converters cause problems. Being able to create instruments for these samplers is …

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minimoog-v

Get Arturia minimoog-V, Free, Today Only [CET]

If you love that original Minimoog sound, but you’ve run out of space in your flat and money for used bank accounts and don’t like the notion of maintaining pots and oscillators and lifting heavy vintage gear, the Arturia minimoog-V remains a lovely, economical, liftable alternative. It’s the one software plug-in to receive the endorsement of the Moog Music company. (Bob Moog himself got involved when the software was developed.) And for one day, it’s completely free. You’ll want to grab it right away – that day, today June 21, ends when it does as the clock strikes midnight in …

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mikroprism

NI Gives Away Version of One of the Best Reaktor Instruments, Free: Mikro Prism

Here’s an early Christmas present for Mac and Windows synth lovers: Native Instruments is giving away a simplified version of its Prism instrument for Reaktor as a free (as in beer), self-contained synth. You’ll get access to Prism’s lovely “modal bank” synthesis method, which creates some unusual, shimmering timbres. (In fact, having a simpler version may be the best way to get a taste of what Prism’s deep sound engine can do.) You also get 70 sound, including what NI describes as “seasonal” bells and chimes – perfect for any last-minute holiday music projects – plus bass, more bells, keys, …

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Free Nodal Generative Sequencer: Now on Windows, Too; Live Improvisation Video

Sequencers by definition traditionally lock musical patterns into repetitive, unchanging blocks of time. But a new generation of generative sequencers can instead form organic patterns that change and transform. Nodal is a totally free-as-in-beer (closed-source) sequencer for composing music. (A license is needed for commercial use.) As the name implies, it uses a matrix of nodes to represent musical structure. The best way to understand what that means exactly is to check out the examples and give the app a shot, but is good fun – and capable of creating some lovely, unusual musical textures. The good news now is …

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Torrent a Live Pack for the Weekend; Could Donationware Work?

An unfortunately-worded tip jar at the Hanoi Airport. Photo: theloneconspirator. Here’s a different take on soundware business models: offer your stuff for free, then depend on donations. That’s the tack at Togeo Studios, who have an impressive collection of packs. Wave Attack I, for instance, includes single-cycle waveforms with arpeggiated sequences and leads. Their work is available on BitTorrent, too, which could help defray bandwidth costs. (Well, single-cycle waveforms don’t take up much, but perhaps larger packs might.) I have to admit, I’m skeptical of the donationware model. The issue is, it seems like a lot of folks just aren’t …

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