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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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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podolski

Podolski is a Free, Full-Featured Virtual Analog Synth Plug-in from Urs Heckmann [Mac, PC]

Any instrument from software maestro Urs Heckmann seems worth a mention. This one, doubly so: it’s free. Podolski isn’t new; it has made appearances through the years in the excellent German-language magazine KEYBOARDS (no relation to the US Keyboard). But now, it’s available for everyone, with some nice updates and modernization and versions for just about any Mac or Windows host (or Linux, via WINE). Now, even if we’re talking only free plug-ins, there are a lot of virtual analog synths out there. But this one is special: it’s got the great sound of FilterscapeVA, and waveform morphing and short …

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hadron

Grains as Instrument: Free and Open Source Hadron Synth, Now VST, AU Plug-in [Videos]

Synthesizers can sometimes seem stuck in a groove, an endless, repeating parade of identical virtual analog synths. If you want something different, the Hadron Particle Synthesizer could fit the bill. It’s a synth. It’s a sampler. It’s an effect. It’s a synth that can morph from synth to sampler to effect. Based on granular synthesis, sound is transformed into new sonorities, sometimes liquid, sometimes stuttering, layered here for even more complex sounds. Earlier versions ran in the sophisticated, evergreen sound-coding tool Csound, and in Max for Live. But if you felt left out, a new version now works as a …

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mixconsole

Cubase 7 Brings Mixing, Harmonic Chord-by-Chord Features to Steinberg’s DAW [Preview]

It must be the season of the DAW. After a bit of a quiet spell, we have DP8 (and moving in on Windows turf), SONAR X2 (announced at about the same time), and Live 9 all coming into relief. And now, it’s Steinberg’s Cubase 7. The surprise: these audio tools that seem to do everything keep finding more things to do. Generally speaking, you have to twist yourself into a pretzel to describe all those “it does this new stuff” features. That’s okay – developers and users alike built a list of stuff they want, and getting it, under-the-Christmas-style in …

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The feature that's driving some Ableton users batty, as seen in Bitwig Studio. Image courtesy Bitwig.

Bitwig Reveals VST Support – And It’s Actually Really Interesting [Video]

Breaking into the DAW and production market isn’t easy to do. Bitwig Studio has been criticized by some – including this author, in a couple of instances – for not differentiating itself in particular from rival Ableton Live. But in the latest beta video, we start to see something genuinely new in how VST plug-ins load in the host. Previous betas of Bitwig Studio lacked VST support, and it’s been a bit too early to really evaluate them. In this new build, though, we not only get the ability to load VSTs, but a way of treating them that isn’t …

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MOTU's revamped interface now comes with themes, like this lovely black version. And it runs on Windows, not just Mac. DP8, SONAR X2 each tune these mature DAWs; here's a look at what they have to offer. Image courtesy MOTU.

Two DAWs Ship: SONAR X2, MOTU DP8 – As DP8 Invades Windows, Too

Two DAWs, announced earlier this year, are now shipping this week. One is Cakewalk’s SONAR X2 for Windows, which extends the new user interface overhaul – loved by some, despised by others – unveiled in X1. But PC stalwart Cakewalk has new competition on the Windows platform. MOTU’s DP8, apart from being a fairly significant overhaul for Mac users, also marks the arrival of that DAW on Windows. The timing is interesting, too, as there have been long gaps in the release cycle for two other DAWs – Apple Logic and Ableton Live – that are widely expected to be …

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Switches and things you may or may not recognize... but, you know, don't worry, not only are there hundreds of presets, but randomly switching presets is a lot of fun.

Sonic Charge Permut8: All Your Lo-Fi Digital Mangling Effects in One Place

Permut8 is the kind of thing that inspires the dreams of people who love digitally-manipulated sound. From legendary Swedish developer Magnus Lindström (Malström in Reason, MicroTonic), it’s a digital delay gone very, very mad. Think delays, flangers, bit crushing, beat repeating, and “circuit-bent” digital insanity. The core of the idea is a 12-bit digital delay with variable sample rate, all controlled by a programmable processor. That lets you do things you … shouldn’t. Various digital operators let you mangle and manipulate sounds, for effects that can be sonorous and beautiful or clangy or hideously-distorted, subtle or extreme, or any combination. …

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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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TDZ_1

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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