FireBird 2, “Harmonic Content Morphing” Synth Plug-in, Now Free [Windows]

With so many choices, some beautiful software synths simply fall through the cracks – or fail to keep up with tastes and attentions. TONE2, maker of a number of nice soft synths, has therefore decided to put its FireBird synth out to pasture, releasing an update and marking down the price from $79 to free (as in beer – no source). Of course, part of the reason people’s eyes glaze over with soft synths is the sheer number of two-oscillator, Virtual Analog, subtractive synths out there. But there are a few details that set FireBird 2 apart and ought to …

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Damn, Son: VST Makes 80s and 90s Hits into Trap; Dubspot Nails It

This: April Fools’ Day is turning into an avalanche of PR stunts. (Want to really fool people? Release your fake product in July. Oddly, so much of the game is whether anything is real or to be taken seriously, maybe the Internet has sort of spoiled the whole thing.) But this is something different: spot-on parody from the crew at Manhattan’s Dubspot. And… just keep watching. You really don’t want to miss Celine Dion. My only fear is that something like this may soon be real, knowing the products that have tried to cash in on Dubstep. (That’s Dubstep, not …

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Deckadance 2 Hits Beta; FL’s DJ Cousin is Packed With FX and Envelopes, VST Support

What would happen if Traktor DJ and a KAOSS Pad had a love child, who went to school at Ableton and came home full of automation envelopes and triggers? Well, maybe something like this. Certainly, the results would be a DJ tool the likes of which only FL “Fruity Loops” Studio maker Image Line would dream up, in a demo video only they would make. It’s beta 2 of Deckadance, the underdog Mac/Windows DJ app that’s surprisingly full of functionality. And while this isn’t the first DJ software to do sampling and effects, those features are now tied to some …

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Ardour, For the Rest of Us: Free DAW Gets Plug-ins, MIDI, More as 3.0 Arrives

Ardour has long been software that you probably wanted to want to use. Fully free and open source, supporting standards for plug-ins and file interchange, Ardour is software that arguably the whole industry needs to exist. That is, even if you don’t use it, you might benefit from having a reasonable competitor that pushes openness and interoperability, that can innovate with open source code as much as commercial options do. Now, Ardour is here in a version you may actually want to use. It’s not that there haven’t been people getting work done with Ardour in the past. (Don’t forget …

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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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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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