6 of the best freeware orchestral plug-ins

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AmpleSound Percussion Cloudrum While the rest of the titles in this round-up mostly concentrate on full orchestras – bar the Versilian piano – this is more of an out-there Steel Tongue percussion plug-in, but it has such a lovely, delicate and acoustic sound, we just had to fit it in this round-up. It’s a 700MB […]

6 of the best freeware mix effects

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Ignite Amps PTEq-X It’s a Pultec in looks and (almost) name, but Ignite Amps – one of the best developers of guitar-effect freeware – has added a few extras to this EQ. PTEq features three types of EQ – PEQ1A, MQ5 and HL3C models – and four valve types. There are more precise frequency controls […]

6 of the best modelling synths

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Novation SuperNova/SuperNova II The SuperNova and SuperNova II are virtual-analogue synths that deliver a lovely, rich sound. Most commonly found as a rack module (a keyboard version does exist), the synth’s extensive control panel provides oodles of MIDI-recordable hands-on control over the instrument. The version 2 model has an external audio input, too. Circa £550 […]

6 of the best freeware guitar player plug-ins

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Blue Cat Audio Free Amp This is a straight-down-the-line, three-way amp emulation featuring Classic Clean, Classic Drive and Modern Drive models. Simply load them onto your DAW channel and play; no nonsense about upgrading to full versions, they work straight out of the download. More importantly, they sound great and each has a range of […]

6 of the best freeware drum machines

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AudioSpillage MiniSpillage A returning drum favourite and must inclusion is MiniSpillage, a synth/drum plug-in. It’s still Mac only, we’re afraid, but an essential download for that platform. It’s a cut-down version of AudioSpillage’s DrumSpillage with three drum pads for kick, hat and hollow drum. It comes with several kits and synth features – LFO, filter, […]

Getting to know virtual-analogue synthesis

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In the previous story, we introduced you to physical modelling synthesis. Now, it’s time to learn more about virtual-analogue synthesis. Let’s dive right in… Circuit visualisation In the same year as the amazing-but-ignored Yamaha VL1 hit the shelves, Swedish manufacturer Clavia, then best known for its drum electronic-drum system, released the first incarnation of its […]

Understanding physical modelling synthesis

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Over the last few months, our series of articles on the history and science of sound synthesis has covered a lot of ground. Starting with the earliest valve-based electronic instruments that harnessed radio technology, we’ve seen how sound synthesis has always straddled the worlds of scientific research, state-of-the-art technology and abstract musical creativity. We’ve touched […]