Joakim Frostegård releases OctaSine, a free (open-source) 4-operator FM synthesizer in VST plugin format for digital audio workstations on Windows, macOS, and Linux. OctaSine is a capable four-operator FM synthesizer with independent volume, panning, feedback, and ADSR controls for each operator. It takes inspiration from popular virtual FM synths like the FM8 from Native Instruments. […]
Function Loops offers Free Psytrance Samples, a free-to-download (valid email address required) sound library for music producers. Free Psytrance Samples is an exclusive free sound library crafted and distributed by Function Loops. Everyone interested can download the pack for free by signing up with their email address. The download link is dispatched instantly to the […]
It’s been a great week for free plug-ins, especially if you’re into reverb! We’ve got a fantastic vintage spring reverb from Fuse Audio Labs and a versatile modulated reverb by Cymatics. SNFK Music is throwing in a cool little transient shaper. Check out VREV-666, Space Lite and Fleeter!
For many more free plug-ins, take a look at our archives!
Fuse Audio Labs VREV-666
This devilishly-named free plug-in is modeled after a rare spring reverb built for the BBC in the 1960s. Fuse Audio Labs says that the original was designed to “alter the apparent acoustic properties of listening environments”. And that’s just what VREV-666 does. Like most spring reverbs, it’s far from realistic, but it oozes character. They’ve added a mix control, pre-delay and tone EQ to the original’s single gain control knob. If spring time means awesome free spring reverbs, we’re all for it!
VREV-666 is available for Windows and macOS in VST, VST3, AU and AAX formats.
Space Lite is a free preview of the Cymatics Space plug-in. But that doesn’t mean that this reverb doesn’t pack a lot of features. Space Lite offers three reverb modes, which are completely tweakable using the typical decay, size, predelay, damping, width and mix controls, as well as an EQ and filter. What’s special is the modulation section with pitch, chorus, flanger and phaser effects for modulated reverb tails. There couldn’t be a better advertisement for the full version of Space!
Space Lite is available for Windows and macOS in VST, VST3, AU and AAX formats.
After this much reverb you might want to clean up your transients a bit. Fleeter by SNFK Music is a simple transient processor designed to fatten up drums and add character. It offers three simple controls: transient time, transient amount and saturation. After dialing in the appropriate transient time for your audio track, you can turn the transients up or down and beef them up using the saturation knob. There’s also a transient and value display so you can tell what’s going on. Quick and easy!
As of now, Fleeter is only available as a VST3 plug-in for Windows. A Mac version is in the works, the developer says.
Audio Plugin Deals offers the Bassaker 808 plugin by Beat Magazine FREE for a limited time. Bassaker 808 (€14.99 value) is available for macOS and Windows in 64-bit AU and VST formats. The plugin is relatively straightforward; it’s a collection of 155 kicks, subs, and 808s with some tweaking options. The GUI has a few […]
Sinmad has a novel approach to sound generation and a peculiar and organic voice combining two methods of synthesis in a colourful interface to encourage improvised sound discovery.
This is probably not what you think it is. Reading the description in the manual it becomes apparent that this is more of the contents of the developer Luigi’s head than a regular synthesizer. It’s been designed to follow his way of thinking, his approach to music-making and his desire for chaotically interesting sounds. While it has elements of regular synths like oscillators, filters, envelopes and whatnot it also has less common devices such as a resonant delay network and a harmonically integrated attack transient.
Luigi concedes that the interface can be a bit busy and confusing but once you align yourself with his way of thinking then many adventures in sound discovering will be forthcoming.
The Delay Network is a key feature that operates as three delay lines and comb filters feeding into each other and modulated to within an inch of its life. Each voice can have its own delay network and so with 8-voices of polyphony, there’s a lot of room for chaotic and organic creativity – or craziness if you prefer.
The sounds being generated are strange and interesting. Luigi says that learning to use the interface effectively is key to all this. There’s some cleverness going on with the value boxes where they respond to movements differently depending on which way you drag them. This is what starts getting interesting around the ideas of improvisation and tweaking sounds on the fly.
This is one weird synthesizer and you should probably go and download the demo.
Sinmad is available now for €81.50 for macOS and Windows in VST and AU format.
HY Plugins offers freeware and paid versions of its new HY-SEQ32 sequencer plugin for macOS and Windows. The full version of the plugin offers five modules; Pitch SEQ, Param SEQ, CC SEQ, Oct/Tp SEQ, and CC Rack. The free version is limited to one module, which is the Pitch SEQ. For anyone who owns the […]
Developer Algonaut is ready with Atlas 2, a major upgrade to its sample management and beatmaking software. Atlas 2 scans your sample folders for drum sounds, recognizes their type (kick, snare, cowbell, etc) from inside the sample, and groups the sounds together in colored clusters. This makes it very easy to audition sounds, create drum kits, and even sequence some beats. The software runs in standalone or plug-in form and is compatible with macOS, Windows and Linux computers.
Algonaut Atlas 2 sample manager and beatmaker
Algonaut Atlas 2 is a sample manager and instrument which can be used as a sample library for one shots and as a loop generator for beats. This way, you can quickly put together drum sets and come up with new ideas.
Compatibility with Linux (in addition to macOS and Windows) and having a standalone version of the software are useful new additions. They open Atlas 2 to more users and live performers will be happy to run the software outside of a DAW. Additionally, the plug-in now saves all samples in your DAW project so that you don’t lose files and you don’t have to save everything in the instrument again. Editing individual drum sounds is also made easier. Several sounds can be tweaked at the same time and a new MIDI Follow function automatically selects drum sounds when a pad or keyboard key is triggered.
Atlas 2 also brings a new Galaxy Mode that shows all samples at once in an automatically generated map. There, neighboring samples with similar sounds are grouped together and it’s easy to try different variations. Furthermore, Atlas 2 supports more audio formats, such as WAV, AIFF, FLAC, OGG, MP3, and others. The sequencer is deeper as well, with more functionality and the option to export your loop as an audio file. There’s lots to go over if you are interested – the changelog algonaut.audio/whats-new-in-atlas-2-0/ may be a better source of information.
Price and availability
Algonaut Atlas 2 is available now for USD 99. Upgrading from version 1 costs USD 19 (the offer appears after logging into your account). The plug-in is 64-bit only and runs under macOS 10.13 or later as VST3 and AU, Linux Ubuntu 16.04 or later as VST3, and Windows 7 or later as VST3. The instrument also works standalone under all listed operating systems. You can download a free trial version from Algonaut to try.
Are you looking to get into podcasting or maybe improve the quality of your podcasts? Owning a great sounding mic is an essential part of a great podcast. Here’s our pick of 6 podcast mics to suit all budgets!
What makes a good Podcast mic?
If you’re looking to get into podcasting for the first time, you’re going to need a microphone. With the huge choice of podcast mics available though, it can be tricky to choose the right mike for you! Fret not though, because we’re here at Gearnews to help! Firstly, let’s try and define what makes a good Podcasting mic.
Podcasting is all about speech clarity and intelligibility; it’s perhaps no surprise then that a lot of the mics here were originally designed for radio broadcasting.
Without a doubt, you’ll also need to ask yourself how you’re going to be recording your podcast? Do you already own an audio interface? Similarly, are you an experienced audio engineer? A USB-based podcasting mic may provide a more user-friendly solution if you’re just getting started!
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our pick of podcast mics!
Best Podcast Mics: USB
USB Podcasting mics are without a doubt the easiest and most hassle-free way to get into podcasting. You don’t need an external interface and all the USB mics listed here offer built-in headphone monitoring. If you’re looking for a “plug and play” podcast solution, then here are three great options:
Blue Microphones: Yeti, Yeti Pro and Snowball Studio Series USB Mics
The Blue Yeti has been around for ages now, and was originally launched in 2009! The chances are that most of your favourite podcasters either use or have used a Yeti. You’ll no doubt love that it has an integrated desk stand, and we’re impressed with the choice of cardioid, omnidirectional, figure-of-8 and stereo polar patterns. Those may be useful if you’re doing a “round table” podcast with only one mic, for example.
The Yeti is the cheapest mics here, but nonetheless, one of the most versatile.
The Shure MV7 is the “new kid on the block” but has quickly rocketed to become the highest-rated USB microphone at Thomann. Inspired by the legendary Shure SM7B (more on that later) the MV7 is another plug and play solution.
What’s impressive with the MV7 is its clever software integration. You don’t need to be a sound engineer to get the best from this mic. The ShurePlus desktop app gives you intuitive control of settings along with level, compression, and EQ.
The best choice for non-audio-engineers? Quite possibly!
Earthworks Audio Icon
The only USB mic you’ll ever need? ICON is certainly one of the handsomest!
The Earthworks Audio Icon comes from a company renowned for high-end studio mics and has the build quality and engineering to go with it. Touted as “the last USB-mic you’ll ever need” this is a premium mic that’s as handsome as it is beautifully engineered.
If you value sound quality and design as highly as convenience then the Earthworks Audio Icon could be the mic for you.
Best Podcast Mics: XLR
Now we’re into the realms of professional, broadcast studio-quality microphones. Without a doubt, each of these microphones is a design and broadcast icon in itself. It should be noted, however, that you’ll need an audio interface to use them. You’ll also experience better results with better quality microphone preamplifiers. Additionally, none of these mics was intended to be portable and they’re best suited to static, studio type environments.
The classic broadcast mic: Shure’s SM7B
Here it is, the podcasting icon! This is the mic you’ve undoubtedly seen and heard on endless podcasts and vlogs. The Shure SM7B is a cardioid dynamic microphone that’s earned a deserved reputation as a broadcast legend. The SM7B offers an integrated windscreen and for close miced voice reproduction it’s very difficult to fault.
It’s affordable, sounds great on most people and is rugged and durable. The podcast legend!
EV’s classic RE20 broadcast microphone
The EV RE20 has been with us now for over five decades; a product doesn’t hang around that long, unchanged unless it’s something very special. Designed from the outset as a dedicated broadcast mic, the RE20 is a legendary mic.
A cardioid, dynamic design, EV designed the mic with a “Variable D” design which negates unwanted proximity effect. What that translates to is a mic that is less fussy about mic technique and sounds consistently great.
The broadcast legend and good enough for Dr Frasier Crane!
Neumann’s premium BC104 broadcast mic
OK, now we’re really wheeling out the big guns! If you’re a seriously successful podcaster and looking for the ultimate in broadcast mics, then look no further! Neumann is one of the most prestigious microphone manufacturers in the industry.
The BCM104 is a high-end, cardioid condenser mic with a capsule tailored for voice. The microphone design has been created with broadcast boom stands in mind and makes positioning and cable routing neat and clean.
The Rolls-Royce of broadcast mics. When only the best will do.
What’s your favourite podcast mic? Let us know in the comments below.
Cymatics offers Space Lite, a freeware lightweight reverb in VST and AU plugin formats for digital audio workstation software on macOS and Windows. Space Lite is a free, slimmed-down version of the upcoming Space plugin. The full version of Space will be included free when purchasing the new Destiny Melody Collection, available June 11th. The […]
When you think of vintage in pro audio, you probably think of hardware. That’s long-discoloured beige AKAI samplers, obscure tube boxes that look like war relics (and weigh as much), Austrian and German microphones, you know – all that good stuff. Vintage audio software, though – things like early DAWs and softsynths running sequences on retina-melting CRT screens – seems less fondly remembered. I mean, I’m not seeing anyone trying to emulate early Cubase or Reaktor. And the last mohicans that do synthpop on an Atari ST, mangle industrial guitars in TurboSynth, or run their studios on old Macs with DigiDesign cards, are a rare breed.
Hammerhead – (almost the first) software drum machine from 1997 gets iOS reboot
Retro gear stays in the heart. And as the years go by, we gain an understanding of just how innovative and ahead of its time it was – some of it, at least. Hammerhead is a fantastic example. In ancient 1997, budding developer Bram Bos created a software drum machine that sounded as good as any digital box at the time, ran on 90mHz Windows PCs, and took half a brain to use. He also gave it away for free, backing off from the established shareware model. It must have been 1998 when a friend handed second-grade me a copy of Hammerhead on a floppy drive and I remember clicking the heck out of it. Getting a beat going was literal child’s play!
This is Hammerhead in 1997
In the decades since, Bram Bos has become better known for a colorful catalog of iOS music apps and plug-ins like Ruismaker. But his roots are not forgotten – neither by 90s geeks, nor by “that Hammerhead guy” as the man himself puts it. Case in point – Bram Bos is remaking Hammerhead as an iOS app! I wonder what took him so long, but regardless – Hammerhead (mk2) will be out next week (June 17).
This is what Hammerhead looks like in 2021
Judging by the teasers, Bram is going all in on bringing Hammerhead back in style. Other than a complete touch-screen makeover, the app has tempo-synced clip launching (trigger patterns using MIDI), new effects section (Distortion, Compressor, Glitch, Mutation), a media browser, a mixer, fully-featured sequencing, an in-app store for sounds, and many other things I can’t quite make out. With all this at hand, the Hammerhead reboot is much more than a nostalgia kick – it’s a modern drum machine app from a literal O.G. If Propellerheads held back the mighty ReBirth for just a few weeks, Hammerhead would have been the first software drum machine.
Check out a quick clip of the new Hammerhead in action while waiting for the drop.
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