Entries in synth (52)
In this FREE Pro Tools video tutorial Russ shows those who may have limited budgets that you don’t always need to spend money on plug-ins to get great results.
Russ takes users under the hood of Xpand2 to show how to create rich and complex textures that can be controlled during a performance.
In this video Pro Tools users will learn how to stack sounds, use arpeggiators to create movement, assign filter controls and use MIDI CC for extra control.
For lovers of Waldorf synths then there’s some great news. Waldorf have released 64 bit versions of their plug-ins in AAX format, the updates features Largo, PPG Wave 3.V and the Waldorf Edition.
Waldorf Largo AAX
Largo offers three fat oscillators, two of them with sub oscillators. These oscillators include models of classic analog waveforms as well as a selection of waves from the PPG and Waldorf Wave stored in two Wavetables. All these run through two Waldorf multimode filters with steep cutoff, resonance up to self-oscillation and a drive stage to add even more punch and grainyness to the sound. Ultra-fast envelope generators and flexible LFOs as well as an easy to understand, yet extremely versatile modulation matrix make for a sound designer’s dream.
PPG Wave 2 AAX
PPG Wave 2 was the very first digital Wavetable synthesizer with analog filters that allowed completely new worlds of sound and endless sonic possibilities. Shortly afterwards, the successor PPG Wave 2.2 came out and was born to make history. With a gigantic arsenal of waveshapes, it could not only reproduce known analog sounds, but also brilliant choirs, bells and whistles. The digital sounds of wavetables had been unheard until then and offered sensational sonic evolutions by smoothly going through 64 waves back and forth.
The Waldorf Edition AAX
The Waldorf Edition features the famous and award-winning PPG Wave 2.V, Attack and D-Pole plug-ins as VST and AudioUnit variants.
Recently we offered the TAL Bassline 101 as a deal and a lot of you took up the opportunity to get that great monophonic bass synth plug-in. As one of this month’s deals we are offering another TAL product which is an emulation of a very popular hardware synth.
TAL-U-NO-LX is a complete rewritten emulation of the popular hardware with a new engine and GUI. Up to date zero feedback delay filters and carefully calibrated controls make this synth a good replacement for the analog device with all the advantages software plugins have. As an addition, the TAL-U-NO-LX also supports portamento and different filter LFO waveforms and some more useful features. An arpeggiator with different sync modes and hold function is also included. A very fast envelope with a smooth roll-off, emulated inaccuracy and a very smooth filter sound gives this synth the typical sound. The synth was calibrated after a hardware device that’s property of TAL.
- Self resonating zero feedback delay filter (24dB LP).
- Filter range up to ~40kHz (depends on the sample rate).
- Calibrated and tuned after TAL’s hardware device.
- Midi learn / automation for all controls.
- Improved alias free oscillators for an authentic sound also @ 44’100Hz sampling rate.
- Arpeggiator with different sync modes (host, midi clock, not on).
- Portamento and mono mode.
- LFO manual trigger button.
- Sustain pedal support.
- Up to 12 voices.
- New file based preset system for transparent preset management.
- More than 300 factory presets by different sound designers (FMR, Particular - Sound, TAL).
- Original hardware “Factory Bank A” included.
TAL-U-NO-LX System Requirements:
Windows: Windows XP or higher (32 / 64 bit)
OSX: OSX 10.6 or higher (32 / 64 bit).
AAX: Pro Tools 10.3.6 or higher
Russ shows a really simply way to add interest to synths and beats.
In this video he shows some automation tricks that take average to great.
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Russ shows the trick for creating super tight synths in Pro Tools.
He also shows how this trick can be used to tighten up other instruments in Pro Tools.
All plug-ins used are part of Pro Tools.
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About Pro Tools Power Filter Tutorial Transform Synths And Loops
In this free Pro Tools video tutorial Russ shows what can be achieved by using filters on synths and loops to transform tracks.
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Pumping synths are a hugely popular effects used in several music production genres.
In a recent article I mentioned some of the delight I had when trying new synths in my distant past, part of that was finding presets that made me smile often just because of sheer gratification, the other part was the sheer enormity of the sound.
Two moments in time were the first time I played a Korg M1 and hit the notes in Universe, what followed was what seemed like an entire film score unfolding, remember this was 1988 and was Korg’s response to the Roland D50. The second memory is the first time I played the MemoryMoog, a 6 voice, 3 oscillator monster, imagine 6 Minimoog’s in one (although getting the early version to stay in tune was a challenge.)
I start this review with those two stories to give my first impressions on firing up the Rob Papen Blue II, being presented with a 6 oscillator monster and finding one of the first presets in the demo sounds being a modern day rendition of the Korg M1 Universe, perhaps not one to appear in many tracks but still impressive and fun.
Rob Papen Blue II Synth Background
Blue II is out. Rob Papen said on his Facebook page…
We released Monday without sending the newsletter or having any video ready…or any mp3 uploaded. All is running smooth now and for us here it is great to hear the positive feedback on BLUE-II. With passion we built our products and we make ‘long days’. This positive feedback of our customers gives energy! Thanks for that guys, also on behalf of Jon Ayres! This afternoon I start making the promo video about BLUE-II …ehmmmm… where should I start? So much to tell about this supersynth!
First released in 2005 BLUE already reflected Rob Papen’s musical approach towards developing virtual instruments by first delivering FM and subtractive synthesis, then adding Phase Distortion and wave shaping synthesis to create one creative combination. Rob Papen himself called it ‘Cross-fusion synthesis’ since it covered so much musical ground.
With BLUE-II Rob Rapen’s aim is to remain true to that ethos with even more sound dimensions and features to its extended name, starting with six oscillators beating at its heart. These can be connected in various ways, together with two analogue-style modelled stereo filters with 27 different filter types, an enormous range of processing and modulation options, sequencer, and an arpeggiator.
A new range of specially selected waveforms based on samples have been fashioned for creating new and fresh-sounding synth sounds, so don’t go expecting acoustic pianos galore here. However, since choirs and strings are an excellent basis for so many synth sounds BLUE-II has them with much more besides!
Moreover, BLUE-II takes the useful XY pad features from its popular virtual instrument sibling Blade and transplants them into its own workflow… perfect for time-based sound movements and vector pad-type sounds. Complemented by four FX processors, each offering 35 FX types, BLUE-II is a surely a powerful virtual instrument to behold.
BLUE II Compatibility
- PC: 32 & 64 bits VST, AAX for Windows Vista / Windows 7/ Windows 8
- Mac: 32 & 64 bits AU, VST and AAX, for OSX 10.6 or higher
- Serial/license system, 2nd serial for 2nd computer/laptop are available after you have registering the product’s original serial/license.
BLUE II price
- € 149— (including VAT) or $ 179
- Upgrade from BLUE ► BLUE II: € 44 or $49
UPDATED: In the earlier version of this story we mentioned that Fabfilter One is a FREE plug-in - this is incorrect. Apologies for the confusion.
The word FREE can often conjure up the idea of something being worthless; for many years the VST world has been filled with worthwhile FREE plug-ins yet Pro Tools users have often felt a little left out of the FREE plug-in world. However there seems to be a growing collection of FREE plug-ins for Pro Tools RTAS and AAX that are well worth investing your time into.
Here are a selection of some FREE synths worth checking out.
A single oscillator synth with enough sound shaping options to give a palette of cool synth sounds, the option of PWM is always welcome on a single oscillator synth as it gives the possibility of creating extra depth from the single source - a trick used in the very early synths. Available in VST, VST3, Audio Units, AAX Native formats (all both 64-bit and 32-bit), as well as RTAS (32-bit only) More from Fabfilter
Linplug Alpha FREE
A cut down free version of the popular LinPlug Alpha, this 16 voice, 2 oscillator synth includes many of the features of the paid for version. There are over 30 waveforms to choose from as well as useful filters and a single LFO. Mac and PC RTAS only. More from Linplug
NI Reaktor 5 Player
Reaktor 5 is one of NI’s flagship products and Reaktor Player is a great way to explore the almost limitless potential of this modular synth design. NI offer a free download of over 200 synths based around 3 synths as part of this starter series. Mac and PC, RTAS and AAX. More here
A one oscillator, one filter, single envelope synth, Podolski has been around for several years in different incarnations. it also features a Zebra-style arpeggiator/sequencer plus chorus and delay effects. Mac and PC. More about AAX here (Mac)
Russ takes a look at Air Hybrid 3 synth plug-in and at the new features and sounds shipping with the latest version of this super synth.
Pro Tools dance producers are going to be delighted to discover that the ReFX Nexus 2 synth is now an AAX plug-in for Pro Tools.
The Nexus 2 synth features a 6gb library of over 1000 presets, an Arpeggiator, trance gate and extensive effects routing, all combined to creating those killer dance sounds found on so many hits.
64 bit AAX native support now gives Pro Tools users an added tool in their production arsenal.
More information and a demo sounds can be found here.
Arturia are running a promo giving 50% off their V Collection synth bundle, which comprises 10 software titles: Mini V, Modular V, CS-80V, ARP2600 V, Prophet V & Prophet VS, Jupiter 8-V, Oberheim SEM V, Wurlitzer V, Spark Vintage, Analog Lab.
There’s a Arturia V Collection in our 5th Anniversary prize draw studio bundle.
If you want to get under the skin of some of these plug-ins for Pro Tools then check out some of the Pro Tools Expert exclusive video reviews we created this year.
In this Pro Tools Expert video review Russ takes a look at the easy to use and low cost Rob Papen Predator-PL Synthesiser.
Rob is known for not only making very tweakable and complex products, he also spent a long time writing a very detailed training guide on synth programming. The good news is that thos who just want to grab cool synth presets for their Pro Tools sessions now have this option.
They say: “As cool and tweaky as modern virtual instruments can get, most keyboard players and composers spend little time under the hood of their favorite soft synth or sampler and more time looking for the perfect preset. So, when Rob Papen approached us with this Sweetwater exclusive Predator-PL virtual instrument synth, we jumped at the opportunity to provide you with a what we think you’ll find to be an invaluable songwriting tool. Among its 4,400 preset sounds, you’ll find all the essential sounds covering everything from laid-back ambient sound beds to wild and frenetic dubstep drops. And thanks to Predator-PL’s extremely user-friendly interface, there’s nothing standing between you and the sounds you need.”
Russ shows a workflow he uses when wanting to test out sounds from hardware analogue synths that have no presets.
Arturia have announced the MicroBrute, which is neither an aftershave for babies or an action hero. It’s a small micro synth, barely bigger than the picture above, with a lot of synth packed inside - a review will of course follow soon.
In their press info they say:
The guys at U-He are offeringa FREE AAX synth for those who in their words “brave enough to test our first AAX pluggie on Mac?”
Podolski is a simple, CPU-efficient virtual analogue synthesizer. Basically a cut down version of FilterscapeVA with just one oscillator, one filter, one envelope and two LFOs, it also features a Zebra-style arpeggiator/sequencer plus chorus and delay effects.
Podolski’s specialities are the Click parameter (emphasizes the filter attack) and its ability to seamlessly morph between three waveforms (WaveWarp).
Windows users do not despair as they write;
“We believe this to work, and while we’re adding AAX development into our development workflow, we hope that the brave among you out there will give this a spin. Please report any crashes with a crash.log here, and - if possible - compare whether or not this version behaves and sounds the same as its VST/AU counterpart.
If all goes well we’ll need only a few days to port it to Windows, we’ll have to buy 3 more iLoks to add to our build and testing servers and we might get to release AAX betas for everything shortly thereafter.”
Go to their forum here for more information and follow the instructions carefully regarding installation - we do not offer any support on this.
Perhaps one of the most underated and yet coolest small synth companies, TAL has released TAL-BassLine-101 v1.218 with AAX support in both Pro Tools 10 and 11.
- AAX support for Pro-Tools 10.3.6 or higher and Pro-Tools 11 added.
- Filter-FM for all waveforms as source added.
- Sequencer Insert, Delete, Length Global and Velocity Global added.
- MIDI automation can now record host automation.
- Keyfollow scale fixed for values > 0 and < 1.
- Better user interface performance while reading automation.
- More stable sequencer host-sync.
- Record sequence with MIDI and host sync fixed.
- Portamento Linear sample-rate bug fixed.
New Filter-FM features:
Choose a VCO waveform as source and add control the FM-intensity with the horizontal slider. Filter-FM modulates the filter cutoff with the source signal. Use a lot resonance and a low cutoff frequency to hear the effect.
If you are into dance or electro music then this is well worth a look with it’s very cool retro nod back to old Roland classic - we’ll do a review of it shortly, but this is one not to miss.
Russ takes a look at the Sean Paul track “Other Side Of Love” to see if he can recreate it using the FREE stuff in Pro Tools.