Thursday, October 29, 2020

FREE VST: Beat/Synapse Audio Zampler. Sample/Soundfont Player and Synthesizer.

 


Zampler has been around for a while but I think it's a really amazing bit of freeware and a worthwhile addition to any VST instrument collection. 

Essentially Zampler is a sample player, with a powerful set of synthesizer sound parameters and a great sounding on board effects suite. It will load .sfz type soundfont files. You can edit these via the synthesizer and effects suite and then save them in Zampler's 'ready to use' .fxb patch format. 

It is a joint enterprise between Germany's Beat magazine and Synapse Audio. People familiar with Synapse Audio's original DUNE synthesizer may detect some similarities between the two instruments with Zampler being very similar to DUNE only the wavetable oscillators have been replaced by a sample player. It's not quite that simple, but there are similarities. Which is great because DUNE is a great synth. Even the original one (as I write this DUNE 3 is the current version.)

Of course, being a sample player means it's probably only as good as the samples you put in it but once you've found your soundfont, the synthesizer functions and the effects can really transform your sound and you can come up with many alternatives and variations. 

The effects section features distortion and overdrive and 4, 6, and 8 stage phasing in addition to the more 'standard' reverb and delay effects, so you can really transform your sounds. 
The synthesizer also features 3 LFOs, a multimode filter, complex modulation routings and even the arpeggiator from DUNE which is really powerful especially the 'dual' mode.

I'm currently progressing 'Project Zompler' which, when finished will turn Zampler into a great freeware 'Rompler' with a wide range of acoustic and synthesizer sounds. All for precisely nothing!

So check out Zampler, you can get your free copy at www.zampler.com and check back here or follow my Facebook Page to follow the progress of 'Project Zompler'. 


Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

SOUNDWARE: Essential Urban/Hip-Hop Drum Hits and Sample Loops for Ableton and Impulse. Vol 1.

 


This soundware collection for Ableton Live features 'Urban'/'Hip-Hop' drum samples, re-samples and loops arranged into kits for Live's Impulse drum kit instrument. 
Many of the samples are actually re-samples that I've squashed, EQ'd, re-pitched, and bit-crushed to make them sound extra big and fat. 

Most modern hip-hop tracks I hear tend to use mostly 'classic' analog 808/909 style drum sounds but there was a time when this genre employed very different sorts of drum sounds. 
Very much the sort of sounds you would hear from the early/golden age of hip-hop. Big rattling style drum sounds from early/eighties rap and hip hop songs. 

The first two volumes are 'Rush' and 'Real Slow' featuring two drum kits for Ableton's Impulse drum kit and a number of loops/beats organised as Ableton's 'clips'. The two collections have been saved as Ableton 'projects' so you'll need to save the individual presets and clips to use in your own 'projects'. 

Impulse is one of the instruments that comes with Live Lite so users using the introductory version of Ableton will be able to use these sounds/kits.

Download Ableton Essential Urban Drums. 

Click the links below to find your free Ableton 'Essential Urban Drums' downloads. Just right click the folder then download the project file to your hard drive. Then load the project file into Ableton. 
 

Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 



  

Monday, October 26, 2020

SOUNDWARE: Project Zompler. Part 2. Bass Guitars. FREE Rompler Sound Collection for Beat/Synapse Audio Zampler.

 


The second set of instruments for Project Zompler are now available. These are 12 bass guitar patches. 

Project Zompler is my 'Rompler' freeware project for Beat/Synapse Zampler. A free collection of popular sounds for Zampler that will develop into a complete set of sounds loosely based around the General MIDI standard. Great for composing, demos, and education/training applications. 

This post includes a download link for the bass guitar 'section'. A selection of bass guitars including picked, slapped and fingered variants. All making use of Zampler's powerful synthesizer features and great sounding effects suite. 

The sounds are in Zampler's dedicated (.fxb) format which means they are ready to play. No additional keyboard mapping or programming is required, and you can edit them using Zampler's powerful editing and effects feature then save your own creations. 

Get your free copy of Zampler here:


It's PC/Mac 32/64 bit compatible so it'll work on almost any VST capable DAW. 

More information on Project Zompler is available here:


including the first set of sounds which are pianos/electric pianos. 



Project Zompler Volume 2: Bass Guitars. Download Link: 


Download Instructions:

Just download the entire folder. Open Zampler in your DAW. Select 'Patch Load' in Zampler's 'LCD Window'. Locate your downloaded folder and then select any of the .fxb patch files. Your sound will then load. 

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

TRAINING AND CONSULTING: Avid ProTools First. Training Course / Consultancy / Review.

 


Pro Tools First isn't perhaps the most 'open ended' of free computer music DAWS but the initial package does offer a lot to, say, a singer-songwriter taking their first steps into computer music production. Of course, Pro Tools is also an 'industry standard' studio (not to mention broadcast and video) software media package, so 'First' is a perfect introduction to Pro Tools from a career perspective. 

It has no third party instrument plug-in support, so you are tied in to buying Pro Tools own plug-ins or upgrading to one of Avid's monthly subscription packages for the full Pro Tools which will then allow you to use third party AAX instruments. At least at the time this was written. 

It does come with quite a powerful sample instrument called AIR Expand 2 which is stacked with useful, high quality, ready to use sounds. What is generally referred to as a 'Rompler'.


AIR Expand 2 MIDI Instrument.


However AVID (Pro Tools parent company) have upped the game a little by also now offering the UVI Workstation MIDI instrument and an additional 2.2gb of sounds via the AVID Plugsound sound library which you can use via the UVI Workstation. So the sounds it now comes with are not to be sniffed at.


UVI Workstation/Plugsound Sound Library.

 
The other thing I love about Pro Tools First is the user manual . It's a really well written, concise manual written in a friendly straight forward manner for beginners. So you don't need to refer to a huge technical 'tome' to get started that also deals with features you don't even have available to you. (Ableton only has a full 700 odd page manual, so even users of Live Lite only have the full manual to refer to). May seem like a small point, but I love the Pro Tools First manual. And we can use it as the basis for our 'concise' Pro Tools First introduction/course. 

I now consult on Pro Tools First and can offer a concise (one day) structured course, or less structured 'Q&A' type consulting. The course follows the concise Pro Tools First manual covering installation, including adding the UVI Workstation and Plugsound library, which is the one add on you can use with Pro Tools First, through to developing and completing and editing a song with both MIDI instrument and audio tracks.

As with most computer music software the first steps are the most difficult so Pro Tools First is an ideal starting point for your Pro Tools journey. From there, stepping up to the full Pro Tools will probably not be too hard. 

Unlike my other courses, this one has no additional resources other than the UVI workstation instrument and the Plugsound library since no additional plug-ins are allowed. 

The course covers:

- Creating an AVID account and installing Pro Tools First.
- Setting up audio and MIDI hardware.  
- Adding the UVI Workstation AAX instrument.
- Taking a look at the Plugsound sound expansion for UVI workstation.  
- Preparing for recording and record settings.
- A look at the Air Xpand 2 MIDI instrument.  
- Recording first MIDI tracks. 
- Recording first audio tracks. 
- Mixing tracks via the mixer page.
- Effects routing and processing. 
- Editing MIDI tracks. 
- Editing audio tracks. 

Pro Tools First Course Time:


This is a one-to-one intensive course.  Time would depend on your initial knowledge and experience but I would suggest a six hour day maximum with a break for lunch (3 hours morning/3 hours afternoon). Clients with a little more knowledge may complete the course in 3/4 hours.

Pro Tools First Course Location:


Either at my own facility in Rainham, Essex, or I can travel to you for additional expenses and time.  

Hours are charged at my current hourly consulting rate. 

Pro Tools First Consulting:

Naturally, I can also offer less structured Pro Tools First consulting. Same standard hourly rate.  

Contact:

There are no set times for the course, so we can arrange a time and location convenient for you. So give me a call or email and we can arrange things.

Telephone: 07802 640373.
Email: simonthompsonmusic@outlook.com


SOUNDWARE: Roland FA Series Pads and Soundscapes Demo Video

A short demo video for the Roland FA Series 'Pads and Soundscapes' patch collection is now available to view on the YouTube channel. 

32 free string and vocal pads for FA-06, FA-07, and FA-08. 

More information and the download link can be found at the main post below. 


There's a bit of an intro, but if you want to skip that then the playing starts at 03:33




Follow/like my Facebook Page for all the latest free synth patches, sample libraries, loops, beats and VST instruments.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

SOUNDWARE: Project Zompler. FREE Rompler Sound Collection for Beat/Synapse Audio Zampler. Part 1. Keyboards.

 


I recently put together a blog post entitled 'The Ultimate Freeware Computer Music Setup' in which I chose some of the best freeware in every instrument category to form a powerful computer music production 'suite' for zero money. 
You can check it out here:


Probably the most problematic category was that of the 'Rompler'. An instrument covering all the sort of 'everyday' sounds that get used regularly in songs and tracks. Things like pianos, electric pianos, basses, drums, some orchestral strings like violins, brass and woodwind such as trumpets and flutes. Those kind of things. 

The best I could come up with was IKMultimedia's Sampletank 4 CS, and whilst it had some reasonably good quality sounds, there were only 50 and there also seems to be some debate as to whether it is really free. When I downloaded it, it mentioned a 180 day trial licence.  

So to put this situation right, over the next few weeks I'm going to delve into my collection of instrument samples, turn them into files that Zampler can read and then tweak them using Zamplers powerful synth parameters and effects, then save them as Zampler (.fxb) files. The collection will then build into a really nice sounding freeware 'rompler'. 

Zampler is a freeware VST instrument, perfect for our needs, and you can get your copy from the link below:



It's 32 or 64 bit and available for PC and Mac, so it has wide ranging compatibility. It was built by Synapse-Audio for Beat magazine and bears more than a passing resemblance to Synapse's original version of DUNE their monster selling wavetable synth. It doesn't quite have the synth power of DUNE but it's still a capable sampler/synth with multimode filtering, three LFO's, lots of modulation options and an arpeggiator. 

When developing the collection I will see if I can stick quite closely to the General MIDI (GM1) sound ordering protocol. Don't really know how relevant General MIDI is these days but and I don't know for sure yet whether this will be possible, but I can try. 

I reckon we'll do 16 instrument parts with 8 patches in each collection plus 2 drum 'parts'. So we'll built a collection of 128 instruments plus drums in 18 parts. 

Part 1 is already done with 8 piano/keyboard instruments and I think these sound pretty good. I wouldn't expect 'state of the art' here, I'm developing a lot of sounds and most of them are developed from older sound files some of which are relatively small. But with some tweaking here and there and use of Zamplers synth parameters and effects, I think I've come up with something pretty respectable. Certainly good enough for beginners, students, and for demos, and perhaps beyond. Don't forget, it was only a few years ago that these sounds were considered top notch and appearing on records everywhere. 

Of course, you can use the synth and effects parameters to tweak the instruments
yourself for your own purposes and application. 

So check back regularly for more 'parts' as they become available, or like/follow my Facebook Page for regular updates on this, and all my soundware projects.

Zompler Part One Download:



Just 'right click' the Piano - E-Piano folder and select download. Then just load the .fxb files into Zampler as required. 
Please note: the associated sample and soundfont files are nested within the folder. These must there or your .fxb patch files won't load correctly. 


Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 


Monday, October 19, 2020

SOUNDWARE: Demo Video for Korg Kross 2 'Performance Keys' Patch Collection. Now Online.

A little demo video offering a flavour of the Korg Kross 2 'Performance Keys' patch collection is now available to view over at the YouTube channel. 



 

Performance Keys is a free collection of 64 organs, clavinets, electric pianos and pianos for Kross 2. 

More information and the download link is available on the main Performance Keys post from earlier in the month, or from the main Kross 2 soundware page


FREE VST: Vocal/Pitch Processing: Auburn Sounds Graillon 2

 


'What's the best free autotune?' Or 'what's the best free vocal pitch corrector?' are questions I often see on social media sites and groups. I imagine Auburn Sounds Graillon Two would be a common and probably correct answer to that question.   

Haven't really done any vocal production for a while. But recently found myself working with a couple of singers, so vocal production tools and processors have become a bit of a 'thing' with me recently. 

I suppose 'pitch correction' or 'autotune' is a bit of a touchy subject for singers. Working with two female vocalists at the moment and to my ears they sound pretty good. Nice, characterful voices and seem pretty accurate in terms of pitching. 

But sometimes when your mixing and really analysing a track you do hear the odd syllable that could maybe just be a little 'tighter' if you like. 

I'd heard of autotune but knew it was pretty heavy on the wallet,so did a search for free autotune VSTs, not, I must confess with a great deal of hope of finding anything particularly effective. 

So I was really pleasantly surprised to discover Graillon 2 by Auburn Sounds, a really effective, easy to use pitch corrector that's either free or very inexpensive for the full version. Don't claim to be an expert in vocal production, but this software processor seemed to do exactly what I needed, and it's even helping me with my own vocal performances. Unlike the two ladies I'm working with, I AM a terrible singer, but it is sometimes useful to give them 'guide vocal' demos of my songs to give them a flavour of what I'm striving for and Graillon 2 helps make my vocal performances somewhat less laughable than they otherwise would be. 

More good news is the fact that it's really easy to use, with just a few key controls and parameters. You can achieve smooth, natural re-tuning to full-on 'crowbar' style pitch correction. 

I've really only used it for vocal pitch-correction but it can also be used to create 'growling' effects and robotic voices and has some 'gender changing' capabilities. Like all audio processing you can put almost anything through it so would be worth experimenting with other instruments. It's pitch shifting capabilities can be used to drop and reinforce bass sounds, etc.

Graillon 2 Controls.


So like I said, really easy to use. Detect control allows you to selects left or right channels for detection. The processor can more easily determine pitch from a mono signal, so this defaults hard left. 

Pitch correction controls feature Enable determining the amount and 'severity' of required correction, Smooth control allows you to trade accuracy with how natural things sound, Snap range allows you to determine the range that the pitch correction is 'allowed' to work within defaulting to an eight semitone jump or fall. Finally Inertia determines if notes are allowed to 'stick' at their pitch corrected values. 

The 'keyboard' beneath the correction controls allows you to essentially determine a 'key' and select notes that the processor is not allowed to correct to, so your vocal line won't be corrected to an 'incorrect/ out of key' note so to speak. 

A Low Cut filter is provided as well as a Dry Mix control that allows you to mix some of the original signal back in. Probably not that useful for the vocal pitch correction, but maybe for other creative uses.

Two more control sections are available to use in the full version which I haven't yet tried. A Bit Crusher is provided, I imagine for more creating robotic style effects and a Pitch Tracking Mod section which I haven't been able to try/assess. 

The centre section is a 'screen' with waveform display and a useful visual representation of the notes to which your signal is being corrected to. 

In Use:

I got excellent, if not spectacular, results with Graillon 2. Just downloaded, installed (which was really quick and easy) and added it to the insert processor chain on my vocal channel and had a play. Didn't really need the manual, just had a play for an hour or so to determine effects of controls and best combinations. 
The pitch correction seems to work really quickly and accurately with little or no audible degradation. I believe the pitch correction does add a little extra latency to your vocal track, but I must admit I didn't notice this until I later saw a mention of it in the user manual, so pretty undetectable I think, but this may depend on the power of your computer.  
I put it at the front of my insert effects as the first processor in the chain before any EQ/compression, etc which seemed logical and from where I seemed to get the best results. 


So check it out. If you've got any old tracks with, shall we say, imperfect vocal performances then maybe try them out with Graillon 2 on the vocal inserts. 
And have it in your toolbox for any new tracks you might be working on. Up to you whether you tell your vocalist/s you're using it. 

More Information:

More info, the free download and information on the full version of Graillon 2 and the rest of their product lineup is available from the Auburn Sounds website:



Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 





 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

SOUNDWARE: Folkus. Electro-Acoustic Guitar Instrument for Steinberg Halion Sonic SE3.

 


FREE Electro-Acoustic Guitar VST Instrument for Steinberg Halion Sonic SE3. 

Folkus is my new electro-acoustic guitar instrument for Steinberg Halion Sonic SE3. 

Halion Sonic SE 3 is a free VST hosting program that allows instruments to be developed using Steinberg's Halion 6, then distributed free via Sonic SE3, or HSSE3 as it's sometimes shortened to. 

You can get your free copy of HSSE3 from the Steinberg website via the page below. 


...and the link for 'Folkus' is at the bottom of the page. 

Here's how it looks once loaded into HSSE3.




In addition to the great sounding sampled instrument, you can process Folkus via it's on-board reverb, delay, chorusing and phasing, and there are a number of amplifier and speaker combination models you can run it through as well. 

Sounds great dry, but I think it really shines when you start playing with the effects and creating 'spacey' type sounds with lots of delay and phasing. Just like John Martyn with his echoplex...maybe. 

There are currently four other instruments in my HSSE3 instrument collection and you'll find them at my dedicated VST instrument page, including 'Organ Mechanics' hammond emulator and 'Fender Agenda' Fender Rhodes instrument.  


Hope you like it and find it useful. Follow/like my Facebook Page for more free VST instruments, sample libraries, synth patches, beats and loops, etc.
 

Download.

You can download your free copy of Folkus from the link below. 


Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 



Tuesday, October 13, 2020

TRAINING AND CONSULTANCY: An Introduction to Ableton Live

 


Ableton Live has become a very popular DAW among music producers. It's 'clip' based system provides very flexible pattern based production ideal for modern dance music forms such as EDM, rap, hip hop, and techno, as well as pop, rock and singer songwriter genres. 

As it's name suggests, Ableton Live is also an ideal tool for 'live' electronic music presentation. It's flexible 'clip' and 'scene' recording and playback structure allows users to 'launch' audio or MIDI clips and scenes and swap and replace clips all whilst a track is running making every performance unique. 

Ableton Live Lite is 'bundled' with a range of popular audio/MIDI interfaces. Despite offering a maximum of 8 tracks, you can pretty much learn Ableton from the Lite version. The full version offers more tracks and more instruments are included, but all the core principles and functions can be learned from the Lite version. 

Despite being entry-level software, Live Lite can be a little daunting for the beginner when first opened. It is still powerful and flexible, so there is a bit of a gradient to the learning curve. It takes a very different approach to something like Reason with no 'real world' graphic representations of instruments and mixers, etc. Ableton Live takes a 'ground up' computer software approach with no concessions to 'real-world' music production.

So my Live Lite one-to-one course aims to help the beginner who wants to learn Live Lite packaged with his or her interface to get started and to progress confidently to the full version of Ableton Live. Currently Live 10. 

Ableton Live Course Basics:

- Audio and MIDI settings for use with chosen interface.
- 'Session View' basics including setting up MIDI and audio tracks.
- 'Arrangement View' basics including recording and editing MIDI and audio tracks.  
- Installing and setting up some external VST instrument plug-ins. 
- A look at some of Ableton Live bundled instruments.


Ableton Live Course Details:


This is a relatively informal session. Time would depend on your existing skills and knowledge level but I would aim to complete this course in 2 - 4 hours using my standard time rate. 
The course includes some concise written course notes and we can use your computer and interface setup. I'll also load and install a suite of essential software plug-ins and soundware to make your 'journey' with Ableton Live even more interesting and artistically satisfying. 

So contact me on the following details to discuss or book your course. my training suite is based in Rainham, Essex so is ideal for any London/Herts/Essex/Kent, etc based musicians/students. Or I can travel to you for additional time/expenses.

Contact Details:


Tel: 07802 640373
Email: simonthompsonmusic@outlook.com

and follow my Facebook Page for all my latest training and consultancy, soundware / instrument development, and original music updates.


 


Sunday, October 11, 2020

SOUNDWARE: Roland FA06 / 07 / 08 Widescreen Pads and Soundscapes. Vol 1

 



32 patches for Roland FA-06, FA-07 and FA-08 are now available. 
These are all  string and vocal pads. Great for soundtrack and instrumental writers and producers. 
No USB/editing software for FA Series so you'll need an SD card ( I think most FAs are now supplied with one) and a computer equipped with an SD card slot. 

A FREE set of really nice thick string and vocal pads with lots of motion and movement within the sounds. 
All synth patch/edits, no additional samples here.

Instructions:

Download the Simon'sPads.SVD file from link below. 
Copy the file to the 'IMPORT' folder of your Roland FA formatted SD card.
Put the card into you FA06/07/08 SD card slot. 
Push 'menu' button. 
Select 'Utility'.
Select 'Import Studio Set/Tone'.

You can then use the Mark* facility to download the patches. They are 32 'SN-S' files starting with 'Kira'. 
You can download patches individually or as a group of 32. What you can't do, as far as I know, is change the destination patch number. So make sure you don't overwrite any patches that are already in the 'user' slots of your FA keyboard. 

I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR LOST OR OVERWRITTEN DATA! 


Download Link:


  
Demo video at the YouTube channel:


 


Hope you enjoy these new patches and find them useful. 
Why not follow/like my Facebook Page which has updates on all my hardware and software synth patches, sample libraries and beats/loops. 

Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 
 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

MUSIC TECHNOLOGY: The Ultimate FREE Computer Music Setup.

 


There's loads of amazing free computer music software out there that can get you started (and a whole lot more) on your journey into computer music production. Developers often produce free cut-down versions of software to introduce you to items with price tickets or sometimes to attract traffic and sell advertising space on their websites. 

But given the amount of freeware out there, how do you make sense of all the available products, which is the best in each category and what are the best products for your application, and to avoid going down roads and looking at products that aren't relevant to you?

Well, here are my thoughts on some of the best freeware out there and together they make up a really powerful computer music system. Like a commercial DAW with packaged instruments and effects, but drawn form different sources and all completely FREE! And much better than any of the 'entry-level' or 'interface packaged' DAWs out there. 

I've selected what I think are some of the best products in all the essential categories:

Digital Audio Workstation. To do your recording and programming as well as
hosting your instruments and effects processors.
Drum Machine. A drum machine instrument with step sequencing. 
Rompler. A 'rompler' is a sample based plug instrument that tends to cover the basic/essential everyday sort of sounds. Pianos, bass drums, etc. 
Sampler. A freeware sampler for sampled instruments, drums, beats and loops. 
Analog Synthesizer. An analog synthesizer for synth bass, lead, pads and polysynths.
Digital/Wavetable Synthesizer. Digital/wavetable type synthesizer for digital synthesizer type sounds.  

Digital Audio Workstation. 

Soundbridge. (see screenshot above)

My favourite freeware DAW is undoubtedly Soundbridge. It offers all the basic sequencing and recording functionality that any songwriter, music producer, or soundtrack writer would want with a really powerful, great sounding on-board suite of effects (reverb, delay, chorus, etc.). 
It has a really powerful 4 band parametric EQ available for each track. 
Soundbridge also has unlimited VST support, allowing you to load as many VST plug-ins as your computing power will allow. This is a really important feature as many of the 'packaged' or 'entry-level' products from the bigger software houses tend to limit this functionality. At the time of writing Pro Tools basic, for example, offers no VST support and Cubase LE allows 2 VST instruments to be loaded. Ableton Live Lite is limited to it's 8 Midi tracks. So despite being freeware (or perhaps, more accurately donateware) Soundbridge really is a better option than the budget entry-version products from Steinberg, ProTools, etc. 
Despite it's powerful features, Soundbridge is pretty easy to learn and use with lots of online resources available from their website. 
Soundbridge DAW really is the freeware bargain of the century, but that's not all Soundbridge have to offer because they also have the best freeware drum machine instrument there is.......

Ritmix




Ritmix is Soundbridge's freeware drum machine VST instrument. Naturally, it works with Soundbridge but also any 64-bit VST compatible host.
And it really is a top-notch product. It's difficult to think of a feature that commercial products have that it doesn't.
Most computer musicians would have a drum machine of some sort in their collection of instruments and at least one is usually provided in most commercial DAW packages.  
I regularly use ReDrum within my Reason software package and it covers everything it does and more. 
RitMix has 16 drum instruments/channels with full editing for each instrument including pitch, duration and even bitcrushing. It also features the same 4 band parametric EQ from Soundbridge for each drum instrument.
Sequencing is via the usual 16-step pages with patterns of up to 64 steps. 
The user interface is colourful and really easy to use and navigate. 
So we'll add Ritmix to your 'suite' of freeware music applications.

More information and download links for Soundbridge and RitMix are available from: 


Rompler.

Emu systems really pioneered the idea of the 'rompler' via their series of Proteus hardware modules in the late eighties and nineties. A Rompler is an instrument stacked with the most popular sounds used by musicians every day. Acoustic instrument such as piano, electric piano, bass, strings, braaa, etc, but also synth type sound such as popular led and bass sounds. 
Quality freeware Romplers are not easy to come by.   

There are Soundfont players and free instrument hosts such as Steinberg's Halion Sonic SE3 but you need to look for the files to load into them. 

I would probably go for IK Multimedia's Sampletank which in it's current incarnation is Sampletank 4 Custom Shop. Designed as an introduction to the larger Sampletank collections is still offers fifty instruments.....including piano, drums, basses and some synth sounds. 


More information:


 
A Freeware Sampler:

So I guess what we need next is a sampler to handle all our beats, loops and sampled instruments. 
Here there probably is only one choice with the freeware version of CWITEC's free version of the excellent TX16Wx
As software samplers go, this can pretty much handle everything from simple beats and synth loops through to drum kits and sampled instruments. 
It has to be said it's not the easiest of instruments to get your head around. For me, it really has a few more 'layers' than it needs. It's a 'multi-timbral' capabilities seem to over-complicate things unnecessarily as you can always open more 'instances' of it for sequencing more than one instrument. 
However, it really is a potent product with in-depth sample editing and synth style programming. it really covers everything that, say, the NN-XT that comes packaged with Reason would cover. 
The freeware version has most of what you need but you do need the full (paid for) version if you want the time-stretching capabilities and one or two other facilities such as the arppegiator. 


Freeware Virtual Analog Synthesizer.

Analog synthesizers are an essential part of most modern pop, dance and electronic music tracks for synth basses, pads and leads. 
Here we have quite a lot of choice with loads of freeware virtual analog out there. 
I've gone with U-HE's Tyrell N6. 
A really powerful sounding software synth with a simple, easy to use single page interface and one or two innovative features such as variable position oscillators
I used the Tyrell N6 in my introduction to synthesizers blog post. 




Tyrell N6 was developed for a German website called Amazona and you can download it there:



Digital/Wavetable Synthesizer

Finally, a wavetable/digital synth to add 'something different' and, as a lover of arpeggiators, maybe something that has such a feature. 
Here, I've been a bit loose with the word 'free'. Not strictly a piece of freeware but it's available on the cover disk of every copy of Computer Music magazine alongside loads of other free instrument and effects plug-ins. Current cover price of Computer Music is £5.99 so it's almost free. Given everything else you get including a copy of the magazine, you could 'cost it in' at a few pence. 
Anyway, the synthesizer of which I speak is Synapse Audio's DUNECM wavetable virtual polysynth. 

It's capable of whole host of synthesizer type sounds including string and choir pads, lead sounds, plucked sounds, analog polysynth recreations and it's easy to use syncable arpeggiator it's great for electronic and dance music. 




It has since been succeeded by a DUNE 2 and now a DUNE 3 which would be well worth checking out but to me this is the best 'freeware' synth 'bargain' around. It's my 'go to' option for so many sounds. 

I've developed a number of synth patch packs for this instrument. Here are some of the demo tracks below. 







No download link for DUNECM just head down to your Newsagent and pick up this month's copy of Computer Music magazine. 

So there it is. A complete freeware 'suite' of software instruments alongside a fully functioning DAW with a great sounding set of effects to program and record your tracks with. All for virtually nothing (a few pence if you count DUNECM). 

A much better solution to really any of the 'entry-level' packaged DAWs that come with audio interfaces or the budget versions of many commercial packages. All you really need is a bit more time to do the separate downloading and a very worthy and powerful computer music production package is yours for zip, nada, nothin'..... 

Disclaimer:


The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 



 


 

 



SOUNDWARE: Korg Kross 2. Performance Keys. Now Available!

Korg Kross 2 Performance Keys. 



The latest soundware collection for Korg Kross 2 is now available. This one is a collection of vintage keyboard instruments including organs, electric pianos, clavinets, and electric grands. 

This collection utilises the powerful effects section of the Kross 2 so it's probably fair to say that these free Kross 2 patches are more for live performance rather than multi-tracking or sequencing, etc. but they are really effective recreations and, I think , a bit of a step up from the factory sounds. 

Developed for Kross 2 users who want Nord vintage style keyboard sounds but don't have the necessary wedge for a Nord.

Loads of overdriven rock organs, funky clavinets, biting rhodes and wurlitzer electric pianos and Yamaha electric grands, all with the full effects processing of the Kross 2 applied to them for convincing live performances. 
64 patches for Korg Kross 2




Kross 2 'Performance Keys' Video Demo:





Korg Kross 2 Performance Keys Download:



Disclaimer:

The information contained within this blog post is offered on an informal basis and is correct to the best of my knowledge. I accept no responsibility for outcomes arising from the mis/interpretation or use of this information and/or associated download files. Always download files via security/scanning software. 


Friday, October 2, 2020

TRAINING AND CONSULTANCY: Reason Studios: Reason.

Reason Studios Reason Course Launched.



Why Reason Studios Reason?

I think Reason Studios Reason (formerly Propellerhead Reason) offers something genuinely different from other computer music DAWs (digital audio workstations). 
It's three tier system of 'rack', 'mixer' and 'sequencer' make it ideal for musicians and producers with a background and/or experience in 'real world' studio setups moving into computer music production. 

Many computer music DAWs look a bit like a spreadsheet when first opened. Take a look at Reason for the first time and at least some of it will look 'familiar' to many musicians. A rack in which you can place effects and instruments, a mixer that looks just like a hardware mixer, and a 'piano roll' type sequencer. And you even hook it all up with virtual 'wires' just like the equivalent hardware. Reason is my computer music DAW of choice. 

But my Reason course isn't just another computer music course, this course is supplied with a number of free instruments, synth patches and sample libraries that add massive additional capability to Reason and will launch your Reason voyage with a bang! See 'Course Additions' below. 

The Reason Course Modules:


This training course has 10 x 1 hour sessions/modules:

1 - Installation and Audio/Midi Setup
2 - 'The Rack'. 
Basic wiring and interfacing with 'Mixer' using Dr Rex drum loop player.
3 - 'Instruments Pt 1'. 
A look at the ReDrum drum machine instrument.
4 - ' Instruments Pt 2'. 
A closer look at 'Subtractor' synthesizer and synthesizer basics.
5 - 'Instruments Pt 3'
A closer look at 'NN-XT' virtual sampler instrument and sampling basics.
6 - 'Effects/Processing Pt1'
A closer look at REV7000 reverb MKII, DDL-1 delay and CF-101 chorus/flanger and effects basics.
7 - 'Effects/Processing Pt2'
An in depth look at insert effects and processors.
8 - 'The Mixer'
A detailed look at Reason's mixer.
9 - 'The Sequencer Pt 1.'
Midi recording, synchronising and editing. 
10 - 'The Sequencer Pt 2'
Audio recording and editing. 

These 10 x 1 hour modules add up to a complete Reason course, but can be separated. For example, the Subtractor module (4) would be ideal for anyone wanting a grounding in analog synthesizer basics. The NN-XT module (5) is an ideal introduction to sampling. 

The sessions can be taken on regular basis as preferred. 2 modules/hrs per session, one per week. As you like. 

Course Additions and Supporting Products:

Course resources include a 10 page printed course guide and re-cap.
In addition to your Reason training course, you will also receive a number of free instruments, synth patches and sample libraries which can be installed onto your computer. 
The package includes:

Drum Mechanics. Acoustic sample drum library for Reason's NN-XT sampler.
DUNE. Polyphonic wavetable synthesizer with 'Motorik City', 'Widescreen Pads and Soundscapes', 'Polysynth' and D-Mix-One patch collections. 
Steinberg Halion Sonic SE with 'Piano Mechanics', 'Organ Mechanics', Fender Agenda' (electric piano', and Folkus (acoustic guitar) VST instrument plug-ins. 
Ghost Machine Suite: Vintage drum machine samples, resamples and kits for ReDrum drum machine including Yamaha RX7, Korg S3, Akai XR10, Kawai R50 and R50e. 


So why not start your computer music journey with Reason today? Reason Intro is a really powerful version of Reason which has all the best Reason instruments and effects and has unlimited VST support. It's available for around £70.

Location:

Course and modules are delivered on a one-to-one basis at my facilities in Rainham, Essex as required by the client. 
I can also travel throughout the South East of the UK to deliver the course at additional hours and expenses. 

Links:

More info here:

Contact:

Contact me for more details:

email: simonthompsonmusic@outlook.com
Tel: 07802 640373.
www.facebook.com/simonthompsonmusic.