Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net

1st May 2013 | 08:05

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Free music software
The best audio app downloads and plug-ins on the net

This is a constantly updated collection of free music software downloads - the best VST effects/instruments, other plug-ins and freeware apps on the net.

Assembled from three years of (almost) weekly round-ups, here you'll find everything from virtual synths, EQ, compression and distortion effects to playable desk fans and meowing instruments - all 100% free.

If you've got a new free music software release, make sure you let us know about it by emailing musicradar.pressreleases@futurenet.com with all the details. Or, if you spot any out-of-date links or lapsed freebies, just ask, and we’ll remove them.

Next: The latest round-up

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
The latest no-charge plugins
12 August 2013

lisc delay

Saltline Liść Delay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A delay effect that features pre- and post-effect filters. Each of the three delays can have its own dedicated filters, enabling you to create everything from subtle spatial effects to twisted glitch sounds.

Monosc

Prysm Audio Monosc

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The brainboxes among you will probably be able to deduce from the name that this is a single oscillator monophonic synth. It has a Unison mode (1 to 16 voices), a filter that offers four different types and - from the look of it - a very simple interface.

Xenobioz Kruudster

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A hybrid synth plugin that sports three oscillators, three LFOs, a Randomizer key, three ADSRs, a filter and more. Kruudster is said to be notable for its drawable low resolution waveforms.

NTS Audio Labs Scale Wizard

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Ever wanted to have all your keyboard playing corrected so that it sounds 'right'? That's what Scale Wizard is designed to do - it's a MIDI filter/corrector that enables you to play in any key, mode or scale using just the white keys. It can also be used as a chord/chord scales generator.

KX77FREE kx-polym-cse

KX77FREE Kx-PolyM-CSE

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An emulation of a vintage analogue polyphonic synth that comes with a CV/gate sequencer. It takes some inspiration from Yamaha's CS-70M and sports a 20*12 matrix and six VCOs with five selectable waveforms each.

Bserrano zxys

Bserrano zXYs

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A simple X/Y pad controller plugin. You can assign up to eight parameters per axis using Control Change messages and then set the ranges for each.

CBW01

Saltline/music-society.net CBW01

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A drum machine that offers four hit editors and an effects section. There are independent MIDI controls for each, plus 16 modulation slots that promise to provide greater dynamics when playing. You'll have to register for music-society.net if you want to download CBW01.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Crunchy effects, synthetic beats and more
15 July 2013

Gimmick graph

Juno Ju-X Gimmick Graph

Platform/format: Mac/AU Download

Appropriately enough, given its name, Gimmick Graph promises a new synthesis method. Its oscillator hits upon its waveform by setting how many times to twist it in a cycle, dividing it up by scanning up and down, before finally allowing the player to determine the positions of the turning points. There's a graph on the website to explain the process, but you might be better off just giving the thing a try.

Klanghelm ivgi

Klanghelm IVGI

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Put some "soft and subtle" saturation on your master buss or add "dense and dirty" distortion effects to individual tracks with this simple looking plugin. IVGI is said to react dynamically to the input signal and to deliver a lively, real and transparent sound.

Tek'it audio winkl

Tek'it Audio Winkl

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A foldback distortion unit that's unashamedly unsubtle - use it to make your sounds (particularly those of the bass and lead variety) scream. Operation is simple, being based around just Drive and Output Gain controls.

Third harmonic studios exd-80

Third Harmonic Studios EXD-80

Platform/format: PC/VST, Download

A subtractive synthesis-based drum and percussion instrument. Eight modules cover the main rhythmic bases (kick, snare, hi-hats etc), and are said to produce sounds that range from classic drum machine emulations to "crazy, mangled glitch sounds". There are four stereo outputs, each of which has its own effects section.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A synth, a reverb/delay processor and a pitch bender
5 June 2013

SonicXTC Deep-Mono

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed in the spirit of the classic '70s monosynths, this single-oscillator instrument promises to be easy to program - all of its parameters are displayed on the front panel. There are 70 presets, but the real fun may come in creating your own.

Saltline Drzewo Liść-verb

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A reverb/delay effect that's designed with simplicity in mind. Use it for everything from creating pad ambiences to textured beats. You can also throw a state-variable filter into the mix for additional creative opportunities.

Sonic Emblem Sonic BND

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Sonic BND does realtime audio pitchbending with an LFO. There's a plus/minus 12 semitone range and six types of waveform, while the LFO rate can be synced to your current BPM.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Subtractive and additive synths and a free effects bundle
20 May 2013

Creatorum genius lab imago

Creatorum Genius Lab Imago

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed for creating rhythmic pads and basses, this 3-oscillator synth sports two filters, amp and filter envelopes, delay, EQ and a flanger. There's also a 32-step sequencer and, if you're feeling lucky, you can randomise all parameters with a single button press.

Mildon studios hue-x + m4giq plugin bundle

Mildon studios hue-x + m4giq plugin bundle

Mildon Studios HUE-X + M4GIQ Plugin Bundle

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Two freebies in one bundle. HUE-X is an EQ that's designed for people who like to experiment with sound, giving you ten descriptively named faders to tweak. M4GIQ, meanwhile, is a multi-effect that enables you to apply gain, panning and delay to each frequency band, so you can spread frequencies across the stereo image.

Tonebytes harmonaut

Tonebytes Harmonaut

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This ad-supported instrument is based on additive synthesis technology and comes with four waveform types and 32 harmonics that can be drawn with your mouse. You can also adjust the attack, decay, sustain and release for each harmonic, while a low-pass/high-pass filter, an LFO and chorus can be called into play, too.

TA programming subsonic

TA Programming SubSonic

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Billed as "the synth that takes you back," SubSonic is a subtractive instrument that promises to give you a vintage sound. Among its tools are three oscillators, a graphical ADSR envelope, a multimode filter and reverb, delay, chorus, flanger and warper modules.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
De-esser, filter, stereo expander and synth plugins
2 May 2013

Sleepy-Time dsp lisp

Sleepy-Time DSP Lisp

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This level-independent sibilance processor is said to be a new type of de-esser that offers automatic sibilance detection. It does this by tracking the amplitude and pitch of its input in real time - set the reduction amount and Lisp will work on eliminating those unwanted 'ss', 'the', and 'ch' sounds.

Saltline drzewo liść-step

Saltline Drzewo Liść-step

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A simple state-variable filter (low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, band reject) that enables you to control the cutoff frequency via either the 16-step sequencer or the LFO. Modulated filter patterns are easy to create, so we're told.

HASound spring 212

HASound Spring 212

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST Download

If you're mixing music for systems that have stereo speakers in close proximity - boomboxes, for example - HASound thinks that this stereo expander plugin will help you to add a bit of width.

Xenobioz funxion

Xenobioz Funxion

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A hybrid 3-oscillator synth that comes with user-definable functions for waveforms and distortion. Other features include three LFOs, three ADSRs, a randomizer, a multimode filter and two delay units.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
11 new releases to get your teeth into
15 April 2013

Nikolozi Easy MIDI Free

Platform/format: Mac Download

Ever wanted to turn your Mac's QWERTY keyboard into a MIDI controller? This enables you to do precisely that - we imagine that it could be particularly useful for mobile musicians using laptops. With an appropriate MIDI interface you can even use it to control iOS apps.

Rob Papen RP Dock

Platform/format: Mac Download

If you own several Rob Papen synths and want to use them outside of your DAW (as part of a live performance, for example) this standalone Mac-only host could be what you're looking for. It can host RP effects as well, and also boasts audio recording/playback and a MIDI In.

TDR feedback compressor ii

TDR Feedback Compressor II

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Designed specifically for bus compression but suitable for mixing tasks as well, this plugin analyses the output signal and promises highly musical compression and the ability to handle complex signals with ease. Rather than attempting to emulate any classic hardware, it's proudly digital.

Nick crow lab wagner sharp

Nick Crow Lab Wagner Sharp

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This tube guitar preamp emulation certainly looks like a real piece of hardware, and it may well sound like one, too. There are two channels and a stereo mode to handle double tracking, with each channel only being activated when a signal is present in order to preserve CPU power.

Qirex audio qirex player 2.0

Qirex Audio Qirex Player 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This free SFZ player has been given a bit of a revamp - it now sports a nifty new interface. There's also an automatic volume limiter, improved audio processing and several bug fixes.

390

Mzuther traKmeter

Platform/format: PC, Linux/VST Download

A loudness meter that helps you to correctly set your tracking and mixing levels. Specifically, it's designed for gain staging, and so gives you both average and peak level meters. If you're unsure what all of this means, you'll be pleased to know that traKmeter comes with plenty of documentation.

B. serrano dionysos

B. Serrano Dionysos

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A 16-voice polyphonic synth that utilises subtractive, FM and additive techniques. It may be free, but it's certainly feature-packed, offering filters, envelopes, LFOs, a 32-step sequencer and plenty of modulation possibilities.

TSE audio tse808

TSE Audio TSE808

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This appears to be an emulation of Ibanez's Tube Screamer, and is designed to be used before your amp simulation to give you a tighter low end and add a bit of boost to lead parts.

Guitar amp 2 free edition

Guitar Amp 2 Free Edition

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Get yourself a free rack of guitar gear: this plugin includes two amplifiers for guitar and bass plus effects and a tuner. This second version promises improved performance and various other fixes.

Ignite amps tsb-1 tyrant screamer

Ignite Amps TSB-1 Tyrant Screamer

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Another overdrive plugin that's inspired by a particular green hardware model from yesteryear, this one promises additional features that make it suitable for use on extremely down-tuned guitars.

Torn sub behemoth

Torn Sub Behemoth

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A free bassline synth based on additive synthesis. There are four oscillators, and it's designed to create a powerful and punchy bass sound that can be used straight away.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
PanCake 2, Flan-W and Filta Crunch 2
25 February 2013

Pancake 2

CableGuys PanCake 2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

This creative tool enables you to create complex pan modulations and gives you the ability to draw your own waveforms. The LFO can be set to free-run or sync to host, and version 2 adds a precise left/right channel volume display, LFO triggering via MIDI, a dry/wet control and a redesigned interface.

Wok Flan-W

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This classic flanger effect has a stomp-style interface but is suitable for use on more than guitar parts. You can adjust the speed, depth and feedback of the effect.

SonicXTC filta crunch 2

SonicXTC Filta Crunch 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We first encountered Filta Crunch in 2012: it recreates the popular studio insert effects chain of filter (a Moog-style one, in this case), tube amp and waveshaper. Version 2 brings added presence, an improved filter and waveshaper enhancements.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Freeware synths and effects
12 February 2013
Xenobioz kruud

Xenobioz Kruud

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We covered the beta version of this synth back in 2011, but version 1.0 has finally been released and adds an improved GUI with a new waveform editor. There are also new menus and lower CPU usage on user waveforms.

Synthscience.com effects

Synthscience.com effects

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Synthscience.com has not only redesigned its website recently, but also expanded its range of effects processors with a whopping 18 new plug-ins. You can choose from modulation, distortion/lo-fi, dynamics, filter/EQ and delay/reverb processors, so dive in and explore.

TSE audio tse x50

TSE Audio TSE X50

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

TSE's latest emulation is of a famous US guitar amp that's been used on a lot of metal records. There were actually two very similar versions of said amp, so you get two separate channels. If you like the plug-in, consider giving the developer a donation.

Xen-Arts xenfont

Xen-Arts XenFont

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A two-oscillator SF2 SoundFont/subtractive synthesis instrument that features full controller MIDI Pitch Microtuning, meaning that you can use it to experiment with alternative intonation systems. Load in your samples and put them through the synth engine to create new timbres.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Signal processors, a synth and a sample processor
7 January 2013

Variety of sound tesslapro mkii

Variety Of Sound TesslaPro mkII

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This transient aware signal saturator now has an expandable 'colour model' architecture and includes five different models. Three of these are console-styled and the other two emulate a tube stage and tape warmth.

TSE audio b.o.d. 2.0

TSE Audio B.O.D. 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you want to give your bass some dirt, this emulation of a well-known overdrive processing box could do the trick. This revised version sports a new interface, a low/high quality switch, improved op-amp modelling and dynamic saturation.

Mastrcode music t-force alpha plus

Mastrcode Music T-Force Alpha Plus

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This advanced version of T-Force Alpha TS has all the features of the aforementioned synth but also adds new synthesis options (there are both subtractive and FM options), revised oscillators, new mod envelopes and an integrated sidechaining effect.

Plogue sforzando

Plogue sforzando

Platform/format: PC, Mac/AU, VST Download

This lean-looking SFZ 2.0 sample player has just one instrument slot, no fancy interface and no effects or mixer. What it can do, though, is play back files in this royalty-free format, while SF2, DLS and Acidized WAV files that are dropped in will be converted to it.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Phase distortion synths, a sampler and two delays
19 November 2012

babytron

Solcito Musica BabyTron

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Just missing the deadline for the KVR Developer Challenge 2012, this analogue-style and phase distortion virtual synth is a cutdown version of Solcito Musica's SuperTron. It gives you just one oscillator, one envelope and one filter to work with, and the interface hides knobs that aren't currently needed.

Extent of the jam digits 1.3

Extent of the Jam Digits 1.3

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST Download

A significant update to this phase distortion synth that adds a full editor GUI and has much lower CPU usage. The synth was inspired by Casio's CZ series and can produce pads, glitchy sounds, basses, sweeps, leads and more. A Linux version is now available, too.

CWI technology tx16wx 2.0

CWI Technology TX16Wx 2.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST Download

We told you about the first version of this free sampler in 2011; version 2.0 adds a raft of new features including a redesigned and resizable interface, unlimited undo/redo, a built-in file browser, a drag-n-drop workflow, automatic keyboard mapping of recorded samples and more.

Yuroun sound design ysd-delay

Yuroun Sound Design YSD-dELAY

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A tempo-synced stereo delay plug-in that sports two state-variable filters (one for each channel), two LFOs, a waveshaper and 3-band EQ. 30 presets are included to get you started.

Jamie.B audio delay

Jamie.B Audio Delay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It's pretty simple, but this delay plug-in looks like it's designed just to do a job with the minimum of fuss. There are Delay, Decay, Pre-Gain and Post-Gain sliders, and the results you can get from it are said to be "smooth and elegant".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Chorus, compressor, trance gate and techno plug-ins
5 November 2012

Togu audio line tal-chorus-lx

Togu Audio Line TAL-Chorus-LX

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This new chorus module is lifted from TAL's TAL-U-NO-LX and promises to bring the characteristics of the chorus from Roland's Juno-60. There are two different modes, a Dry/Wet control and Volume and Stereo Width knobs.

Mastrcode music t-force trance gate

Mastrcode Music T-Force Trance Gate

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A trance gate that's triggered by an envelope-controlled 32-step sequencer. Each step has its own panning and velocity controls, while there's also a filter and dual delay and reverb effects.

NTS audio labs techno-x

NTS Audio Labs Techno-X

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed to help you to create techno loops, this standalone and plug-in software comes with 756 kicks, 231 hats and 470 claps and snares. One click can instantly generate 100 loops, apparently, while you can sidechain your kick, add swing and make use of filters.

Hypercube softwares universal patch finder

Hypercube Softwares Universal Patch Finder

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you've ever struggled to locate a REX/WAV/AIFF file or Kontakt patch, this utility may be of some help. It enables you to organise the aforementioned files using 20 tags – files that you then search for and locate can be previewed in sync with your VST host.

Xfer records ott

Xfer Records OTT

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

OTT is designed to give you the 'multiband upwards/downwards compressor' setting that's used by many dubstep and electro producers. Depth and Time controls sit alongside the usual Input and Output gain dials.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Sound makers and shapers
10 September 2012

Kotkas paax pro

Kotkas Paax Pro

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

There's always been a free version of the Paax software sampler, but now the full-on Pro version is available for nothing as well. This has many of the features you'd expect from a full-on commercial sampler, including 256 simultaneous voices, a multi-mode filter, advanced timestretching and pitchshifting and much more.

Notam radium

Notam Radium

Platform: PC, Mac, Linux Download

Inspired by trackers but supposedly with fewer limitations, Radium is billed as a music editor and promises a "novel interface". You can use an unlimited number of tracks and automate the likes of tempo, velocity and sound effects.

Tokyo dawn labs tdr feedback compressor

Tokyo Dawn Labs TDR Feedback Compressor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It seems that there are now almost as many free compressors out there as there are chargeable ones, this one being the latest example. This is an RMS-based dynamic range compressor that's designed for summing/bus use and, refreshingly, it's "proudly digital" rather than any kind of analogue emulation.

Syncersoft analog warp

Syncersoft Analog Warp

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

A warping and morphing effect that's "designed to deliver the clear, penetrating sounds favoured by live musicians". It's said to have uses for producers who work in all manner of different genres, though the LFO section was put in with dubstep folk very much in mind.

SonicXTC tonic juice

SonicXTC Tonic Juice

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

Another effects-chain-in-one-plug-in from SonicXTC. This one comes with a chorus that can be used to help background tones to sit better in a mix, a flanger to give harmonically rich sounds more presence, and an envelope follower to provide more tonal interest and movement.

Distorque vitamin c

Distorque Vitamin C

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The Orange Squeezer guitar compressor gets the emulation treatment here, though there are also additional controls for extra tweaking. Famed for its "smooth squish and sustain" the original '70s hardware was used by the likes of Mark Knopfler and Jeff Baxter.

SonicXTC liquid delay

SonicXTC Liquid Delay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This processor enables you to modulate a delayed stereo signal with a flanger and filter (plus a filter LFO). Designed for experimentation, it's designed for producers of all kinds of electronic music.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Browse and download
13 August 2012

free music software

Back after an unscheduled mid-summer break, our free music software round-up is once again on hand to point you in the direction of the latest gratis effects and instruments.

If you've got a new free music software release, make sure you let us know about it by emailing musicradar.pressreleases@futurenet.com with all the details.

Solicto musica supertron

Solicto Musica SuperTron

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The info for this one's all in Spanish, but from what we can gather, it's a two-oscillator virtual analogue synth that comes with various typical features and something called the Step Modulator. If you want to find out more, perhaps your best bet is to check out the demo video.

SonicXTC filta crunch

SonicXTC Filta Crunch

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Filta Crunch recreates the popular studio insert effects chain of filter (a Moog-style one, in this case), tube amp and waveshaper. It can be used to "beef up kicks, add sizzle to a snare, or just add a bit of distortion to allow a vocal to cut through a mix". The waveshaper, meanwhile, promises to give the plug-in an extra dimension.

ToneBytes lo-fizer

ToneBytes Lo-Fizer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Ten lo-fi effects devices are supplied in this rack-style plug-in and you can combine up to four of them at a time. This being the case, you should be able to create a wide range of effects, and all - we're assured - with just a few clicks.

Tok-Tok fratzoor and distel

Tok-Tok Fratzoor and Distel

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of freebies that are designed to help you to create monosynth basslines. Fratzoor is an analogue-style step sequencer that comes with randomizers for pitch, velocity and trigger. Distel was originally created as the test synth for Fratzoor, but the developer believes that it turned out well enough to be released.

SonicXTC liquid verb

SonicXTC Liquid Verb

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Not just a reverb, but an emulation of the modulated reverb that you'll find in high-end studios. So it's reverb that's been seasoned with the likes of chorus, tremolo, vibrato or flanging.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Featuring a free FXpansion compressor
23 July 2012

Easytoolz easy-q-delay

Easytoolz Easy-Q-Delay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A stereo delay plug-in that has two separate delay lines for left and right. You can adjust parameters for these separately, and you'll also find a couple of LFOs. There are 16 patches to show off what the effect can do.

Wok superfake

Wok Superfake

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This effect promises to make any saw wave sound like Roland's classic Supersaw. It does this by way of its six detuned voices, which can be spread across the stereo field. The amount of detuning can be adjusted. Although Superfake is free, you can pay €9 to remove the nagscreen that pops up when you open it.

Ignite amps shb-1

Ignite Amps SHB-1

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Although the SHB-1 is a software recreation of the hardware bass amp of the same name, it was actually built before the 'real' model so that the player who commissioned it - Federico Fulceri - could take it for a test drive. It's billed as an "Extreme Bass Head" so expect plenty of grunt.

Tok-Tok neuser

Tok-Tok Neuser

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An experimental synth that was created with SynthMakerCM, the version of SynthMaker that's supplied on our sister magazine Computer Music's cover disc. Waveforms can be drawn onto the oscillator and you can create a filter-modulated sound with a few clicks and knob turns.

FXpansion dcam freecomp

FXpansion DCAM FreeComp

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A nice bonus when FXpansion launched the DCAM Dynamics bundle recently was the release of DCAM FreeComp, a free circuit-modelled compression unit. It models a classic console bus compressor and is designed to gel subgroups and complete mixes together while enhancing punch and definition.

discoDSP nightshine

discoDSP NightShine

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

discoDSP has been in the plug-in business for ten years, and to celebrate, it's offering this peak compressor for free. It's a single-band device based on the Alesis 3630; the plug-in had been discontinued, but this re-release comes with a new GUI.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A compressor and limiter special
09 July 2012

Variety of sound density

Variety Of Sound Density mkIII

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Already nominated in our poll to find the best free VST plug-ins in the world today, this compressor has had some "deep optimisations" made to its engine which should be particularly useful in mastering situations. The transient response has been improved, and audio is rendered "like a three-dimensional image".

Vladg sound limiter no6

Vladg/Sound Limiter No6

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A modular limiter that's designed for mastering. There are five modules: an RMS compressor, a peak limiter, a high-frequency limiter, a clipper, and a true peak limiter. The plug-in can do both brickwall and soft limiting and sports M/S and multiband modes.

RobotPlanet battlecomp vintage

RobotPlanet BattleComp Vintage

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

There's no proper interface for this one (so its look will depend on the host you're using) but BattleComp Vintage is said to be a smooth compressor with an EQ and a high-pass filter on its internal sidechain, plus a soft clipping circuit at the output stage to control peaks.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synths and effects
25 June 2012

wok bassimo

Wok Bassimo

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Released last week to coincide with World Music Day, this 'easy analogue synth' has a standard virtual analogue design and can be used for both bass and lead sounds. You can turn the volume knob up to 11 for some extra dirt.

DDMF coloureq

DDMF ColourEQ

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Not just another EQ, we're told, but one that sounds unlike any other. The five bands of super-parametric peaking filters are responsible for this uniqueness, apparently - you have one more parameter on top of the standard gain/width/frequency to influence the curve shape.

Syncersoft bass landscapes

Syncersoft Bass Landscapes

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Previously featured in one of our paid plug-in round-ups, this bass boosting plug-in can now be yours for nothing. You can use the low-mid boost to help sit your bass or kickdrum in the mix and turn on tube emulation for a vintage feel.

HG fortune altair-4 b and x-wof 4

HG Fortune Altair-4 B and X-WoF 4

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

HG Fortune has made a couple of its instruments free. Altair-4 B Pro is a slightly reworked version of the Altair-4 sci-fi sounds lab, while X-Wof 4 Pro is an 8-part algorithmic music system.

Whitebox newmodeloscillator

Whitebox NewModelOscillator

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An FM synth that sports four oscillators (one carrier wave and three modulator waves), each of which has seven waveforms. There's a reverb unit, plus a "massively tweakable" multitap delay.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A barrage of new plug-ins
19 June 2012

beat zampler

Beat Zampler

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Released by German magazine Beat but created by renowned developer Synapse Audio, this is a sample workstation that comes with SFZ support. There's also a multimode filter, three LFOs, a mod matrix, an arpeggiator/step sequencer and an effects section.

WOK ring-o

WOK Ring-O

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The modulation source for this ring modulation effect can be the left and right sides of a stereo signal modulating each other, or a stereo signal modulated by Ring-O's internal oscillator. This has different waveforms, and its pitch can be set via MIDI.

Syncersoft amusing sounds of the body

Syncersoft Amusing Sounds Of The Body

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Some will question how amusing it is, but this plug-in can certainly produce 'bodily function' sounds. There are 21 profiles in all, including the sounds of "sniff, pee, itches, farts etc".

Softrave lel uds drums

Softrave LEL UDS Drums

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Vintage analogue drum modules are brought back to life with this 140-sample instrument. The focus appears to be on snare drums; you can mix, match and layer between multiple banks, and there are filters, too.

Xenium audio x-tube

Xenium Audio X-Tube

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

X-Tube has been created to simulate the saturation effect of a 12AX7 tube amp. Designed to be easy to use, it sports a 3-band EQ and comes with 12 presets. In addition, there are separate controls for Drive and Bias.

Homegrown sounds multitimbral control

Homegrown Sounds Multitimbral Control

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A plug-in that gives you control of 16 MIDI channels, so is potentially useful if you own a multitimbral sound module. You can adjust the likes of volume, pan and program change (MSB, LSB and Program Number) and each channel also has two assignable CC knobs.

Syncersoft analog voice

Syncersoft Analog Voice

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A subtractive synth that promises extended modulation possibilities. There are four types of analogue-style filter onboard, plus delay and reverb effects and a tempo-syncable LFO. The detune effect, meanwhile, can add strangeness and fatness.

Mothman z3000

Mothman Z3000 and 2000

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The developer admits that he won't have time to update these two synths any time soon, so has decided to set them free. The Mothman Z3000 is a 16-voice polyphonic instrument while the 2000 is a 2-oscillator subtractive beastie.

Syncersoft lizard morph

Syncersoft Lizard Morph

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A detune and morph effect that's said to be particularly useful to anyone who's looking to produce the powerful, penetrating sounds that are associated with a lot of contemporary dance music. The LFO section, meanwhile, has been included with dubstep producers particularly in mind.

LSR audio lvlmeter

LSR Audio LVLMeter

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A vintage-inspired stereo peak level meter that comes in 32-bit and 64-bit varieties. That's all there is to say, really; the only other things you'll find in the way of a 'feature' are markers to indicate peaks.

Syncersoft q9 oldvox

Syncersoft Q9 Oldvox

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yet another Syncersoft release, Q9 Oldvox is an analogue-style synth that's said to deliver a sound that's warm and fat. The two oscillators are complemented by filters, LFOs and a delay effect.

Bass gnomes common image and millidelay

Bass Gnomes Common Image and Millidelay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple more freebies from the Bass Gnomes stable. Common Image can shift mono content relative to stereo content or position stereo content while maintaining the position of mono content, while Millidelay is a creative effect that delays your audio stream by the delay range selected.

Fsynthz phybace pilot

Fsynthz PhybAce Pilot

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A physically modelled bass guitar that emulates the string, pick, body resonances and pickups. There's a slide mode, too, for legato playing. This version is seen as a work in progress with limited features and controls, so if you've got any suggestions for improvements, send them the developer's way.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synths, snares and a lo-fi effect
21 May 2012

saw landscapes

Syncersoft Saw Landscapes

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Based on the Bass Landscapes plug-in we covered a few months back, Saw Landscapes is a synth that can be used to create both musical sounds and FX. It has a stompbox-style interface that should appeal to those who want to keep their controls simple.

Xen arts ivor

Xen-Arts Ivor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It may look like a pretty standard synth, but Ivor enables you to microtune any MIDI Note Number to any pitch across the MIDI range, enabling you to compose music with alternative intonation systems. The subtractive design features two oscillators, filters, an envelope generator and more.

Inear display sickndstroy

Inear Display SicknDstroy

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A lo-fi effect plug-in that features bitcrushing and sample rate reduction processors. These can be used in four different ways, and there's some ring modulation thrown in as well.

Softrave techno snare

Softrave Techno Snare

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

So called because it offers you 512 sounds for use in techno. These are supplied in four banks, and you can mix them together to create exactly the sound you want. Each bank has its own filter, while you can also adjust the level of analogue drift to make the sound less mechanical.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Meet Scythe, Oscillator and Vinyl
8 May 2012

Plastaq software scythe

Plastaq Software Scythe

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST Download

It's slightly unusual to see an iPad app being brought to the desktop, but that's pretty much what's happened here. Scythe is a synth that borrows its engine and interface from GrainBender. Its oscillators sport analogue and digital waveforms, while there are also modulation options and effects.

Sinevibes oscillator

Sinevibes Oscillator

Platform/format: Mac/AU Download

This 'audio-controlled synth' (though strictly speaking it's an effect) is now free. The plug-in is based on a multi-waveform oscillator with up to six voices, with the parameters being modulated with the input signal's dynamics. There are effects, too, the end result being a device that can help you to produce all kinds of glitches and noises.

Tonebytes vinyl

Tonebytes Vinyl

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Give your music a bit of crackle with this vinyl record player emulation. You can adjust the dust count, colour and level, set how much you want to 'age' the recording and dial in a bit of gentle distortion.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Effects, a sound mangler and a Studio One exclusive
30 April 2012

Bass Gnomes Clarity and Full Phase

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of phase-related effects: Clarity uses phase shifting and comb filtering to enhance the clarity of your audio signal; and its little brother Full Phase allows phase tuning via a process that involves inverting a stereo channel "phased against the opposite corresponding channel to isolate common stereo field characteristics".

hourglass

Xenakios HourGlass

Platform/format: PC Download

Designed for radical sound processing, HourGlass takes fragments (grains) of audio and creates sound textures from them. It can be used for sound mangling/glitch purposes, and most of its tweakable parameters can be automated using envelopes. There's a demo video here and a Mac version is in development.

nuklear

Hamburg Audio Nuklear for Studio One

Platform/format: PC, Mac/Studio One Download

Another fillip for PreSonus's Studio One DAW: users can now have a monophonic version of Hamburg Audio's ear-catching Nuklear synth for nothing. What's more, they can upgrade to the full version for the reduced price of €89.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A free DAW, plug-ins and more
16 April 2012

PreSonus studio one free

PreSonus Studio One Free

Platform/format: PC, Mac Download

A free edition of PreSonus's much-admired DAW which retains many of the full version's features (you even get the multitrack MIDI editing and single/multitrack comping from version 2.0). Eight native effects and the Presence instrument are included, though one big downside is that you can't use third-party plug-ins.

Flexibeatz paint2sound

Flexibeatz Paint2Sound

Platform/format: PC Download

A standalone app that can convert any .jpg, .bmp or picture that you create into a soundscape. Each pixel row represents a frequency band and Paint2Sound synthesizes sine waves from each one. The likes of sample rate, sound duration and frequency distribution are all under your control.

Minimal system instruments ppd echobox

Minimal System Instruments PPD Echobox

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Modelled on analogue signal paths, this 'workhorse' echo/delay promises a classic, warm sound (there's even an Analogue control that enables you to dial said warmth in). The interface has been kept simple to ensure easy, logical operation.

Sinevibes filther

Sinevibes Filther

Platform/format: Mac/AU Download

A filtering plug-in that promises to add "colour and character" to any sound. It sports a -48 dB/octave low-pass filter with dual-stage waveshaping distortion and can be modulated by an input envelope follower and LFO. Use it for everything from low-end isolation to wah-wah and sweep effects.

Artican audio the pilgrim 2

Artican Audio The Pilgrim 2

Platform/format: PC, Mac, Linux/VST, AU Download

An update for this single knob filter that gives you a larger, better display and a sound that's supposedly better than it was previously. Both high- and low-pass filters are programmed into one dial, and you can sweep seamlessly between the two.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A SID synth meets a kazoo effect and more
26 March 2012

Circular labs mobius 2.0

Circular Labs Mobius 2.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Mobius is inspired by the hardware loopers of the past and enables you to run eight synchronised stereo loopers that offer QWERTY and MIDI keyboard control. The 2.0 release brings a redesigned synchronisation engine, AU host sync, support for sample rates other than 44100 and more.

Voxengo oldskoolverb 2.0

Voxengo OldSkoolVerb 2.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A 'classic' stereo reverb plug-in that promises a very clear spatial image that blends well within your mix. There's an improved algorithm in this version and, with a bit of tweaking, we're told that you can get everything from plate to hall reverbs. The plug-in is best applied to non-percussive and soft-attack sounds such as vocals, pianos and pads, apparently.

Audacity 2.0

Audacity 2.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac, Linux Download

An update for the open-source audio editor that surely everyone's used at one time or another. Significantly, many of the effects have been improved, Vocal Remover comes included, there's a new device toolbar and automatic crash recovery.

Tonebytes bleep

Tonebytes Bleep

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

With its Commodore 64-style looks, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that Bleep is a chiptune synth that's inspired by (but not a straight emulation of) the SID chip that was contained in said computer. There are three oscillators, a multimode LFO, a modulator envelope generator, a pseudo arpeggiator and an overall multimode filter.

g200kg mykazoo

g200kg MyKazoo

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The kazoo isn't exactly a difficult thing to play in real-life, but if you want a software version, here it is. It's actually an effect rather than an instrument: apply it to a vocal track and then adjust its sound using the Sensitivity and Color controls.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Two compressors and a synth update
12 March 2012

There's not too much to report on this week, but the three plug-ins on offer all look pretty slick. Find out more and then decide if you think they're worth taking for a spin.

If you've got a new free music software release, make sure you let us know about it by emailing musicradar.pressreleases@futurenet.com with all the details.

Klangheim dc1a

Klangheim DC1A

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This is a stripped back version of Klangheim's new DC8C compressor, and aims to give you the sound of its Punch mode with just input and output controls. The theory is that it 'just works', giving you everything from transparent, smooth levelling to heavy pumping.

Tekit audio genobazz 2

Tek'it Audio Genobazz 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An update for this free monophonic synth, and one that adds new waveforms and five new filters. Multi-segment envelope generators and velocity amount controllers for each knob have been thrown into the mix, too, enabling you to easily create drum and wobble sounds.

Variety of sound thrillseekerla

Variety Of Sound ThrillseekerLA

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A digital stereo levelling amplifier that's said to have "truly analogue qualities". The input-level-driven two knob design is familiar, though you do also get individual Attack and Release controls. When it comes to sound, we're promised "sophisticated and deep gain riding full of musical character and attitude but with virtually no inter-modulation (IM) distortion artifacts"

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synth, distortion, piano and organ plug-ins
27 February 2012

Tube-Ohm alpha-ray

Tube-Ohm Alpha-Ray

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A new virtual analogue synth from Tube-Ohm, which is currently celebrating five years in business. It has two main oscillators, a sub-oscillator, two main and one mod LFO, three filters and more. If you want to be able to save the effects with your presets, you'll have to pay €4.95.

Planet botch classic-h and skanksta

Planet Botch Classic-H and Skanksta

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Two free organs to play with: Classic H is modelled on a tonewheel model that has the "personality" of a Hammond/Leslie combo, while Skanksta takes inspiration from the Vox Continental and is designed for Ska in particular.

Sound magic piano one

Sound Magic Piano One

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Sound Magic has plenty of pianos on its roster, and this is a free one. It's based on the sound of the Yamaha C7 concert grand and uses the company's Hybrid Modeling Engine. Further pianos can be purchased via the Sound Magic Add-on Store.

Distorque face bender

Distorque Face Bender

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you want to dirty-up your guitar sound, this could be the solution. It emulates not only the Fuzz Face distortion unit, which was made by Arbiter Electronics in 1966, but also the Tone Bender MkII, which was released in the same year and came from Sola Sound.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Binaural beats and two synths
13 February 2012

binaural beat generator

Thomas Glendinning Binaural Beat Generator

Platform/format: Mac/VST, AU Download

Binaural beats are those that comprise two tones at slightly different frequencies played into your ears through headphones, and this plug-in enables you to generate them. The concept might sound a bit scary, but the interface looks friendly enough.

Krakli software harm

Krakli Software Harm

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Previously available as part of the RMP2 pack, this synth - which is designed for producing aggressive and strange sounds - is now available for free. It doesn't look too tricky to program, though you can avail yourself of 64 presets (created by Dimitri Schkoda) if you want to test its capabilities immediately.

Full bucket music the deputy mark ii

Full Bucket Music The Deputy Mark II

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Based on vintage string machines and early polyphonic synths, this instrument also features a monophonic section and comes with ensemble and phaser effects. Expect big, lush sounds aplenty.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A Mac App Store freebie and more
30 Jan 2012

Oli larkin pmix

Oli Larkin pMix

Platform/format: Mac Download

An interesting VST plug-in chainer (pMix is a host) that enables you to morph between presets on a graphical interface. Each preset is represented by a coloured ball, and morphing can lead to the creation of new, hybrid sounds. You can use up to four plug-ins at a time and a selection comes included.

Toscanalyser

Toscanalyser

Platform/format: PC, Linux Download

Designed to help you mix and master better, Toscanlyser's job is to compare - audibly and visually - your tracks to commercial recordings. There's a range of analysis options on offer, and at the end of the process you're given a detailed report that you can act on to resolve problems.

JME-Audio chip rhythm

JME-Audio Chip Rhythm

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A programmable drum machine that gives you kick, snare, clap, hi-hat and tom sounds. Each of these has its own Volume, Filter and Tone sections, and you can program patterns of up to eight steps in length.

Voxengo anspec

Voxengo AnSpec

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Another freebie from the generous chaps at Voxengo - this one is an analogue-style third-octave spectrum analyser. It's basically a visual tool that gives you graphical feedback (including peak level indication). There are no adjustable parameters, though you can change the level meter ballistics and resize the plug-in's window.

Direct approach limitx and boostx

Direct Approach LimitX and BoostX

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

These two plug-ins were previously available for $29.99 each but are now free. LimitX is billed as a transparent limiter with 64-bit internal precision, while BoostX is an 'upward' compressor.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
EQs, synths and a guitar amp

Crunck

Igor Nembrini Crunck

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A virtual guitar amp that takes inspiration from the developer's Marshall JCM800 mod 2210. It offers multi-stage distortion and two stages of output EQ, while its control panel keeps things simple.

Fsynthz the teen bundle

Fsynthz The Teen Bundle

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A free synth bundle that contains 10 instruments, all of which are based on a similar sound engine and the same control philosophy. They're designed as "a playground for morphing and randomness", so dive in and experiment.

Oceanturtle fnequalizer

Oceanturtle Fnequalizer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A paragraphic 7-band EQ that gives you bell, high and low shelf shapes to work with. There are additional low- and high-pass filters for bass/treble roll off, while a 'curve scale' feature amplifies the overall frequency response of all the bands.

Kuassa basiq

Kuassa basiQ

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A nice-looking 3-band EQ that's modelled on a classic baxandall equalizer and is designed to achieve smooth shelves and natural-sounding responses. The controls are simple, and the plug-in is designed for both mixing and mastering duties. Use it to sweeten up your sound or give it some transparent 'tilt'.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Christmas gifts you don't have to put on your credit card

Tek'it audio recsoprano

Tek'it Audio RECsoprano

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We're in the season of school Christmas concerts, so what better time to release a free soprano recorder plug-in? This one has an envelope control, a selection of tuning options, portamento and is polyphonic, which should make it sound all the sweeter.

Pianovintage jem sx1000

Pianovintage JEM SX1000

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The JEN SX-1000 was an Italian monosynth that was released in the '70s; this is a software emulation. It looks pretty easy to program, though you can save yourself the bother by making use of the 30 presets, six of which emulate those that came with the original instrument.

Starplugs peak meter

Starplugs Peak Meter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A Christmas present from Starplugs (note the Santa hat on the logo), this peak meter promises to offer a superfast peak display, peak-hold bargraph and numerical peak-hold. It's the kind of gift that's still going to be useful long after the last mince pie has been eaten and the tree has come down.

Martinic combo model f

Martinic Combo Model F

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Yet another organ emulation arrives to flex its drawbars: this one looks similar to many others (it's based on a famous combo instrument from the '60s), but we should point out that it's modelled rather than sample-based.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Effects plug-ins rule as we hit three figures

Melda production mnoisegenerator

Melda Production MNoiseGenerator

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A simple noise generator that features four modulators that can be used to add interest to your sounds. Each of these can work as an LFO, a follower, a MIDI/audio-triggered ADSR envelope, a pitch detector or a combination of the above.

jsAudio jscompshaper

jsAudio jsCompShaper

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A plug-in that enables you to morph between soft-knee compression and waveshaping as you see fit. You also have pre-/post-emphasis filtering (similar to a sidechain filter) and an "analogue-like" attack.

Homegrown sounds modulator

Homegrown Sounds Modulator

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Given its name, it won't surprise you to learn that Modulator features an LFO that can be used to create many effects including flangers, phasers and ring modulators. You have a sizeable choice of waveforms and envelopes, while the effect can be synced to BPM or work to a 'freeform' tempo.

ToneBytes pedals

ToneBytes Pedals

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Many DAWs now come with their own guitar pedal emulations included, but if yours doesn't or you're looking for a free alternative, step this way. You get 19 pedal models, plus two amps, seven speaker models and three rack units. You can mix and match them or let the presets do the work for you.

Marvin bdx, sdx, hcx

Marvin BDX, SDX, HCX

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Three drum sound generation plug-ins: BDX gives you kicks, SDX does snares and HCX is designed for hi-hats. Each of these rack-based devices has a selection of tone-shaping controls.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Plex 2, ChineeGuZheng and Dulcet

Dulcet

Xenobioz Dulcet

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This physical modelling synth features a body resonator with different modes, a noise generator, an oscillator, a pre-filter, filters, a pitch envelope and a delay. There are 128 presets included and, for the benefit of those who want to create their own 'Dulcet tones', a manual.

Wolfgang palm plex 2

Wolfgang Palm Plex 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Back in 2002, synth legend Wolfgang Palm and Steinberg released Plex, a 'restructuring synth' that was very different to most of the instruments on the market at the time. Now Wolfgang has dusted it off, updated it with a few new features and presets and made it available for free.

Kong audio chineeguzheng

Kong Audio ChineeGuZheng

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Now available as freeware, this sample-based plug-in emulates the GuZheng. This is a classic 21-string Chinese instrument that has a sound that you'll immediately recognise; the plug-in is powered by Kong Audio's QIN engine.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A new synth, bass enhancement and distortion

BassPlus

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

BassPlus is a harmonic enhancer for low frequencies. It's designed particularly for drums, but of course will work on other signals. It's not a fixed EQ, but has a detector for lower frequencies and enhances them and/or adds a new subtone to them. Big bottoms? No problem.

Phuturetone Phutura

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Remember the roaring hoover sounds of the Prodigy's early work? Well here you can get those intense takes on the sounds of the Roland Alpha Juno in an instant. It's packed with 80 ready-to-go presets and 48 free user slots to save your own ravetastic tones.

Rob Papen RP-Distort

Platform/format: PC/VST Mac/AU RTAS Download

If you're the lucky owner of another Rob Papen product, then until the end of 2011 you have the chance to get this lovely distortion plug-in for free. Accoring to the Rob Papen website, the distortion unit inside RP-Distort can be combined with an analogue modelled filter, compressor and widener unit which makes it much more than a simple distortion. The distortion unit offers 22 distortion types included ring modulator and lo-fi. Inside this section you can also find the EQ and noise-gate.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A guitar amp, a groove tool and a synth

Xoxos pink vst

Xoxos Pink VST

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It might not be the most rock 'n' roll colour, but this new guitar amp sim gives you 10 shaping options and an additional second gain stage for further tone-crafting flexibility. The ZIP file includes both mono and stereo versions so you can take your pick.

Sensomusic homing pad

Sensomusic Homing Pad

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An inventive drum sampler that enables you to create grooves by drawing a line with your mouse or finger (the plug-in is touchscreen-compatible). Samples can be dragged and dropped to change the sounds, and you can also adjust their global pitch, length and more.

Brain control tunefish

Brain Control Tunefish

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

First developed for the demo scene, this "very tiny" virtual analogue synth uses a spline-based oscillator that can be dynamically configured. There's also a noise generator, filters, two ADSRs and the same number of LFOs. Effects and a modulation matrix are here too.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Three synths and an EQ

FreezeBreather

Fsynthz.com FreezeBreather

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is a formant vowel synth that promises to introduce laughter, breath noises, and random syllables as natural parts of vox pads, leads and organs. It also enables you to create a 'fake' vocoder effect, and there's a unison mode, too.

Pianovintage mysterion vst

Pianovintage Mysterion VST

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you're looking for a 'first synth' that's easy to use, this could be worth a sniff. It's a standard meat and potatoes virtual analogue affair (two oscillators, filter, LFO) that also has a delay effect. There are only 16 presets, but at least this might encourage you to start making your own.

Futucraft kairatune

Futucraft Kairatune

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The sounds that can be produced by this new synth are described by the developer as "crisp and tight", while the interface is said to have been designed "for a musician rather than an engineer". Intriguingly, we're also told that it's based on the concepts of pitch and beat rather than frequency and time.

Variety of sound baxtereq

Variety Of Sound BaxterEQ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An EQ unit that's designed for mastering and strapping across your mix buss. It promises to provide "tonal sweetening and finishing which always stays true to the source," and has an "artifact free technical design".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Say hello to some old friends

BlauKraut engineering charlatan

BlauKraut Engineering Charlatan

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yet another polyphonic, 2-oscillator, virtual analogue, subtractive soft synth. Like so many of its contemporaries, it promises good sound quality (leads, basses, pads and FX are all said to fall within Charlatan's remit) and low CPU usage is claimed by the developer.

Ignite amps the anvil

Ignite Amps The Anvil

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A tube preamp for guitarists that offers three separate channels. These are labelled Clean, Rhythm and Lead. The plug-in is modelled on the analogue circuitry of the hardware preamp of the same name, and its controls can be automated.

Studio units software units plugin collection

Studio Units Software Units Plugin Collection

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We reviewed this effects collection and modular programming environment in 2010. Back then it cost $117, but now you can have it for free. As well as giving you a selection of standard processing tools (EQs, filters, compressors, vocoder etc) it also allows you to "combine instruments and effects in new and ingenious ways".

The dsp dimension diracfxau

The DSP Dimension DiracFXAU

Platform/format: Mac/AU Download

If you want to pitchshift polyphonic music at high quality, this might do the job for you. It's available as part of the DiracLE SDK, which means that, if you're of a programming bent, you could actually change or add new features to the plug-in,

Synth1 for mac

Synth1 for Mac

Platform/format: Mac/VST Download

Seemingly out of the blue, a Mac beta version of this much-loved freeware Windows synth has been released. It's inspired by Clavia's Nord Lead 2, and offers a gloriously rich analogue-style sound, a wide-ranging feature set and an approachable interface.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
New sound generators and processors

rangebastard

Distorque Rangebastard

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Guitarists will be familiar with the Dallas Rangemaster treble booster (it and similar products were used by the likes of Eric Clapton and Brian May) and now here's a digital emulation. As well as offering the features of the original, there are additional controls for using it as a full range booster, an overdrive and more.

manx gigmate

Manx Gigmate

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Modelled on real vintage analogue hardware, this virtual instrument features polyphonic and monophonic sections, oscillator sync and MIDI learn for all parameters. Although it's free, it's designed to showcase what Manx is capable of, so is based on the same design principles as its other synths.

V-plugs mr soundman

V-plugs Mr. Soundman

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This won't improve your music directly, but in the long term, it just might. It's essentially a game that requires you to listen to audio that has a noticeable boost somewhere across the frequency range - you have to identify the boosted frequency. The theory is that in doing so your mixing skills will improve.

JC productionz sonix 2

JC Productionz Sonix 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This dual granulator can accept a MIDI input, which means it can be 'played' from your MIDI keyboard. Each granulator gives you control of pitch, level, grain rate (syncable), grain size, phase, envelope and gliss. It's fully automatable and works in mono or stereo.

CWI technology tx16wx

CWI Technology TX16Wx

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Technically still in beta, this free soft sampler is already looking pretty sharp, particularly if you're a fan of '80s and '90s hardware. It's multitimbral, offers 128 voices of polyphony, and sports both a 24dB resonant filter and two LFO and two modulation envelopes per voice.

DSK synthdrums

DSK SynthDrums

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A 12-patch drum synth, and one that apparently makes it easy to assign sounds to your keyboard. You're given plenty of sound design options, parameter automation and filter, distortion and EQ processors.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
New and updated stuff for download

Red shift 3

B Serrano Red Shift 3

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Depending on how you set it up, this multi-effects plug-in can work as a pitch shifter, delay, phaser or chorus. Its developer says that it's good for both subtle and smashed up sounds. New to this version are separate settings for the left and right channels and an XY pad for pitch shifting the left and right channels.

Ugo audio rez 3

Ugo Audio Rez 3

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This 'mean little monosynth' has been updated to version 3. It's said to be capable of producing a wide range of sounds and features a "highly resonant" filter, distortion, a phaser, various oscillator modulations, delay, and a programmable arp/step sequencer. Three preset banks can be purchased separately.

Picatune 2

Benjamin 'BeRo' Rosseaux Picatune 2

Platform/format: PC Download

We'll be honest: we're not completely sure how this synth/sequencer hybrid actually works. However, we do know that it features many different oscillator waveforms and filters and is modulator operator-based. If that sounds like an attractive combination, dive in and investigate.

Texture 3

Texture 3.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Developed by Giorgio Nottoli, Michelangelo Nottoli, Giovanni Costantini, Andrea Angelini and Massimiliano Todisco, this is a granular synth. It generates a grains flow - the way that each grain follows the other depends on probabilistic parameters. Noisy fragmented sounds, metallic and tuneless tones and harmonic sounds are all said to fall within its remit.

Artican the function and the pilgrim

Artican The Function and The Pilgrim

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A couple of simple-looking effects devices: The Function is an automatable stereo balancer (left and right channels can be panned, levelled and phase inverted individually); and The Pilgrim blends high- and low-pass filters into one dial, allowing you to sweep between the two of them.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
u-he's Zebralette goes freeware

u-he zebralette

u-he Zebralette

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

This single-oscillator version of the Zebra synth was previously included on a magazine cover disc, though it differs from Zebra CM, which is included with Computer Music every month. The main thing is that it's now free, and comes with more than 40 new presets by Howard Scarr.

Fsynthz.com puncho grooove

Fsynthz.com Puncho Grooove

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This 'playing machine' takes anything you put into it and turns it into a groove that can constantly be updated on the fly. It promises to spit out sounds of 'enormous complexity and craziness' and does interesting things when you get busy with your pitchbend and mod wheels.

Sonigen modular

Sonigen Modular

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It looks like this modular synth may only be free while it's in beta, so get a move on if you want to try it for nothing. In tried and tested fashion, it enables you to hook together any of the supplied modules with the virtual patch cables, and promises an interface that's fast and intuitive.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Plug-ins you don't have to pay for

monoklon

Minimal Fabrik Monoklon

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Korg's monotron is a fairly inexpensive hardware synth, but here's a software version that won't cost you a bean. It comes with an oscillator, LFO and filter, plus a virtual ribbon controller.

Izonin stargate

Izonin Stargate

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

To quote the developer, this new 'supersaw synth' is ugly, free and has no FX or filters and is Windows-only. That disarmingly honest description alone makes us want to try it out, and with just a few controls, it should certainly have simplicity on its side.

Fsynthz.com hoar

Fsynthz.com Hoar

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A curiously named string machine that promises to be 'bright and sharp sounding'. Thanks to its modulated filtering, it's also said to be capable of producing synth FX sounds. Other features include a phrase arpeggiator and up to 16x unison per voice.

Stw-audio reflexfree

Stw-audio REFLEXfree

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A cross between a delay and a reverb unit, this new 'ambience generator' can recreate everything from small rooms to endless reverberation. Modulation options enable you to create extra width. Check out the demo movie to see and hear it in action.

Distorque plusdistortion

Distorque Plusdistortion

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This stompbox-style effect emulates the MXR Distortion+ and offers just a couple of top panel controls. However, open up the Tweak menu and you'll find an additional page of buttons and sliders, giving you more in the way of tone-shaping flexibility.

Benjamin rosseaux br808

Benjamin Rosseaux BR808

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This new free synth is currently in beta, and sports eight oscillators (each of which can access a wide range of waveforms), eight ADSRs, eight freedrawn envelopes, eight LFOs and eight filters. Effects are also part of the package, and there's a modulation matrix.

ProXL probagate

ProXL ProbaGate

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This newly-free probability-driven gate effect enables you to enter a pattern and then use probability sliders to set the chance of occurrence (at 100% the gate works like a standard one). There are 32 steps per pattern, different operating speeds and the option to set left and right channels independently. ProXL's VSTNotes has also been set free.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
VST plug-ins you can have for nothing
7Air productions drx8r

7Air Productions DRX8R

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Primarily designed for drums, this plug-in comprises a reverb and compressor. However, despite being beat-centric, the developer says that it can also be used when tracking other audio sources.

Platinumears 5orcery

Platinumears 5orcery

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A different take on the concept of multi-band compression, this 5-band plug-in is actually a constantly changing 4-band EQ. The signal is split into bands using cross-over filters, and these feed the sidechains of five separate compressors. Then, the gain modulation signals from these are 'matrixed' into modulation signals for four dynamic shelving filters and a gain stage.

de la mancha jellyfish and metamorph

de la mancha Jellyfish and Metamorph

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of new synths from de la Mancha. Jellyfish (pictured) has four oscillators and multiple modulation methods so that you can give your sounds plenty of movement (it's said to be capable of producing evolving pads, wobbly bass and vibrant leads). Metamorph, meanwhile, is a waveform morphing synth with envelopes, LFOs and onboard effects.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Vintage instruments and effects

There's a decidedly old-school feel to the round-up this week. We've got a couple of acid-style synths for you, another classic monophonic instrument, a preamp and a vintage-style vocoder.

If you've got a new free music software release, make sure you let us know about it by emailing musicradar.pressreleases@futurenet.com with all the details.

synthestra

Marvin VST Synthestra

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A simple-looking little monophonic synth that comes with two oscillators and a noise generator. Also onboard are an LFO, low-pass filter and a VCA envelope. You can't say that this instrument offers anything new, then, but its familiar design should at least make it easy to get a grip on.

Sir elliot 1977 preamplifier

Sir Elliot 1977 Preamplifier

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Sir Elliot returns with a new preamp. This one's designed for people who want their mastered music to offer "rich tone with a touch of character", and is said to work particularly well on jazz and dance music that sounds a little flat. It's optimised for high sample rates but will also work with lower ones.

Lithium sound acidlab

Lithium Sound AcidLab

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Creating classic acid synth sounds is this plug-in's remit. You can switch the oscillator between a saw and a square wave, and alongside the expected Cutoff and Resonance controls you'll find Track, Decay and Distortion knobs. 16 presets are included.

Muon tau bassline

Muon Tau Bassline

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This little bassline synth was originally released ten years ago, and now it's back in an enhanced form. Not only have the user interface and audio engine been improved, but it's also now Audio Unit and VST-compatible on Mac and PC. Tau Bassline is available via the Muon Facebook page - you'll need to Like it to get it.

TAL-Vocoder

Togu Audio Line TAL-Vocoder-2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

An update for one of Togu Audio Line's excellent freebies, this one emulates the sound of vocoders made in the early '80s. Featuring 11 bands, an internal carrier signal, harmonic control and an 'ess' enhancer to add intelligibility to the voice, it's available for both 32-bit and 64-bit machines.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
VeeMax, preMix and TheDrumSource

Veemax

g200 VeeMax

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A new maximizer plug-in that's equipped with what the developer calls Inter Sample Peak processing. What this means is that the maximizing process is based on "not only digital value peaks but also hiding peaks of inter samples".

prefix

Variety Of Sound preFIX

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is a pre-mixing tool that's designed to clean up, fix and align audio tracks. It deals with overall frequency correction, phase alignment, spatial stereo field corrections and routing, and contains a gate/expander and a sidechain filtering path.

thedrumsource

Witech TheDrumSource

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another new drum machine that looks like an old one, this is a sample-based rhythm box that comes with a built-in 16-step sequencer (this can store up to 24 sequences). You can import a wide range of file types and each drum has its own stereo output channel.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
New plug-ins for PC and Mac

Xenobioz kruud

Xenobioz Kruud

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Currently in beta, this new synth features a drawable low resolution oscillator. The main oscillator has five basic waveforms, while other features include a pair of LFOs, three ADSRs, two delays, an arpeggiator and a multimode filter.

Audiffex amplion free

Audiffex ampLion Free

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

ampLion Pro is a new suite of virtual guitar gear (amps, speakers, mics and effects) and this free version gives you a taste of what it has to offer. Specifically, you get just a single amp, but there are two independent speaker positions, an adjustable pickup mic and a noise-gate with soft knee.

Antkai efta.high

Antkai Efta.High

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another subtractive synthesis vessel, this instrument is an 8-voice affair that offers two oscillators, two filters and four LFOs. There's also a pin matrix (this enables you invert the pins) and 64 presets are included to get you started.

Artifake_Labs redtron_se

Artifake_Labs Redtron_SE

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This special edition version of the Redtron_400 distinguishes itself by using Taijiguy's samples of a 1973 Mellotron M400S. It offers nine sound types – including a flute, violins, a cello, brass, a combined choir, a string section and woodwinds – and Artifake_Labs says that it's probably its best Mellotron emulation yet.

Hotto engineering spring reverb

Hotto Engineering Spring Reverb

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

There's not much going on with the interface here, but the developer says that "a combination of three springs assures a reverb dispersion which is comparable with the real thing". Controls are simple, with just Dry/Wet, Spring Selection, Reverb Time and Gain settings being tweakable.

Noisebud catchdad

Noisebud CatchDad

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

CatchDad was created because the developer needed a step sequencer with a real-time sampling function. It enables you to 'catch' up to four different sounds at the press of a button and promises to produce complex rhythmic patterns. A manual is on the way, but for now you're advised just to dive in and experiment.

Camel audio alchemy player

Camel Audio Alchemy Player

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Now available for free, Alchemy Player comes with a 1GB library of sounds and enables you to load in any SFZ sample library. Sounds can be tweaked using the performance controls and Remix Pads, and you can expand your palette with any of the Alchemy Sound Libraries.

Easytoolz tauros

Easytoolz Tauros

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Fans of Moog's Taurus bass synth will appreciate Tauros, as it's designed to emulate it. Each of the two oscillators offers six waveforms and can be tuned over three octaves, while there's a filter section and a reverb. 64 presets should give you plenty of starting points.

DSK music techsynth pro

DSK Music TechSynth Pro

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This advanced version of TechSynth features two oscillators (each of which can pick from five waveforms), an Amp envelope, a filter, a delay and even a 32-step sequencer. 60 presets are included to show off the instrument's capabilities.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Featuring Urs Heckman's latest synth

Amazona.de tyrell n6

Amazona.de Tyrell N6

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Remember the Tyrell synth? Well, it seems that a software version is now available for free. Co-designed by the members of Amazona.de and Zebra creator Urs Heckman, it may or may not be followed by a hardware version, though we suspect you might have to pay for that…

Heptode virtual pedals

Heptode virtual pedals

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Heptode manufactures two high-end boutique guitar pedals: Deep Crunch and Heavy Tone. The former is a dynamic crunch preamp and the latter a dynamic hi-gain preamp, and the good news is that they're both now available in free plug-in form.

Angular momentum vst r-peg

Angular Momentum VST R-Peg

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If your arpeggiation requirements aren't currently being met, give R-Peg a whirl. It's a phrase arpeggiator that offers multiple modes, a groove sequencer and several other features. The developer claims that it can deliver less 'static' results than some of its rivals. It's donationware so pay something if you like it.

FlexibeatzII

FlexibeatzII

Platform/format: PC/standalone Download

It's not the prettiest thing we've ever seen, but FlexibeatzII is a 10-channel step sequencer that promises to be easy to use. It lets you load in your own WAV files and then tweak these as your sequence is playing: it doesn't work as a plug-in, but you can sync it to your DAW.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Thicken up your dubstep sounds

NTS audio labs rev-1 pro

NTS Audio Labs Rev-1 Pro

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This "professional" reverb has just been updated and released as a freeware product for the first time. Features include syncable pre-delay time, Room, Width and Damping controls and high/low-pass filter knobs. The reverb inversion facility, meanwhile, promises to facilitate the creation of different kinds of effects.

Sound plus design sound doodle

Sound + Design Sound Doodle

Platform/format: Mac Download

A curious little application that promises to let you sculpt sounds through the act of doodling. What this actually means is explained in this walkthrough video, but to give you some basic specs, the tools at your disposal include a stereo multitap delay, reverb, a granular synth and a 5-bank comb filter.


ASL soundlab dub-expander

ASL SoundLab Dub-Expander

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you like dubstep and easy to use plug-ins, sit up and pay attention. Dub-Expander is designed specifically to add thickness and width to dubstep basslines, leads, pads and atmospheric sounds and features just Size and Mix controls. What could be simpler?

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Download an €89 guitar synth for nothing

keolab spicy guitar

Keolab Spicy Guitar

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

It's always rather satisfying to be able to download a free plug-in that used to cost money, and that's exactly the opportunity you're being presented with here. Spicy Guitar is a physically modelled acoustic guitar synth that features nine guitars and a strumming engine. It previously retailed for €89 - video demo here.

Sam harman twinthesis

Sam Harman Twinthesis

Platform/format: Mac Download

This intriguing experimental synth represents an attempt to explore the sound of Twitter. It's capable of both additive and granular synthesis and 'calls' Twitter once every 30 seconds, using a new Tweet to generate sound when it does so. Confusing? Quite possibly, so we'd advise you to watch this video if you want to find out more.

Tekky synths zeneryc free

Tekky Synths ZeNeRyC Free

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you like to make psytrance, Tekky Synths thinks that it has just the instrument for you. Once created by the oscillator, the signal runs through a multistate filter and you then have the option of modulating with a pitch LFO. Then, thanks to the four short delays, you can create the Haas effect.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Make Social Network soundtrack-style sounds with The Swarm

The colorspace colorful series synths

The Colorspace Colorful Series synths

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

There are four synths in this range: Feeling is a 3-oscillator additive model; Drafter has three drawable oscillators; Serio3 is a 3-oscillator subtractive instrument; and Cloud sports three morphing oscillators. The interfaces are similar across the line, and you can download the whole lot as a bundle.

reFuse software the swarm

reFuse Software The Swarm

Platform/format: Mac/standalone Download

Thanks to its Oscar win, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's soundtrack for The Social Network has been receiving some fresh attention recently. The release of this synth is well-timed, then: it emulates Dewnatron's The Swarmatron, a handmade drone synth that was apparently used to make many of the "buzzing clouds" in said soundtrack.

Plektron vinylizer

Plektron Vinylizer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The Vinylizer does what its name implies: processes your audio so that it sounds like it's being played on a damaged old vinyl record. There are adjustable Decenter, Dust and High damage parameters, while it's also possible to set the stop time.

Togu audio line tal noisemaker

Togu Audio Line TAL-NoiseMaker 3

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

An improved version of the synth that MusicRadar users voted the best free plug-in in the world today. Feature additions in this release include a vintage delay, filter overdrive, full automation support and the inclusion of 128 new Frank "Xenox" Neumann-designed presets as standard.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Keep your money - you can have these plug-ins for nothing

Iliadis organs

Iliadis Organs

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Iliadis has become something of a specialist when it comes to virtual organ plug-ins, and it's now announced that all of its current range - that's Euthymia Electronic Organ, iBX Tonewheel Organ, iVF Combo Organ, VH-1 and VH-2 - can be downloaded for free. What's more, a new version of the uVF Combo Organ is in development.

Jabberwalky losynth

Jabberwalky LoSynth

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

When trying to picture this new synth, the developer suggests that you "Imagine rummaging through an abandoned factory and finding this rusted box. This VST has been finely detuned, thrown around a lot, and left to rot for 40 years". Clearly, this isn't quite true, but if you want a vintage-sounding instrument, give it a try.

Lithium sound blaster

Lithium Sound Blaster

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

While some synths make great virtue of their versatility, this one is designed to do something very specific: sound like a ray gun. It features an oscillator, ADSR Amp envelope, LFO and ping-pong delay and comes with 16 presets. Oh, and it looks like a ray gun too.

Roberson audio synths

Roberson Audio Synths

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

There are now updated versions of Roberson's three classic synth emulations. RA Mowg (pictured) recreates the Minimoog Model D; Oddy-Free is based on the ARP Odyssey Mk II; and Prophanity takes its inspiration from the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5.

Arto vaarala kirnu

Arto Vaarala Kirnu

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

"The best MIDI arpeggiator plug-in on the market?" asks Arto Vaarala. We can't say, but we can tell you that Kirnu gives you a pattern view, numerous different scales, realtime tweaking options, a hold mode and MIDI learn on the majority of its controls.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
DSP Trigger Free, Tune and The scrooo

dsp trigger free

Audiofront DSP Trigger Free

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Like its parent plug-in, this free version of DSP Trigger is designed to process the audio output from drum pads and convert it to MIDI, removing the need for a hardware drum brain. Unlike its parent plug-in, you're restricted to single pad zones and you can only output up to two separate articulations.

tune

EarPlugins Tune

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An ear training plug-in with a difference: this one doesn't teach you to spot specific chords and intervals, but EQ frequency bands. Run it on an audio track and it activates a random frequency band - you have to guess which one. You can also click the different frequency keys to hear what they sound like on your material.

Full bucket music the scrooo

Full Bucket Music The scrooo

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Based on a spectral formant synthesis architecture and offering up to 32 voices of polyphony, The scrooo sports a pair of band-limited carrier oscillators and three independent formant generator sections. Two amplifiers, three envelopes and three LFOs are also part of the package.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Six plug-ins to download right now

Audiocation phase ap1

Audiocation Phase AP1

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Looking more like a logo than a plug-in, Phase AP1 is a phase alignment tool that enables you to adjust the phase relation between audio signals. There's not much to say other than that, really: if you need something to do that job for you, go ahead and download it.

Foo foo-yc20

Foo Foo-YC20

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

The YC-20 is a Yamaha combo organ that was introduced in 1970, and this plug-in is designed to emulate its "features, sounds and flaws". It's based on physical modelling and features two main voice sections and a switchable bass section. The Realism control enables you to dial-in the original's imperfections as you wish.

Mucoder tonespace 2

Mucoder Tonespace 2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Originally developed for KVR's Developer Challenge in 2006, Tonespace is a different kind of musical keyboard that also features a chorder. This new version, which is currently in beta, supports over 50 different grids, 14 scales, 18 keys, more than 30 chord types and in excess of 10 chord voicings.

Tekit audio 8kut

Tek'it Audio 8Kut

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed for DJs and other live performers, this 8-band plug-in enables you to cut frequencies simply by clicking the eight pads. Features include a phase inverter, effect bypass and gain boost. It works in mono or stereo and comes with 32 factory presets.

CFA-Sound filtergrizzly lite

CFA-Sound FilterGrizzly Lite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

CFA has just released a new synth called MonoGrizzly, and the FilterGrizzly Lite comprises just that instrument's analogue-modelled low-pass filter. Delivering self-resonance and fuzz drive, this has input and output controls and two peak level meters.

Samsara cycle audio deisk-o

Samsara Cycle Audio DEISK-O

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

With its familiar looking interface and 'wooden' end panels, you almost know what this is going to be without checking the spec: a vintage-style analogue monosynth. There's a single oscillator, LFO, filter and mixer sections and… well, you get the picture.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
An EQ and a step sequencer

Voxengo marvel geq

Voxengo Marvel GEQ

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Voxengo likes to drop the occasional free plug-in into its line-up, and the latest is a linear-phase 16-band graphic EQ that, depending on your host, supports up to eight input/output channels. It's also capable of handling mid/side channel processing and offers internal channel routing options.

Robert w rose seq541

Robert W Rose SEQ541

Platform/format: Mac Download

A free MIDI pattern sequencer for OS X, and a very simple one at that. Select a MIDI device to generate a clock and this will output notes in the sequence that you click in. The pattern length can vary from 16 to 64 notes, and note lengths can run from 16ths to whole notes.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Including a monotron-inspired plug-in

vladg/sound molot

vladg/sound Molot

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This compressor promises to deliver an "aggressive hammering sound," which its developer says makes it suitable for rock drums and bass. It can be employed on individual tracks or busses and is kitted out to look like something to look from the USSR military - you can even change the knob labelling into Russian if you want the full effect.

Marvin vst tromine gt

Marvin VST Tromine GT

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you somehow don't yet own a Roland TR-808 drum machine emulation here's another free one to consider. It gives you 16 sounds, nine outputs and support for automation and MIDI control. As for the sound… well, that's 808-esque, obviously…

Vetrixmusic vstron

Vetrixmusic VSTron

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This plug-in was inspired by Korg's monotron and is specifically designed to help you create special FX sounds (lasers, sweeps, bleeps etc). To this end it includes an oscillator, filter and main envelope, while a further two envelopes and two LFOs are supplied for modulation purposes and there are also some built-in effects.

DDMF iieq

DDMF IIEQ

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This 10-band EQ was previously Windows only but is now available for Mac, too. Bands 1 and 10 are low and high-shelf filters respectively, while all the other bands are peak filters. You can toggle each band on or off by clicking its green button.

Diamond synths subliminal

Diamond Synths Subliminal

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed for creating "rich and vibrant" bass sounds, this two-oscillator synth has drawable envelopes for its amps and LFOs. There's also a wetness option for each oscillator (with wet, intensity and rate knobs) which, when applied, is said to give your bass sound "an intriguing feel". Subliminal is being distributed via a pay-what-you-want system.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Two synths, two effects and a host for them

Tocca-Music vstplayer

Tocca-Music VSTplayer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you need a VST plug-in host for live performance purposes, give this one a try. It supports up to four MIDI keyboards and each project can contain up to eight instruments and three effects. VSTplayer is free, though it'll slow down on startup after 15 days of use unless you make a donation to the developer.

Xen-Arts xenharmonic fmts

Xen-Arts Xenharmonic FMTS

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A 4-operator FM synth with a difference - namely that it's explicitly designed for anyone who wants to explore "the expressive possibilities of microtonal and xenharmonic music making". To this end, there are various microtuning features, while your sound can be shaped with envelope generators, filters and effects.

Togu audio line tal-reverb iii

Togu Audio Line TAL-Reverb III

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

The successor to TAL-Reverb II is a simple plate reverb plug-in that has an optimised GUI and an improved algorithm. The EQ section has been simplified and there's a meter display. The developer says that the sound is designed to be colourless and free of grains and artefacts.

vescoFX free haas delay

vescoFX Free Haas Delay

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This v.1.03 update is noteworthy because it adds support for Mac OS X in the form of an AU version. The guts of the plug-in remain the same as before: Free Haas is a simple delay with just a couple of controls; the developer recommends it for those times when "you need a more natural sounding pan effect, more clarity in the centre of your mix, or just an interesting stereo VST effect".

B.Serrano radium

B.Serrano Radium

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

B.Serrano's latest free synth is a 16-voice, 2-oscillator subtractive model that also has FM capabilities. There's a filter (with its own CV sequencer), an LFO, an arpeggiator and an X/Y pad. On the effects front, meanwhile, you'll find auto pan, delay and chorus.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Kickstart your music-making year with these new plug-ins

RS-met engineersfilter

RS-met EngineersFilter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Free filter plug-ins aren't exactly few and far between, but the developer says that this particular one happens to allow for extremely steep filtering. It uses "high-order filter design methods that are commonly used in science and engineering," resulting in low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, band-reject, high/low shelving and peak/dip filters of orders up to 20 for the user.

Samsara cycle audio vmp1

Samsara Cycle Audio VMP1

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

VMP1 stands for Virtual Mono Poly - yes, this synth is both 16-note polyphonic and monophonic. There are four oscillators plus filter, LFO, Envelope Generator, Delay Effect, Portamento and Output Amplifier sections, giving the classically-styled interface a very familiar look.

Elektrostudio virtual model pro

Elektrostudio Virtual Model Pro

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This monophonic analogue-style synth has two oscillators, an LFO, a filter and an ADS envelope. If you think it looks familiar, that'll be because it's designed to emulate the Moog Prodigy, a 1979 synth that's particularly useful for basslines.

aaltoverb

Madrona Labs Aaltoverb

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Madrona has pulled the reverb unit out of its Aalto synth, packaged it up in an Audio Units plug-in and then served it up as a free download. It's not exactly a complex device, having just dry/wet mix and brightness controls, but that'll make it easy to use, and CPU efficiency is also promised.

Xenobioz lektro

Xenobioz Lektro

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another synth, this one creates its sounds via phase distortion, a tone generation method that was pioneered by Casio in the '80s. There are two oscillators, a waveshaper, three LFOs, a randomizer, two ADSRs, a tone controller, a filter and a delay.

Ueberschall elastik player

Ueberschall Elastik Player 2.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

This is the free software that's used to host Ueberschall's Elastik loop libraries and comes with a demo soundbank to get you started. Loop tweaking can be done via the Loopeye interface, while there's now a browser, sequence mode and zplane.development's timestretching algorithm built in, too.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Green Oak Crystal gets a tweak

mutools muverb

Mutools MuVerb

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

You may know Mutools from its free or affordable (depending on which version you choose) Mu.Lab DAW, but it's now released this "very nice sounding" reverb plug-in. MuVerb is described as a 'test version' at the moment, so the CPU-use may be a bit high, but more development is planned.

Platinumears fla4tt3ry 2

Platinumears Fla4tt3ry 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A second version of the "gentle squashy" bus compressor. This update adds a slightly gentler transfer curve, tweaked attack and release smoothing, a new peak sensing mode and external sidechain inputs. Oh, and although it's a bus compressor, you can use it on channels as well.

Green oak crystal

Green Oak Crystal 2.5

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

MusicRadar users' second favourite free VST plug-in in the world today doesn't get updated very often, but a recent tweak means that this multi-skilled synth (it supports subtractive, FM, granular and other tone generating methods) is now a 64-bit plug-on both Windows and OS X. There's also a new iOS version, but that's another story…

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Five early Christmas presents

PSP audioware psp pianoverb

PSP Audioware PSP PianoVerb

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

An old freeware favourite, PianoVerb has been re-released to support the latest operating systems (including, for the first time, Mac OS X). It emulates the type of reverb produced by piano strings, using 12 operators and letting you adjust the damping and decay time.

Maffialife v-djm 2ch

Maffialife V-DJM 2ch

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This 2-channel DJ mixer plug-in was designed specifically for use with Ableton Live but can be hosted by any VST-compatible application. It gives you all the standard DJing controls you'd expect while also boasting four effects. Usefully, all the knobs, sliders and buttons can be mapped to your MIDI controller.

Mildon studios wotopolo

Mildon Studios Wotopolo

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Running from the start of December to 3 January, Mildon Studios' Crazy Christmas Promo sees the company offering big discounts on several of its plug-ins. Great news, but what's of even more interest to us is that if you sign up to the company's mailing list you can get the Wotopolo synth for free.

Starplugs dc terminator

Starplugs DC Terminator

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another Christmas pressie (note the Santa hat on the GUI), this simple little plug-in is designed to analyse and eliminate DC/subsonic frequencies in real-time when you're mastering. It's not as festive as a set of virtual sleigh bells, then, but it could certainly come in handy.

Sir elliot eighteen band graphic equaliser

Sir Elliot Eighteen Band Graphic Equaliser

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If ever there was a 'it does exactly what it says on the tin' plug-in, this is it. Sir Elliot is rounding off a busy year in freeware by bringing you this EQ unit, which is designed specifically for use on midrange frequencies.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Vintage outboard gear in your DAW

Plektron comp4

Plektron Comp4

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A 4-band compressor that can operate either in the traditional way or Comp4's side-chaining mode. You get a Pre-gain/Gain control and analogue-style meter for each band and a mix control for parallel compression. Plektron says that Comp4 is suitable for use on all types of material and either on individual channels or the master channel.

Acustica acquavox

Acustica AcquaVox

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST Download

This vintage-style preamp is powered by Acustica's Nebula technology and is designed to add warmth to the likes of guitar and drum tracks. The developer says that we can look forward to more plug-ins derived from Nebula in the future.

LePou lecab 2

LePou LeCab 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This successor to LeCab (you guessed that, right?) is an Impulse Response loader that's specifically designed to emulate guitar and bass cabs (longer Impulses can be loaded but they'll be truncated). We should also tell you that LePou's LeCto amp sim is now available in Mac format.

ZionDSP lil'plug

ZionDSP Lil'Plug

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We're guessing that you need a bit of warming up at the moment, but spare a thought for your music, too. Lil'Plug gives you subtle drive combined with some "smooth EQ", and there's also an Overdrive setting should you wish to take things a bit further. Low and High Boost buttons are onboard too.

Phoenixinflight optron 3a

Phoenixinflight Optron 3A/Solid4010

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of new plug-ins that will look strangely familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of classic studio gear. The Optron 3A (pictured) is an opto-style compressor, while the Solid4010 is a 4-band EQ channel. We'll leave you to decide where the inspiration for these two units came from…

Necromare broken toy

Necromare Broken Toy

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This sample-based instrument came about when the developer circuit-bent an old toy and decided that he wanted to share the result of his tinkering with the wider freeware loving world. Necromare has a few other weird and wonderful VST instruments on its site, too, so check 'em out.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A Rhodes piano and new effects
4Front rhode

4Front Technologies 4Front Rhode

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Everyone needs a decent Rhodes electric piano plug-in in their sonic locker: this one (which was previously known as 4Front Rhode Pro) is synthesis- rather than sample-based and also offers 'gentle overdrive'. What's more, the developer confidently states that "this module will never overload CPU. It will never stick notes, and never interrupt the sound during live performances".

Presetexchange reverb

Presetexchange Xhip effects

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This effects collection has just got three new additions: reverb, quantizer and limiter. There are also new features for the other plug-ins, including new knob graphics, more accurate VU meters and an improved phaser.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
An audio player, multi-effects and a filter

CSR labs vst player

CSR Labs vstPlayer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A simple plug-in with one simple purpose: to play back audio files. The supported format list is as follows: WAV, AIFF, BWF, FLAC and OGG. You can expect compatibility with MP3, AAC and M4A files in the future. That's about all there is to say really, aside from the fact that there's playlist functionality and a play/pause button.

Acustica audio nebula3 free

Acustica Audio Nebula3 Free

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This cutdown version of Nebula3 Pro, a multi-effects unit that takes a sample-based approach to emulating classic outboard EQs, compressors, reverbs, phasers and flangers, is now Mac-compatible. You get "a large library of included presets" that are designed to add "the warmth of analogue to your digital mixes".

Togu audio line tal-filter

Togu Audio Line TAL-Filter-2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A second outing for TAL's host-synced filter module which brings with it a graphical editor and four oversampled filters from the TAL-NoiseMaker synth. A range of filter types is included and you can modulate both pan and volume. Suggested uses are as a tremolo or trance gate effect, while rhythmic sounds can be panned to add interest.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A double helping of instruments and effects
Noisebud binvert

Noisebud Binvert

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you make a lot of bass-heavy music and find that the different bass sounds end up cancelling each other out in your mixes, Binvert might be able to help. It works by splitting the signal into two bands and adding a phase invert for both, allowing you to invert the polarity of the two bands independently.

WOK blip1000

WOK Blip1000

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Touchable step sequencer apps are all over the iPad, but this one is for Windows touchscreen PCs. You can create mono or polyphonic sequences of up to eight steps and the MIDI output means that you can use any synth as the sound source. You can download Blip1000 for free, though the developer suggests that you make a donation if you like it.

Fsynthz fuzziest organ evar

Fsynthz Fuzziest Organ Evar

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This feisty organ is designed for anyone who wants to play heavily distorted riffs, chords and solos. Using a sound generation method known as wave draw synthesis (you draw the waveform) rather than the usual drawbars, it promises to be an organ that really cuts through.

Variety of sound nastydla

Variety Of Sound NastyDLA

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We mentioned that NastyDLA was on its way in our last round-up, and now it's here. It's a chorus/echo effect that's said to introduce authentic signal patch colouration, and also boasts tape delay style feedback and saturation.

Audiocation equalizer aq1

Audiocation Equalizer AQ1

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Given its name, it probably won't surprise you to learn that AQ1 is an EQ unit - a parametric one that promises to be low on CPU usage. There's a graphical display, and separate controls enable you to adjust the input and output levels independently.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A trio of effects plug-ins

LePou lecto

LePou LeCto

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It's rare for more than a couple of weeks to go by without a new free guitar amp sim joining the freeware ranks: this one was inspired by a piece of American modern high gain hardware. It has two channels, each of which offers three modes, and all the appropriate controls.

Thomas mundt loundmax

Thomas Mundt LoundMax 1.09

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

An update rather than an all-new plug-in, but Mac compatibility is one of the things that's been added to this lookahead brickwall loudness maximizer plug-in, so we thought you'd be interested. There's also an improved limiter algorithm and improved release curve at high compression levels.

Sir elliot peak limiter

Sir Elliot Peak Limiter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Sir Elliot's latest freebie does exactly what its name suggests, and is described as "simplistic yet useful". Its developer also says that "its sole purpose is to prevent overshoot, which is common with high dynamic music without the artefacts of a compressor".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Two synths and a compressor

Robot planet battlecomp vintage vst compressor

Robot Planet BattleComp Vintage VST compressor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

More vintage compression fun: this model also has a sidechain highpass filter and EQ, tube emulation and a soft clipping circuit. You can download the plug-in for free, though the developer suggests that you make a donation if you like it.

Fsynthz.com 15e

Fsynthz.com 15E

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It looks less like a synth than it does a tray full of lozenges, but this is indeed a sound-making instrument. We're not going to attempt to explain how it works, but the fact that there are tooltips for each control should mean that you get plenty of help when you're using it.

16tone vogue mk2

16tone Vogue MK2 1.3

Platform/format: Mac Download

This isn't new, but it's something for Mac users to try and it's just been updated. Vogue MK2 is billed as a microtonal synth (it's compatible with 16tone's Max Magic Microtuner) and version 1.3 adds a stereo reverb unit.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
IK's SampleTank Free is back
IK sampletank free

IK Multimedia SampleTank Free

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

IK has not only revived SampleTank Free, it's improved it. It now offers the full functionality of the SampleTank 2.5 engine and comes with a 500MB sound library that delivers 200 sounds. You can also import your own samples and there's compatibility with the SampleTank expansions. And yes - it works on the Mac!

Sonimus soneq

Sonimus SonEQ 1.1

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This may be just a point release update, but one of the things that it adds is Mac support, so we're happy to take it. SonEQ is a 3-band EQ (bass, middle and treble) that also sports its own preamp section. The GUI has been changed for this version, and bugs have been fixed.

CutterMusic revitar 2.0

CutterMusic Revitar 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Previously available for $69, CutterMusic has now made this virtual guitar instrument available for free (you can also download the source code). Its physical modelling engine is said to be capable of emulating a wide range of guitars, and features Pick, String and Body components.

Venusonfurs xage

Venusonfurs Xage

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is a sequenced low-pass filter that tweaks the cutoff and resonance in cycles of eight steps. You can adjust the tempo, and a wetness knob is also supplied. The tempo can be synced to host, and there's also a randomise option.

acid rack

acid.milch&honig Acid Rack 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

acid.milch&honig has updated its virtual analogue synth, claiming that it's been "completely reworked". It comes with a couple of oscillators, a multimode filter, three envelopes, two LFOs, a host-synced arpeggiator and two 'random' generators. The free version is limited to five voices of polyphony: the full one costs $25.

phasor

Soundhack +phasor

Platform/format: Mac/VST Download

You wait weeks for a single new piece of free Mac music software, and then… well, you know the rest. Believe it people: +phasor is a phase shifter with a quirky little interface. On the downside, it's currently VST only, though AU/RTAS and Windows versions are said to be in the pipeline.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Retro-leaning effects and a drum machine
whiteLABEL bolsterisers

whiteLABEL bolsterisers

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Described, curiously, as a set of "naïve dynamics plug-ins", this new collection features a softknee RMS compressor, hardknee peak compressor, hardknee booster, softknee booster and side-channel hybrid. If you want them in stereo you'll have to pay £15 each, but the mono versions are free.

Bayen arex 2011

Bayen AREX 2011

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This emulation of Yamaha's '80s-era RX11 drum machine features 16 pads, 29 samples and 12 individual/group outputs. It's 16-part multitimbral and comes with RX11 MIDI swing templates and 55 demo patterns. Did we mention that it looks a lot like the original hardware too?

WOK TenC and 100CC

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Two more tasty morsels from WOK, both of which were inspired by 10cc. Just one knob is all you need to create "deep ambient spaces and choirs": TenC is designed for chorus, while 100CC gives you chorus ambience sounds. If you're 'not in love' with these plug-ins soon, we'd be very surprised. Sorry.

WOK simparp

WOK SimpArp

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The clue, as is so often the case, is in the title. This is a simple arpeggiator that can be used with your synths and offers such features as host sync, shuffle and adjustable note length/velocity. WOK will be releasing a more sophisticated dual-arpeggiator plug-in, D-ARP, soon.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A Benny Benassi bass synth and much more
Plektron ircab

Plektron IrCab

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This potentially useful freebie can host the many Impulse Responses (in WAV format) that are also freely available for download from the internet, potentially giving you access to a massive range of sounds (both of 'spaces' and classic bits of gear). It's available in mono and stereo versions.

Platinumears fl4tt3ry

Platinumears Fl4tt3ry

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Fl4tt3ry is one of those plug-ins that's inspired by rather than modelled on a classic piece of gear - specifically, a nameless compressor. Its processing is described as "gentle" and "squashy" (and also flattering, presumably) and is intended primarily for use on busses. That said, you can try it on individual channels, too.

Fsynthz sandra

Fsynthz Sandra

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Low resonant sweeps and drones are this synth's stock in trade, though thick polysynth chords, leads and basses are also claimed to be within its capabilities. There are various sound-shaping options, and tooltips should ensure that features are explained as you work.

NTS audio labs benassi bass

NTS Audio Labs Benassi Bass

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This might just be the first free synth to be based on (and named after) the sound of a specific artist: its sole purpose appears to be to give you the Benny Benassi bass sound. To this end, there are two sine/saw oscillators, a double saw oscillator, a resonant filter, reverb and a glide option. What's more, 32 presets are included.

Prodyon phenome

Prodyon Phenome

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An 8-layer/8-part multitimbral SoundFont player that gives you typical synth-like features such as filters, an ADSR envelope and arpeggiators. You can make individual settings for each layer (MIDI channel, volume, pan, mute etc) and there's full MIDI Learn functionality.

Tekky synths vocogate free

Tekky Synths VoCoGaTe Free

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It may have been originally designed to process vocal samples with its pitch shifting and gating abilities, but Tekky Synths says that VoCoGaTe's purpose now is to help you create "infinite percussion variations". This free version (the full one costs €30) has no main detuner, no FX and only one active patch but is properly functional.

DSK overture

DSK Overture

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

DSK is attempting to put an orchestra in your DAW with this one: there are 40 symphonic instruments and a drum kit. The plug-in has a four-layer architecture; layers can be stacked or sent to different MIDI channels. A range of sound-shaping options is available to each layer.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Two new synths vie for attention
GTG synths nr2010

GTG Synths NR2010

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The developer says that this, his "personal workhorse synth," was built for personal use but is now being made available to everybody. It's an analogue-style polysynth with a 24dB filter, envelopes and modulation effects.

Necromare music polyslop

Necromare Music Polyslop

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is Necromare's first instrument - full marks for choosing such an excellent name for it. It's a simple synth that's designed to emulate vintage Arp/Moog sounds, though the developer isn't making any great claims for it, saying that it was made "as more of a test than anything else".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Brickwall limiting, EQ, SoundFont playing… and a bongo
Invisible limiter

A.O.M. Invisible Limiter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A simple proposition, this: The Invisible Limiter is a transparent look-ahead brickwall limiter with automatic attack/release time optimisation. It's said that the plug-in's limiting algorithm minimises the difference between the original and limited materials.

Optobongo

Mildon Studio Optobongo

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you're lacking a go-to bongo plug-in, here's a free option that varies the location and intensity of the hit each time you trigger it. It's based on "an authentic cowhide bongo made in the mountain province of Benguet, Philippines," apparently, with the developer also saying that "if you're making the soundtrack for the next Pocahontas sequel, maybe this can come in handy".

DSK Music DSK SF2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The SoundFont format remains surprisingly popular, so much so that DSK has considered it worthwhile upgrading its SoundFont player to version 2. This adds a portamento time control, filter amp envelope, delay and a "redistributed GUI".

Sir elliot five-band graphic equaliser

Sir Elliot Five-Band Graphic Equaliser

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This simple graphic EQ was inspired by Sir Elliot's old BSR equaliser - having fewer bands reduces the chance of having an overly processed mix, he reckons. It's designed for mixing and mastering. You can see and hear if for yourself if you watch this video.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synths, a drum machine, a compressor and a 'detuner'

loop and sound eternity

Loop&Sound Eternity

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Each of this synth's two oscillators can draw on a library of around 140 waveforms and operate in Single/Dual/Fat/Ultrafat modes. There's also the 'custom randomisation' feature to tell you about, which can be assigned to any knob and promises to aid the speedy generation of new sounds. You'll have to register on the website to download this one.

Wok dtune

Wok dTUNE

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

dTUNE works by adding a pair of detuned voices to the audio signal that you feed it, thus fattening it up. Simply set the amount of detuning, stereo spread and mix level and away you go. The full version costs €9, but if you can live with a nag screen and without the option to save presets, you can have dTUNE for free.

Stylobox

acid.milch&honig Stylobox

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

One look at the GUI for this one should be enough to let you know which buzzy, portable instrument it emulates. Let's put it this way: if Rolf Harris has a DAW, he'll probably be interested. Stylobox is donationware, so put something in the pot if you're going to use it.

Transistor drums 2

acid.milch&honig Transistor Drums 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The second version of this vintage-style drum machine makes some changes to the way the drum sounds are generated. The kick is virtual analogue rather than sampled; the snare an analogue/sample mix rather than being just sampled; and the clap granular sampled rather than just sampled. Again, Transistor Drums 2.0 is donationware.

Audiocation ac1 compressor

Audiocation AC1 Compressor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yet another compressor, this one makes the not unusual claim to be low on CPU usage but high on sound quality. Choose your ratio, make tweaks using the Attack, Release, Threshold, Softknee and Output Gain controls, and check signal levels in the analogue-style meter.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synths, a drum sampler and effects
H g fortune alphatron basic

H G Fortune Alphatron Basic

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Even the developer admits that this is "just a simple VA synthesizer", but its trick is that the third oscillator uses digital waves. This means that you can produce tones other than typical analogue ones, and there's also a step sequencer. This free version has some limitations - upgrade to the Pro edition for €29 to see them removed.

Fsynth clavidium

Fsynth Clavidium

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This additive synth certainly isn't a looker but its developer reckons that it offers "great sound" and low CPU consumption. What's more, the distortion is described as state-of-the-art. Originally designed for producing harpsichord and Clavinet sounds, its potential sound palette actually promises to be rather more wide-ranging.

Melda production mfreqshifter

Melda Production MFreqShifter

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

"An extremely versatile frequency shifter which, unlike pitch-shifters, doesn't keep harmonic relationships and can provide everything from mild stereo expansion to complete destruction." That's what Melda Production has to say about MFreqShifter, and if you want to upgrade to the Pro version, you can do so for €30.

Hello robot rocket punch and bit box

Hello Robot Rocket Punch and Bit Box

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Hello Robot are actually a band that likes "video game music, lo-fi, 8-bit, glitch and noise". The two plug-ins they've developed fit their personality: Rocket Punch is a synth with adjustable bit-rate, while Bit Box is an 8-bit drum sampler that comes with over 500 video game chip sounds.

Mildon studios vocal spread

Mildon Studios Vocal Spread

Platform/format: PC/VST Download


Simplicity is the watchword here: this plug-in is designed to enhance your vocals' stereo spread, making them cut through the mix and sound wider. It can work on instrumental parts, too, and tweaks are made using Body and Spread controls.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Three virtual guitars, a synth and a MIDI note randomiser
DSK guitars

DSK Music DSK Guitars

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The name says it all really: three separate plug-ins that emulate acoustic, steel and nylon guitars. A very similar GUI is used on each of them, and keeps things simple by presenting you with just ADSR and level controls.

DSK techsynth

DSK Music TechSynth

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

DSK has been busy, for as well as releasing those three virtual guitars, it's given us this two oscillator synth. Each of these can choose from five waveforms, and you've also got a filter, amp envelope and delay effect. 60 presets are included, so there are plenty of sonic starting points.

notomizer

SyS Audioresearch n0t0mizor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

n0t0mizor gives you a simple way of generating randomised MIDI notes, though you can define certain parameters yourself. It doesn't affect any MIDI information other than pitch, and its output can either be used inside your DAW or sent to an external instrument.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A polysynth and a guitar amp/FX range

TS substance

Tactile Sounds TS-Substance

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you were asked to come up with a list of things that you'd like to see in a new free soft synth, simplicity, flexibility and (good) sound quality would probably be on it. This is what Substance promises: it was inspired by the classic analogue polysynths of the past and has two oscillator sections, two LFOs, two envelopes and two filters.

Freetortion

AuraPlug Freetortion Series

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

OK, it's not new, but Mac users should be aware that Auraplug's Freetortion Series, which contains six guitarist-friendly amp/FX plug-ins, has just been ported to OS X. The only stipulation is that you'll need an Intel-based machine to run them.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
TAL's new synth revealed, and a drone

TAL noisemaker

Togu Audio Line TAL-NoiseMaker

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

We previewed this one last week, and now it's available. It's an improved version of the already excellent TAL-Elek7ro, but comes with a new synth engine and an effects section with reverb, chorus and a bit crusher. Could this make a late push for the title of best free VST plug-in in the world today?

Wok dronos

Wok Dronos

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A virtual analogue synth that specialises in creating drones might not seem too appealing, but Wok says that Dronos is capable of producing "a warm, ever-evolving sound which remains tonally playable". The free version is monophonic and has a nag-screen.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Compression, a comb filter and a teaser from TAL

Boomplug boomcomb

Boomplug BoomComb

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Seemingly Boomplug's first plug-in, this is a MIDI-controllable comb filter. The delay time is in Hz, and can be set by pressing MIDI keys or 'bent' using the pitch wheel, which effectively means that it can be played like an instrument. There are GUI and non-GUI versions available: you'll have to use the latter if you're running Windows XP.

Plektron wtcomp

Plektron WTComp

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Fancy some free analogue tube-style compression? That's what WT Comp promises, and Plektron has kept things simple on the interface. Although it says that "the internal structure is very advanced," all you have to do in terms of tweaking is adjust the Warm (compression) level to taste.

Togu audio line noisemaker

Togu Audio Line NoiseMaker

Platform/format: TBC, Info

Togu Audio Line is one of our favourite freeware developers, so we thought we'd like to know that it has a new synth on the way that goes by the name of NoiseMaker. There are no specs yet, but you can hear and (sort of) see it in action in this strange preview video.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Reverb and a brass-friendly EQ

Sir elliot brass instrument equaliser

Sir Elliot Brass Instrument Equaliser

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It's rare to find an EQ that's so explicitly designed for use on one group of instruments, but yes, this one really is said to be made for use "solely" on trombone, saxophone, trumpet and other brass parts. If you want to hear it in action, check out the videos here and here.

DUY z-room

DUY Z-Room

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS, MAS Download

Previously charged-for (we think), this cross-platform reverb plug-in can now be yours for nothing. The developer believes that "high quality density and diffusion provide unparalleled sound quality," and there are 50 presets. You'll have to fill in a registration form to get the download, but that's the only price to pay. Note that the PC version is RTAS only.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Nine effects, a synth and a Mac update

WOK simprev

WOK Simprev

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The latest freebie to be cooked up by WOK (do you see what we've done there?) is a simple reverb plug-in. And we really do mean simple: just Time, Damp and Mix controls are included, along with a chunky Bypass button. You'll be nagged for a donation until you make one, but Simprev is fully functional.

j1000 beta

J1000 plug-ins

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

There are four EQs in this new range from J1000: Alpha (for post production); Beta (for mixing); Gamma (for mastering); and Delta (a mixing EQ "with a twist"). Developer Jovan Iljadica says of his plug-ins: "They are just regular equalizers made according to my ideas of how should they look and react".

minimal system contakt

Minimal System Contakt

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

There are two oscillators in this synth, each of which can choose from five waveforms. The oscillators can be mixed, while there are also delay, filter and reverb modules and a built-in oscilloscope.

wok simpshi

WOK Simpshi

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

WOK has also served up (you see what we've done there again?) this pitch shifting effect, which is designed "mainly for non-percussive material". Before you get too excited, though, bear in mind that the developer says: "it is the result of some testing and experimenting, so don't expect high quality results". Well, at least he's honest.

sir elliot black box

Sir Elliot Little Black Box and LRC-II

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of compressors from this knight of the free software realm. Little Black Box is a low dynamics offering that's said to be appropriate for rock music production, while LRC-II promises to be suitable for use on jazz and dance material.

Homegrown sounds harmonic enhancer

Homegrown Sounds Harmonic Enhancer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Built by the developer for personal use but now available to all of us, Harmonic Exciter enables you to add harmonic distortion at around 10k and 100hz. The idea is that you can use it to brighten up dull audio, particularly the top end.

Martinic combo model v

Martinic Combo Model V

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

OK, it's not strictly a new plug-in, but it's been a bit of a PC-fest over the past few weeks (OK, a lot of a PC-fest) so Mac users will be pleased to learn that the Combo Model V organ is now OS X-compatible too.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A classic Korg synth emulated and more effects

Mono fury

Full Bucket Music Mono/Fury

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Korg's Mono/Poly was a big hit among synth heads in the early '80s, and that's the instrument that inspired the creation of this one. It promises to offer "close emulation of behaviour and all controls," and the developer also reckons that it's light on CPU usage.

Free87 series

eaReckon FREE87 series

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Not just a new free plug-in, but a new series of free plug-ins. The FREE87 range currently contains a compressor with integrated brickwall limiter, a gate, a 1-band parametric EQ and a brickwall limiter, and all have very simple interfaces.

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Delay/echo, a synth and something for Guitar Heroes

Minimal system instruments handmade echo

Minimal System Instruments HandMade Echo

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This "boutique delay/echo unit" is designed to emulate the sound of classic hardware models. The controls are simple - just feedback, delay and dry/wet knobs and a tempo sync button - so it'll appeal to anyone who wants a delay effect that doesn't require a lot of tweaking.

Mike norrish armchair guitarist 1.5

Mike Norrish Armchair Guitarist 1.5

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This plug-in, which was originally created for KVR's Developer Challenge 2009, enables you to use your video game guitar controller (one that's DirectInput compatible) as a MIDI controller for your DAW. This update fixes various issues and adds a couple of new features.

Lday athmonova

Lday Athmonova2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yet another virtual analogue synth for the pile: this one gives you an oscillator, filter, LFO, three envelopes and overdrive/distortion, delay and stereo widening effects. As such, it doesn't really do much more than a hundred other synths, but give it a try and see how it fits.

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A bumper round-up of plug-ins

Martinic combo model v

Martinic Combo Model V

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Drawbar organ emulations seem to be disproportionately common in the land of free plug-ins - this latest offering is modelled on a "well-known combo organ from the '60s". As well as the organ emulation, there's also a vibrato unit with adjustable speed and depth.

mverb

Martin Eastwood Audio Mverb

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This open-source reverb is based on "the figure-of-eight reverb structure suggested by Dattarro, which uses a bank of all-pass filters to smear the phase followed by a loop of multi tap delay lines that feedback into themselves to create echoes". Eastwood has also added another delay and a multitap delay to act as predelay and early reflections.

Footile

Pluggotic Squosc and Footile

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of quirky effects plug-ins from Pluggotic with suitably offbeat names. Squosc is a seemingly unpredictable compositional aid that features constantly running oscillators that are modulated by an envelope follower, while Footile is based on a serial multi-FX design. The plug-ins come with presets that are described as "horrible" and "unsuccessful" respectively.

RoVee

g200kg RoVee

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This cutdown version of g200kg's KeroVee (which has just been updated) is a basic voice-changing plug-in. It enables you to make a male voice sound female and vice versa. You can also add a robotic-style effect into the mix.

1984

Pianovintage 1984

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A traditional-looking synth that gives you a pair of oscillators and filter and envelope sections. There are chorus and delay effects, too. You might be put off by the fact that only eight presets are supplied, but this is a simple looking instrument so programming your own shouldn't be too difficult.

S.O.A.P

Saltine Hotel S.O.A.P

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed with the forthcoming FreePlayer guitar effects controller in mind, this pitch bending effect (the acronym stands for Son Of A Pitch) is said to be suitable for use as a virtual whammy bar and for more extreme pitch bend tasks. The dead zone control enables you to adjust the pitch response to suit your playing style.

Argotlunar

Mike O Argotlunar

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This real-time granulator effect is capable of playing up to 20 grains simultaneously, with each grain having individually adjustable delay, amplitude, panning, duration, filter, pitch and glissando settings. It's open-source, and the developer is currently seeking help in creating a Mac version.

Electronic organ 2

Iliadis Euthymia Electronic Organ 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

What was it we said about organs being ripe for emulation by freeware software developers? Here's the second version of Euthymia's Electronic Organ, a Hammond clone that now offers improved percussion and key click, a new vibrato/chorus unit that's delay adjustable, overdrive and more drawbars for the pedals.

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Two more FX processors

B. serrano ceres

B. Serrano Ceres

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Ceres might look like a synthesizer (and B. Serrano says that it works a little like one, too), but it's actually a filter effect: low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, notch and peak types are on offer. There's also an envelope, two bpm-syncable LFOs and an 8-step sequencer.

Weldroid courvoisier

Weldroid Courvoisier

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

No, it's not the name of a little-known character from the Star Wars universe: Weldroid Courvoisier is actually a "single-band universal dynamics processor with adaptive attack and release algorithms optimised for complex program material (mixes and submixes)".

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A trio of synths and a filter bank

Wok Formantbank

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

12 filter bands are included here, each of which has its own volume fader. There's also a Formant knob that enables you to adjust all their frequencies together. You'll find a Resonance knob, too, while it's also possible to blend the filtered and original signals (from 0% to 100%).

Genobazz

Tek'it Audio Genobazz

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This simple but classy-looking monophonic synth is designed, as its name almost suggests, for "all your bass needs". The oscillator can select from eight waveforms, there are six filter types, and you get 32 factory presets. There's full MIDI automation and MIDI learn on all parameters.

blooo

Full Bucket Music The blooo

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Behind the preposterous name lies something pretty straightforward: a polyphonic subtractive synth in the classic mould. There are a couple of oscillators (each of which can choose from four waveforms), a white noise generator, two multimode filters, three envelopes and three LFOs.

Ichi

Saltline Ichi 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The synths just keep on coming this week: here's another subtractive offering that features two sound generators, each of which boasts two oscillators, a state variable filter and a delay. There's also a modulation matrix, and the developer suggests that it's good for producing a wide range of different sounds.

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Distortion, phasing and pitch shifting effects and a synth

4 band shifter

Bitterspring 4 Band Shifter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An open-source offering that "can scale (shift) independently the pitch of four adjacent, user-definable frequency bands". As well as pitch shifting knobs, each band also has one to adjust its volume, while you can set the bands' end points (and, consequently, start points) too.


Distortion m plus

MZK Media Technologies Distortion M Plus

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is a multiband distortion plug-in that enables you to apply different amounts of distortion to different frequency zones. It can also be used just as an EQ section and, by combining the standard and multiband distortions, as a dual-stage effect.

Xphaser le

WOK Xphaser LE

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This one features two phasers, each of which has a slightly different sound. The two can be routed in series or parallel, and each has panorama and volume controls. This is a free version of the full Xphaser, which adds host sync and manual sweep features and costs €11.

SabaTwoTiga vst

The Chip Collection SabaTwoTiga VST

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Synths don't get much simpler than this one. Tones can be selected with a 4-voice knob, 2-way switches are used to modify the sound and you get basic filter controls. SabaTwoTiga is said to be suitable for creating "powerful electronic leads" and is described as "beefy and musical".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Two compressor plug-ins and a filter

Elysia niveau filter

Elysia niveau filter

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

You may be familiar with Elysia's Mpressor, a powerful and flexible compressor plug-in. Now the Mpressor's niveau filter can be yours for free: this is designed to change the proportions between high and low frequencies, and can "Add punch to muffled snares, reduce the harshness from active pickups, and create some wonderful dub and lo-fi sounds".

 nastyvcs

Variety of Sound NastyVCS

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Said to be inspired by the smooth dynamic and tone shaping capabilities of some high-end mixing consoles and channel strips, this is an opto-electric style compression unit. The developer reckons that it "offers everything you need to shape your channel's dynamics and tone".

Four stage compressor

Sir Elliot Four Stage Compressor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is effectively four compressors in one plug-in, with each having access to the same Threshold, Ratio, Attack and Release controls. Just select the one you want to tweak by clicking A, B, C or D. If you want to see it in action, check out Sir Elliot's developer's 'bench test' video.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synths, drums and an oscilloscope

Logana

SAR VSTs Logana

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A rather fine-looking freebie from SAR, Logana uses a physical modelling engine to emulate analogue-style sounds. It's got three oscillators, a noise generator, a mod matrix and mod envelope, an LFO, a low-pass filter, an amplitude envelope and overdrive distortion.

Thrice

Tekky Synths THriCe

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Although the full version of THriCe costs €30, there's also a free iteration that has most of its features (only filter modulation by the 3 StepSeq LFOs is missing). What we're dealing with here is a 3-oscillator synth, with each oscillator having its own multiband filter. There's also an internal sequencer and an FX section.

Tactile sounds ts-808

Tactile Sounds TS-808

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

TS-808 is - wait for it - an emulation of the Roland TR-808 drum machine (you got the subtle hint didn't you?). As you probably know, it isn't the first, but Tactile Sounds points out that this is a proper synth rather than a sampler, and that you have more sound-shaping controls than on the original hardware. You've got eight outputs to play with, too.

Betabugs oszillos mega scope

Betabugs Oszillos Mega Scope

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

When the time comes to start fine-tuning your mix, Oszillos Mega Scope might be able to help you out. It's a BPM-synced oscilloscope with support for multiple inputs. Waveforms can be displayed separately or as one coloured waveform.

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Waveshapers, a piano sympathetic resonance generator, an additive synth and a pitch shifter

Extractor

miniSoftMusik Extractor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This additive synth offers four oscillators that can be used simultaneously, while there's also a morph function. Other features include a multimode filter, flexible tone distortion and a step sequencer (for note, attack and decay envelope). A chorus is onboard too. You can check out a video demo here.

 piano sr

Sound Magic Piano SR

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

You'll find quite a few sampled piano libraries that have their own sympathetic resonance parameter, but if yours doesn't, this plug-in can fill the gap. It does its work based on an incoming MIDI signal via physical modelling, and promises to give your piano sound more colour and make it feel more real.

Wave symmetric waveshaper

Exoplug.net X Wave Symmetric Waveshaper

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This waveshaper enables you to create shapes graphically using up to 16 points and comes with two different slope types: curve and stairs. The former is said to be good for overdrive effects, while the latter can do bit reduction. There's a built-in limiter and a Pre Gain knob, too.

Waveshaper

pdp7 dot org Waveshaper

Platform/format: Mac/AU Download

Another waveshaper - this one's for Mac users. As you can see from the interface, it's pretty simple: there are just three sliders, and you can choose your shaping function (tanh, sin, atan, foldback and saturate are all options) from a dropdown menu.

Red shift 2

b.serrano Red Shift 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This second version of Red Shift may be described as a pitch shifter, but the developer indicates that it can also serve as a delay, phaser and chorus. It comes with a couple of LFOs, a step modulator and a mod matrix.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Audio enhancement, pitch correction and more

Dark mass

Theodor Krueger Dark Mass

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

There's something rather charming about plug-ins that come with very few controls and promise to do something general rather than specific. Take Dark Mass, for example: it offers just Enhance and Amount controls, and is said to be an "audio enhancement plug-in" that "makes everything fatter, be it full mixes, drums, trance kicks, bass or solo guitars."

Aunotes

Teragon Audio AUNotes 2.0

Platform/format: Mac/AU Download

This is an Audio Units plug-in that doesn't actually make or process any sound. Instead, AUNotes - which was previously known as Notepad - is designed to let you keep notes within your DAW alongside an arrangement. Changes are saved with the project.

KeroVee

G200Kg KeroVee

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Gone are the days when you had to pay for your pitch correction plug-in: KeroVee is another free offering that features scale buttons and a tuning speed parameter ("maybe robotic if set to '100=MAX'" says the developer). There's a tune-to-MIDI function, too.

urrth

Simple VSTs plug-ins

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Five new plug-ins from SimpleVSTs, all with intentionally misspelt names. Uurth is an amp simulator; muun emulates an overdrive pedal; preamp is a guitar pedal simulator; spank is another amp sim; and duuaal a two-channel amp with built-in reverb. All look pretty simple, so give them a whirl and find out how they sound.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Reverb, bitcrushing and frequency shifting FX plus an old hardware synth

Pethu hahaha cs33 v2.0

Pethu Hahaha CS33 v2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another of Pethu's Yamaha clones gets an upgrade; this time, it's the CS33, which builds on the features of the old CS-01. Changes in the new version include a smoother-working GUI, redesigned layout, animated keyboard and more stable performance on multi-core systems.

TAL-Reverb ii

Togu Audio Line TAL-Reverb II

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Picking up where the first TAL-Reverb left off, this second version once again features a plate algorithm but adds a subtractive EQ and a stereo input mode. Labels on each control let you know the values you're currently dealing with.

BitTest

Shuriken BitTest

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

On the downside, it's ugly as sin, but BitTest is designed to crush audio down to 8-bit and then give you the option to turn off bits (in the top row of the interface) or invert them (in the bottom row) individually.

ValhallaFreqEcho mki

Valhalla DSP ValhallaFreqEcho MkI

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

This plug-in combines a frequency shifter with an analogue-style echo, with the MkI update adding a new GUI, a tempo-synced delay and mouse-over tooltips. The results you can get are said to range from "subtle chorusing and double tracking to barberpole phasing and flanging to endless glissandos and runaway echoes."

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Effects plug-ins, drum machine and synth offerings

HG fortune percumat 2

HG Fortune Percumat 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

As its name suggests, this is a percussion machine rather than a straight drum one. You can use up to six instruments at a time, and there are 512 built-in sounds. Beats can be constructed in the two supplied step sequencers, which offer a number of special features that enable you to create more experimental patterns.

LeGion

LePou LeGion

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This latest addition to LePou's collection of guitarist-friendly plug-ins is a high-gain preamp. It's not based on any specific hardware model, but the developer says that his aim was to "build a high-gain amp sim that doesn't need any booster in front in order to be tight". There are two channels, each of which has rhythm and lead modes.

iSpinner

Iliadis iSpinner

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is another emulation of the classic Leslie rotary speaker, but with what the developer describes as "some differences". You get rotary chorus and adjustable overdrive, while the speed, depth and spread of the rotator itself are all tweakable too.

Nibiru 2

b.serrano Nibiru 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This revised version of the parallel multi-filter plug-in adds three new filter types (low-pass, high-pass and notch join the already-present band-pass) and stereo balancing on each of the four filters' outputs. You'll also find four LFOs that are host-syncable.

CS01 2.0

Hahaha CS01 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yamaha's CS-01 was an entry-level monosynth that was released in 1982 (a mark II version arrived in 1984). This is an attempt at a software emulation, with version 2 promising to deliver a smoother GUI, an animated keyboard and improved stability.

Span 2.0

Voxengo Span 2.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This real-time "fast Fourier transform" audio spectrum analyser is now cross-platform and has added multi-channel and mid/side analysis to its roster of features. A few 'housekeeping' tasks have also been taken care of: undo/redo is now in place, and some tweaks have been made to the interface.

CrossOver

rs-met CrossOver

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This VST effect plug-in is designed to split an incoming audio signal into up to four frequency ranges so that you can then build your own multiband effects (or, using two bands, create bass effects). It does its work using low-pass/high-pass filters, with the slope being adjustable between 12 and 96 dB/oct.

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A Tenori-on style matrix sequencer, synth, filter and guitar amp suite

WOK blip2000

WOK Blip2000

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Inspired by the likes of the Bliptronic 5000 and Tenori-on, this matrix-style step sequencer has a MIDI Out, so can be used to trigger any of your favourite sound sources (sequences can be saved as VST plug-in presets). You can download and use it for free, though you will be nagged for a donation until you make one.

TranceDrive

Maik Menz TranceDrive

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This trance orientated synth was originally designed to be submitted to KVR's Developer Challenge, but this developer says he forgot to enter it. He's found it down the back of the sofa now, though: to give you the brief overview, TranceDrive has "built-in supersaw oscillators for really fat synths and pads, harsh filters, a trancegate and a huge reverb effect".

bx cleansweep v2

Brainworx bx_cleansweep V2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

This is an updated version of Brainworx's high- and low-pass filter that features what the developer calls 'Anti Crush Technology'. The filter comes from the company's bx_digital 2 mastering EQ, and Brainworx reckons that this plug-in should be the first one in every mix channel so that you can remove any unwanted high- and low-end material.

Shred 1 suite

AcmeBarGig Shred 1 Suite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Six amp heads are brought together in this guitarists' bundle, and are said to be capable of creating everything "from warm, sweet, clean tones to hair-raising metal thunder". What's more, elements of each head can be combined as you wish, and effects are included, too.

ambio.one

Weldroid ambio.one

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This crosstalk cancellation plug-in is based on the RACE algorithm that was developed by the Ambiophonic Institute. You can find out more about ambiophonics on their website, and you can learn more about how to get the most out of the plug-in by consulting its online help files.

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A synth, a boutique guitar amp and a flanger

Osiris polly8

Osiris Polly8

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This new instrument is billed as "a recreation of a famous synth of yesteryear" - we'll leave you to work out what the synth is. If you're looking for clues in the specs, you'll want to know that it has two oscillators per voice, 24-voice polyphony and two LFOs, as well as delay, chorus, phaser and EQ.

LeXTAC

LePou LeXTAC

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This new guitarist-friendly plug-in was inspired by a Californian boutique amplifier and features three channels. Each of these has a 3-position Pre EQ switch, while channels 2 and 3 can be switched to Plexi channels and feature a Structure switch that delivers gain reduction.

FlangerHand

Semerika FlangerHand

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

No, it's not the title of a new Tim Burton movie: FlangerHand aims to recreate the flanging effect produced when an engineer used to put his finger on the rim of the reel of an old tape machine and then remove it. We'd still like to see Semerika FlangerHand in cinemas, though…

(Via KVR Audio)

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Three synths and three effects

Heather

Cos&FX Heather

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This new 2-oscillator synth uses both additive and subtractive elements to create its sounds and also sports two low-pass filters and two LFOs. The chap who built it believes Heather to be capable of producing cutting basses, large screechy sweeping pads, leads and sci-fi sound effects.

EddieVsHeaven

AuraPlug EddieVsHeaven

Platform/format: PC/VST Dow nload

Described as a "freetortion" effect, EddieVsHeaven is trumpeted as "a complete guitar rig in stompbox form". So, it features distortion, amp and cab emulations and can be tweaked with Level, Drive, Low, Middle and High controls. There's also the intriguing Eddielizer switch to contemplate.

Synthgeek sg-modutron mini

Synthgeek sg-modutron mini

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This single-oscillator synth is said to be capable of tracking pitch, though sounds often change across the keyboard and, sometimes, you may found that keys produce no sounds at all. This being the case, it's probably something you'd experiment with rather than rely on.

FreeverbToo

SinusWeb FreeverbToo 1.7

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The name should be enough to alert you to the fact that this "studio quality reverb" costs nothing, and it's just been updated to version 1.7. Additions to the feature set include VST 2 compatibility, support for high sample rates and GUI optimisations. There's a PDF manual now, too.

Wok pch-1

Wok PCH-1

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If chorus plug-ins have always left you feeling befuddled, this could be the one for you. Designed to look like a guitarist's stompbox, the PCH-1 features just a single knob; give it a spin and the developer reckons that you can generate everything from slight movement to heavy swirling.

Bass terminal

Kriminal Bass Terminal

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This blue-hued bass synth is equipped with a couple of oscillators, each of which offers square and sawtooth waveforms. There's also a low-pass filter, amp and filter envelopes and an LFO.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Chorus, reverb and audio grabbing

Sonic assault capture! 2.0

Sonic Assault Capture! 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This 16/24/32-bit VST WAV file recorder has just been updated to version 2.0, which adds 'point and click' mouse cueing and replay and also makes some changes to the time display. Audio ranging in length from 0.001 seconds to 10 minutes can be recorded.

Acrobatics software vento

Acrobatics Software Vento

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is a 4-voice chorus effect – each voice is said to be filtered with a different harmonic variation. The tremolo section has been included so that you can give the sound "extra shine", and the results you can achieve promise to vary from "monophonic tube-flangers to incredibly rich and detailed stereo smearings."

epicVerb 1.5

Variety Of Sound epicVerb 1.5

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We're told that this is a major update to the reverb plug-in that made its debut a year ago. As well as being more stable, some of the algorithms have been reworked, with the result being that epicVerb "supports way more dense and three-dimensional reverberation processing".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Delay and amp effects, modular and drum 'n' bass-friendly synths and a MIDI data sequencer

Native instruments sync modular

Native Instruments Sync Modular

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Sync Modular was an early modular soft synth that we'd completely forgotten about, but now Native Instruments, who seemingly took ownership of it when it started collaborating with its creator, Dr Sync, in 2003, has made it available for free. Bear in mind, though, that it'll only run under Microsoft Windows 95/98/NT4/2000 (or, err, BeOS R5).

TAL-DUB-III

Togu Audio Line TAL-DUB-III

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Currently in beta, this is described as an easy to use delay device that also has some special features. Rather than emulating a tape delay, it promises to bring its own sound, and includes an alias free saturation stage, a non-linear 6dB low-pass and a 3dB high-pass filter.

MidiSeq! 2.0

Sonic Assault MidiSeq! 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This 64-step MIDI data sequencer has arrived at version 2. It offers (among other things) draw and single step editing, step/interpolation control and an all-step randomise feature.

X30 1.6

TSE Plugins X30 1.6

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This high-gain guitar amp is based on the Engl 530 and preamp and, as you'd expect, is suitable for producing metal tones. That said, we're assured that it's not a one trick sonic pony, either.

Zombie killah 2

Sonic Entropy Zombie Killah 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Billed as "the ultimate DnB synth", this is also said to suitable for breakbeat, dubstep and jungle lead sounds. It sports two detuned oscillators and a sub-bass oscillator, plus a range of what are described as "easy and quick modulators".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A Linux-based DAW and a couple more efects

MusE

MusE

Platform/format: Linux Download

This Linux-based MIDI/audio sequencer has apparently been in development for ten years, yet only now is it at version 1.0. Features added since v0.9 include Windows VST support, better bounce operations and audio optimisations that have resulted in lower CPU usage.

Smeq

Eska SMEQ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This custard-coloured plug-in is billed as a Sequenced Morphable Equalizer, which explains the name. It's a stereo, four-part parametric EQ that syncs to song position and enables you to morph between its two states.

Spectrum analyser

Seven Phases Spectrum Analyser

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A plug-in that does exactly as its name suggests: this is an old-school spectral analysis tool that replicates the hardware models that some of you may have been familiar with in the 20th century. Mind you, they didn't come with a detachable spectrum display window and weren't freely resizable, either.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
NI KoreSounds, Psychic Modulation synth and a 12-band graphic EQ

Psychic modulation aethereal

Psychic Modulation Aethereal (free)

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed for producing evolving atmospheres and textures, this vector synth comes with more than 100 sounds and four wave oscillators. You can mix between these using the TransMixer, and there's also an Auto-Modulation section, two multi-stage filters, a dual delay and more. The freeware version is limited to two voices of polyphony and a single audio output.

Twelve graphic equalizer

Terry West Twelve Graphic Equalizer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The name refers to the fact that this graphic EQ has - you guessed it - 12 bands. It's said to be modelled on some famous hardware units, though Terry West doesn't specify which. There are actually three versions - Standard, Lite and Pro - though it appears that all are currently free.

Holiday selection 2009

Native Instruments Holiday Selection 2009

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

We've featured this in our advent calendar already, but for those who missed it, the 2009 Holiday Selection is a pack of 45 KoreSounds, each of which comes with eight morphable Sound Variations. It can be loaded into Kore 2 or the free Kore Player.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
KVR's Developer Challenge 2009 winner plus seven more freebies


Yedey loopdrive 2.0

Yedey LoopDrive 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This loop slicer/step sequencer has been treated to a major update. We're told that every part of the audio processing has been optimised (the plug-in is said to run up to three times faster than its predecessor), while several new features have been added and some problems fixed.

Variety of sound ferrictds

Variety Of Sound FerricTDS

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We briefed you on the 2009 KVR Developer Challenge last month, and this is the winning entry. It simulates the effects of reel-to-reel tape recorders, and features Dynamics, Saturation and Limiting sections. KVR's knowledgeable users loved it, so it's got to be worth a look.

Alien space weaver standard

HG Fortune Alien Space Weaver Standard

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed for "spacey or dark atmospheric backgrounds and FX sounds," if you play this synth slowly its output will evolve over time. For full functionality, get the Pro version, but this Standard edition, which omits several features, seems like a good starting point.

GSi mrtramp2

GSi MrTramp2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Free versions of Fender's Rhodes piano are fairly common, so it's nice to see a gratis version of that other great electric piano staple, the Wurlitzer 200A. This version 2.0 update promises more bite at the low end and increased body towards the top, while both the CPU and RAM requirements are lower than before.

Kassiopeia! 2.0

Sonic Assault Kassiopeia! 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Based on Casio's range of '80s phase distortion (similar to FM) synthesizers, Kassiopeia! is now at version 2.0. Don't expect knobs and faders on this one - the interface is based on graphs and numeric entry fields.

Starplugs meq analysis

Starplugs MEQ Analysis

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It's unlikely that your mum's going to buy you a 2-channel high precision 30-band frequency analysis and level-meter this Christmas, so it's lucky that Starplugs is giving you one. It's said to work seamlessly with the company's Master EQ, but can also be used with any other equalizer plug-in.

MiniSpillage

AudioSpillage MiniSpillage

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Tired of the same old percussion sounds? MiniSpillage isn't designed to emulate any specific drum machine, but is a synthesis-based module that aims to "break new ground and provide the modern musician with an original electronic percussion instrument".

BD2

The Lower Rhythm BD2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The Lower Rhythm has taken the bass drum channel from its D15/2 analogue drum machine and released it as a 'kick designer' plug-in on its own. It gives you a pair of kick voices, a bit crusher and two output channels (one is clean and the other tube emulated with pre/post gain).

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Cakewalk freebies and a freeware favourite synth

TAL-Elek7ro v2

TAL-Elek7ro v2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Elek7ro has proven to be a perennial freeware favourite - this revised version of the synth contains new filter types that promise to deliver a smooth, warm and almost artefact free sound. There's a new envelope, too, while CPU usage has also been reduced. This iteration will be available alongside previous ones.

Cakewalk square 1

Cakewalk Square 1

Platform/format: PC/VST, DX Download

Last week, we told you that Cakewalk's SFZ+ is now free, but it transpires that this vintage-style synth has also been made available without charge. It's a pretty simple instrument, making it suitable for beginners who want to learn how to program. There are built-in effects, too.

Cakewalk audio fx bundles

Cakewalk Audio FX bundles

Platform/format: PC/VST, DX Download

It's not just instruments that Cakewalk is now giving away: three of its effects bundles are now available gratis, too. FX 1 is a dynamics-based suite; FX 2 gives you amp and tape simulator effects; and FX 3 is described as a 'reverb toolbox'. These processors are long in the tooth, but check them out if you're dissatisfied with your existing arsenal.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Three synths and an open-source lookahead limiter

Inorganic1

Asymptotic Valley Inorganic1

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is a 2-oscillator subtractive synth that also comes with an adjustable oscilloscope. There's a multi-mode filter, while the sound can be further shaped by using the delay and reverb effects.


Zephod blok

Zephod [BLOK] (Alpha version)

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you've always wanted to get your hands dirty with modular synthesis but didn't fancy paying for the privilege, check this puppy out. Offering all the synth modules you'd expect (oscillators, filters, envelopes etc) it lets you connect them up via an interface that promises to be easy to use. This Alpha version is free, but the release edition will cost €35.

Kx-Modulad v2

KX77FREE Kx-Modulad v2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another modular synth, this one has just been updated to version 2.0. Additions include a stereo SF2 player, MIDI learn, a new skin and a LP 18 filter. Improvements have been made to existing features, too, and Kx-Modulad still features the WaveTracer, which enables you to make your own additive waveforms.

Lookahead limiter

Christian Budde Lookahead Limiter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another open-source release from Christian Budde, this peak stop lookahead limiter is said to have a smooth attack envelope and an adjustable release curve. If you don't fancy messing with the settings yourself, there are nine presets to work with.

Cakewalk sfz+

Cakewalk SFZ+

Platform/format: PC/VST, DX Download

SFZ+ is designed to do one very specific job - play SoundFonts - but it does it very well. It's multitimbral, has multiple stereo outputs and built-in stereo effects and looks nice too. Having previously been listed at $60, the price on the Cakewalk store has dropped to $0.00 dollars, so give it a look.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Vibrato, amp and filter plug-ins, drum sampler and a virtual organ

Les blattes splatte

Les Blattes Splatte

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Les Blattes doesn't make too many bold claims about Splatte - merely that it's a "simple and straightforward" 12-slot drum sample player. A set of sounds comes included to get you started, but you can import your own 16- and 24-bit WAV files. Controls are basic, though handily, there are eight stereo outputs.

Subsun wobbles

Subsun Wobbles

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

The name of this simple plug-in alludes to the fact that it's a vibrato effect. The shape, depth and speed parameters are adjustable, and there's also a wet/dry knob. The author admits that Wobbles hasn't been widely tested (in fact, the AU version is currently offline after problems were reported), but says he'll update it with additional features if the demand is there.

Mokafix audio no amp!

Mokafix Audio No Amp!

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Based on a "famous hardware stompbox" (we're guessing a model by Sansamp), this virtual pedal offers you three amp tones, three "mods" and three cabs, which equates to a total of 27 possible configurations. There are various controls, and each parameter supports MIDI learn.

Autodafe b8 organ

Autodafe B8 Organ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Drawbar organs are surprisingly popular on planet freeware; this latest model has nine oscillators, vibrato, chorus and reverb. Thanks to the presence of both sine and saw waves, you're said to be able to produce a wide range of tones, including church, Hammond and Farfisa-style organ sounds.

Cableguys filtershaper 2

Cableguys FilterShaper 2

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Designed to enable you to create volume, pan and filter modulations, the second version of FilterShaper is now available. It now supports parallel filter routing and comes with a more user-friendly interface. This 'free' version is officially a demo - you can only use one instance per song with the built-in presets - but it's fully-functioning enough to be included here.

Major sketch pad

Af Kreativt Darhus Major Sketch Pad

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This "arrangement utility" is basically a step sequencer combined with a chorder. The idea is that you can "try out chord combinations and see how your melodies will sound with different chords applied to them, or just jam away". It's designed for those who are suffering from writers' block or people who seem to spend more time twiddling knobs than actually making music.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A virtual circuit-bending solution, synth and Mellotron

RedTron_400

Artifake_Labs RedTron_400

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another Mellotron emulation from Artifake_Labs, this one is based on the 400 model. It has six sound types (violins, choir, flute, brass, string section and cello) and what's described as a "realistic user interface". RedTron_400 can also be used as a SoundFont player.

Brainwork bx_cleansweep

Brainwork bx_cleansweep

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

Featuring the fabulously named Anti Crush Technology, this freebie from Brainworx is a high-pass/low-pass filter that its creators say should be the first plug-in in every mix channel. "This way you can filter out any unwanted hi-end and lo-end, and the result is a clean and tight mix," says the developer.

7Air productions depthcharge

7Air Productions DepthCharge

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed specifically for tracking (but also said to be useful in the master bus chain), this compressor has analogue-style VU meters and, most importantly, a dimpled metal background. Its creator says it'll deal with most material comfortably, but that it's particularly adept when handling drums, guitar and vocals.

ToneBytes bend box

ToneBytes Bend Box

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you like the idea of circuit-bending but aren't so keen on messing around with wires and solder, Bend Box could be for you. Said to be capable of creating a wide range of different noises ("from soft gurgling to ringing grinding, or even strange melodic timbres") it's MIDI controllable and automatable.

Lucas xie gank

Lucas Xie ganK

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This synth is said to be both additive and subtractive, and features three oscillators, a Moog-style filter, an LFO and effects (including an 8-band EQ and a delay). There's not much more to say, really, so we'll leave the final words to Lucas himself: "Have fun".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Two filters, a noise reducer and a drum machine

transistordrums

Acid.milch&honig transistordrums

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

transistordrums has the look of a vintage drum machine and, thanks to its sample-based sound generation, there's no reason why it shouldn't sound like one, too. There are ten slots, and tone-shaping options include tuning/pitch, attack and decay and distortion.

Noise reduction

Christian Budde Noise Reduction

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

As its name suggests, this is a noise reduction plug-in; its developer claims that it's notable for the inclusion of a spectral noise gate. As a processor, it's also said to be highly customisable, with the soft knee being fully adjustable.

b.serrano amt-1

b.serrano AMT-1

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is subtitled as a quad multi-filter, which means that it includes four multimode filters working in parallel. These feature low-pass, high-pass band-pass, notch and peak modes, and it's also worth noting that each parameter can be sequenced.

TAL-Filter

Togu Audio Line TAL-Filter

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

It may still be in beta, but this multimode filter from freeware specialists TAL is already looking pretty sweet. There are high-pass, band-pass and low-pass modes, an LFO and an envelope follower.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Virtual Mellotron, synths, amps and acoustic guitar sims

Waspy le

Sound-Record Wampire Acoustic Guitar (solo)/Waspy LE

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

These two instruments are both sample-based, so we're guessing that the engine that powers each of them is similar. Wampire Acoustic Guitar (solo) is, unsurprisingly, an acoustic guitar module, while Waspy LE is a synth that comes with 60 presets, an arpeggiator and a filter.

RedTron_MKV v3.0

Artifake_Labs RedTron_MKV v3.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Mellotron emulations are nothing new, but this one is based on the MKV model, which is essentially a 'double M400' (and, apparently, one of the rarest Mellotrons ever made). This third version of RedTron_MKV comes with six sound types and can also be used as a SoundFont player.

Justin robert mothman 1966

Justin Robert Mothman 1966

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another Mothman synth from Mr Robert, who admits that its 2-oscillator design is "pretty simple". However, it benefits from three custom waveforms (diamond, 8-bit saw and woodwind), which should help to make it stand out from the crowd. The sound is reported to be "gritty yet warm and vintage sounding".

LePou plugins le456

LePou Plugins LE456

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The latest guitar-orientated plug-in from LePou is this preamp sim, which is said to be based on a famous piece of German gear. It has two channels (and two modes per channel), while bottom and bright switches can be used to boost the low and high frequencies.

Kuassa amplifikation lite

Kuassa Amplifikation Lite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

As a teaser for its forthcoming Amplifikation Custom guitar processing plug-in, Kuassa has released this free lite version. It's an amp that comes with three channels (clean, rhythm and lead) and nine parameters that should be familiar to guitarists everywhere.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Piano emulation, vintage-style compressor and a simple synth

SPL attacker

SPL Attacker

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

In an unusual move, SPL is making its Attacker plug-in – which is modelled on the attack function of the legendary Transient Designer – free until 15 November. The offer is limited to one Attacker per computer and you'll need an iLok key if you want to use it, but it's a pretty enticing deal (regular price is €59).

Mokafix audio glue reeds

Mokafix Audio Glue Reeds

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The Pianet was a reed-based keyboard instrument from Hohner that also featured electro-magnetic pickups. It differed from other electric pianos, though, by featuring sticky foam pads to pull and release reeds rather than a hammer to hit them. Glue Reeds is a virtual emulation of the Pianet, and is said to produce "an uneven sound with rich overtones".

Antress modern firechainer

Antress Modern FireChainer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Anrtress has updated its entire Modern Plugins Bundle to v4.60, with the highlight of this tweak undoubtedly being the inclusion of the new Modern FireChainer. This is a vintage-style compressor that's modelled on Fairchild's 660. Several of the other 12 plug-ins in the bundle have been improved, too.

Acidrack

acid.milch&honig Acidrack

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Made using the ever-popular SynthEdit, this is a simple 6-voice synth with a couple of oscillators, three envelopes, a multimode filter. two LFOs and an arpeggiator. You can download it for free, but if you like it, the developer would appreciate a donation.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
UVI Workstation, synths and an EQ plug-in

Alterex xone

Alterex X*One

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The name refers to the fact that this synth has one oscillator, one modulator and one 12dB low-pass filter (it's monophonic, too). It's similar in design to Alterex's Vicon, but promises to produce a phatter sound. This module will form the core of the X*Pand synth that will be released in 2010.

HG fortune arracis gold free

HG Fortune Arracis Gold Free

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

HG Fortune reckons that this new synth's most notable feature is its 4x8 oscillator step sequencer, which promises to enable you to create interesting sounds before you even get beyond the oscillator section. The free version is limited to 128 waves per oscillator (of which there are four), three voices and wave/SF2 loading for oscillators 1 and 2 only.

Univers sons uvi workstation 1.1

Univers Sons UVI Workstation 1.1

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS, MAS Download

To be honest, you really should have downloaded this already, but if you haven't, the 1.1 update makes the UVI Workstation an even more enticing prospect. It adds (among other things) an arpeggiator, a tap tempo feature and full compatibility with 64-bit computers.

Opulent audio synths

Opulent Audio synths

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

At just $8 for three plug-ins, Opulent Audio's instruments weren't exactly pricey before, but it's still worth celebrating their new freeware status. bLO-Fish is a 3-oscillator lo-fi synth; Tenacity is a 2-oscillator "monophonic monster"; and DirtyGirl is an VA/FM/granular synth.

AcmeBarGig lshs corrective eq

AcmeBarGig LSHS Corrective EQ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

AcmeBarGig has moved away from guitar amps for a moment to release this corrective EQ. It's designed to sort out problem frequencies at the low- and high-ends of your mixes, leaving them sounding "bright, punchy and clear". The plug-in comes from the company's new developer Rob Loyst.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A quartet of plug-ins for you to try

Kriminal oktagon

Kriminal Oktagon

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yep, it's another virtual analogue synth: this one comes with eight VCOs, each of which has its own detune, pan and gain controls. It features saw, ramp, tri and pulse waveforms and can run in both monophonic and polyphonic modes.

GreenMachine amp ii

Wurr Audio Engineering GreenMachine Amp II

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The appropriately named GreenMachine Amp II is a guitar amp simulator that previously cost $89, but Wurr Audio Engineering has now taken the generous step of 'setting it free'. It features American- and British-style preamp models and Tube 50, Tube 100 and SolidState amps.

Novakill neokiller iii

Novakill Neokiller III

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Interestingly, Novakill's flagship Ultrakiller synth is only available to those who buy their new album (entitled I Hate God). However, the trimmed-back Neokiller III is being offered as a free download, with the developer citing its "super-fat Quad Oscillator" as a key benefit.

Meatscience bitsmacker

Meatscience Bitsmacker

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Described as a "digital distortion Swiss army knife" that's capable of delivering a "raunchy" sound, Bitsmacker promises to emulate the tones associated with vintage samplers, video game systems and other lo-fi gear. The interface isn't anything special, but if it delivers the goods in a sonic sense, that might not matter.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Blue Cat Audio update, stereo widening effect and simple sample player

SHEPPi

Open Ambience Project SHEPPi

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Released under a Creative Commons License, SHEPPi stands for Stereo Haas Effect Ping Pong Inverter. That might not mean a lot to you, so we should say that it's a stereo enhancement tool that promises to give your recordings a sense of space, and can be used as a track insert or on an aux bus.

TAL-Reverb

Togu Audio Line TAL-Reverb

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

This open-source plate reverb has apparently had its sound enhanced since the beta version (it's now at v1.0), and delivers a wider stereo spread. It still looks pretty easy to use, though, and is said to be usable on a wide range of sounds (percussion in particular is cited).

 freeware plugins pack

Blue Cat Audio Freeware Plugins Pack

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, DirectX, AU Download


The cats at, err, Blue Cat have updated their entire range of free effects plug-ins, fixing a few bugs and improving the Windows installer. There are nine effects in all and, to make life even easier, you can download the whole lot in a single bundle.

SampleTrigger

WOK SampleTrigger

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We've rarely (never?) seen a simpler sample player than this: load in a sample and you can play it at its original speed from your keyboard. And that, aside from the inclusion of an ADSR envelope, is it.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synth, groovebox, MIDI editor/pattern sequencer and a distortion unit

Cerebrum

Psychic Modulation Cerebrum

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Now at version 3.5, Cerebrum is a groovebox-style drum machine that comes equipped with five drum synth modules, 150 drum sounds and a bassline synth. Each module has two 16-step pattern sequencers. The intention is that the software will be used in a live situation to create beats on the fly. The freeware version is the same as the full one except for the fact that multiple outputs are disabled.

Alterex visynth

Alterex ViSynth

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

ViSynth is another of those 'inspired by but not a copy of' virtual instruments – it's a monophonic synth based on MFB's Synth Lite. There are a couple of oscillators and a sub oscillator: we trust the sound is appropriately vintage.

AZ audio polygrid

AZ Audio PolyGrid

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Your DAW probably has its own built-in MIDI editor, but that hasn't stopped AZ Audio from releasing this plug-in version. It's also a pattern sequencer – you can use up to 64 patterns of variable lengths.

Industrial distortion

NoiseSoft Hard Line Industrial Distortion

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Lots of developers claim that their plug-ins are easy to use, but few processors can be quite so simple as this distortion unit. It features just one knob: dial it fully to the left and the effect is bypassed; turn it fully to the right and you've got extreme distortion on a white noise level.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Amps, distortion, multi-effects and bar chimes!

LePou hybrit series

LePou HyBrit Series

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The name alludes to the fact that these guitar amp plug-ins are based on not one British model but two (we're not told which). You get preamp, head and FullStack versions for maximum flexibility.

Sonic transformer

Ourafilmes Sonic Transformer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This other-wordly multi-effects processor features five 'alien eye' knobs that enable you to control several parameters simultaneously. In use, it's described as enigmatic and chaotic – the idea, it seems is just to tweak away and see what happens. However, we are assured that reverbs, filters, chorus and delays are all in here somewhere.

BarChimes

QuikQuak BarChimes

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If your music needs an injection of tinkly melodic percussion, look no further than this bar chime emulator. 36 bars are presented in the photo-realistic interface, and the developer says that "collisions, gravity and audio are accurately portrayed". There are no parameter controls as yet (this is a beta release) but these and a Mac version are among the things promised for the future.

Roktion 808

RobRokkenAudio Roktion 808

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Whether you want "subtle mellow overdrive" or "face peeling distortion", Roktion 808's developer reckons that this plug-in has you covered. There are three gain stages (you can use the input buffer to clean the sound and prepare it for these) and a 4-band parametric EQ. You can download the plug-in for free, but its donationware status means you should make a financial contribution if you keep using it.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Sampled and synthesized sounds collide with a compressor

Titan free

Best Service Titan Free

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

The full version of Titan features sounds from 200 classic synths, but while this free edition offers just 12 sounds (bass, brass, organ, pad, percussion, synth and voice presets are included) it still contain more than 320MB of content. You can import a limited number of your own samples, too.

Church organ 2nd

Mainstream Audio Church Organ 2nd

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This second-generation instrument benefits from five organ oscillators, and these are said to deliver bigger and better sounds than the original version was capable of producing. If you like your organs more sacred than secular, take a look.

Density mkii

Variety Of Sound Density mkII

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An updated version of Variety Of Sound's bus compressor, this is designed to be used for stereo group mixing and summing purposes. Said to be unobtrusive yet also capable of imparting a touch of sonic colour (albeit subtly), Density mkII promises to blend the best features of outboard hardware with contemporary processing techniques.

Tromine/Tromine z

Marvin VST Tromine/Tromine Z

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of new drum synths for you to consider: Tromine Z takes inspiration from Roland's TR-909, while Tromine doffs its cap to the same company's TR-606. Both products are at version 1.0, while a third, the Trokow analogue percussion synth, is at v0.1.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Six instruments and effects

Synthopia 2

DSK Music Synthopia 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This second version of Synthopia has a triple-layer architecture, meaning that it's possible to stack up sounds or pipe each layer through a separate MIDI channel. There are 128 presets in five categories, while filters and LFOs are also part of the synth's makeup.

Nick crow lab tubedriver

Nick Crow Lab TubeDriver

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

No, it's not an London Underground train simulator, it's a tube amp plug-in. There's a pre-EQ, Bias, Drive and Volume controls, and also options to dial in noise, adjust the amount of parameter drift and flip the phase of the output signal.

Introjector lite

Homegrown Sounds Introjector Lite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Introjector is best thought of as a loop re-sequencer. The idea is that you load a loop, adapt it using the eight onboard sequencers and then export the results. The Lite version is limited in several respects (you can only load one WAV at a time and there are only two sequencers) but, as its presence here indicates, it has the advantage of being free.

Preampus week

AcmeBarGig Preampus Week

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

AcmeBarGig has been releasing one of its new hybrid amp plug-ins every day recently, with one more to come. As of now, you can download Dick Head, Meat Head, Knuckle Head and Brain 2 – the name of the final amp remains a mystery.

TAL-Reverb

Togu Audio Line TAL-Reverb

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

The latest plug-in to be added to the TAL line is an open-source plate reverb that promises to be easy to use and to produce a smooth sound. Togu claims that slightly modulated delay times should help to keep the reverb tail free of artefacts.

Anubis

b.serrano Anubis

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another free virtual analogue synth is released into the wild: this one has two oscillators, two LFOs, a multimode filter and a 7x7 modulation matrix. A selection of effects is also included, namely vibrato, tremolo, delay and chorus. CPU friendliness is another plus point.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Native Instruments Kontakt Player is free!

Kontakt player

Native Instruments Kontakt Player

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

We can't see many people turning their noses up at this one: it's a sample playback instrument based on Kontakt 3.5, so features much of that software's technology. It can load all current and previous Kontakt libraries, and to get you started, there's also the free Kontakt Factory Selection, which contains 50 instruments.

Light guitar

Russell Stoneback Light Guitar

Platform/format: Mac/AU Download

We didn't even know what the Light Guitar was, never mind that there's a software version, but it turns out that both the hardware and software come from the same stable. The real instrument turns light into sound (click here for an explanation) while the virtual edition emulates its behaviour in a plug-in.

Lion lion chorus

Sonic Lion Lion Chorus

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

LionChorus has been ripped from Sonic Lion's Nitrox synth, and is designed to offer classic chorus/flanging effects. To this end, it has four stages and a feedback line with high-pass filter. The plug-in is actually donationware, so put some money in the hat if you're going to keep using it.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A budget option for T-Pain wannabes and more


California sun

AuraPlug California Sun

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

You really are spoilt for choice if you want a free virtual guitar amp. This example is a combo affair that offers clean and dirty channels and is said to mimic a Mesa-style amp. If you had to pay for it, low CPU usage and an easy to use interface would also be selling points.

Robo voice

Wallofsound Robo voice

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Robotised vocal effects are all over the place at the moment; if you can't afford to shell out for a copy of Auto-Tune, this could be the way to get them on the cheap (for nothing, in fact). It's not the most editable plug-in we've ever seen, but we like that comic book-style GUI.

Mothman 1000

Justin Robert Mothman 1000

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you stacked all the free software synths in the world end to end then… well, they'd take up no space at all as they're not real. There are certainly lots of them, though, and Mothman 1000 is another to add to the pile. It's a 2-oscillator, 2-LFO beast that "also features an oscilloscope, just for fun".

WOK quatropolis

WOK Quatropolis

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It looks like a bank vault, but Quatropolis is actually a chorus effect. Its name alludes to the fact that it offers four delay lines, and the developer believes that it can deliver everything from soft modulations to deep detunings. The interface shouldn't cause you any grief, comprising just modulation amount and speed controls.

Harmony box

Dave Noise Harmony Box

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

OK, this is a bit different: a synth that 'knows' and will conform to the rules of modal jazz. The idea is that you press a key and listen as it automatically picks the correct chord (though you can specify the key and mode). Features include an alias-free oscillator, a self-oscillating filter, LFOs and envelopes.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Drum, guitar amp and synth plug-ins

DrumCore free

Submersible Music DrumCore Free

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU, RTAS Download

Following the recent release of DrumCore 3, Submersible Music has now issued a free edition of its drum instrument. This comes with loops, hits and MIDI files from a variety of top players, and although the library has been substantially reduced for this version (from around 16GB to around 1GB) it's still well worth a look.

Preampus brain

Whisper tube

AcmeBarGig Whisper Tube/Preampus Brain

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

AcmeBarGig's rack of virtual guitar gear continues to grow. Whisper Tube is a tube version of the clean Whisper amp (the clue's in the name) and is said to be suitable for "blues leads and crisp chords". Preampus Brain, meanwhile is based on several amps and promises to deliver quintessentially British tones ("from classic '60s crunch to the roar of a modded '70s stack").

EasyQ

rs-met EasyQ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

So you've made an EQ that's easy to use – what do you call it? EasyQ seems as good a title as any; the developer reckons that it's "easy on the CPU and just does what an EQ is supposed to do without performing any additional voodoo". The plug-in features an arbitrary number of filter stages in series connection, and each one can operate in one of several modes.

Kriminal omaha

Kriminal Omaha

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yamaha's CS-5 provided the inspiration for this virtual analogue synth; this was originally released in 1979 and is particularly suitable for bass and effects sounds. Omaha's specs don't throw up any big surprises, but if you still haven't found the single-oscillator synth that you're looking for, give it a try.

Spacedad shekrs

Spacedad Shekrs

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This garish curio contains loo-roll, yogurt pot and paper cup shakers. There are actually five shakers in total, and these are playable on five MIDI notes: C#2,D#2,F#2,G#2 and A#2. Speed, pitch and volume modulation controls are included, too, as are high-pass and low-pass filters and distortion, bitcrushing and panning effects.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A variety of synths, effects, and an organ plug-in

Iliadis efthimia organ

Iliadis Efthimia Organ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Iliadis has expanded its portfolio of organ plug-ins with the release of this Hammond clone. It comes with (among other things) tweakable drawbars, key click emulation, vibrato chorus effects and a 'vintage' style interface. 32 presets are supplied to get you started.

Kriminal felix

Kriminal Felix

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Released in 1981, Octave's Kitten was the synth that inspired Felix (geddit?). It sports a single VCO plus white noise generator, an LFO, two sub-oscillators and a 4-pole self-oscillating filter. The developer points out that that Kitten's greatest strength was its modulation capabilities, and these have been emulated, too.

Tekky synths collection

Tekky Synths collection

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Rather than drip-feed their new releases, Tekky Synths has chosen to drop all of them on us in one go. So, we've got v2.0 of the PsYbAsSyX Free bass synth; a new sample triggering device called TrIgGyX; and NuCLeoDoM Free, an instrument that's said to offer "sequencing, shaping, phasing and distorting".

Stereo jackie

Semerika Auto-Filter and Stereo Jackie

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Previously available for a handful of Euros each, these plug-ins can now be downloaded for nothing. Auto-Filter does what it says on the label, while the slightly less self-explanatory Stereo Jackie is a stereo delay multi-FX unit that's capable of flanging, phasing and chorus effects.

Alterex vinom

Alterex ViNOM

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The developer of the ViCON synth returns with another instrument. This one has dual VCO, LFO and a VCF with a 12/18/24 dB low-pass filter. Alterex hasn't attempted to describe its sound, so our best suggestion is simply to give it a try.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Three effects and an updated synth

Adonis 2

B.Serrano Adonis 2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The full version of Adonis is actually donationware (you can pay what you want) but a slightly restricted iteration can be yours for free. It's a hybrid synth that promises to be more powerful and efficient that its predecessor, yet won't put any more strain on your computer's CPU.

Osiris odelay

Osiris ODelay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This one's off to a good start with its name – it's so good that we're surprised it hasn't been used by someone before. When it comes to specs, it won't surprise you to learn that we're dealing with a delay plug-in here; it's a simple affair that also sports its own modulating auto-filter.

Rhythm lab twin delay

Rhythm Lab Twin Delay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another delay – this one doesn't emulate any hardware specifically, but specialises in analogue algorithms. It's particularly recommended to dub fans (and also dubstep and dubwise producers) as well as IDM, experimental and breaks aficionados.

The lower rhythm a-150

The Lower Rhythm A-150

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

We featured The Lower Rhythm's A-110 amp in week 8 of our free music software round-up, and this is a "new and much-improved version". It offers both dry and tube-simulated channels and sports a compressor, 9-band EQ and five-mode filter. You can run everything from guitars to synths, pianos and organs through it.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Synths, effects and a playable desk fan

KX-Synth

KX77FREE KX-Synth 2.0

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An updated version of the synth that's based on the classic EMS VCS3. We're in modular territory here, and version 2.0 adds six voices of polyphony, the KXMOD system for phat vintage leads and a CV and gate sequencer. These are the highlights, though several other tweaks have been made, too.

Swamp xt

H.G. Fortune Swamp XT

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

An evolution of the original Swamp synth, this XT version offers what the developer calls 'timbre modulation' – the two oscillators' waveforms are processed in a "unique way" to change the sound. As well as the free version, you can also purchase a 10-voice enhanced edition for €25.

Kriminal mozi

Kriminal Mozi

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The EDP Gnat hardware synth was released in 1980 – Mozi isn't a strict emulation, but it does take inspiration from it. It's a pretty simple affair, being a single oscillator, subtractive and monophonic beast, but if you want a break from the complexity of many of today's software instruments, click that link.

Krakli rmxl

Krakli RMXL

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Previously available exclusively as part of Computer Music magazine's CM Studio as RichmanCM, RMXL uses a hybrid of physical modelling and FM synthesis to produce its 'plucked and struck' tones. Sounds are generated from two independent sources, each of which can have its own settings.

Knobster mellofan

Knobster MelloFan

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

After its last release, Slitch, we thought that Knobster might have gone all serious on us, so it's good to see the developer back to its barking mad self. MelloFan enables you to make music by playing – you guessed it – a standard household fan: you can adjust the amount of rotation, an ADSR envelope and a low-pass filter.

Agares racka3 effect suite

Agares Media Agares RackA3 Effect Suite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed as "the basic effects toolkit that every musician needs", this six-strong bundle may not break the mould but it certainly covers plenty of useful bases. Plug-ins include triple delay, distortion, flanger, pitch shifter, reverb and chorus – if your current processors aren't cutting it, give 'em a try.

The lower rhythm blister

The Lower Rhythm Blister

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The developer reckons that Blister is a kind of nuclear option that should be used "when all other attempts at making something sound horrible have failed". It features tube-style gain, bit crushing and a synth that detects your signal frequency, and promises to "barf out a slew of noisy, atonal junk". Sounds wonderful to us.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Classic synths meet a NSFW effect

Cab enhancer

AcmeBarGig Cab Enhancer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

AcmeBarGig's roster of free plug-ins is growing rapidly (in fact, it says that'll be releasing a new product every week for the foreseeable future). Cab Enhancer is designed not just to emulate a speaker cabinet, but also to enhance an existing mic'd or IR cab.

Kriminal krolar sx-2

Kriminal Krolar SX-2

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Released this very day, Krolar SX-2 was inspired by Roland's late-'70s synth the SH-2. This being the case, it comes with a similar set of features, though it does also benefit from the addition of a polyphonic mode (the original was monophonic only).

ElektroStudio plug-ins

ElektroStudio plug-ins

ElektroStudio Plug-ins

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The ElektroStudio range contains several free instruments, including the eSLine virtual string machine, the Mellotron-inspired Tapeotronic, the Rhythmus beatbox (pictured above) and the DavoSynth. As well as running as VST plug-ins, you can also use them standalone.

Jeremy evers atlantis

Jeremy Evers Atlantis

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Atlantis is a currently-in-beta synth that also comes with a dedicated effects module that can be used to process other audio. It's now skinnable (the one in the pic was created by Limeflavour) and looks like it could have quite a bit of potential. Give it a try.

Morfiki granaliser

Morfiki grANALiser

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Described as a hybrid of a granulator and a delay, grANALiser promises the likes of chorus, pitchshifting and ring modulation. Even more intriguingly, we're told that it contains "explicit pixel animation that should only be viewed by adults". We should have guessed as much after seeing that name…

Xoxos acoustic/malt

Xoxos Acoustic/Malt

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A couple of new offerings from Xoxos: Malt (which is short for MIDI alt) uses an LFO to alternate between two MIDI channels; and Acoustic (pictured above) is described as a "simple acoustic body resonator model" (this is based on the resonator model from the company's Boing2 bowed synth).

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
An FL Studio synth, virtual acoustic guitar and Mellotron plug-ins

Meltron mkx

Artifake_Labs Meltron MKX

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

As its name suggests, Meltron MKX emulates the tape-based sounds of the Mellotron. Patches include three violins, an 8-voice choir, flute, brass and a string section. There are two layers (it's even possible to load SoundFonts for additional variations) plus a Tape noise knob and tape delay/spring reverb effects.

Autogun

Image Line Autogun

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Based on the Otus engine, Autogun is said to offer 4,294,967,296 (four billion two hundred ninety four million nine hundred sixty seven thousand two hundred ninety six) presets. This has been made possible by an artificial intelligence patch creation algorithm – you don't program this synth, you just find a preset and play.

Spicy guitar

Spicy Guitar

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Currently in beta, Spicy Guitar generates acoustic guitar tones in real-time. It's powered by physical modelling technology and is the product of a year's work by Benoit Rostykus & Pierre-Andre Savalle at the Ecole Centrale, Paris. You can choose your guitar/string type and plucking position, and there are Auto and Chords modes.

SynthWiz simple synth

Noise Sculpture SynthWiz Simple Synth

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

It's not exactly sophisticated, but if you want to start programming your own sounds, Simple Synth may be educational at least. Its release coincides with that of a book, Becoming a Synthesizer Wizard: From Presets to Power User, which should give you a grounding in how to use it, but the instrument can be downloaded by anyone.

TranceGate

AcmeBarGig TranceGate

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Described as "a tremolo on steroids", TranceGate comprises a block of adjustable vertical bars, each of which represents volume, meaning that the level of your audio can change rapidly over time. Other options include a sweeping filter (with five waveform options and six filter types) and a mono/stereo delay.

ReverberateLE

LiquidSonics ReverberateLE

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Convolution reverbs used to cost a fortune – now you can get them for free. This one is highly efficient and comes with a small number of Impulse Responses, but it's recommended that you download some of your own in order to maximise the plug-in's potential. If you like ReverberateLE, the author suggests that you make a donation to Cancer Research UK.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Audio slicing, EQing and signal saturation

TesslaPRO

Variety Of Sound TesslaPRO

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Described as a "transient-aware signal saturator", the creator of TesslaPRO believes that it has the potential to make mixes sound more focused but natural and relaxed, while giving them additional stereo width (in fact, he's written an article that explains what it's all about). It sports Bass, Drive, Boost and Transients controls.

Knobster slitch

Knobster Slitch

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

What's this – Knobster going 'serious'? It would seem so; the company that brought us the virtual typewriter and 'meow' synths has released this tool that splits up audio files and maps slices to notes on your MIDI keyboard. As such, it's said to be useful for percussion, glitch and scratch sounds.

Matthew lindsay ncl eq

Matthew Lindsay NCL EQ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Matt L describes this one as a "flexible high-quality 10-band parametric EQ for Windows", and there's nut much we can add to that (you can decide for yourself how 'flexible' and 'high-quality' it is). The sound is said to be clean and precise, and we're assured that digital artifacts are kept to a minimum.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Tube amp, clean amp and delay plug-ins plus a piano/polysynth

The lower rhythm b-400

The Lower Rhythm B-400

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

In terms of sonics, B-400 is said to fall somewhere between "an electronic piano and a basic polysynth". It sports three oscillators (each of which can choose from 32 waveforms), a leslie/vibrato style flutter engine output, a clean out and a tube simulator with 3-band EQ.

Voxengo tube amp 2.0

Voxengo Tube Amp 2.0

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

Just updated to version 2.0. Tube Amp's sound is said to vary from "a mild warm overdrive to a fuzzy distortion". It also sports a -6dB/oct low-pass filter and supports multi-channel processing. We should also tell you that Voxengo has updated another of its free plug-ins, MSED, to v2.1.

Aftershock digital delay

AcmeBarGig Aftershock Digital Delay

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Offering three independent delays (left, right and centre), Aftershock enables you to choose from Tap, Host tempo and standard delay options. It can hold a delay up for to six seconds at 44.1kHz, and there are separate Feedback and volume controls for each one.

AcmeBarGig tribe clean amp

AcmeBarGig Tribe Clean Amp

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

AcmeBarGig has certainly been busy this week, as it's also released this Impulse Response-powered amp plug-in (you can load up the IRs of your choice). Promising clean tones and said to be "a blank canvas to experiment with", and comes with a selection of IRs to get you started.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Instruments for producing synth, organ and decidedly 'out there' sounds

Ohm force cohmpost

Ohm Force Cohmpost

Platform/format: PC, Mac/VST, AU Download

A typically nutty freebie from the chaps at Ohm Force, Cohmpost has a GUI that looks like it was designed on the back of a napkin. We'll leave you to work out what it does, but with an interface that features such labels as British beef, Lorry drivers and Les onions, you'll gather that it's not the most serious of production tools.

The lower rhythm equivibe

The Lower Rhythm Equivibe

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you're looking for an effect that will make your electric pianos, strings and pads shimmer, this could be it. It marries EQ and vibrato – first the input is split into nine bands, then each band is individually modulated by its own dedicated oscillator, which is then modulated by a further oscillator.

Tekky synths crazyx

Tekky Synths CrAzYx

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Operating as a VSTi or standalone, this non-standard tool is designed, predictably enough, to make your audio sound a little 'crazy'. It features a sample player, four FX and three random buttons. If your music is sounding a little too conventional, give it a spin.

RedShift pickup replacer

AcmeBarGig RedShift Pickup Replacer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is an interesting one – a plug-in that promises to simulate loads of different types of pickup, giving you lots of tonal versatility from just one guitar. That's not the end of the story, though, as Pickup Replacer can also change the body material of your guitar. You can choose from a variety of woods, pyrex, granite and, slightly disturbingly, human tissue.

ViCON

Alterex ViCON (Modified)

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Our very first free music software round-up featured a synth called ViCON, and now developer Alterex has released a modified version. This adds various features to the spec sheet, including cross-modulation, pulse width modulation and distortion/bitcrusher effects. Oh, and there also seem to be some new smiley faces on the GUI.

Iliadis efthimiasm organ

Iliadis EfthimiaSM Organ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

EfthimiaSM models a "Single Manual Hammond Clone Organ". It features nine drawbars and Percussion, Key Click and Vibrato/Chorus sections. Iliadis has also announced that its VH-2 organ plug-in is now free, too

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A touchscreen instrument, virtual beatboxer, reverb and a a physical-modelling synth

Mo'Verb

Rhythm Lab Mo'Verb

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If there's one type of effect you almost certainly have in your arsenal already, it's reverb, but if you're on the lookout for another, try Rhythm Lab's. It features spring and digital reverbs, and its developers boast that it has a sound that's smooth and clear. More than 30 presets are included to show it off.

Knobster beatvox

Knobster BeatVox

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If it wasn't for Knobster, this round-up would be all the duller. The company's latest plug-in oddity is BeatVox, a new instrument that "replicates percussion sounds performed by the human voice". There are also two 'voice' chromatic sets based on the phonemes 'too' and 'poo'. You gotta love 'em.

SuperSynthFX

Denis Eismann SuperSynthFX

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

SuperSynthFX is a freeware soft synth and sample player that has its own effects. Nothing unusual about that, but you should also know that it's designed specifically for use with touch panel and tablet PCs (the user interface is optimised for control with a finger or pen). Kind fellow that he is, Denis Eismann even shows you how to build an affordable touch panel PC on his website.

reFuse software polarizer

reFuse Software Polarizer

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

OK, it's not very exciting, but it does work on the Mac so we've included it. Polarizer does one very simple job: flips the signal polarity of the channel that it's placed on. reFuse points out that many DAW mixers don't have this functionality built in, which is why we're being offered this.

NUSofting modelonia player

NUSofting Modelonia Player

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Modelonia is a physical-modelling synth that can emulate plucked string and trumpet sounds – this free version enables you to load up its presets but only gives you a few controls to play with. There are mix and morph faders that enable you to blend the output of the two resonators and balance the cross-modulation between them, and also rate knobs for LFOs 1 and 2.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Amp sim, distortion pedal, loop generator and a 'chewing' synth

Black magic lite

Homegrown Sounds Black Magic Lite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

This is the cutdown version of the full Black Magic, but contains many of this loop generating plug-in's main features. It can randomize and save out looped WAV files and features 10 samplers, 128 preset samples, an FX section, a 10-part 32-step sequencer, a mixer, a 1-bar recorder and more.

Xoxos stoq

Xoxos Stoq

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Physical modelling can be used to create a wide range of sounds; in the case of Stoq, it's been employed to emulate "continuous shaker and rattle timbres". This means you get tambourine, brushed snare and jingle bell presets, plus non-instrumental patches such as footsteps and chewing.

A-110 amplifier

The Lower Rhythm A-110 Amplifier

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Looking to give your sounds a little more grit? This tube amp simulator could be the answer. Freshly updated to v1.5, it comes with a 3-band EQ, compressor, low-pass filter and secondary tube channel with four amp models. It was principally designed for use on drums, but its creator also recommends it for pianos, synths and guitars.

Nick crow 8505 lead

Nick Crow 8505 Lead

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Featured in week 7 of our free music software round-up, Nick Crow returns with another tube guitar amp. Like the 7170 model, this features a pretty standard set of controls, but has a much nicer GUI. For best results, the developer recommends that you use 8505 lead in conjunction with a guitar cab emulator.

Red skull distortion

Auraplug Red Skull Distortion

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Having previously updated its Fuzz-Stone Distortion pedals, Auraplug has now turned its attention to the Red Skull model. Version 2.0 of this high-gain pedal is designed to deliver chunky metal tones and comes with a redesigned interface, improved voice management, bug/compatibility fixes and shorter loading times.

One pitchchange

One PitchChange

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A curious little effect, this. As its name suggests, it enables you to adjust the pitch of your audio – by plus or minus 50%. This is done with a single slider, and there are also faders to adjust the gain and apply a phasing effect. One says that its next effect will feature the same pitch scaling algorithm but also add timestretching functionality.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
5 instruments and effects including a German typewriter

Knobster keywriter

Knobster Keywriter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Knobster has plenty of previous form when it comes to 'zany' plug-ins – consider the Meowsynth and the Plastic Piano as evidence – and the company's latest release continues the quirky theme. It emulates a German typewriter so, while not exactly tuneful, could do the business if you want to create non-standard-sounding rhythms or special effects.

TAL-Elek7ro

Togu Audio Line TAL-Elek7ro

Platform/format: PC/Mac VST/Audio Units Download

OK, it's another virtual analogue synth, but before you tune out, bear in mind that this one comes from Togu Audio Line, the company responsible for the rather excellent TAL-BassLine. Togu reckons that the TAL-Elek7ro is its most powerful synth yet – it's said to be suitable for everything from percussion to deep bass sounds – so it's got to be worth a few moments of your time.

D2 compressor

De La Mancha D2 Compressor

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

De La Mancha has a couple of commercial compressors in the shape of sidearm and bathtub, and the D2 is said to feature the same algorithms. This freeware offering keeps the interface simple, though - there are just a few standard controls, so you'll be able to dial in your favourites settings and start using it right away.

Nick crow 7170 lead

Nick Crow 7170 Lead

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yet another guitar amp sim has landed on planet plug-in, but because it's free, you've got no reason not to at least try it. The 7170 Lead emulates a tube model and comes with just Drive, Low, Mid, Sweep, High, Pow Amp and Output controls, so guitarists coming from hardware will be in their element.

Fuzz-Stone

AuraPlug Fuzz-Stone/Fuzz-Stone[Ge]

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

More gratis guitar goodness – both Fuzz-Stone and Fuzz-Stone[Ge] are now at version 2.0. These updated distortion pedals feature new user interfaces and voice management systems, while compatibility with certain hosts has been improved and there's now lower CPU usage but better performance. Sounds like a good deal to us.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
7 plug-ins including the Plastic Piano

Cantabile lite

Topten Software Cantabile Lite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed specifically for live performers, Cantabile is a VST plug-in host that's just been updated to version 2.0, and there's now this free version to try, too. As you'd expect, it's pretty feature-light in comparison to the full product, but it does offer two racks (each of which can host two plug-ins) and audio/MIDI recorders.

Pluggotic necroloop

Pluggotic Necroloop

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you're a fan of glitchy drums, you'll want to check out this new slicing effect. It offers eight step sequencers that enable you to control the start/end points of slices and to apply one of the three available effects (filter, modulator and bitcrusher). The likes of fills, glitches, bleeps, drills, rolls, repeats, stutters and turntable-style modulations are all said to be possible.

Knobster plastic piano

Knobster Plastic Piano

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Coming from the same stable as the Meowsynth, this instrument's designed to emulate the sound of a cheap and cheerful toy piano. It features a couple of oscillators (each of which has a low-pass filter), an ADSR envelope and the curious Magic button. Oh, and we're told that 150 grams of Plasticine was used in the synth's production, which probably isn't strictly true.

AZ audio stempel

AZ Audio Stempel

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Extreme vocal processing is all the rage right now, so we imagine there'll be a queue of people lining up to download this free spectral vocoder. Offering linear frequency shifters on the carrier and modulator inputs, it also sports an EQ plus saturator and chorus effects. Vocoding rookies will be pleased to note that a PDF manual and a selection of presets come supplied, too.

DSK choirz

DSK ChoirZ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Currently in beta, this austere looking instrument is designed for the production of choir and pad sounds. To this end, it features three layers, each with ADSR, fine-tuning and pad controls, three filters and three LFOs. Additional lushness can be added with the reverb and chorus effects.

460

Terry West Productions Easy-NY

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Parallel compression - or New York compression, as it's also known - is a technique that involves mixing two identical signals: one dry or just slightly compressed, and one heavily compressed. Easy-NY gives you this functionality in a dedicated plug-in, and also comes with a special Motown EQ effect.

Knobster organaut

Knobster Organaut

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The Knobster programmers have been busy: as well as the Plastic Piano, the company has also released the Organaut tonewheel organ emulation. There are nine drawbars, a rotary cabinet, adjustable keyclick, and a built-in reverb. What's more, there are both digital and analogue modes, which should equate to a reasonably wide sound palette.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
A synth, effects and an audio/MIDI recording app

MultiTrack studio lite

Bremmers Audio Design MultiTrack Studio Lite

Platform: PCDownload

A small v5.12 update gives us the opportunity to point you in the direction of the free version of this Windows audio/MIDI recording app. On the downside, it only enables you to use three tracks, but this should be enough if you simply need a songwriting scratchpad, and you can always upgrade to the Pro ($69) or Pro Plus ($119) version if you dig the workflow.

UpStereo

QuickQuak UpStereo

Platform/format: PC and Mac/VST and AUDownload

A beta of version 2.0 of this freeware stereo enhancer is now available. A single slider enables you to adjust the stereo width (from mono to wide), while Air and Bass boosters promise to let the audio 'breath'. Click the Loud button, meanwhile, and you'll activate a saturator that will give your mix a boost.

LaborOsc

NekroBat LaborOsc

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Yep, it's another freeware synth. This one has three oscillators that can pick from five waveforms, a LP/HP/BP/RB filter, an AHDSR filter envelope, two LFOs and a couple of effects. There are eight voices of polyphony to play with and 20 presets, though you'll find slots for up to 200.

MeldaProduction free plug-ins

MeldaProduction free plug-ins

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

An across-the-board update for Melda's range of free effects – the GUIs have been improved, and there are specific fixes for individual plug-ins. While you're at the company website, we strongly advise you to check out MDrummer Small, too, a rather impressive free drum tool.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Featuring a plug-in pussy cat

MeowSynth

Knobster MeowSynth

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

Preposterously, this synth really is designed to produce cat-like meow sounds. It's based on a single oscillator with auto-filter and offers mono- and polyphonic modes. Other features include velocity-sensitivity, an internal chorus and tempo-sync'd vibrato with controller attack. We get the 'feline' you'll want to try this (sorry).

TAL-USEq

Togu Audio Line TAL-USEq

Platform/format: PC and Mac/VST and AUDownload

Modelled on some unspecified tilt EQs from the 1970s, this simple plug-in promises to enable you to make EQ tweaks to your audio without changing its character (or, to put it another way, you can make it your music sound darker or lighter using just the one knob). You can also give frequencies below 300Hz some special treatment with the Bass Lift knob.

ProjectX1

JC Productionz ProjectX1

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

Said to be suitable for urban sounds, this hybrid bass synth features elements of subtractive, FM and phase distortion synthesis. It's fundamentally monophonic, though there's a pseudo stereo mode, too. Specs include two filters, two ADSRs, a mod envelope and a pair of modulation matrixes.

Adonis pro

B.Serrano Adonis Pro

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

Previously available as donationware, this hybrid VA/AM/FM synth has now been reclassified as a free instrument. 256 presets are included to get you started, and extra polyphony can be added on the fly as you need it (you can use up to 32 voices). Click here for detailed specs.

TT dynamic range meter

Pleasurize Music Foundation TT Dynamic Range Meter

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

The Pleasurize Music Foundation has been set up in opposition to the so called loudness war – its laudable aim is to improve the sound quality of the music we listen to. The open-source Dynamic Range Meter has been released so that producers can make their music sound altogether more musical – click here to find out more. A Mac version should be available soon.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
The Erectifier, Graphic EQ and a Jazz Piano

Erectifier

Rusty Trombone Erectifier

Platform/format: PC and Mac/VSTDownload

The Rusty Trombone Erectifier – that name alone should be enough to make you want to download this doubler/phaser/exciter plug-in, and the charmingly homemade-looking interface will draw you in further. Developed by Shuriken, it's designed for widening and phattening your sound, but it can also be misused in other ways.

Graphic eq

Evopax D1-A Graphic EQ

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

The big idea behind this graphic EQ is that it sounds distinctly analogue but, because of its 'multi-dimensional buffers' (values used in the plug-in are pre-calculated), it shouldn't put too much strain on your CPU. Version 1.1 is now available, and enables you to select three different types of filter mode – one for each resonance level.

Freeverb3

Freeverb3

Platform/format: PC/VSTDownload

This open source Impulse Response processor has just been updated to version 2.0.7. Several bugs have been fixed, and stability in zero-latency mode has been improved. Give it a spin.

Joe real jazz piano

Joe Real Jazz Piano

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Chances are that you already have an acoustic piano in your sonic armoury, but if you don't – or if you're unhappy with the one you've got – you can try Joe Real's offering. It's described as "warm with good bass and treble", though the developer does warn that you "need to have plenty of memory".

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
An updated audio/MIDI recording app and three plug-ins

MU.LAB

MUTOOLS MU.LAB Free v2.5.4

Platform: PC and MacDownload

Just updated to version 2.5.4, this is a simple recording app that should make it easy to record your music. Featuring MIDI and audio support, it can also run VST plug-ins and act as a ReWire Master. Hell, you can even boot it from a USB memory stick if you want. This tweak adds an Event Monitor plug-in and fixes various bugs.

MultiInspectorFree

VertexDSP MultiInspectorFree v1.2

Platform/format: PC and Mac/VST and AUDownload

Now compatible with FXpansion's VST-RTAS Adapter and featuring improved window handling in the AU version, this is a 31-band spectral analyser that's designed to be used in a multitrack environment. In other words, it offers spectral analysis of several audio signals simultaneously.

Trigger fx

AZ Audio Ultra Trigger FX

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

All versions of this multi-effects plug-in (including the Pro edition) are now available as freeware. It's designed specifically for live/real-time audio work and, to this end, has various 'triggering' options. Specifically, you can make FX selections and adjust mix values from your MIDI keyboard or other control surface.

MIDI scripter

AZ Audio Super MIDI Scripter

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Another horse from the AZ Audio stable, this MIDI processing tool is available in both plug-in and standalone versions. Described as 'a relay between the host and the instrument', it's not exactly pick-up-and-play software, but power MIDI users should swing by the AZ website and give it the once over.

Free music software: the best audio app and plug-in downloads on the net
Organ, monophonic synth, distortion and EQ plug-ins

Alterex vicon

Alterex ViCON

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Inspired by (but not a copy of) Technosaurus's Microcon hardware synth, ViCON is a simple monophonic synthesizer. It's not exactly bursting with features, but if your brain's been fried by some of the more complex commercial plug-in instruments on the market, this could be a blessing.

Virtual drawbar organ

Iliadis VH-1 - Virtual Drawbar Organ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

A drawbar organ is a must for every plug-in rack, and Iliadis has a new one in the shape of the VH-1. This is 64-note polyphonic, and comes with nine adjustable drawbars and two percussion oscillators. Effects include a chorus vibrato, overdrive and key click.

Budde 2-band distortion

Christian Budde 2-Band Distortion

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Comprising "a crossover frequency splitter followed by a distorting waveshaper in each band", this is a plug-in that promises to deliver smooth harmonic distortion (low and high frequencies can be processed separately). It's open-source, so you can even modify the code if you're that way inclined.

BootEQ mkii

Variety Of Sound BootEQ mkII

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

As well as offering a 4-band parametric EQ (this is said to sound 'musical' and be suitable for mixing purposes), this also contains a signal-modelled preamp simulation. Oh, and there's an analogue-style VU meter, too, which is always good news in our book.

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