Download This Awesome Free Sample Pack

Samples From Mars are currently giving away a bunch of “gritty drums and dusty synths from the classic 90s sampler”.

Samples From Mars are a site dedicated to bringing you high quality samples from unique and vintage gear that you otherwise might not have access to. With loads of sample packs for a wide range of drums and a load of classic synths starting at $14 Samples From Mars are now giving away a great sounding and meticulously crafted pack for free.

Here’s what they say about the free pack:

The SP-1200 is a warm and gritty 12bit sampler developed in 1987, best known for it’s huge contributions to golden age hip hop, classic house and French house. At 26.04 kHz sample rate (roughly half of a CD – if you remember those?), the “vinyl like” sound people describe is a combination of digital aliasing and distortion passed through a warm analog filter (The SSM2044 found in many synths, like the Polysix.

The sequencer is as tight as it gets, and doubling the tempo and swinging 16th notes gives you an unbeatable 90s house and hip hop shuffle. There are far too many notable users to list, but some of our favourites are – RZA / Wu Tang, Outkast, De La Soul, Mobb Deep, Moodyman, Daft Punk (who toured with it in the 90s), Alan Braxe, and Fred Falke.

Our SP has been around SFM headquarters for as long as we’ve existed, and it was only a matter of time before we got around to sampling this beast! The first thing we captured was the factory drums “Standard Traps” disk. Far from what you’d describe as a “trap kit” today, these drums are a pseudo-acoustic, Linn-esc 80s disco kit and they sound so fresh! We reached for an API preamp for its sharp and classic transient response, recording directly to tape (multi-sampling every hit with 16 SP tunings) and no additional processing was necessary.

We also spent weeks creating custom drum sounds – incorporating drum machines such as the 606, 707, 808, 909, DX, vinyl drums (sometimes pitching up the record to 45rpm and tuning it down in the SP), and more – multi-sampling all hits at different tunings. Leaving some things dry, and massively processing others with compressors, filters, synths, and saturators, we sampled different outputs of the machine. All recorded to tape.

And finally, we sampled some synths (Juno 60, Polysix, DX-100) because the SP creates gnarly overtones for bass and magical fairy dust on house chords. The DX and SP especially liked each other. With only 10 seconds of overall sample time, and just 2.5 seconds maximum sample time per pad, we recorded different notes for each synth patch, tuned them every which way, ran it through our super warm Rupert-Neve designed ISA 430 Mk2, occasionally hitting tape, and into the computer, where we mapped, looped, and put finishing touches on the patches. This was a laborious (torturous?) process to say the least, but well worth it!

After sifting through SP synth patches and custom drums for weeks, we narrowed down all of the patches, only keeping the best sounds. With the free version, you’ll get a small taste of this amazing machine – if you like the sounds, be sure to check out the complete release.

You can download the free sample pack here or take a listen to a taster of the pack below:

SympleSound Offers Unique Packs For Ableton Studio

With the plethora of sound packs out there with everything from VST instruments and plugins to samples and loops, deciding on what to buy can be hard. SympleSound aims to make the choice easier for Ableton users with their incredible, tailored selection of packs.

To start with SympleSounds packs have been designed specifically for Ableton so, whilst you could use elements of the pack elsewhere, you’re getting the packs true worth when used with Ableton thanks to full Push support and extensive use of clips. From the efforts of sound design veteran, Francis Prève who has worked with Roland, Ableton, Auxy, Korg and likely more these packs have been meticulously crafted for music creators in Ableton.

So lets get to what makes these packs special. Each pack in the ‘Analog Collection’ features distinctive classic synthesizers, even some legendary models that are no longer available like the Moog Little Phatty and the Roland SH-101. As they say on their website: “All of the synths in the collection have been faithfully multi sampled over a five-octave range at 24-bit resolution, so whether the sound is a classic bass patch or a retro lead, every instrument covers vast sonic territory across the entire keyboard.” A lot of the synth’s have even been converted into polyphonic virtual instruments, whereas many were monophonic originally, so you can create chords like never before with classic synths.

Each of the 4 detailed analog instruments included in a pack is joined by 48 synth presets (24 of which feature integrated effects), 4 versatile effects racks, 24 effects presets and 20 royalty-free MIDI loops. Additionally the Analog Collection makes great use of Ableton’s MIDI clip envelopes so you can easily try sounds before committing to adding one.

Now the really neat bit is how well each instrument works with Push thanks to Prève’s designs. With some very quick and easy adjustments you can take control of and transform the instruments in each pack. The example given by SympleSound has you taking a lead sound and shortening its Decay-Sustain parameter to instantly create a percussive sound. With loads of effects, options and customisability you can create with true freedom.

There are 5 packs available in the Analog Collection for $14.99 each from www.symplesound.com/shop. You can also get a free loop pack from the shop for a taster.

Get a sample of the sounds from SympleSound’s SoundCloud:

DRC – Free Synth For Your Smartphone and Computer

Tech startup Imaginando have brought us DRC, a free virtual synth full of features for iOS, Android and PC/Mac.

The creative minds at Imaginando have created DRC, a multi-platform synth that has designed to be intuitive across all devices. The easy to use, analogue-modelling polysynth is available for free on Android and iOS devices as well as as a VST plugin for PC and Macs.

DRC offers a high quality synth with loads of features, including up to eight voices with two oscillators, one sub-oscillator, and one noise source per voice. It features an accessible interface designed to make it easy for beginners whilst it’s impressive set of features and cross-platform compatibility make it an appealing addition to any musical veterans’ instrument library. With Cloud Preset Syncing you can even store your presets you create with the synth and access them on any other platform.

Here are the DRC’s great features:

  • Up to 8 voices
  • Two main oscillators, one sub-oscillator and one noise source
  • Detune, sync and ring modulation
  • 4 pole self resonant low pass Ladder Filter
  • 2 pole multimode filter (LP, HP, BD, NOTCH)
  • 2 LFO’s and 2 analog modeled envelope generators
  • Stereo tape delay with time modulation
  • Lush stereo reverb with modulation and self growing decay
  • True stereo, analog modeled multi mode chorus
  • Arpeggiator with 4 modes, tempo sync and hold function

 

Get DRC for free now from here: www.imaginando.pt/products/drc

Find Your Top Spotify Tracks With Smarter Playlists

The man behind music tech blog Music Machinery has created a tool with Smarter Playlists that shows your top tracks on Spotify.

Using Spotify’s Smarter Playlists Paul Lamere of Music Machinery has developed a program to show you your top tracks. Using the assembled components you can create playlists showing your most played tracks in the last month, half year and over the last several years.

Spotify’s Smarter Playlists is a web app that lets users develop components to create playlists and import other users’ programs. Using simple components you can build complex programs and create unique playlists based on thousands of possible arrangements. Sourcing from artists, albums, genres, pre-programmed playlists you can develop hundreds of different playlists based on your listening, overall listening and much more, with the option to even set them to update regularly if your playlist will be different over time.

You can go to Smarter Playlists yourself and experiment creating playlist systems or go here and import Paul Lamere’s ‘My Top Tracks’ playlist creator into your profile.

Free Download Of Excellent EDM Virtual Synthesizer

The always brilliant music software devs at Acoustica have released their new EDM optimised “showstopper VST instrument” for free.


Nightlife is a fun and inspiring virtual synthesizer instrument, packed with bone rattling basses, otherworldly pads, beat-synced arpeggiated patterns and tons more, making it the ideal choice for modern dance, EDM, or trance styles. And with three oscillators, five built-in mod sequencers, dual filters with fifteen filter types plus a vowel filter, four LFOs, flexible mod matrix, a bit crusher, and five killer effects, Nightlife is a programmable powerhouse. For users who just want to rock the house without a lot of pushing the mouse, Nightlife includes a ton of edgy, evocative preset patches.
Features:
  • Sequencers: Create captivating patterns with five independent, beat synced sequencers, each with up to 32 steps. Routable to filters, pitch, amplitude and more.
  • Oscillators: Three feature-packed oscillators including sync, ring mod, and FM. Choose from dozens of included waveforms, or draw custom waves with the mouse.
  • Filters: Dual-filter architecture with selectable oscillator input routing. Choose from fifteen filter types, including classic 24 db/oct lowpass, bandpass, highpass, and more.
  • Vowel Filter: Nightlife’s Vowel Filter lets you create unique vocal-like timbres with an easy and fun “bouncing ball” graphic interface.
  • Mod Matrix: Quickly configure up to ten individual mod routings with Nightlife’s flexible modulation matrix. Choose from nine mod sources and 36 destinations.

 

Nightlife is available on Windows computers now, for free from here: acdc.acoustica.com/nightlife.

This iOS Mixer Acts As a Hub For All Your Recording Connections

Kymatica’s AUM is a new app that works as a flexible audio mixer, recorder, and connection hub in your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Connect your various music-making apps, inputs, outputs, AU extensions and more all in your iOS device with AUM. Streamlining all the elements of your recording process is important and as recording on mobile devices becomes more and more advanced AUM has launched to help you collate your connections and interfaces.

Using AUM you can route your connections to and from all of your mix-busses, effect sends, audiobus ports, and external multi-channel audio interfaces. Easily view all of your sources and mix them, select specific channels to record to and from, and save it all into the storage space of AudioShare so you don’t need to copy files.

Using Ableton Link you can synchronize your recordings and playback from other apps and devices with Ableton Live and Link-enabled iOS apps. The app also features built-in processing nodes to accurately process stereo inputs and playback, Mid/Side balance and conversion, EQs and filters, limiting, clipping and saturation or if you prefer use any Audio Unit extension or Inter-App Audio effect.

Here are all of the things the impressive AUM app features:

FEATURES
• High quality audio up to 32-bit 96kHz
• Clean and intuitive user interface with crisp vector graphics
• Extremely compact and optimized code, very small app size
• Unlimited number of channels
• Unlimited number of effect slots
• Inserts and sends are configurable pre/post-fader
• Internal busses for mixing or effect sends
• Supports multi-channel audio interfaces
• Supports Audio Unit extensions, Inter-App Audio and Audiobus
• Audiobus state saving
• Highly accurate transport clock
• Metronome and optional pre-roll
• Sends host sync to Audio Unit plugins and IAA apps
• Play in time with Ableton Link
• FilePlayer with sync and looping, access to all AudioShare files
• Records straight into AudioShare storage space
• Built-in nodes for stereo processing, filtering and dynamics
• Latency compensation makes everything align at the outputs
• Separate Inter-App Audio / Audiobus output ports
• Built-in MIDI keyboard
• Fully MIDI controllable
• MIDI Matrix for routing MIDI anywhere

BUILT-IN SIGNAL PROCESSING
• Stereo balance
• Stereo to mono
• Stereo panning
• Mid/Side balance
• Mid/Side – Stereo convert
• Invert Phase
• Parametric EQ
• Low-shelf filter
• High-shelf filter
• Low-pass resonant filter
• High-pass resonant filter
• Gain
• Hard clip
• Saturation
• Lookahead peak limiter


AUM is available now on iOS devices with version 8.0 or later. It is $9.99/£7.99 from the Apple App Store.

Compose Music By Hand With The Gorgeous StaffPad App

Write music using the Microsoft Surface’s advanced pen in the most intuitive music notation app available – StaffPad.

StaffPad brings handwritten music notation to the 21st century, without a mouse you can arrange your scores digitally yet traditionally. Using StaffPad on the Microsoft Surface (and compatible Windows 10 devices) you can handwrite your music and convert it into “a beautifully typeset score”.

StaffPad converts your scribbles into notations that you can edit, share, print and even play back using a uniquely designed sampler featuring the sounds of the Boston Pops orchestra and other world class musicians. The application is built for professionals and it’s clear with the intimacy and depth of notation features, but for newbies there’s a bunch of interactive training and tutorials included.

Last Autumn a smart ‘Composer Assistant’ was added in an a free update that intelligently responds to your voice. Ask the assistant to set up a new score, add specific instruments, change key and time signatures and much more. This is just the start of what is capable with StaffPad for Microsoft devices, see what it can really do in the video below.

StaffPad is available now for $69.99/£54.09 from the Microsoft Store.

Steinberg’s Cubasis, New Update As Version 2.0 Approaches

Steinberg have updated the iPad variant of their popular Cubase DAW adding Bluetooth MIDI and Audio Unit compatibility.

Steinberg’s mobile DAW Cubasis has been updated to 1.9.8  and brings with it some nice little features that should tide you over until the long awaited version 2.0 arrives. New with this update is support for MIDI over Bluetooth LE so that you can record into your iPad wirelessly and smoothly.

The second big new feature is support for Audio Units (AU) which allows instruments and effects in that format to work within Cubasis. The MicroSonic workstation that comes included features 28 new instruments to work with for a range of new sounds. The effects have also been made to be easier to control. Also included in the new update is the option to store files on the iCloud, hard drives or wireless flash drives.

Cubasis is available for iPad now at a discounted price until the 1st March for $24.99/£18.99. Usual price is $49.99/£39.99.

Arturia’s Excellent New iOS Drum Machine iSpark

Arturia bring their Spark drum machine software to iPads with their new iSpark app.

There’s no shortage of drum machines available on the Apple App Store. What there is a shortage of is drum machines that provide a good quality, optimised experience that is both well designed and capable of variety. That’s why Arturia‘s iSpark for iPad is a welcome addition to any music creators arsenal.

With iSpark you can play drum patterns in real time from a choice of over 600 instruments and 40 kits based on drum machines, electronic kits and acoustic kits. Tweak your sound on the fly with a variety of effects and master effects on each of the 16 available tracks.

Here’s a list of all the main features:

  • Pristine quality sound engines including: TAE® analog synthesis, physical modeling, and multi-layered samples provided by our top-tier development partners
  • 640 Instruments / 40 kits -Classic drum machines/ Electronic kits/ Acoustic kits
  • Shuffle and shift modes to humanize grooves
  • Choke groups to mute instruments naturally
  • Song mode with 16 segments
  • Song segment triggering from hardware
  • Performance master effects: repeat, tape, reverse, strobe, pan, mix, bit crusher, 8-mode filter and Roller
  • 16-track mixer with high-quality effects: multiband compressor, bit crusher, multiband EQ, chorus, delay, reverb, distortion, phaser, plate reverb, destroyer, flanger, space pan, limiter, sub generator
  • Real-time automation on all parameters
  • Compatible with SparkLE controller
  • Ableton Link integration
  • Possibility to share projects, kits and instruments between iSpark and the desktop version of Spark 2.

Don’t just take it’s impressive features’ word though, DJ and Producer Tom Demac praised it saying: “Having a lot of fun with iSpark jamming out ideas away from the studio. Very easy to get started with but you can go in deep with automation, love that you can hook the iPad up to the actual SparkLE hardware until Recommended.”

The iSpark app is ‘Inter-App Audio’ compatible meaning you can use it in your iOS DAWs with easy integration. There are also packs featuring five projects, 80 instruments and 160 patterns available for in-app purchase for $3.99/£2.99 each.

iSpark is available from the Apple App Store right now at a 50% off launch price of $9.99/$7.99. After 3 weeks the price will rise to $19.99/£15.99.

Find out more here: www.arturia.com/products/ipad-synths/ispark

Get Daily Spotify Playlists With New Mobile App

‘Playlist a Day’ a new application for iOS and Android sends you a new themed playlist for Spotify every day.

Powered by Playlists.net, a Spotify community and playlist sharing site by Warner Music Group, the app hand-picks a new playlist each day from it’s library of 175,000 human curated, themed playlists they have amassed over the last five years.

Upon downloading the app you will be presented with a new playlist via push notification daily. Click on it and you’ll be taken to the playlist in the Playlist a Day app with a unique art work and description. You will however need to be a subscribed with a Spotify Premium account to use the app.

Playlists.net founder Kieron Donghue said to Tech Crunch: “The idea came about as an extension of the reason why I set up Playlists.net some 5 years ago or so. Namely that I think there is so much choice out there when it comes to what to listen to that it becomes a challenge to find something new and interesting. Algorithms solve this problem partly but I still say you can’t beat human curation.”

That’s a point some may disagree with, partly with respect to Spotify’s lauded Discover Weekly feature which generates a 30 song playlist each week based on your listening history and habits. It really comes down to personal preference over whether you prefer playlists created by a person, who can pinpoint niches, or by algorithms that translate music data into playlists. Both are available in various incarnations across music streaming services.

Whatever your opinion on human created playlists the Playlist a Day app is free to download and try for iOS and Android now. It’s worth a try.