Top 5 Free VST Plugins

Here are the Top 5 Free VST Plugins that you can currently download. I know they aren’t going to be to everyone’s style or taste, but they are free.

1. Sweetcase

Sweetcase is a great sample-based electric piano VST plugin.

Download Sweetcase Free

2. Orion Sound Module

Orion Sound Module is a Royalty free loops and samples at your pleasure!

Download Orion Sound Module Free

3. Acoustica Nightlife

Acoustic Nightlife is for windows users and EDM, dance and trance makers, this synth is the one for you!

Download Acoustica Nightlife Free

4. Grooove BPB

Download Grooove BPB Free

Grooove BPB is one of the best free drum samplers around.

5. Synister

Synister is described as an easy to use and flexible synthesizer.

Download Synister Free

Essential tips for building a music studio at home

Now more than ever producers, musicians, and mixers may be looking at building a studio at home – but there are some important things you should bear in mind when you’re getting started making the perfect recording spot.

We recently spoke to Redfin about the must-know advice for people setting up their own music studio at home. Along with many other great musical voices, our tips were combined into a brilliant piece on what to consider when setting up a home studio which you should read here: www.redfin.com/blog/ultimate-home-music-studio.

In the process of speaking to the RouteNote Sessions team who have plenty of experience in building their own music studios at home, in a vehicle – true story – and our very own recording studios at the RouteNote office they gave me so much good advice that I thought it would be rude not to share what wasn’t used in Redfin’s article with all of you.

So, make sure that you check out Redfin’s article for a bunch of great tips from a variety of wonderful companies. Then join us for a dive into what RouteNote’s own home studio veterans have to say on the matter to ensure your recording studio is great even on a budget and with restrictions.


Barny’s Best

Barny is our audio engineering extraordinaire. With extensive knowledge and experience in all elements of music recording and production he is one of the biggest reasons our recording studio at RouteNote exists as it does. Here’s what he had to say:

One of the biggest problems with home studios, is not being able to isolate the power supply to the studio from the rest of the house. This means you tend to get hums and pops in the audio when things like the fridge or central heating turn on/off.


If you can afford it, you can buy transformer isolated power supplies, but they are pricey. Otherwise you should at least get a power conditioner for your studio which everything runs from. Also avoid having dimmer switches on the lights in the house as this will add a lot of noise problems.

Beyond the power supply, Barny recommends:

  • If possible, arrange the room so that the speakers face down the length of the room (so the back of the speakers are against the shorter wall)
  • Get a comfy chair
  • Place the speakers at ear height when you’re sitting in your comfy chair.
  • Avoid putting speakers in the corners of the room if possible, and as far away from the back wall as your room can handle.
  • Have the speakers placed so that the speakers and your head form an equilateral triangle.
  • Try adding bass traps in the corners of the room, and acoustic panels/diffusers on the walls. Alternatively use books shelves etc to help break up the reflections.
  • If using outboard equipment, invest in a patch bay – it will save a lot of time!
  • Become obsessed and spend every penny you ever earn on more equipment until you have too much, and need a bigger house.

Ed-vice from Ed

Ed heads up our session team and has been a driving force in getting artists in so that we put their wonderful sounds down onto tape (not literal tape, that ish is expensive!). Here’s what Aunty Ed-na had to say:

Acoustic absorption vs Reflection – Depending on the shape/size of your room as well as the type of surface your walls have, any ‘semi’ professional home studio should be acoustically treated for the best possible audio listening experience. Absorption can help soak up nasty frequencies, while reflection can bounce around certain frequencies to create a more balanced sound. Acoustic panels are easily to build and there are tonnes of articles and tutorials online on how to get the best out of your rooms sound.

Monitor choice – This is really up to taste/preference of sound as well how big your pockets are. Examples of questionably decent studio monitor companies include: Genelec, Focal Shape, Mackie, Neumann, KRK, M-audio, Yamaha.

Audio interface – For any home studio set up, its very likely that you will require a decent audio interface to run your gear through, or just be able to record onto your laptop. Whether its a fancy mixing desk with USB capabilities or just a simple 1 input dedicated audio interface, this is something almost every home studio will need to have.

More gear doesn’t mean better tunes – Some of the best producers today literally use 1 microphone and their laptop to create all of their music, you can have all the gear in the world but if you don’t know how to use it what’s the point yo? Get to grips with your preferred DAW/Audio software and you will likely find plug ins and internal native instruments/effects that can do everything you need (although toys are very fun).

Aesthetics (this may not apply to everyone) – Something that is often neglected in the home studio world is aesthetics, we all know that a tidy space makes for a tidy mind, and your home studio is no different. Ensuring that all of your gear is easily accessible and your workspace is tidy will no doubt result in a better creative flow without unnecessary distractions. A couple of LED strips behind your monitor or under your desk will really splice up your set up.


Marley’s Musings

Marley is the master of the mixdown. Another vital member of the Sessions team, his skills ensure that the sounds we record are great at the time and then the best they can be when they’re down on the track. Marley added this nugget of truth for you all:

Having an odd shaped room is a good asset to your studio, this is because square rooms create standing waves that can hinder listening experience. A standing wave is when a sound wave bounces off the wall and doubles up on its self, a bit like a ‘wedge’ if you are a surfer.

The more odd shapes in your room like sofas, book shelves and ornaments will help to diffuse the sound: Like a lamp shade does with light. This randomises the waves of sound. Good monitoring rooms will have as little parallel walls as possible, maybe a pitched roof and some odd random shapes to counteract the standing waves.


We hope that these tips will help you on your journey to creating the best music you’ve got inside of you from the comfort and ease of your very own home.

Are you screaming at the screen because we didn’t include something? Let us know in the comments below and share the love.

Get Ableton Live 10 for 20% with a free upgrade to Live 11

At long last we have confirmation of Ableton Live 11 being on the way and all the greatness it comes with. Now you can nab yourself an early discount.

Ableton Live 11 brings loads of new features to make one of the world’s favourite music recording and producing programs better than ever. There are great new features for live recording, new processes to put more power in the hands of producers, live processes for even better performances, and so much more.

In advance of it’s release early next year you can now nab yourself a copy of Live 10 for 20% off the usual price. A good deal but what makes it even better is you’ll get a free upgrade to Live 11 when you purchase Live 10 now with no upgrade costs.

Purchase your copy of Live 10 here and get ready for the next big update from Ableton.

Ableton Live 11 is coming! Here’s all that’s new in the huge update

It’s been 3 years since Ableton announced they’d be bringing a huge new update to the beloved music software and it’s finally coming in early 2021.

Ableton Live 11 is the first full software update in years for the DAW used by thousands around the world. It adds a whole lot of good stuff to make your recording smoother, production more powerful, and new sounds and instruments to create with.


Take recording and comping

Live organizes multiple passes of an audio or MIDI performance into individual takes. Pick the best moments of each performance and combine them to create your perfect take. Or approach sound design in a new way by splicing together random samples from your library.

Linked-track editing

Link two or more tracks to edit their content simultaneously. This makes editing multi-tracked instruments or performances with multiple musicians easy and fast whilst keeping everything in time across tracks. This feature also works for MIDI tracks.

Artist demonstrates MPE using a Roli Seaboard, Push and Live 11’s new Note Expression View

Use your MPE-capable controller

Plug in your MPE-capable controller and immediately add bends, slides and pressure for each individual note in a chord. Add subtle expression variations, morph between chords and create evolving sonic textures.

What is MPE?

MPE stands for MIDI Polyphonic Expression. This way of using MIDI allows MPE-capable devices to control multiple parameters of every note in real time for more expressive instrumental performances.

Note Expression View

Edit the pitch, slide and pressure envelopes of each note to refine the expression of your takes. Or take your sound design further by sequencing polyphonic sound variations.

More expressive sounds included

Wavetable, Sampler and Arpeggiator are all updated to support MPE. And Live comes with MPE presets for each device that bring new dimensions of interaction and playability to your sound. The new expressive possibilities also enable polyphonic aftertouch on Push.

Tempo Following

Live listens to and adjusts its tempo based on incoming audio in real time, making it a dynamic part of the band instead of the tempo source that everyone has to follow. When you DJ, you can even turn Live into a tempo-synced FX box.

An Instrument Rack and Audio Effect Rack showing saved Macro variations

Macro Snapshots

Store the state of your Macros for later recall – perfect for creating instant variations to your sounds or builds and drops during performance.

Rack improvements

Configure your Racks to have between 1 and 16 Macros. Randomize the state of your Macros with the randomization button. Map this control to MIDI and perform drastic changes in real time to surprise your audience and yourself.

Note chance

Set the probability that a note or drum hit will occur and let Live generate surprising variations to your patterns that change over time.

Velocity chance

Define ranges for velocity probability for subtle, humanized variations in the dynamics of your patterns.

Do more with Follow Actions

Follow Actions can now be linked to the clip length, making it faster to create interesting sequences of clips. Scene Follow Actions let you create evolving arrangements. You can also set Follow Actions to jump to specific clips and enable and disable Follow Actions globally.

Check out their new devices here too


There’s a lot on the way to take the possibilities with Ableton Live to the next level. The new features may not apply directly to your process but there are a lot of workflow enhancements and even if the features don’t appeal to you, the new devices and sounds look great.

You can currently get 20% off of Live 10 and get a free upgrade to Live 11 when it launches early next year.

Shure unveil their new home and studio podcast microphone – MV7

With both XLR and USB outputs, Shure MV7 is the perfect microphone for use in the studio or bedroom, including dedicated ‘imperfect room’ features.

Inspired by the gold standard in professional podcast microphones – Shure SM7B, MV7 is a more affordable microphone designed for podcasters, gamers and vocalists for use in studio isolated booths or untreated bedrooms. Using Voice Isolation Technology, MV7 can be used in imperfect rooms by reducing background and room noise.

Shure MV7 features two outputs, an XLR and micro-USB (no USB-C ☹️). XLR is great for professional recordings in the studio, while being hooked up to interfaces, mixers or pro audio equipment. USB is great for easily hooking the microphone up to a computer or mobile device. When connected directly to a PC, use the ShurePlus MOTIV app for Auto Level Mode. Auto mode adjusts levels such as gain and compression settings, as well as switchable EQ filters and saving presets for quick access. These real time automatic adjustments are especially great for live streaming, letting you spend more time focusing on creating and less time editing. Shure’s app also includes Customizable Sound Signature, allowing for easy vocal tone adjustments between dark, natural or bright. Select near or far, depending on the style you’re going for. Near is great for podcasting, while far may be preferred for vocal performances. MV7 can hold consistent levels up to 18-inches from the mic. Manual Mode gives you full control, with toggles such as Mic Gain, Monitor Mix, EQ, Limited, Compressor and more. These can be controlled within the ShurePlus MOTIV app or built-in touch panel. The other port found on the back is a 3.5mm headphone jack to monitor your sound.

Shure’s new microphone has an optimized frequency response for rich and natural vocal reproduction. An all metal rugged and professional construction surrounds the internals. The integrated yoke ensures easy positioning on standard 5/8”-27 threaded stands or booms. MV7 comes in Black or Silver with three different purchasing options available on Amazon:

Regardless of the application, creators understand the importance of clear and intelligible audio. We’ve designed the MV7 to be laser focused on the user’s voice, so the audience always gets a clear and rich reproduction no matter the type of room they record in, so their audiences can focus on the content.

Soren Pedersen, Associate Manager, Global Product Management, Shure

M-Audio announce two new pairs of budget reference monitors – BX3 & BX4

M-Audio release details on their new compact and affordable studio speakers, BX3: 3.5-inch – $100 and BX4: 4.5-inch – $150.

Other than the physical and driver size and weight, BX3 and BX4 are almost identical. The only other differences lie in frequency responses. BX3 reaches down to 80Hz, while BX4 manages 69Hz.

M-Audio release the best pairs of multimedia, pro-grade, reference monitors in their price range. BX3 & BX4 are 120-watts desktop speakers capable of studio monitor sound, perfect for content creations such as music/video production, live streaming, podcasting or DJing. Equally, if you’re just looking for a pair of decent PC speakers that are a significant step up from those built in to your computer, both are suited to consuming music, movies, video games, video calls, or even hooked up a record player.

BX4

The budget friendly speakers come in an attractive design. The low frequency drivers are made from Black Kevlar producing punchy defined low end, while a 1-inch natural silk dome tweeter and computer-optimized tweeter waveguide produces precise stereo imaging and silky, crystal clear highs. The speakers are housed in an acoustically-inert MDF cabinet with bass reflex design for deep, full and rich sound, with smooth low end.

Around the back you’ll find an enhanced rear port for extended low frequency response, left/right active speaker position switch, for easy positioning of the speaker with the volume dial and ports, high-EQ/low-EQ controls usually found on more expensive pairs, allowing you to customize the sound, and 1/4-inch, 1/8-inch and RCA inputs for connecting to any source. The front also holds a 1/8-inch AUX input for quick and easy connection to a phone or computer.

BX4 AUX

Included is a copy of Pro Tools First – M-Audio Edition, the lite version of the professional audio software to get you started on music/podcast production at no extra cost.

BX 4 Pro Tools

Highlights:

  • 3.5”/4.5” Black Kevlar® low frequency drivers; 1” natural silk dome tweeters
  • New computer-optimized tweeter waveguide for precise imaging
  • High-EQ and Low-EQ controls for dialing in the perfect sound
  • Enhanced rear ports for extended low-frequency response
  • Left/Right Active Speaker Position Switch for configuring which side has volume control
  • 1/4”, 1/8”, and RCA inputs for connecting to virtually any audio source
  • Front 1/8” AUX input for quick connection of smartphones or other audio sources
  • Acoustically-inert MDF cabinet with bass reflex design for deep, rich sound
  • Includes 1/8” speaker interconnect cable, 1/8” to 1/8” cable, 1/8” to RCA cable and Foam Feet

M-Audio BX3 & BX4 are available to order today on Amazon, with shipping starting on November 13th.

Take your show on the road with Yamaha’s new wireless amp for acoustics

Yamaha’s gorgeous new amp looks cool, sounds great, and is wireless so that you can take it out with you into the world wherever you’re going.

Yamaha’s latest addition to their THR series is an amp made for acoustic guitar players. The 30-watt modelling amp can create a bunch of sounds and effects to complement your playing and, with a rechargeable battery, you can take it with you on the go.

The amp comes with two inputs, the second has a microphone preamp allowing musicians to plug in their guitar and a microphone for the perfect singer-songwriter setup. Using acoustic mic modelling the amp is capable of recreating lush tones in it’s contained, tiny package.

The rechargeable battery lasts for up to 5 hours on a single charge so you can easily get multiple sets out of it before you have to plug it back in. It’s also super compact so it’s easy to just pick up and travel alongside, not to mention it looks beautiful.

There are some interesting recording options from the amp as will, with Yamaha Rec’n’Share support making performance recordings a breeze. It has an in-built USB audio interface so you can simply connect it to your computer and record with a free copy of Steinberg included.

The amp is available in the USA now for $869 and you can find out more and find your nearest dealer here.

Teenage Engineerings latest Pocket Operator instruments imbue vintage video game vibes

Capcom’s classic video game series are being brought through their iconic sound effects to the creative joy of TE’s next pocket operators.

Teenage Engineering have been partnering with iconic brands – like Rick and Morty – in their Pocket Operators for years. Through their partnerships they bring iconic sound effects and samples into the sequencing possibilities of their mini instruments.

The latest to get the pocket operator treatment are two of Capcom’s most iconic names. Mega Man and Street Fighter are both getting their very own pocket operator respectively.

The PO-128 Mega Man puts the original sounds of the game into the mini synthesizer. Creators will be able to customise the sounds and sequence them with others to create musical patterns.

The PO-133 features iconic samples that will allow users to input ‘Hadouken!’ into their patterns. With a built-in microphone users can add their own samples to the lot whilst enjoying the unique animations that both pocket operators come featured with based on the classic game series.

The Street Fighter machine is available now for €99/$89/£85 whilst the Mega Man operator comes out on the 2nd of December for the same price. Get yours from Teenage Engineering’s website.

Garageband gets 50 brand new instruments to play with and record

Apple’s Garageband has just gotten ever better with a new update adding loads of instruments to play with and longer recordings.

Garageband 2.3.9 has just dropped making the free iOS music-making app even better with new features and sounds. Most excitingly is the addition of a new Keyboard Collection which introduces loads more potential for playing and looping in recordings.

The Keyboard Collection adds over 150 keyboard loops and 50 instrument patches including pianos, organs, and electric pianos. Get a sense of the wide variety of new instruments in the video below which plays an example of each one.

Apple have also extended the maximum song length that can be created in Garageband from 23 minutes to 72 minutes in total. Whilst I can’t imagine many people will make use of the full extent of this extension, it’s nice to have the option.

They’re also making it easier to jump straight in and record with a new option to hold down on the GarageBand icon on the home page to start recording straight away. Also new, users can switch between musical bars and beats to minutes and seconds now.

Garageband version 2.3.9 is available on iOS now.