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

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.

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.

The best VST Effects Racks for digitally chaining your plugins

The magic of digital music is that it allows us to do what once would’ve cost thousands and required whole rooms worth of space. Huge effects racks? Just load one up mate.

If you’re into synths then no-doubt at one point or another you’ve seen glimpses of huge racks of times gone past when instruments and effects all plugged into huge inter-connected modules. If you found yourself drooling at the unattainable prospect then we may have some good news.

With the wonder of digital music production we can make our dreams come true with simply a computer and a screen. We’ve looked around and found what may be the best rack simulators that give you all of the fun and customising power with a fraction of the cost and entire-wall of space needed.

VCV Rack

If you are looking for a genuine simulation of the OCD nightmare that is the traditional racks of old with wires spread everywhere between multiple modules creating a visible chain – then say hello to VCV Rack.

It doesn’t get much more authentic than this Eurorack simulator. It’s also a free download! They have a huge library of plugins – many free and/or open source – to build your rack with and create the complex, chained sounds you’ve always dreamed of.

  • Polyphony. Use up to 16 voices with the full flexibility of modular patching. Cables automatically turn polyphonic when requested by MIDI modules, sequencers, etc.
  • MIDI output. Control MIDI hardware with Rack modules. New modules include CV-GATE for drum machines, CV-MIDI for desktop synths, and CV-CC for Eurorack interfaces.
  • MIDI mapping. Control knobs, buttons, and sliders directly from a MIDI controller. Using the new MIDI-MAP module, click a virtual parameter and move a hardware control to create a mapping.
  • Module Browser. Search, filter, and view modules in your collection. Click and drag to directly place modules in the rack.
  • Multi-core engine. Use multiple CPU threads to maximize the number of modules. Accelerated polyphonic engines on many VCV and third-party modules.

StudioRack

StudioRack allows you to create chains between your plugins to create complex and wacky racks and customise them with full chaining power. “Thinking in terms of chains – not individual processors – is a hallmark of the best producers and engineers,” say the plugins creators Waves.

Build up your sound profile in sequence with up to 8 plugins form a single DAW. You can save your chains to immediately load up the sequences you’ve produced that have made the sounds you’re after.

Now, this plugin is built with practicality in mind so that it makes sense to the modern musician and is simple to use. It is not a visual simulation in the way that VCV Rack is.

  • Parallel processing racks: Split your audio, from any point in any chain, into parallel mono, stereo and M/S racks – to add more punch, space, and presence to your signal, without having to create complex routings in your DAW.
  • Multiband split racks: Turn any Waves plugin into a multiband processor, with detailed control over your crossover points.
  • 8 macros per chain: Combine parameters from different plugins in your chain into quick-access macro controls – essentially enabling you to build your own ‘custom plugins.’

The scariest VST plugins for your music this halloween

It’s that time of year again. Whilst we might not be able to go out and get frightened together, we can definitely make some spooky, scary, bigtime beats.

We’ve collected the best plugins you can download to add some chills into your music. There’s no trick or treating this year, so you’ll have to bring the festivities into your own home and lace some fresh tracks full of seasonal horror.

Darksichord (free)

If you can imagine a video recording of a skeleton dancing with a melancholy expression in black and white, grainy footage to the sound of an instrument then it is surely perfect for Halloween – right?

Well just take a listen at what this gorgeous sounding yet sufficiently unsettling instrument can do for you. Oh, and by the way: It’s free!

Horror Box XL (€24 + free trial)

This keyboard is packed with wacky and disturbing soundscapes that are sure to send shivers up your spine, even if you’re only pressing down one note on the keyboard!

Packed with more presets than you can shake a bone at and available to try it with a free trial there’s plenty here for filling your tracks with thrills.

Creepy Piano (free)

Turn the most delightful of piano melodies into the latest American Horror Story soundtrack with this petrifying piano. It manages to easily subvert the natural sound of a piano with slight changes that embolden it with terrifying vibes.

This one’s also free so go mad… but beware, listen to this piano play for too long and you may literally go mad.

Nightmares (free)

Nightmares is a little different to the others but still aptly titled. It comes with a bunch of presets all uniquely terrifying from ghoulish wails to creepy laughs and spine-tingling synth sounds.

Use this how you want and customise them within the plugin using reverb, glide, distortion and other built-in effects. Get creative and you’ll be surprised how much is really packed into this little plugin.

Miscellania (free)

This unique collection of sounds come from the rejects of professional sound design. Some say that each sound is haunted by its own lack of self esteem after being dumped from whatever film or game project they hoped to soundtrack.

Check out the not-so-spooky video below to hear the range of interesting percussion and sound effects which you can use creatively to turn into ambient horror.


Got any spooky favourites we missed? Let us know in the comments below and share the love. Happy halloween!

The best audio compressor plugin for mastering – and it’s FREE

When it comes time to mixing and mastering your track you want a tool that is powerful but not overwhelming. That’s exactly what RoughRider offers.

The internet is full of amazing audio tools from wallet-quivering studio quality effects to the powerful yet incredibly free offerings from generous developers. That does mean it can be hard to find the one that suits you.

That’s why we’re presenting you with our personal favourite compressor that doesn’t cost a thing, possibly the best one out there that is free!

RoughRider

This compact but powerful plugin makes mastering your tracks a dream. It has a simple layout that won’t overwhelm you if you’re just getting started on mastering your own music but will satisfy your needs if you’re experienced with compression.

It’s been a favourite amongst producers and musicians for over a decade and has been updated to keep it fresh and brilliant over it’s lifespan.

Updates in the latest version include an input for external sidechaining, toggles over their ‘warming’ filter, and accurate metering. That’s on top of its accurate attack and release controls with a beautiful display showing you how the audio is responding on top of much more.

Download RoughRider for free here.

Get Ableton Live free until the end of 2020 with Splice

You can get a free copy of one of the world’s best DAWs when you sign up for a free Splice account from now until the end of the year.

Ableton Live is a powerhouse in the world of music production. Whether you’re an electronic producer and DJ or a band recording live instruments, Ableton is beloved around the world.

You can get the starter edition of this famous DAW, Ableton Live Lite, for free right now through Splice. It’s free to create an account to the website and then head to the Ableton page to activate and download your music software.

Splice also offers a wealth of amazing resources for digital music making with hundreds of high quality instrument and effect plugins. Some of these are also free so it’s worth signing up and taking a look at all that they offer.

The offer is available through Splice now until the end of December so you have time to take advantage of this brilliant deal.

Spotify launch Soundtrap Capture – a collaborative mobile sound recorder

Cloud-based collaborative DAW Soundtrap, owned by Spotify, launch Soundtrap Capture; a sound recording app, that makes collaborating on ideas easy.

Acquired in 2017 by Spotify, Soundtrap is the perfect DAW for socially distanced collaborative producing. Giving songwriters and musicians cross-platform tools for music/podcast recording and editing.

Now, Soundtrap are launching their new mobile app – Soundtrap Capture. The Capture app lets you record high-quality sounds such as vocals, instruments or sound effects anywhere, then share a link to invite friends to collab in real-time, by layering tracks on top of your initial ideas and applying simple edits. Recording is available online or offline, so you can jot down ideas when inpiration strikes you or you hear a noise you want to sample while you’re out and about. Existing projects and audio files can be imported. All projects are stored in the cloud, which keeps your music safe and allows for easy switching to their desktop app Soundtrap Studio to add finishing touches to the mix.

“Features immediately available on Soundtrap Capture include:

  • Multi-track Layering: layer track recordings, instruments and vocals over one another to create different takes.
  • Collaborate with Creators: invite multiple collaborators to join a project, present ideas, record and layer tracks to create songs together in real time.
  • Live Storage: immediately sync and back up all projects to the Soundtrap system, and easily access them so that you never lose an idea again.

And coming later this year: Seamless Integration: transfer seamlessly between the Soundtrap Capture app and the Soundtrap Studio, between desktop and mobile, all without missing a beat.”


How to use it:

Record & edit tracks

Collaborate


Soundtrap Capture’s editing and mixing tools are limited. Soundtrap emphasise the need for both Soundtrap Capture and Soundtrap Studio, stating Capture as the perfect tool for the first steps of music creation, with easy recording on the go, verses Studio focused on the final stages, for in-depth editing and mixing at home or in the studio.

The app is available today globally for free on iOS, with Android coming soon.