Different types of synthesizer and how they work

Image credit: Avi Naim

Ever wondered what all the different synthesizers are and what types of synth sounds they all make? You’ve come to the right place.

If you’re getting into the world of synthesizers and the infinite possibilities of making music with devices that can create their own sounds, then you might be wondering what separates all of the synthesizer types – or even what types there are!

If you’re looking to dive deeper into the world of synths and answer questions like, “how do they even work?!” then look no further than our introduction to synthesizers.

Digital vs. Analogue Synthesizers: Which is better?

To start with the basics, all synths will come under one of two categories: digital or analogue. Analogue synthesizers use circuity and modulators to generate sounds whilst digital synthesizers will create their sounds, well… digitally.

Digital synthesizers use a computer to create their sounds in essence. Analogue synthesizers will often use a voltage controlled oscillator.

As is usual with arguments in the music world, there are synth-heads who will fight the superiority of analogue synths to the death. There is something to be said for hardware for sure and an authentically produced audio signal may provide that “warmer” feel that musicians often look for.

However, we’re living in the 2020s… The potential in digital music production is astonishingly vast and the things that you can do with digital synthesizers would blow the mind of most music makers pre-dating the millennium. As always, personal preference really decides which is best and if you have your own opinion on that then that’s great!

What are the different types of synthesizers?

No two synthesizers are completely alike and there are plenty of different methods that allow them to create audio through analogue and digital means. Strap in, as we’re about to cover the different forms of synthesis.

Subtractive synthesis: This uses complex waveforms which are generated by oscillators and shaped by filters which either boost or remove frequencies to tweak a final sound signal.

Additive synthesis: Additive uses a large number of waveforms and combines them into a cohesive sound. These are usually made up of sine waves.

Frequency modulation synthesis: Often acronymized into FM, this method modulates waveforms with the frequency of others. These waveforms can then be used to modulate other waveforms and so on the cycle goes.

Phase distortion synthesis: This is essentially a brand specific form of sound synthesis. Used by Casio for their CZ synthesizers, it works much the same as FM synthesis.

Wavetable synthesis: These synthesizers modulate between digital representations of different waves to change their shape and timbre.

Sample-based synthesis: These use sampled recordings of sounds rather than generating their own. These can often be manipulated through the use of filters, envelopes, and LFOs.

Vector synthesis: This uses crossfading between different sound sources and was pioneers by the Prophet VS.

Granular synthesis: This splits audio samples into “grains” which are played back in a recombined state. It often splits its samples to between one hundredth and one tenth of a second in length.

Physical modelling synthesis: Taking a physical source of sound and making a mathematical model for it.

Synth terms explained: A glossary of terms in music production

Image credit: Anton Shuvalov

Oscillators and LFOs, waveforms and filters, attack, delay, sustain, and so on. What does it all mean? Our handy guide will explain what all of the most common terms on digital synthesizers and analog synthesizers are.

There’s a lot of unique jargon and terminology involved in using synths. Whether you’re playing with an old piece of electronic hardware or you’re creating synthesized sounds in your digital music software, knowing what it all means is vital to getting the best results in creating your own sounds.

For a more in-depth guide looking at what a synthesizer even is, how the hell they work to create such unique and seemingly infinite sounds, what the different kinds are, and everything else you need for a 101 introduction into the world of synthesizers then head to our guide here.


ADSR: Attack, delay, sustain, and release. What are they? We’ll get to each of them individually below.

Amplitude: The volume of a tone of waveform, represented by the height of a waveform on an oscilloscope (click here in case you don’t know what that is too).

Analog: An analog circuit is an electronic system that uses a continuously variable signal. The term “analogue” describes the proportional relationship between a signal and a voltage or current that represents the signal.

Arpeggiator: Arpeggios are chords that are played in sequence, like strumming out each string on a guitar in sequence rather than one quick flourish. An arpeggiator simulates this movement of notes for you, sequencing a pattern of notes that make up a chord.

Attack: This is how long it takes for the sound to go from nothing to it’s peak. The longer the attack the more the sound will appear to glide in rather than start immediately.

Attenuator: A method of reducing the amplitude of an audio signal, essentially reducing its volume.

Band: A range of frequencies in an EQ.

Band Pass Filter: A filter that allows for only the band of frequencies surrounding the cutoff to pass through and prevents the frequencies outside of that band.

Bandwidth: This is the width of a band or the number of frequencies that are boosted or cut around a selected frequency.

Bank: No this isn’t a coin slot in your synth. This is where a group of patches are stored in MIDI instruments.

Bass: The bandwidth of low frequencies, usually accepted to be between 20Hz to 400 Hz.

Chorus: An effect which plays multiple copies of a signal, slightly out of time to create a new tone. Think about the difference between a solo singer and a choir of singers all singing the same note. This can also be called an Ensemble.

Clock: This creates a consistent timing that you can connect throughout the synths and other devices in your setup to keep them in sync.

Cutoff: This is controls the cutting off of frequencies, pretty simple huh? Acting as a filter this controls how much certain EQ frequencies are removed.

Controlled Voltage: Often presented as just CV. This can control any parameters in an analog synth. This is used to adjust the oscillators, filters, and envelopes.

Decay: This measures how long the tone will take to fall out after the sound has been triggered.

Delay: A copy of the signal which plays back after the original sound and varies in the time between repeating and how many times it will play back. It comes in many different forms, find out more here.

Digital: In synthesizers, this refers to a module that uses digital processors and uses the direct digital synthesis architecture. It uses a numerically-controlled oscillator. Erm, it’s basically a computer controlled sound.

Distortion: An effect which boosts the amplitude, often to a point of peaking that provides a crunching, crushing tone to the sound.

Dynamic: The range in volume of an audio signal.

Envelope: A filter that determines the tones of your synth sound. A standard envelope filter will use the ADSR setup to control the sound.

Equalisation: Usually referred to simply as EQ. This is used to control the frequencies in a sound.

Eurorack: A modular synthesizer format which has grown to become incredibly popular. They use compact, 3.5mm mono jacks and cables for patching signals. To find out more, head here.

Filter: Filters are what defines the shape of your synth sound by taking out specific harmonics.

Frequencies: This is the number of times a second that a sound wave will repeat its cycle. When this is increased it will provide a higher pitch to the human ear.

Gain: Another way of referring to the level of a signal.

Gate: These signals can turn notes on and off, change the stages of an envelope, or control when a sequence is started and stopped. This can also be used to refer to a dynamic effect that cuts off a sound below a certain level.

Harmonics: Overtone frequencies that are found at intervals equal to the fundamental frequency.

Low Frequency Oscillator: Usually referred to as an LFO, this is an oscillator moving so slowly it is below the audible range for the human ear. It is used to alter the movement of a sound by modulating the audible frequencies from its own range.

Low Pass Filter: A filter that lets frequencies below the cutoff to pass, eliminating high frequencies.

MIDI: Stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Without getting into the technical complications of it, it is a system that allows control over digital synthesizers with a keyboard. You can find out more with our Introduction to MIDI here.

Modulation: This describes the changes in a signal. You can modulate most elements of an audio signal to define its output and how it travels.

Module: The units that make up modular synthesizers. These come in many forms… so many forms. You can find out more about what these modules can be and how they work here.

Noise: No we haven’t just added an obvious term here. In reference to synths, noise often refers to generators which add electrical noise to your signals. First found in analog synths, digital synths will sometimes simulate the effect but can’t replicate it authentically.

Octave: The intervals between a frequencies half or doubles, providing the same note but a different pitch.

Oscillator: These generate waveforms. Defining the shape of these waveforms has a huge impact on the sound you produce from a synthesizer.

Panning: The position of a signal on a stereo output in terms of left and right.

Patch: A pre-programmed sound that has been made up from oscillators/samples and customised then saved into a synthesizer. The name comes from the days of old when manually patching cables together created the desired sound.

Pitch: The frequency of a soundwave. The higher the frequency the higher the pitch of the sound will be to the ear.

Polyphony: The number of voices that a synth can play at a time. A monophonic synth can play only one voice, a paraphonic and duophonic synth both play 2 voices but work differently, and a polyphonic synth simply refers to multiple voiced synthesizers.

Portamento: This sweeps the pitch up or down between two notes when they’re played one after the other.

Pulse Width: This is the time a waveform will take to go from its highest point to its lowest point. The width refers to the visual length on the waveform of the signal.

Quantisation: This lines a signal up the closest increment in a specified range. Most commonly used when referring to rhythm and aligning notes up in time with a rhythmic grid.

Release: This defines the time taken for a sound to reach it’s lowest point in whatever the envelope is defining.

Resonance: Using feedback, this boosts the frequencies around the cutoff. This can emphasise harmonics and can generate a sine-wave if it is raised enough to boost the feedback.

Sample: A recorded sound bite which can be replayed and manipulated.

Sequencer: The arrangement of musical patterns which can be repeated to build up looping beats and melodies.

Sine Wave: The most straightforward waveform and the one you’re most likely to think of when you imagine an oscilloscope.

Square Wave: A waveform with very abrupt changes to its peak and trough, creating a shape with near right-angles.

Sustain: This describes how the sound will vary and sets the peak. For example, it will be the volume of the note when the attack reaches its destination.

Tempo: The speed at which music should be played defined by the number of beats in a minute.

Threshold: The level an effect must pass before it is activated.

Timbre: The character of a sound that isn’t related to its pitch or intensity. Can also be referred to as the tone clur or tone quality.

Treble: The bandwidth of high end frequencies. Commonly accepted as between 5.2kHz and 20kHz.

Tremolo: A modulation effect that impacts the volume.

Triangle Wave: Waveforms with a linear rise and fall giving it a triangular shape.

Trigger: The method uses to activate a module or synthesizer’s sound.

Velocity: Normally equating to the loudness of a note, this represents the dynamic attack of a trigger.

Vibrato: Effecting the pitch of a tone, this creates a funny warbling sound from a signal.

Voice: The sound created by an oscillator or a group of oscillators together.

Waveform: The visual display of a soundwave.

Patch your way through the apocalypse with a game of modular synth logic puzzles

Image Credit: Reckoner Industries

The Signal State is a game that combines logic-testing puzzles with synthesizer knowledge.

If you love modular synthesizers, The Signal State by Reckoner Industries is the game for you. The player must solve more than 40 puzzles in order to repair machines and rebuild a farm vital to producing food in a future where agriculture is failing.

Each puzzle in The Signal State has an interface built around modular synthesizers. That’s right, it’s time to make use of your modular synth patching knowledge – or equally, if you’ve always been intrigued but never dived into their complex world, the game is an absorbing way to start learning about synths.

In order to save the world in the single-player game set in a post-apocalyptic future you’ll be tested on your logic skills by dragging and dropping cables, programming samplers, output, and signal delays, just like in electronic music production.

Image Credit: Reckoner Industries

The cables are customisable, and there’s alternative designs by Papernoise. Reckoner Industries’ plan is to further update the game to release in sandbox mode, and also let players design their own puzzles.

The Signal State is on Steam and costs £15.49. It’s had a fair few positive reviews already. You can download a demo to have a go first – the game runs on PC and Mac.

Does music sound better on vinyl?

Image Credit: Florencia Viadana

Why do vinyls sound better – and is that even the case?

Vinyl records have had a resurgence, with vinyl at certain times over the last year making more money than CDs for the first time since the 1980s. Their rising popularity was perhaps driven by stay at home orders of the pandemic, with people having more time on their hands to enjoy the slower pace of selecting a record, sliding it from the sleeve and placing it on the player.

There’s no denying that vinyl records are more beautiful than an album on a streaming service. Sure, album art still looks pretty and videos are impressive, but something is lost when music is started with a single tap of a screen.

Vinyl may look better than streaming music – but does the music sound better on vinyl?


Listening to the same music in different formats brings an entirely different sound every time. An album playing through tinny phone speakers is obviously going to lack the rich sound of a vinyl record. Equally, an album playing on a cheap record player is going to sound terrible compared to an album being streamed in high quality on TIDAL.

But why do vinyls seem to sound better? The immersive warmth of vinyl comes from the analogue format and the lack of compression when the record was pressed. A record also plays continuously, giving a more intense listening experience.

There’s always little details lost in the digital process, but if you’re streaming in better-than-CD-quality on Amazon Music HD for example, the sound quality is going to be close to what the artist intended in the studio. Apple Music’s Spatial Audio adds a different, deeper dimension to the sound. Vinyl records will also suffer from wear and tear in their lifetime, not something to worry about with a music stream.

There’s a huge degree of personal preference, of course. Vinyl lovers will always be influenced by the feel of the record, emotionally biased towards the sound, feeling a deeper physical connection to the music. The mindful quality of the slower pace of vinyl perhaps means that you pay more attention to the quirks of the sound than when hitting play on Spotify.

The vintage crackle and hiss of vinyl that so many people love may be replicated on thousands of lo-fi playlists, but they don’t quite match the warmth of the real thing. Music streaming quality will no doubt keep on getting better, but it will never match the unique experience on wax.

What do you think? Does music sound better on vinyl, and why? Let us know in the comments.

What is a synth and how does a synthesizer work?

What are these mysterious musi making devices that seem capable of making any sound and how do they even work? Analogue, digital, and everything in-between; we’re here to clear it up.

To some synthesizers are the holy grail of all things musical and represent an unlimited potential of aural soundscapes. To others they are the funny noise makers they find in their DAWs and can make it sound different by turning all the knobs with unknown terms like oscillator and LFO above the dials.

Whatever your knowledge, synth’s are great and in this article we’ll be exploring the most common questions about synthesizers with a glossary of terms at the end to help creators, enthusiasts, and outsiders alike to understand what these oft-confusing but impressive creations are and can do.


Synthesizer definition: What does synthesizer mean?

Synthesizer is named for pretty self-explanatory reasons: It’s a machine or software that is capable of synthesizing sounds using hardware, without the need for human input like plucking strings, blowing through pipes, or pressing down on keys – although often synthesizers utilise keyboards to make their audio signals playable by human hands.

A Synthesizer means an electronic musical instrument that creates its own audio signal to produce sounds.


What does a synthesizer do?

Synthesizer can be split into two primary categories: Analogue and digital. Whichever the type of synthesizer, it is doing essentially the same thing: producing audio signals. The variety of function and potential depends on what exactly the synth is offering in what it can do and how it can be used.

A synthesizer can do many things with its digital sound creation. It can be played like any other instrument, often using a keyboard that will either come built into it or – as is common these days with software synths – MIDI keyboards which can be plugged in and used to control a synth.

Some synthesizers work as sequencers allowing users to program in patterns that the instrument will then play itself on loop. There are some hardcore sequencer synths out there that essentially provide the ability to create and produce an entire song that is playing itself on it’s own with poly loops.

Many synthesizers recreate the percussive elements of drum kits. These are usually lumped into their own category as drum machines and they can offer sampled hits rather than synthesis. Drum machines will often be used with a built-in sequencer function, like the famous Roland TR series which birthed the iconic 808.

Then there is the wacky world of modular synths. You may have seen images of rack synthesizers, modules with a sea of knobs lying underneath the shade of a web of coloured cables spreading out in an OCD nightmare tangle. Lets… not get into them right now, you can explore what the hell is going on there somewhere else if you want to know.

A modular eurorack synth
Image credit: Adi Goldstein

What is a synth keyboard?

A synth keyboard is probably what you’ve already wondered to yourself: a synthesizer module with a keyboard built into it making it completely playable using a recognisable method of music performance. These synths are popular because they allow for easy creation and allow people to play sounds back, making for quick feedback on how they’re editing the sound.

This is the most common type of synthesizer for casual enthusiasts and those who are just interesting in playing synthesized sounds without getting too technical into what they’re doing. That’s not to say that some of the most powerful and customisable synths don’t feature a keyboard too – some seriously big dogs do!


How a synthesizer works

No two synthesizers are completely alike and there are plenty of different methods that allow them to create audio through analogue and digital means. Strap in, as we’re about to cover the different forms of synthesis.

Subtractive synthesis: This uses complex waveforms which are generated by oscillators and shaped by filters which either boost or remove frequencies to tweak a final sound signal.

Additive synthesis: Additive uses a large number of waveforms and combines them into a cohesive sound. These are usually made up of sine waves.

Frequency modulation synthesis: Often acronymized into FM, this method modulates waveforms with the frequency of others. These waveforms can then be used to modulate other waveforms and so on the cycle goes.

Phase distortion synthesis: This is essentially a brand specific form of sound synthesis. Used by Casio for their CZ synthesizers, it works much the same as FM synthesis.

Wavetable synthesis: These synthesizers modulate between digital representations of different waves to change their shape and timbre.

Sample-based synthesis: These use sampled recordings of sounds rather than generating their own. These can often be manipulated through the use of filters, envelopes, and LFOs.

Vector synthesis: This uses crossfading between different sound sources and was pioneers by the Prophet VS.

Granular synthesis: This splits audio samples into “grains” which are played back in a recombined state. It often splits its samples to between one hundredth and one tenth of a second in length.

Physical modelling synthesis: Taking a physical source of sound and making a mathematical model for it.


Synthesizer glossary: Glossary of synthesizer terms

ADSR: Attack, delay, sustain, and release. What are they? We’ll get to each of them individually below.

Amplitude: The volume of a tone of waveform, represented by the height of a waveform on an oscilloscope (click here in case you don’t know what that is too).

Analog: An analog circuit is an electronic system that uses a continuously variable signal. The term “analogue” describes the proportional relationship between a signal and a voltage or current that represents the signal.

Arpeggiator: Arpeggios are chords that are played in sequence, like strumming out each string on a guitar in sequence rather than one quick flourish. An arpeggiator simulates this movement of notes for you, sequencing a pattern of notes that make up a chord.

Attack: This is how long it takes for the sound to go from nothing to it’s peak. The longer the attack the more the sound will appear to glide in rather than start immediately.

Attenuator: A method of reducing the amplitude of an audio signal, essentially reducing its volume.

Band: A range of frequencies in an EQ.

Band Pass Filter: A filter that allows for only the band of frequencies surrounding the cutoff to pass through and prevents the frequencies outside of that band.

Bandwidth: This is the width of a band or the number of frequencies that are boosted or cut around a selected frequency.

Bank: No this isn’t a coin slot in your synth. This is where a group of patches are stored in MIDI instruments.

Bass: The bandwidth of low frequencies, usually accepted to be between 20Hz to 400 Hz.

Chorus: An effect which plays multiple copies of a signal, slightly out of time to create a new tone. Think about the difference between a solo singer and a choir of singers all singing the same note. This can also be called an Ensemble.

Clock: This creates a consistent timing that you can connect throughout the synths and other devices in your setup to keep them in sync.

Cutoff: This is controls the cutting off of frequencies, pretty simple huh? Acting as a filter this controls how much certain EQ frequencies are removed.

Controlled Voltage: Often presented as just CV. This can control any parameters in an analog synth. This is used to adjust the oscillators, filters, and envelopes.

Decay: This measures how long the tone will take to fall out after the sound has been triggered.

Delay: A copy of the signal which plays back after the original sound and varies in the time between repeating and how many times it will play back. It comes in many different forms, find out more here.

Digital: In synthesizers, this refers to a module that uses digital processors and uses the direct digital synthesis architecture. It uses a numerically-controlled oscillator. Erm, it’s basically a computer controlled sound.

Distortion: An effect which boosts the amplitude, often to a point of peaking that provides a crunching, crushing tone to the sound.

Dynamic: The range in volume of an audio signal.

Envelope: A filter that determines the tones of your synth sound. A standard envelope filter will use the ADSR setup to control the sound.

Equalisation: Usually referred to simply as EQ. This is used to control the frequencies in a sound.

Eurorack: A modular synthesizer format which has grown to become incredibly popular. They use compact, 3.5mm mono jacks and cables for patching signals. To find out more, head here.

Filter: Filters are what defines the shape of your synth sound by taking out specific harmonics.

Frequencies: This is the number of times a second that a sound wave will repeat its cycle. When this is increased it will provide a higher pitch to the human ear.

Gain: Another way of referring to the level of a signal.

Gate: These signals can turn notes on and off, change the stages of an envelope, or control when a sequence is started and stopped. This can also be used to refer to a dynamic effect that cuts off a sound below a certain level.

Harmonics: Overtone frequencies that are found at intervals equal to the fundamental frequency.

Low Frequency Oscillator: Usually referred to as an LFO, this is an oscillator moving so slowly it is below the audible range for the human ear. It is used to alter the movement of a sound by modulating the audible frequencies from its own range.

Low Pass Filter: A filter that lets frequencies below the cutoff to pass, eliminating high frequencies.

MIDI: Stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Without getting into the technical complications of it, it is a system that allows control over digital synthesizers with a keyboard. You can find out more with our Introduction to MIDI here.

Modulation: This describes the changes in a signal. You can modulate most elements of an audio signal to define its output and how it travels.

Module: The units that make up modular synthesisers. These come in many forms… so many forms. You can find out more about what these modules can be and how they work here.

Noise: No we haven’t just added an obvious term here. In reference to synths, noise often refers to generators which add electrical noise to your signals. First found in analog synths, digital synths will sometimes simulate the effect but can’t replicate it authentically.

Octave: The intervals between a frequencies half or doubles, providing the same note but a different pitch.

Oscillator: These generate waveforms. Defining the shape of these waveforms has a huge impact on the sound you produce from a synthesiser.

Panning: The position of a signal on a stereo output in terms of left and right.

Patch: A pre-programmed sound that has been made up from oscillators/samples and customised then saved into a synthesizer. The name comes from the days of old when manually patching cables together created the desired sound.

Pitch: The frequency of a soundwave. The higher the frequency the higher the pitch of the sound will be to the ear.

Polyphony: The number of voices that a synth can play at a time. A monophonic synth can play only one voice, a paraphonic and duophonic synth both play 2 voices but work differently, and a polyphonic synth simply refers to multiple voiced synthesizers.

Portamento: This sweeps the pitch up or down between two notes when they’re played one after the other.

Pulse Width: This is the time a waveform will take to go from its highest point to its lowest point. The width refers to the visual length on the waveform of the signal.

Quantisation: This lines a signal up the closest increment in a specified range. Most commonly used when referring to rhythm and aligning notes up in time with a rhythmic grid.

Release: This defines the time taken for a sound to reach it’s lowest point in whatever the envelope is defining.

Resonance: Using feedback, this boosts the frequencies around the cutoff. This can emphasise harmonics and can generate a sine-wave if it is raised enough to boost the feedback.

Sample: A recorded sound bite which can be replayed and manipulated.

Sequencer: The arrangement of musical patterns which can be repeated to build up looping beats and melodies.

Sine Wave: The most straightforward waveform and the one you’re most likely to think of when you imagine an oscilloscope.

Square Wave: A waveform with very abrupt changes to its peak and trough, creating a shape with near right-angles.

Sustain: This describes how the sound will vary and sets the peak. For example, it will be the volume of the note when the attack reaches its destination.

Tempo: The speed at which music should be played defined by the number of beats in a minute.

Threshold: The level an effect must pass before it is activated.

Timbre: The character of a sound that isn’t related to its pitch or intensity. Can also be referred to as the tone clur or tone quality.

Treble: The bandwidth of high end frequencies. Commonly accepted as between 5.2kHz and 20kHz.

Tremolo: A modulation effect that impacts the volume.

Triangle Wave: Waveforms with a linear rise and fall giving it a triangular shape.

Trigger: The method uses to activate a module or synthesizer’s sound.

Velocity: Normally equating to the loudness of a note, this represents the dynamic attack of a trigger.

Vibrato: Effecting the pitch of a tone, this creates a funny warbling sound from a signal.

Voice: The sound created by an oscillator or a group of oscillators together.

Waveform: The visual display of a soundwave.

Check out this fun limited edition David Bowie Stylophone

Image Credit: Dubreq

You can make the “Space Oddity” sound wherever you are with the nifty new Dubreq Stylophone inspired by Bowie. Easy to play, cool to show off.

David Bowie fans won’t be able to resist this. In honour of the late legend, Dubreq have made a limited edition pocket stylophone, with a look inspired by Bowie.

David Bowie had a long association with the stylophone, the portable pocket analogue synthesizer he used on “Space Oddity.” The limited edition version looks pretty cool – no Changes to a standard stylophone, but this particular pocket synth has an exclusive white design and silver front featuring the Bowie logo.

The stylophone features include a three-way octave switch for bass and classic synth sounds, and a wobbly vibrato switch, plus a tuning switch on the back. The instrument is conveniently battery powered and only 12cm wide, and you can play using the attached stylus through the built-in speakers or use the headphone socket.

Image Credit: Dubreq

John Simpson, Managing Director of Dubreq, said: “There’s a big resurgence in interest in the mini synthesizer from young musicians. This limited edition Stylophone is a great way to commemorate David’s affection for the instrument and to inspire the next generation of musicians to create even more great music with the Stylophone.”

Priced at $40, it also comes with a booklet featuring archive photos for Bowie fans. Check out the Bowie Stylophone here.

Get free recording software for music worth $500 from Line 6 and Steinberg

Image Credit: Line 6

Want $500 of free recording software? Of course you do.

Line 6 has teamed up with Steinberg to offer a free bundle of professional recording software. Until the end of February 2022, anyone who buys a Line 6 Helix amp and effects processor can also get a package that includes a full version of Cubase Elements free and the Helix Native plugin free download.

The free bundle has a focus on guitar recording – qualifying products include the Helix Floor, Helix LT, Helix Rack and Helix Control, which are amp and effects processors that create guitar tones that are professional and soulful.

For a limited time, you get a free download of Cubase Elements, the powerful DAW worth $100 that’s used in recording studios around the world.

Image Credit: Steinberg

Helix Native meanwhile is a sound design plugin that offers retro amp and mic effects. It would normally set you back $399.99.   

Image Credit: Line 6

Line 6 makes the process easy – just register your Helix hardware processor and upload proof of purchase, and the two licenses for the software will be activated within a couple of days.

The deal is available from now until February 28th 2022. Find out more here.

Akai’s ultra-slim next-gen MPC Studio is here

Image credit: Akai

The new piece of kit features an assignable touch strip and 16 pressure and velocity sensitive pads with aftertouch.

Akai is expanding its highly rated MPC series with the next-generation MPC studio music production system. The compact controller works in tandem with Akai’s MPC2 software for macOS and Windows. 

MPC Studio maintains the iconic 16-pad workflow that the sampler series is renowned for. Each pad is RGB-backlit, pressure, and velocity-sensitive, and is capable of aftertouch. The 16 full-size pads allow you to trigger and record patterns, notes, chords, and sounds. In addition to this, there is a visual display showing velocity and pad groupings. 

Akai has also included a Touch Strip on the MPC Studio, which they claim can “elevate any performance with invigorating expression”. Producers can use the Touch Strip to add articulations to virtual stringed instruments, apply modulation or pitch bend to a synth part. You can also control Note Repeat for drum rolls and much more. 

A full-color LCD display provides visual feedback for track names, plug-in presents, browse categories, parameter values, and sample cropping points. The MPC2 can be plugged into any DAW as well and is easily transportable due to its slim design. 

Kanye West announces Donda Stem Player

Image credit: Kanye West

The device that allows you to ‘customise any song’ is available to pre-order now for $200.

Kanye West is yet again finding his way into headlines across the world as he continues to market his latest album ‘Donda’. Yesterday the rapper announced he was formally changing his name to Ye, now he has unveiled his new gadget called the Donda Stem Player. The device allows users to customize any song’, according to the device’s website. It’s available for pre-order for $200 and has a vague release date of “Summer”, however, the website also states it will ship “with Donda”, which is slated for a late August release. 

The device was created by Kanye’s Yeezy tech brand and developed with electronics company Kano. It looks like a tan hockey puck and is apparently made out of “soft silicone blended skin.” it’s equipped with a headphone jack and Bluetooth support. It can also do simultaneous Bluetooth and audio jack playback. There is also a USB-C port, volume buttons, speakers, a haptic engine, and 8GB of storage. The four light bars are touch-sensitive sliders, which allow you to control the device and customize songs. It also supports a wide range of music formats, such as AIFF, AIF, FLAC, M4A, MP3, WAV, WAVE, AAC, ALAC, and MP4. 

According to the website the Donda Stem Player allows you to: 

  • Control vocal’s drums, bass, and samples
  • Isolate Parts
  • Add effects
  • Split any song into stems

It also comes with the following tools: 

  • 4-channel lossless audio mixing
  • Realtime loop and speed control
  • Tactile effects
  • One hit
  • Live samples
  • Save, playback, and share mixes
  • Customize colors
  • Content and software updates from your browser

Here’s the Donda Stem Player in action:

https://twitter.com/yevideo/status/1430543251442999299

The announcement of Kanye’s stem player follows a string of public events and stories about Kanye during the run-up to his latest album ‘Donda’. Since the announcement of the album, Kanye has done two live listening parties, both of which broke Apple’s Livestream records, applied to change his name to Ye, posted Drake’s address on Twitter, and now the stem player. 

Kanye is also planning a third album listening party in Chicago where fans won’t have to have proof of covid vaccination or negative test. 

Best apps you can play like an instrument

Image credit: Roland

Your phone or tablet can now double up into a beat machine or instrument in today’s modern world, here are our favourite music making apps.

In today’s frightfully exciting modern world you don’t necessarily need an instrument to make music. Your mobile phone can be instantly turned into one via an app and thus handheld music creating has become a staple of most bedroom artists/producers. Even those not wanting to create music for recording purposes can use these apps and have a lot of fun and learn an instrument with ease.

Moog Model D

iOS

The legendary analog synth company has officially branched into the modern era with their latest app the Moog Model D. It’s a powerful app that allows the user to play around with the iconic synthesizer, either creating your own original music or playing along to your favorite tunes. Some artists (using a 3.5mm to 1/4 inch adapter) have been made recordings with this app.

Roland Zenbeats

iOS, Android

Roland Zenbeats is a great app for music makers wanting to get their teeth sunk into the legendary Roland drum machine and synths. Its sleek and user-friendly UI is a dream for experienced musicians and those looking to learn. There is also a variety of in-app purchases that give you access to a massive variety of Roland beat-making systems, including the iconic TR-808 drum machine.

Korg Module

iOS

The Korg Module app is arguably one of the best piano apps and is tailored to musicians of all levels, whether you’re looking to learn or a keys master. However, the true value of this app though is in the ability to purchase sound kits, allowing you to play through the company’s iconic synthesizers before possibly purchasing.