SoundBytes Freebies Of The Month – May 2014
What’s better than free? How about free and really cool? Tomislav Zlatic presents five notable freebies in an ongoing series of such coverage.
by Tomislav Zlatic, May 2014
Dear readers, welcome to the second round-up of freeware instruments and effects in SoundBytes Magazine. Last time we introduced you to four amazing freebies which have been released in the first couple of months of 2014, hopefully giving you some useful tools to help you with your music endeavors. For this issue we’ve prepared a slightly larger selection of free plugins which have been released in March and April. After reading this article, you’ll have an entire virtual rock band at your disposal, mark our words!
Lethality by Iridium Iris Software
Let’s start this month’s list of freebies with Lethatlity, a surprisingly good sounding virtual guitar instrument by Iridium Iris Software. The instrument was first released as a commercial plugin back in January, but it is now offered as a freeware tool since the developers are concentrating on further developing other instruments in their product arsenal.
The instrument is sample based, rather than being a modeling synthesizer. It is based on a collection of electric guitar samples played in different styles. The played notes can be palm muted and strummed using the built-in controls.
Overall, Lethality sounds rather convincing when playing picked notes. The power chords can sound a bit artificial at times, but this can be fixed in the mix. Still, the instrument definitely performs better in solo guitar parts than working as a substitute for a rhythm guitar.
It’s important to note that the samples have been recorded using direct input technology, so you’ll have to use an amplifier and cabinet modelling plugin after Lethality in the signal chain in order to get the proper sound. We’ve prepared exactly such a freebie for your right below!
Lethality is released as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST plugin for Windows-based hosts.
SoftAmp FM25 by AXP
So, you’re looking for a freeware guitar amplifier simulator to process the Lethality electric guitar instrument featured above? AXP has you covered with their SoftAmp FM25 guitar amp plugin which was released in March this year.
Rather than being just a guitar amplifier simulator, SoftAmp FM25 also features a built-in cabinet section so you can use it right out of the box. The cabinet section can be switched off too, if you prefer working with 3rd party cabinet impulse responses. Either way, the built-in cabinet sounds rather convincing and can be used both for mixing purposes and your everyday guitar jams.
Unlike most guitar amplifier simulator plugins out there, SoftAmp FM25 is based on a practice guitar amplifier. It is a carefully modeled copy of the Fender Frontman 25R combo amplifier. You won’t be able to get a Marshall tone out of it, but that’s an advantage in our eyes because it adds bit of a variety to the user’s sound arsenal. This way you can get a fresh guitar sound which hasn’t already been heard in thousands of classic rock tracks.
SoftAmp FM25 is offered as a 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin for Windows-based host applications.
Yamaha Hybrid Kit by Drumdrops
Now that you have the guitar section for your virtual rock band covered, let’s find the drummer. And wow, we have an amazing free drummer for you this month! Out of the blue, Drumdrops have released their monstrous Yamaha Hybrid Kit sample library as a freebie in April, providing what is quite possibly the best free acoustic drum library out there.
The library is based on a thoroughly sampled Yamaha acoustic drum kit, providing 2592 audio samples in total within over 1.7 GB of audio data. When you create a free user account at the Drumdrops website, you’ll be offered a choice between four different versions of the kit:
- Multi-Velocity Pack
- Single Hits Pack
- Drum Replacement Pack
- All Samples Pack
Once you’ve picked the free version of your choice, use the code “yamahafree” at checkout to get the free download. A fully featured Kontakt version of the kit will be released soon, so you may want to wait for that release before downloading the freebie. If you’re not a Kontakt user, we recommend downloading the All Samples Pack and pairing it up with SFZ or TX16WX sampler patches which are hosted on BPB.
The kit works fantastic in most subgenres of rock music and it will also work well in pop, indie, and other similar music genres. We are impatiently waiting for the Kontakt edition of the kit which will offer the same kind of quality as the commercial Drumdrops releases.
Yamaha Hybrid Kit comes with mappings for NI Kontakt (simpler version of the kit), Reason, Ableton Live, Maschine, and many other sampler formats.
MBX3 by Audio Desk
Unfortunately, the bass guitar player didn’t show up for the recording session, so let’s find a replacement for him. Perhaps MBX3 by Audio Desk, an emulation of the famous Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer, will work as a good substitute and show the bass guitar dude that he has to work harder in order to stay a member of the band?
Most of our readers probably know that Roland originally manufactured their TB-303 synthesizer as a bass machine for rock bands. Unexpectedly, musicians used this instrument in a different ways than planned by Roland and it served as a tool which revolutionized electronic dance music forever. Entire genres like acid house were based on the sound of this instrument and it truly became one of the best known synthesizers of all time.
Audio Desk has created a solid emulation of this bass synthesizer and you’re free to use it in any way you want. You can use it to create classic bass lines for our little virtual rock band here or go wild with it and create all sorts of electronic dance music sounds!
MBX3 is released as a 32-bit VSTi plugin for Windows-based hosts.
SlickEQ by TDR/VOS
After recording all the instrument parts, it’s time for the mixing stage and you’ll need a high quality equalizer plugin to pull it off properly. Thankfully, the superstar developer team formed by Variety of Sound and Tokyo Dawn Labs members has released SlickEQ in March this year. It is a fantastic freeware parametric equalizer which will help you in brushing up your mixes to perfection.
SlickEQ comes in four different flavors, modeled after classic “American”, “British”, “German” and “Soviet” equalizer designs. Each of the four equalizer models features a unique set of EQ curves and non-linear behaviors. The non-linearity component is completely optional and you can switch it off completely if you’re going for more transparent results.
The four EQ models can be paired independently with four unique output stages (“Linear”, “Silky”, “Mellow” and “Deep”), based on different saturation models. The saturation stage uses the fantastic “Stateful Saturation” algorithms which have been developed in Variety of Sound labs. The plugin can be used to add tons of analog mojo to your mix, but it also works rather well as a transparent equalizer for mastering purposes. All in all, SlickEQ is a must-have tool in your mixing plugin arsenal.
SlickEQ is released as a 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin for Windows and Mac-based hosts.
So, the past couple of months brought us an amazing free drum sample library, a neat little virtual guitar instrument and a capable guitar amplifier emulation. That’s almost an entire rock band ready to jam inside your DAW! You’ll need a bass player too though, and that’s where the monophonic MBX3 bass synthesizer jumps in!
Once you’ve recorded the performance of your virtual rock band, you can enhance the mix to perfection with the amazing SlickEQ plugin. Happy mixing dear readers and we’ll see you in two months with a fresh batch of freeware instruments and effects!
Tomislav Zlatic web site: http://bedroomproducersblog.com/