SoundBytes Freebies Of The Month
The holidays are behind us and you’ve probably upgraded your studio with some great tools during the discount craze, but the freeware Santa never sleeps! We bring you five new freebies to boost your productivity in 2015.
by Tomislav Zlatic, Jan. 2015
With the holidays just behind us, we believe that you’ve upgraded your studio with some fine new software tools which will help you make some great music in 2015. But the freeware Santa never sleeps, so we’ve picked another batch of freebies to make the start of the new year even more pleasurable for you, dear readers!
Ask any good mixing engineer about which items they’d take to a desert island and most of them would probably ramble about bringing women, packs of beer, a good Swiss Army knife, or perhaps some food, but in reality all of them would go for a nice compressor and their favorite equalizer. What they’d do with these tools while being stuck on a desert island is beyond most people, but that’s probably the reason why not everyone can become a good mixing engineer in the first place.
Anyways, since we know how important these two types of tools are to mixing engineers, we simply had to include them in our first freebie round-up of 2015, along with an interesting freeware synthesizer, a simple saturation effect and a useful sample based percussive instrument.
EQ1A by Mellowmuse
As we’ve already mentioned, a good equalizer is every mixing engineer’s must-have utility. And if for some reason you still haven’t found your equalizer of choice (perhaps working on a tight budget has prevented you from doing so), we might just have the perfect candidate for you.
EQ1A was originally released as a commercial plugin priced at $49 three years ago. In late December 2014 however, Mellowmuse has announced that the plugin is being re-released as a freeware tool and that they will release even more freebies in 2015. This was a very pleasant surprise, since Mellowmuse products are generally regarded as quality mixing tools offered at a fair price.
Although EQ1A is not the most versatile equalizer out there, it is definitely a handy tool for performing most common mixing tasks such as track cleanup or slight coloration of the processed audio signal. Featuring two parametric bands, two shelving bands and a high pass filter, all of which are packed in a CPU efficient package, EQ1A could easily become your track equalizer of choice.
The only significant drawback of the plugin is the fact that the GUI is optimized for smaller screen resolutions, so it’s sometimes a bit hard to select the proper knob in the high pass filter section. Other than that, the plugin performs flawlessly and it was completely stable during our tests.
EQ1A is available as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST, AU, RTAS and AAX plugin for Windows and Mac OS X based DAW applications.
TDR Kotelnikov by Tokyo Dawn Labs
The second plugin on our freebie list in this issue is a mastering compressor which was developed by Tokyo Dawn Labs, the same developer who created the amazing TDR Feedback Compressor.
Their latest plugin is called TDR Kotelnikov and it was designed to use all of the advantages of digital signal processing in order to provide highly transparent dynamic range reduction, free of audible compression artifacts. The plugin doesn’t copy any hardware compressor design and doesn’t try to provide any analog style mojo. Instead of that, TDR Kotelnikov is optimized for being as stealthy as possible, even at high compression rates.
Before using the plugin, it is highly recommended to read the user manual provided in PDF format and also watch the feature overview video which is available on YouTube. Although TDR Kotelnikov is not complicated to use, you will definitely get better results with it if you understand its building blocks and the way in which the different components interact with each other.
TDR Kotelnikov is released in 32-bit and 64-bit VST, AU and AAX plugin formats for Windows and Mac OS X based host applications.
Eclipsis by VST Zone
In a world crowded with virtual analogue synthesizers, less common types of virtual instruments are regarded a welcome breeze of fresh air. The brand new Eclipsis by VST Zone is exactly that, offering an interesting pallet of sounds to sound designers who are working on a budget.
Eclipsis is a wavetable synthesizer with 118 built-in waveforms and advanced modulation features which make it one of the most versatile instruments on the freeware market. The minimalistic GUI is optimized for ensuring a fast workflow and the excellent implementation of parameter randomization can often be used as a great source of inspiration while working on new patches.
The instrument would be even better if it was possible to load external wave shapes in WAV format and if it was possible to scan through a waveform in the same way that we’re used to seeing in modern wavetable synthesizers. But even in its current state, Eclipsis is a great addition to any sound designer’s virtual instrument arsenal.
Eclipsis is offered as a freeware 32-bit VST plugin for Windows based digital audio workstations and other host applications.
Saturation Knob by Softube
Sometimes the simplest tool is also the best tool and if you’re looking for a non-complicated way to add some saturation to your tracks, Softube has you covered. Their Saturation Knob effect has recently been released as a freeware tool for all major plugin platforms, after several years of being a Pro Tools and Cakewalk Sonar excusive.
With just two different parameters available on the GUI, you can hardly make a mistake while tweaking Saturation Knob to fit your project perfectly. The plugin sounds great at mild saturation settings, but you can also use it to create audible distortion and to slightly compress the dynamic range of the processed audio signal.
The only flaw of the plugin lies in the fact that the installer is over 400 MB in size, which is a big issue for potential users with slower connection speeds. The installer package contains all currently available Softube products and you have to remove the ones which you don’t want to use during the installation process.
Saturation Knob is available as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST, AU, RTAS and AAX plugin for Windows and Mac OS X based digital audio workstations.
Clap Machine by 99Sounds
Clap Machine is the first free VST plugin created by 99Sounds. It is a sample based virtual instrument designed for creating natural sounding hand claps.
Of course, recording a clapping performance live with your microphone would be the most professional approach for adding hand claps to your track, but not everyone has access to a good sounding microphone and a nice recording space. Clap Machine is the next best thing, offering an easy way to create natural clap performances and group claps which can be layered on top of other percussive elements in your project.
Clap Machine is available as a freeware 32-bit and 64-bit VST/AU plugin for Windows and Mac OS X based host applications.
Tomislav Zlatic: http://bedroomproducersblog.com/