SoundBytes Freebies Of The Month
Two effects, a library of drum sounds and a synth – all available at the best possible price. Tomislav keeps finding the free stuff for you.
by Tomislav Zlatic, May 2015
Generally speaking, the spring is the time of the year when everyone should pretty much be spending their days outside, enjoying the sun and doing all sorts of outdoor activities. But it’s easier said than done for us musician types, with so much music waiting to be made and so many freeware instruments and effects out there waiting to be used in your studio. Well, for better or for worse, we have prepared a fresh batch of freebies for you, dear readers, to help you spend less time doing sports and more time staring at a computer screen. 🙂
CL36 by J1000
Developer J1000 is back with yet another really useful freeware mixing tool this month, delivering the well-designed CL36 multi-band clipper effect for 32-bit Windows hosts. CL36 splits the incoming signal into three frequency bands which can be treated separately. The main part of the plugin’s DSP engine is the clipping circuit (which can function both as a hard and a soft clipper), however the plugin also comes with a nice set of extra features such as the mid/side processing mode and the waveform display which helps visualize the plugin’s effect on the processed audio.
With its multi-band approach to audio processing and a nice sounding soft clipping circuit, CL36 is pretty much a unique offering on the freeware market. It is an incredibly useful tool for taming the peaks of percussive material, while avoiding any compression or limiting artifacts.
Needless to say, there aren’t too many freeware multi-band clippers out there at the moment and it really is a shame that CL36 is only compatible with 32-bit Windows based digital audio workstations. Here’s hoping that, at some point in the future, SynthEdit plugins will run without any issues on 64-bit systems.
60s Rogers Pop Kit by Drumdrops
Drumdrops have taken the multi-sampled acoustic drum market by storm, releasing one impressive acoustic drum sample library after another. They are also known for releasing limited free series of their new products and this time they are actually giving away an entire product for free, for a limited time.
The Single Hits Pack version of their 60s Rogers Pop Kit sample library is currently offered as a free download for anyone interested and it will become a commercial product on August 31st this year. However, if you add it to your Drumdrops user account on time, you will have unlimited free access to the product, even after it goes commercial. The kit itself captures the sound of classic pop tracks from the 1960s, featuring the sounds of the same drum kit which was used to create the “Swinging 60s Pop Drops Volume 1 Drum Tracks” multi-track album by Drumdrops.
The library can be downloaded completely free of charge by using a voucher which is distributed exclusively via Bedroom Producers Blog. 60s Rogers Pop Kit (Single Hits Pack) contains 138 individual drum samples and it is compatible with all major sampler instruments and digital audio workstations.
VocRider by Terry West
Terry West is somewhat of a silent hero of the freeware plugin word. His creations aren’t among the best known freeware effects, however they are often unmatched by other free software due to their unique design and great functionality. VocRider is exactly such a product, the first freeware effect of its kind.
The plugin is somewhat similar to the Waves Vocal Rider effect, however it is far from being a 1-1 recreation of the original. Terry West’s creation comes with a reduced feature set, most importantly lacking the ability to automatically level the amplitude of a vocal track.
On the other hand, it does a stellar job at controlling the volume of the main vocal track in relation to the background instruments, so that the vocal track remains prominent throughout the mix. This is done simply by sending the background elements of the mix as a sidechain source to the plugin’s right stereo input, which can be done quite easily in most modern digital audio workstations. The download pack contains detailed instructions for setting up the effect in the latest version of Steinberg Cubase.
Charlatan 2.0 by BlauKraut Engineering
Perhaps the coolest freebie news this month is coming from BlauKraut Engineering, the developers of the fantastic Charlatan freeware virtual analogue synthesizer. This stellar VA synth has recently been updated to v2.0, introducing a completely overhauled sound engine which is now optimized for less CPU usage in polyphonic mode, along with the brand new unison mode, a new user interface and several minor bug fixes.
Charlatan was already well optimized to begin with, but the latest release is more efficient than ever, resulting in up to 50% less CPU usage when playing multiple voices. Even with such a dramatic change to the synthesis engine, the new version of the instrument is still compatible with the old presets, albeit for some minor sonic differences in extremely rare cases.
The new unison mode is nothing short of spectacular, turning this once fairly simple virtual analogue synthesizer into a much more versatile sonic weapon. Making huge detuned leads and basslines is now easier than ever with Charlatan, and all the more enjoyable with the new highly efficient sound engine.