SoundBytes Freebies Of The Month
Two plug-in effects, a software synth and a drum sample library all available at the best possible price – nada, nil, zip! Tomislav keeps finding the free stuff for you.
by Tomislav Zlatic, Sept. 2015
Hello, is there anybody out there? Anyone? Hello? Damn, it looks like everyone’s still at the beach! Hopefully you’ll gather enough inspiration as the summer winds down though, so that you can put our latest selection of awesome musical freebies to good use once you return to the studio. In the meanwhile, enjoy the sunshine, the sea, and have a great vacation! 🙂
MJUC jr. by Klanghelm
As if the full version of the fantastic new MJUC variable-tube compressor by Klanghelm wasn’t cheap enough (available for just €24), they’ve also released a completely usable free version of the plugin called MJUC jr. The free version is based on a combination of two compression algorithms from the full product, packed in a simpler and more streamlined user interface. Most importantly, it is completely free to download and use from the developer’s website, no strings attached.
The free version of the plugin does wonders on vocals and other types of audio which benefit from subtle compression and saturation, but it can also sound absolutely amazing on acoustic drums and bass guitars, especially if you’re looking for that vintage 60s tone. Operating MJUC jr. is extremely easy, as the interface consists of just a couple of knobs and a simple three-way switch to determine the timing setting (fast, slow, or auto). The auto mode works surprisingly well, automatically adapting the circuit’s response to the audio signal on the input.
Both the free and the commercial version support all major plugin platforms and will work on Windows and Mac OS machines. MJUC jr. is possibly the best freebie we’ve seen since the last issue of SoundBytes Magazine. It packs a carefully modeled variable-tube style compression circuit in a well-designed interface, available completely free of charge. What’s not to like?
Helm by Matt Tytel
Helm is still a work in progress, but it looks very promising at this point. It is a free multi-platform synthesizer developer by Matt Tytel, packing a capable synthesis engine underneath a very nice looking GUI. Seriously, the GUI is one of the best we’ve seen lately among freeware releases, with a soothing color palette and fresh material design style shadows below the knobs.
The sound is also very good and what’s even better is that Helm comes with a couple of features we don’t usually see in freeware synthesizers. The formant section and the stutter effect module can lead to some surprisingly good sounding results. Also the modulation controls are perfectly laid-out and it’s easy to connect different elements of the sound engine, as well as to figure out what target is modulated by which modulation source.
The plugin still has stability issues on certain systems, however the developer is constantly working on releasing maintenance updates with the latest bug fixes. Helm works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, with support for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. We’re curious to see how this rather interesting virtual instrument will be developed in the future, but either way it’s one of the nicest surprises in the plugin world this summer.
TAL Reverb-4 by Togu Audio Line
Togu Audio Line has released a very cool vintage style sampler instrument last month, but they’ve also made everyone happy with yet another fantastic freebie effect release, the first one from TAL’s software kitchen in quite some time. The latest version of their free reverb plugin is called TAL Reverb-4 and is actually based on the reverb module from the aforementioned TAL-Sampler virtual instrument.
The plugin’s miniature user interface can be quite deceiving, as TAL Reverb-4 can produce some seriously huge reverbs. It can be used to create more subtle reverb types as well, however the plugin definitely shines when it comes to producing massive modern spaces that are often applied to synth leads and even electric bass lines nowadays (with generous amounts of high-pass filtering, of course).
Free Drum Samples by Samplefino
Lastly, here’s a nice collection of tape processed drum machine samples for your beat making needs. The drums included in the Free Drum Samples pack by Samplefino were synthesized on a MFB-522 analog drum machine and then re-sampled from a selection of tape recorders in order to add some saturation and crunch on top. The samples were also passed through select tube preamps and an old tape delay unit.
The pack also contains a small set of kick drum samples which were created with Samplefino’s commercial Analogue Kick Drum instrument for NI Kontakt. All of the samples (50 individual drum hits in total) are provided as 24-bit WAV files, with corresponding patches for One Small Clue Poise, FXpansion Geist and Native Instruments Kontakt. More drum samples and the full version of Analogue Kick Drum are available for purchase as part of the Analogue Drums Bundle collection from the developer’s website.