SoundBytes Freebies Of The Month
Here are two virtual instruments and two … well we don’t know what to call them but they’re very cool! Tomislav keeps finding great free stuff for you.
by Tomislav Zlatic, Nov. 2015
We know, we know… you’re already bored of the freebies from the last issue of SoundBytes Magazine and now you came back looking for more. Well, normally we’d be a little anxious because we wouldn’t know if you’d like our selection of freshly released free software or not, but there’s no need for fear this time around. We’re quite confident that you’ll absolutely love what we have in store for you this month! This month’s freebies are fresh, fun to use and totally different.
The Canary by Black Rooster Audio
Let’s start with the most unusual plugin of the bunch. The Canary by Black Rooster Audio is sort of like a transient shaper, but not exactly. It is a combination of a transient shaper and a parallel equalizer, with the addition of a comb filter that can be used to affect the tuning of drum elements. If all of this sounds a bit confusing, it’s probably because this particular plugin is very hard to explain in normal terms. It all begins to make a lot of sense when you hear The Canary in action, though.
The plugin is well designed and very easy to use. It features a set of knobs for controlling the pitch, envelope and tone of the processed signal, along with a mix knob, a bypass switch and an output volume indicator. The Canary works best for processing acoustic drums and individual percussion tracks, but it can also work well for beefing up synthetic drums and tightening the sound of more complex grooves.
All that’s required in order to download The Canary is a valid email address. There’s no activation process involved and the plugin will work equally well on Windows and Mac OS based systems. Black Rooster Audio has also announced a pair of vintage leveling amplifier plugins that are expected for release in the next couple of months.
TableWarp2 by Plogue
Plogue’s fantastic sforzando virtual instrument keeps getting better and better with each new update. The latest version of this excellent freeware plugin includes an all-new instrument library called TableWarp2, based on an old wavetable synthesizer for Jeskola Buzz. TableWarp2 is surprisingly versatile for an instrument that is basically running inside a sampler. It features a pair of oscillators with a choice of sixteen wavetables, a couple of modulation envelopes, a low frequency oscillator and a built-in FX section.
The instrument includes a useful collection of factory presets that can provide a good starting point for users who are not quite familiar with wavetable and phase distortion synthesis. The CPU hit is very low, so the instrument will work great even on older computers. In order to run TableWarp2, it is necessary to install the latest version of sforzando that can be downloaded completely free of charge from Plogue’s official website.
Thump2 by Metric Halo
Do you want to get even with your neighbours because their TV is always loud? Or perhaps you want to prove once and for all that your speaker setup is the best one around. Either way, you’ll need to generate some seriously loud bass frequencies from your monitors. Thump2 is just the instrument you’re looking for to deliver the goods.
The plugin analyzes the audio signal on the input and uses it to trigger a pair of envelope driven oscillators with independent pitch and volume controls. When applied to a drum loop or individual drum sounds, the effect can work very well for boosting bass frequencies and even emulating the sound of analog drum machines such as the iconic Roland TR-808. The mix knob makes it possible to adjust the volume of the audio signal on the input and the sound that is generated by the oscillators. In addition, Thump2 features a useful real-time visual overview of the two oscillators, making it easy to fine-tune the parameters on the fly.
Using a sub bass generator to enhance the bass frequencies of individual instruments can be a surprisingly good alternative to using an equalizer for the task. The technique doesn’t work so well on more complex audio material and full drum mixes, though, since it’s harder to isolate the sounds that should trigger the built-in oscillators, leading to a somewhat messy result in most cases.
Marazmator 2.0 by Vasily Makarov
From Russia with love, Vasily Makarov’s brilliant Marazmator synthesizer is a wonderful freeware gift for ambient music composers and sound designers around the world. It is an unusual but very inspiring virtual instrument that is unlike any other freeware synthesizer we’ve used before.
Featuring nothing more than three oscillators, a few built-in effects and a pattern generator, Marazmator can generate a wide variety of noises, drones and abstract soundscapes. All of the plugin’s parameters can be randomized, often leading to excellent results. A useful selection of factory presets is also included, as well as a user manual that is currently being translated to English by volunteering users.