SoundBytes Freebie of the Month – September 2017
This month we will look at the marvelous free version of IK Multimedia’s latest instrument, Syntronik – a substantial free offering if ever there was one.
by David Baer, Sept. 2017
In late July, IK Multimedia (hereafter IKM) released Syntronik, a massive sample-based synth instrument. A full review of that can be found in this issue of SoundBytes Magazine here .
In brief, Syntronik is a seventeen-instrument collection of sample-based analog synth classics packaged in one piece of software. Each of the seventeen instruments has an individual UI, but all UIs have essentially the exact same controls. Six of these can be seen in the screenshot just below. The instrument may be purchased as the full collection, but the seventeen component instruments can be purchased individually as well. However, acquiring the full instrument piecemeal with individual purchases will cost the customer far more than buying the whole thing up front.
Syntronik is not deeply programmable. It does have some very good new analog filter emulations created just for Syntronik, and it has a marvelous collection of onboard FX. The emphasis in IKM’s design was to deliver a performance-ready instrument with lots of musically-useful sounds as opposed to a typical software synth sporting a myriad of adjustable controls, modulators, etc. This will frustrate synth power users while it will delight casual sound tweakers and novices.
Rather than releasing a hobbled demo, IKM made a free version available that had no time limitations or features disabled. Syntronik is a closed system in that it can only play sounds packaged in a proprietary format available just to IKM developers, so IKM felt that no other restrictions were necessary except for limiting the content shipped with the free version. The free version comes with 50 sounds, no more. But they are quite good sounds. Furthermore, you may even modify and save them (to the somewhat limited extent one can program sounds in Syntronik).
The catch? I think it’s a fairly subtle but potentially insidious one. As stated earlier, the seventeen individual component instruments in Syntronik can be purchased separately. Here’s what users of the free version must heed: if your DAW has an active internet connection, you may connect with the IKM site directly from within free Syntronik and purchase individual instruments at $50 USD apiece for immediate download, use and gratification. Mwah, haw, haw, says the IKM marketing head while greedily rubbing his hands together.
Seriously though, Syntronik does sound marvelous, and if you get a small taste of what’s there, you are very likely to want to more – maybe a lot more. Those with little control over impulse buys might want to skip this one, or check out the free download and then have the discipline to delete it from your DAW until you’ve saved enough to buy the whole thing.
The 50 presets in the free version provide a small but representative selection of each of the seventeen Syntronik instruments. There are at least two presets from each, and in one case there are eight. You get a nice range of categories: arp presets, bass, brass, leads, pads, etc. that should give you all the experience you need to make an informed buying decision. But if you don’t have the budget and do have the restraint to keep yourself from making impulsive purchases, you might find some real sound gems from the free download to use in your productions. If you love the sound of rich-sounding classic synths, then this freebie is definitely one you’ll want to check out.
For more information, go here:
To download the free version of Syntronik, go to the following URL (you will probably need to first establish an IKM account if you don’t already have one).