Top 5 Friday | The Best Free Virtual Instrument Plugins (VSTi)

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Links to the Top 5 below….

1. OB-Xd (DiscoDSP)
2. Loopcloud
3. Tunefish (Brain Control)
4. Ample Guitar M Lite (Ample Sound)
5. TAL-Noisemaker

Top 5 Friday | The Best Free Instrument Plugins on Plugin Boutique

5. TAL-Noisemaker

With its two oscillators, two LFOs, ADSR, envelope editor, filter, frequency modulation, and four effects, Noisemaker is a pretty run-of-the-mill synth. But it’s exactly that that makes this one so accessible, and probably our favourite synth to whip up sounds with no fussing.

One of the best touches in TAL-Noisemaker is how some panels can be folded down when you don’t need them, making it a to-the-point, straightforward synth.

With its multi-stage envelopes, Juno-style chorus, and its delay, reverb and bitcrusher, you’ve got everything that makes classic synthesizers so special, so why mess with anything else?

4. Ample Guitar M Lite (Ample Sound)

Are you the kind of person that brings your laptop with you everywhere? With Ample Guitar M Lite installed, you can also be the kind of D-bag who takes their guitar with them everywhere!

Ample Sound have got a reputation for modelling and recreating real guitar and bass instruments, and their free acoustic guitar ROMpler, Ample Guitar M Lite, is a showcase of their skills – which means it’s got to be pretty good to impress.

Coming in at just under a gigabyte, and with Sustain, Hammer On, Pull Off, Palm Mute and Popping 5 articulations, plus a set of stompbox-style effects to put your acoustic signal through, this is one that find its place, whatever genre you’re making.

3. Tunefish (Brain Control)

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A virtual analogue VST synth developed by the Demoscene group Brain Control, TuneFish isn’t just an instrument – isn’t an exercise in coding. The whole thing can fit into 10kilobits of machine code, but despite being so tiny, it makes a kickass range of sounds.

Oscillators are additive synthesis-based wavetables, and there’s a noise generator in tow; you get simple filtering, low-pass, band-pass, high-pass and notch; there are two ADSR envelopes and two LFOs, and there are seven effects onboard, including Flanger, Delay, Reverb, EQ and Formant.

Tunefish is an incredibly lightweight synth, but capable of some heavyweight tones. Being made by a group of Demoscene coders, the visualisations are hugely inspiring, too.

2. Loopcloud

Loopcloud is a sample browser that lets you audition millions of samples right within your DAW. But the service would be nothing without the plugin that goes with it.

With the Loopcloud plugin loaded in your DAW, and the Loopcloud app open, the plugin tells the app vital information about your project, such as its tempo, and the DAW you’re using, and that allows Loopcloud to search for samples of the right tempo and automatically timestretch them. Loopcloud’s audio also gets sent through the plugin, so you can hear the results alongside your project.

As of Loopcloud v4, the latest update, the Loopcloud plugin also has a MIDI keyboard display, and lets you play MIDI notes to trigger samples in the software, so you can audition drum sounds and pitch up your one shots to see if they’ll work in your track, before you even buy them.

1. OB-Xd (DiscoDSP)

The OB-Xa was Oberheim’s answer to the Prophet-5, and one of the first lot of instruments that offered polyphony. As such, it’s a certified classic, and it’s the subject of this DiscoDSP emulation.

You get two oscillators with Saw or Pulse settings, plus a noise oscillator. To shape those sounds, you can a filter with resonance, and envelopes both for that filter and for amplitude. With this being a celebration of the original Oberheim polyphonic synth, there’s a section for voice variation,

OB-Xd is an attempt to not just copy the original, but also to improve upon it. DiscoDSP have improved that crucial filter, which is so important for getting great synth sounds.


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