Friday, December 22, 2006

The Best 100% Free Windows Plugins


Just when I thought I had exhausted the possible list of resources for Windows music plugins I bump into this site. A great site in its own right for the articles it puts up on “creating digital” music. They also maintain a column on the “best” free music plugins. Of course, “best” can be a matter of likes and dislikes but they seem to know what they are talking about. I found that one needs to take a chance into trusting some source on this issue. The fact of the matter is that if you Google for “free vst” etc that you will bump into an almost endless list. Availability is not the problem but rather the issue is one of screening. This list also includes a number of soft synths and many analog emulation i.e. like the synths of old such as the Moog.

Monday, December 18, 2006

An awesome and free Sampling Synth



I was turned on to this free VSTi instrument i.e. virtual instrument which accommodates to the VST specs by my friends at Audio Masters Forum. This little jewel packs the same sampling engine that rgc: audio uses in their hardcore top of the line synths. sfz only functions as a sampler but with very impressive performance specs. Furthermore, it can load SoundFonts which are very high quality and very widely available sound libraries. Actually, there is quite a bit of free SoundFonts which may carry one quite a ways. I loaded a Grand Piano SoundFont and it sounded quite good. I would have t say as good to my ears as the Grand Piano sound in my Roland XV2020. sfz can be tuned depending on the performance constraints of the PC and what one is trying to do. In English this just means that one with a modern PC can use sfz on a live gig at an acceptable quality level. At the home studio the highest quality settings can be brought out to render to wav file i.e. where on to use sfz in the recording studio.

As mentioned sfz is a VSTi instrument. This means that one requires a host. In my studio I use a combination of an inexpensive audio recording package , namely Sony’s ACID Music Studio and Adobe Audition. Unfortunately, as great as Audition is it does not support VSTi. Audition is very much multi-track recording focused. Music Studio although not by a long shot as powerful as Audition in the multi-track recording area it does support VSTi and midi sequencing better, so its a good compliment. Music Studio is only $70.00 so its well worth it.

Having said that there may be times when I will want to use sfz outside of Music Studio i.e. I may indeed want to record into Audition directly. In that case we need a VST host and one can be found here:

once hosted sfz can be triggered via midi and its audio output properly re-routed so that it can be recorded into Audition or whatever. Yes, I could just host with Music Studio. Well, I’m guessing , honestly have not tried hosting with Music Studio and recording sfz into Audition but it does technically follow that one can do that. The reason though to use something like Cantabile is that it is a lightweight no frills, and of minor impact to the host system.

To conclude , again , a great time to be a recording music enthusiast. Another set of tools to add to one’s arsenal. sfz will certainly help make your music sound great.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Its Okay if your Dad is a Music Exec

This is too funny. Warner Music CEO admits his kids are music pirates. Apparently, they somehow missed the arm of the RIAA. Wonder how?

Found this on my lawyer’s blog. Great blog well worth subscribing to it.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Land of Free VSTs

Things have changed quite a bit since the last time I really tried my hand at audio recording and production. Not only are the tools better, PCs cheaper and hardware more affordable on the software side I to my delight find that there is a tremendous amount of “goodies” , to be exact VST and DirectX plugins which can be loaded into my Adobe Audition recording system. Not only are these plugins free but many of them are actually quite good, if not excellent. I primarily have interest in plugins for signal processing i.e. your reverbs, eq , compression etc but one can also find VST instruments i.e. software sound modules. Its a great time to be alive and working in audio and trying to produce your own music. The tools are there to really produce wonderful and professional quality level music. I already use these on a regular basis. I put down my ideas on track and apply a quick mix. It sounds great. What I find most exciting is that it feeds the “inspiration” . To be able to hear stuff that sounds good , that sounds like it has promise inspires one to continue working and tweaking the tune.

I plan to blog about the particular plugins I use as I use them and have develop some solid understanding of their use. In the meanwhile check out this thread where I asked about VST resources.

Most of these developers have taken the “open source” philosophy. Many ask for donations and a few ask that if their plugins help one make money i.e. CDBaby sales that in turn the user should reciprocate by making a donation. Sounds very reasonable to me and I’ll gladly do that.