Free music software round-up: Week 6

New plug-ins that you don't have to pay for

After a week away, your guide to all things new from the freeware fraternity is back, and we've got a bumper crop of applications and plug-ins to brief you on.

The only downside is that we're a Windows-only zone this time around, which reflects the fact that there are many developers producing free PC software than cross-platform or Mac tools.

With any luck, we'll have some stuff for Apple fans next week; in the meantime, Windows users can get stuck into this lot…


Pluggotic Necroloop

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

If you're a fan of glitchy drums, you'll want to check out this new slicing effect. It offers eight step sequencers that enable you to control the start/end points of slices and to apply one of the three available effects (filter, modulator and bitcrusher). The likes of fills, glitches, bleeps, drills, rolls, repeats, stutters and turntable-style modulations are all said to be possible.

Plastic piano

Knobster Plastic Piano

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Coming from the same stable as the Meowsynth, this instrument's designed to emulate the sound of a cheap and cheerful toy piano. It features a couple of oscillators (each of which has a low-pass filter), an ADSR envelope and the curious Magic button. Oh, and we're told that 150 grams of Plasticine was used in the synth's production, which probably isn't strictly true.


AZ Audio Stempel

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Extreme vocal processing is all the rage right now, so we imagine there'll be a queue of people lining up to download this free spectral vocoder. Offering linear frequency shifters on the carrier and modulator inputs, it also sports an EQ plus saturator and chorus effects. Vocoding rookies will be pleased to note that a PDF manual and a selection of presets come supplied, too.

DSK choirz

DSK ChoirZ

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Currently in beta, this austere looking instrument is designed for the production of choir and pad sounds. To this end, it features three layers, each with ADSR, fine-tuning and pad controls, three filters and three LFOs. Additional lushness can be added with the reverb and chorus effects.

Cantabile lite

Topten Software Cantabile Lite

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Designed specifically for live performers, Cantabile is a VST plug-in host that's just been updated to version 2.0, and there's now this free version to try, too. As you'd expect, it's pretty feature-light in comparison to the full product, but it does offer two racks (each of which can host two plug-ins) and audio/MIDI recorders.


Terry West Productions Easy-NY

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

Parallel compression - or New York compression, as it's also known - is a technique that involves mixing two identical signals: one dry or just slightly compressed, and one heavily compressed. Easy-NY gives you this functionality in a dedicated plug-in, and also comes with a special Motown EQ effect.


Knobster Organaut

Platform/format: PC/VST Download

The Knobster programmers have been busy: as well as the Plastic Piano, the company has also released the Organaut tonewheel organ emulation. There are nine drawbars, a rotary cabinet, adjustable keyclick, and a built-in reverb. What's more, there are both digital and analogue modes, which should equate to a reasonably wide sound palette.

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