Computer Music issue 214 - Ultimate Freeware - March 2015

VIDEO for EVERY TUTORIAL, 40+ VST/AU plugins for FREE, 1500+ samples and more, with Vault download for whichever format you choose.


GOOGLE PLAY (Android, Chrome for PC/Mac)
ZINIO (PC, Mac, Android,iPad)
**(NOTE: Break video only available with Print & Apple Newsstand editions)


Every tutorial in the mag this month uses free plugins! We've prepared over 60 videos showcasing the best free instruments, effects and tools out there today, as well as how to use them for pro results…


In our cover feature, we'll show you the free software to use if you're looking for professional results without splashing ANY cash. We've trawled the internet for gratis plugins and come back with only the cream of the crop. Find out where to find them and how to use them across 15 pages and 23 videos.

You'll get the lowdown on:

  • The best free synths out there right now, how they sound and how to use them - Datsounds OBDX, Green Oak Crystal, u-he Triple Cheese, TAL NoiseMarker and more;
  • 34 free mixing effects, from classic EQs and compressors, through modern stereo and pitch manipulation tools, and many more;
  • Free tools that can take your sound and your workflow to the next level;
  • Where to find 36 new creative effects for your plugins folder. Whether you're into glitching, pitching, phase, delays, or any other sound-skewing tools, we'll give you the goss on the best stuff out there;
  • How to get the best of Linux as a free software studio - our video will take you on a tour of the best Linux-based tools and noisemakers

…And a lot more

There's never been a worse time to empty your wallet! Check out our video guide to Green Oak's classic synth Crystal to get you in the mood…


DopeVST Beat Machine CM

• 50 ready-to-groove, royalty-free drum kits in a powerful virtual instrument for Mac/PC. Lay down Beat Machine CM's ready-mixed retro-style hits and beats with ease, and customise your sound with its onboard Level/Reverb/Pitch/Panning controls. Throw Beat Machine CM down into your DAW and take a break - see how easy it is to get started with this boss beatbox in the video below, and check out the full spec on the Beat Machine CM page.

HoRNet DrumShaper

• Tighten up your drums with this compact-but-powerful AU/VST effect from the Italian plugin cognoscenti. Made just for CM, this easy-to-use plugin takes care of compression and EQ settings for you, based upon your choice of source material, then lets you dial its effect up or down to taste. Not sure where to set the input/output levels for best results? No problem - DrumShaper's Auto Gain features have got you covered! See and hear DrumShaper in action in the video below, and see its full spec on the DrumShaper page.


• We're not letting up on this special free software-themed issue, as we demonstrate just how powerful you can get without spending a penny on plugins. You'll watch us put together a polished, modern DnB track from start to finish - and you can join in for free! We start by building up a beat with choice samples and effects plugins, before moving on to keys, lead and pad sounds. Next, we kick up the bass, add vocal hooks, arrange, mix and master our track - and not once do we have to enter in our credit card details. Check out the result of this immense 26-minute feature's video tutorials with a look at a playthrough of the final result.


• Get a huge wall of sound from free plugins with our ten expert guitar mixing techniques. We're covering double- and quad-tracking to get the fullest sound, simulating amp and pedals in your DAW for a killer tone, fitting it all in the mix, and more! Every technique is accompanied by a video version, so you can get your ears around the process - assuming they're still attached to your skull!


• The freeware focus continues with a look at how to navigate the most legendary free soft synth out there. Ichiro Toda's Synth1 is a software 'tribute' to the Nord Lead 2 synthesiser, and it's taken the #1 spot in the KVR Product Rankings for more months than we can remember.

• Across our nine videos, you can find out what everyone's so impressed with, as we guide you through Synth1 from top to bottom. You'll see the oscillators and their voicing options; check out the filters and envelopes; go deeper into the synth's modulation, effects and arpeggiator; and round it off with a look at the finer points of synth1: customisation, programs and installing new presets.


• The Ultimate Pack CM from Resonance Sound is all yours this issue, filled with over 1500 samples and 50 Kontakt patches, all broken down into two sections:

• Synth Essentials CM: a kick-ass Kontakt instrument laden with 50 multisampled synths, basses, pads, leads and atmospheres!

• Sample Essentials CM: A gigabyte of one-shot sound specially selected from Resonance Sound's commercial sample libraries

• …And it's all free for CM readers! Should you need a taste of what's in store, take a look at the video below…

Watch DnB legend Break in the studio in our PRODUCER MASTERCLASS video***

• DnB stalwart Charlie 'Break' Bierman shows us how he crafts his warm, analogue-flavoured drum 'n' bass sound in this month's Producer Masterclass video. Journey into the studio and see how Temptations came into being. Scrutinise Break's finely-honed production chops and get a load of his luscious setup. Here's the first part of the video to whet your appetite - get the rest in Computer Music 214.


  • Designer Sounds: InsideInfo whips up some spacey, atmospheric dub synth stabs using only freely available plugins;
  • Dr Beat: We kick off a new tutorial series on drum design and programming - and it's none other than accomplished sticksman and CM favourite Ronan Macdonald on the throne;
  • Geek Technique: In-demand engineer Owen Palmer gives us his secret recipe for creating a beefier mix, and all with freeware tools;
  • Music Theory: Dave Clews holds our hands and gently shows us how to use Borrowed Chords to expand our musical horizons.


  • Sander Kleinenberg: The straightforward Dutch DJ doesn't know the inner workings of his synths' circuit boards, but he knows how to tease a fine tune out of them! We kick back with Sander as he reveals his philosophy on music making;
  • iZotope: We quiz Aaron Wishnick, Jack Cote and Brett Bunting on the creation of the company's most successful software instruments and effects;
  • Hot Since 82: The house producer waxes lyrical on his five favourite bits of music software.


  • Steinberg Cubase Pro 8
  • Cytomic The Drop
  • Plugin Boutique VirtualCZ
  • Sound Radix Drum Leveler
  • Vengeance Sound Essential FX Bundle 2
  • Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack
  • GForce Software Oddity 2
  • Korg Module
  • PLUS 14 more reviews


• Every issue of Computer Music comes with CM Plugins, an exclusive collection of pro-quality VST/AU instruments and effects for PC and Mac. Check out our full CM Plugins list and the CM Plugins FAQ for more info.


***Producer Masterclass video is not currently downloadable. Apple Newsstand readers can watch it directly inside the app via internet streaming. Print edition includes Producer Masterclass on the DVD. Other digital formats inc. Zinio & Google Play do not include Producer Masterclass video.

cm214 is on sale now in the UK, Apple Newsstand and Zinio. Overseas dates for print edition are roughly: USA + 4 weeks after UK / Australia +8 weeks / Europe +2 weeks / South Africa +6 weeks / Canada +4 weeks

See more back issues on our cmbackissueslist

Computer Music

Computer Music magazine is the world’s best selling publication dedicated solely to making great music with your Mac or PC computer. Each issue it brings its lucky readers the best in cutting-edge tutorials, need-to-know, expert software reviews and even all the tools you actually need to make great music today, courtesy of our legendary CM Plugin Suite.