Lode is a brilliantly simple free synth for Ableton Live and Push 3 that sounds a lot like the Roland TB-303

We know what you're thinking: another day, another free synth plugin, right? Software-based music-makers may be spoiled for choice these days, but this one's worth a moment of your time. Not for its weighty feature-set or unique sound, though, but instead the equally laudable achievement of doing something very simple, very well.  

Developed by Fors, Lode is a monophonic bass synthesizer inspired by "vintage pieces; instruments that were greater than the sum of their parts and full of charm". By this we can only assume Fors means the Roland TB-303, perhaps the most famous monophonic bass synthesizer (take that, SH-101 stans) and one that shares a certain squelchy character with the sounds you'll hear in Lode's demo video, embedded above. 

Lode is equipped with "analogue-inspired" oscillators, a resonant 24db lowpass filter and two envelopes, a filter sweep envelope and exponential decay envelope. In addition to these, there's controls for wave shape, detuning, and a sub oscillator. Lode's total of eight adjustable parameters have been designed to fit neatly on the screen of the Ableton Push, and the synth is compatible with the new standalone Push 3.

Eight parameters may not sound like much, but that's exactly what we love about this cute little synth plugin. Lode delivers a punchy, versatile sound without bogging us down in too many tone-sculpting possibilities. Coming from Fors, it's no surprise that the plugin's a winner - this Swedish developer has impressed us with several excellent M4L devices in the past, both free and paid-for. 

As Lode is a Max for Live device, you'll only be able to use it with Ableton Live Suite, or if you've purchased the Max for Live add-on for Ableton Live Standard. Max for Live is a platform which lets Ableton users build their own instruments and effects, and is based on the Max development environment and programming language. 

Find out more or download Lode on Fors' website.

Matt Mullen
Tech Editor

I'm the Tech Editor for MusicRadar, working across everything from artist interviews to product news to tech tutorials. I love electronic music and I'm endlessly fascinated by the tools we use to make it. When I'm not behind my laptop keyboard, you'll find me behind a MIDI keyboard, carefully crafting the beginnings of another project that I'll ultimately abandon to the creative graveyard that is my overstuffed hard drive.

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