sonicLAB launches VOLBot stochastic amplitude modulator

sonibLAB VOLBot server

sonicLAB has announced the release of the VOLBot audio processor, a new stochastic amplitude modulator which offers a unique distributed server/client audio engine structure. The plugin offers an LFO with versatile modulation sources rendering complex amplitude sculpting. The VOLBot can distribute itself over multiple DAW tracks as 1 server and its multiple clients. The clients […]

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Isotonik Studios releases Sempler Pro sample playback instrument by Noiss COKO

Noiss Cocko Sempler Pro

Isotonik Studios has announced availability of Sempler Pro, a sample sequence manipulator by Noiss COKO designed to create complex patterns by performing simple actions. The whole device is exclusively driven by its integrated sequencer, which among other parameters allows to set a different starting point, size, pitch, level and delay amount for every single step. […]

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K-Devices TAPP delay & WOV modulation plugin on sale at up to 30% OFF

K Devices WOV & TAPP sale

Plugin Boutique has launched an exclusive sale on the new Phoenix Series effect plugins TAPP and WOV, offering discounts of up to 30% off regular through March. TTAP is a delay with two buffers. Each buffer features extensive controls for shaping the envelope of the delay sound, with another control set for glitchy pre-feedback repeats […]

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NI Massive X synth sees first features, interface revealed

Native Instruments’ Massive synth defined a generation of soft synths and left a whole genre or two in its wake. But its sequel remains mysterious. Now the company is revealing some of what we can expect.

First, temper your expectations: NI aren’t giving us any sound samples or a release date. (It’s unclear whether the blog talking about “coming months” refers just to this blog series or … whether we’re waiting some months for the software, which seems possible.)

What you do get to see, though, is some of what I got a preview of last fall.

After a decade and a half, making a satisfying reboot of Massive is a tall order. What’s encouraging about Massive X is that it seems to return to some of the original vision of creator Mike Daliot. (Mike is still heavily involved in the new release, too, having crafted all 125 wavetables himself, among other things.)

So Massive X, like Massive before it, is all about making complex modulation accessible – about providing some of the depth of a modular in a fully designed semi-modular environment. Those are packaged into a UI that’s cleaner, clearer, prettier – and finally, scalable. And since this is not 2006, the sound engine beneath has been rewritten – another reason I’m eager to finally hear it in public form.

Massive X is still Massive. That means it incorporates features that are now so widely copied, you would be forgiven forgetting that Massive did them first. That includes drag-and drop modulation, the signature ‘saturn ring’ indicators of modulation around knobs, and even aspects of the approach to sections in the UI.

What’s promising is really the approach to sound and modulation. In short, revealed publicly in this blog piece for the first time:

Two dedicated phase modulation oscillators. Phase modulation was one of the deeper features of the original – and, if you could figure out Yamaha’s arcane approach to programming, instruments like the DX7. But now it’s more deeply integrated with the Massive architecture, and there’s more of it.

Lots of noise. In addition to those hundred-plus wavetables for the oscillators, you also get dozens of noise sources. (Rain! Birdies!) That rather makes Massive into an interesting noise synth, and should open up lots of sounds that aren’t, you know, angry EDM risers and basslines.

New filters. Comb filters, parallel and serial routing, and new sound. The filters are really what make a lot of NI’s latest generation stuff sound so good (as with a lot of newer software), so this is one to listen for.

New effects algorithms. Ditto.

Expanded Insert FX. This was another of the deeper features in Massive – and a case of the semi-modular offering some of the power of a full-blown modular, in a different (arguably, if you like, more useful) context. Since this can include both effects and oscillators, there are some major routing possibilities. Speaking of which:

Audio routing. Route an oscillator to itself (phase feedback), or to one another (yet more phase modulation), and make other connections you would normally expect of a modular synth, not necessarily even a semi-modular one.

Modulators route to the audio bus, too – so again like modular hardware, you can treat audio and modulation interchangeably.

More envelopes. Now you get up to nine of these, and unique new devices like a “switcher” LFO. New “Performers” can use time signature-specific rhythms for modulation, and you can trigger snapshots.

It’s a “tracker.” Four Trackers let you use MIDI as assignable modulation.

Maybe this is an oversimplification, but at the end of the day, it seems to me this is really about whether you want to get deep with this specific, semi-modular design, or go into a more open-ended modular environment. The tricky thing about Massive X is, it might have just enough goodies to draw in even the latter camp.

And, yeah, sure, it’s late. But … Reaktor has proven to us in the past that some of the stuff NI does slowest can also be the stuff the company does best. Blame some obsessive engineers who are totally uninterested in your calendar dates, or, like, the forward progression of time.

For a lot of us, Massive X will have to compete with the fact that on the one hand, the original Massive is easy and light on CPU, and on the other, there are so many new synths and modulars to play with in software. But let’s keep an eye on this one.

And yes, NI, can we please hear the thing soon?

Hey, at least I can say – I think I was the first foreign press to see the original (maybe even the first press meeting, full stop), I’m sure because at the time, NI figured Massive would appeal only to CDM-ish synth nerds. (Then, oops, Skrillex happened.) So I look forward to Massive X accidentally creating the Hardstyle Bluegrass Laser Tag craze. Be ready.

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Unique takes on delay and tremolo from K-Devices, now as plug-ins

K-Devices have brought alien interfaces and deep modulation to Max patches – now they’re doing plug-ins. And their approach to delay and tremolo isn’t quite like what you’ve seen before, a chance of break out of the usual patterns of how those work. Meet TTAP and WOV.

“Phoenix” is the new series of plug-ins from K-Devices, who previously had focused on Max for Live. Think equal parts glitchy IDM, part spacey analog retro – and the ability to mix the two.


TTAP is obviously both a play on multi-tap delay and tape, and there’s another multi-faceted experiment with analog and digital effects.

At its heart, there are two buffers with controls for delay time, speed, and feedback. You can sync time controls or set them free. But the basic idea here is you get smooth or glitchy buffers warping around based on modulation and time you can control. There are some really beautiful effects possible:


WOV is a tremolo that’s evolved into something new. So you can leave it as a plain vanilla tremolo (a regular rate amplitude shifter), but you can also adjust sensitivity to responding to an incoming signal. And there’s an eight-step sequencer. There are extensive controls for shaping waves for the effect, and a Depth section that’s well, deep – or that lets you turn this tremolo into a kind of gate.

These are the sorts of things you could do with a modular and a number of modules, but having it in a single, efficient, integrated plug-in where you get straight at the controls without having to do a bunch of patching – that’s something.

Right now, each plug-in is on sale (25% off) for 45EUR including VAT (about forty two bucks for the USA). 40% off if you buy both. Through March 17.

VST/VST3/AU/AAX, Mac and Windows.


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Einfacher aber genialer Sequencer – Kreative kurze Sequenzen und Variationen schnell gemacht

Tenderfoot Lattice SequencerTenderfoot Lattice Sequencer

Sequencer gibt es massig, auch solche, die nicht nur in eine einzige Richtung laufen. Aber die komplexeren „kartesichen“ Sequencer sind auch komplizierter.

Der Lattice von Tenderfoot ist ein 4×3-Schritt Sequencer. Er hat eine total einfache Logik, die jeder sofort versteht. Der erste Trigger-Eingang schaltet jeweils einen Schritt weiter und rutscht dann in die nächste Zeile und startet wieder oben, wenn der letzte Step unten rechts erreicht ist. Das ist natürlich offensichtlich. Aber es gibt ja noch drei weitere Eingänge und den Ausgang.


Es gibt zwei weitere Triggereingänge, die jeweils nur eine Richtung haben. Deshalb sind die mit einem Pfeil unterlegt, der entweder vertikal oder horizontal den nächsten Step anspringt. Damit hat man vier Schritte nach unten oder drei nach rechts Platz. Danach würde die Sequenz wieder dort ankommen, wo sie startete. Natürlich können auch beide Pfeil-Trigger-Eingänge angesteuert werden. In dem Falle würde links unten das diagonal liegende Poti als nächstes angesteuert werden.

Eine Sequenz oder eine Modulationsquelle?

Es ist also wirklich sehr einfach und es ist auch nur eine „Spur“ am Ausgang anliegend. Mit dieser Methode kann man jedoch mehr Abwechslung aufbauen. Wer nicht nur in Melodien denkt, kann auch so eine kleine Minisequenz als Modulationsquelle für alles verwenden, die an Instrumente wie Buchlas Music Easel erinnern. Sehr kurze Sequenzen als Ersatz für LFOs oder Hüllkurven werden gerne unterschätzt. Sie liefern Bewegung und sind mit 3 oder 4 Steps bereits ausreichend beweglich. Außerdem können ja auch hier die kurzen Sequenzen durch die nächste Reihe oder Spalte einfach und schnell abgelöst werden.

Preis und Idee

Mit $175 ist das Modul auch nicht unbedingt besonders teuer. Wem Make Noises Réné zu aufwendig und kompliziert erscheint, kann auch hiermit schneller mal Abwechslungen herstellen. 8-Stepper werden schneller „langweilig“, wieso also nicht nach Zufall oder nach bestimmten Kriterien oder manuell mal eben die Zeile/Spalte wechseln oder sogar auch mal diagonal laufen lassen?

Information dazu

Die Website von Tenderfoot bietet eine Anleitung, ein kleines Video und den „Shop“ an. Die Firma sitzt in England, es gibt noch ein ähnlich konzipiertes einfaches Modul, welches mit Tastern funktioniert.


Create motion-packed riffs, basslines & melodies with Cableguys ShaperBox

Cableguys Shaperbox design unique riffs

Looking for inspiration? Check out Cableguys’ creative approach to designing unique modulated riffs with the ShaperBox effects rack. Beginning with a single-note sample, TimeShaper transforms the sustained note into a musical riff through pitch and time modulation. Next, a “secret weapon” technique: VolumeShaper‘s LFO rate is pushed way up into the audio range, adding gritty […]

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Puremagnetik releases Washout extreme phase and filter animator

Puremagnetik Washout feat

Puremagnetik has launched its latest audio effect plugin Washout, a multi-chained filter and phaser device designed to animate, modulate and mutate the audio you feed it. With up to 128 all-pass filter stages, and a complex modulation section, Washout can take your sounds out of this universe and back again with the turn of a […]

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SKnote releases UV vintage modulation effect plugin

SKnote UV

SKnote has announced its latest audio plugin UV, a model of a vintage modulation effect for guitar. The original Uni-Vibe circuit is based on a pulsating light bulb surrounded by four photo cells, modulating phases to create a unique combination of frequency-dependent tremolo, vibrato, chorus and flanger sounds. UV vibe is a component-level model of […]

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Pigments is a new hybrid synth from Arturia, and you can try it free now

Arturia made their name emulating classic synths, and then made their name again in hardware synths and handy hardware accessories. But they’re back with an original synthesizer in software. It’s called Pigments, and it mixes vintage and new together. You know, like colors.

The funny thing is, wavetable synthesis as an idea is as old or older than a lot of the vintage synths that spring to mind – you can trace it back to the 1970s and Wolfgang Palm, before instruments from PPG and Waldorf.

But “new” is about sound, not history. And now it’s possible to make powerful morphing wavetable engines with loads of voice complexity and modulation that certainly only became practical recently – plus now we have computer displays for visualizing what’s going on.

Pigments brings together the full range of possible colors to work with – vintage to modern, analog to advanced digital. And it does so in a way that feels coherent and focused.

I’ve just started playing around with Pigments – expect a real hands-on shortly – and it’s impressive. You get the edgier sounds of wavetable synthesis with all the sonic language you expect from virtual analog, including all those classic and dirty and grimy sounds. (I can continue my ongoing mission to make everyone think I’m using analog hardware when I’m in the box. Fun.)

Arturia’s marketing copy here is clever – like I wish I’d thought of this phrase: “Pigments can sound like other synths, [but] no other synth can sound like Pigments.”

Okay, so what’s under the hood that makes them claim that?

Two engines: one wavetable, one virtual analog, each now the latest stuff from Arturia. The waveshaping side gives you lots of options for sculpting the oscillator and fluidly controlling the amount of aliasing, which determines so much of the sound’s harmonic character.

Advanced pitch modulation which you can quantize to scale – so you can make complex modulations melodic.

From the modeling Arturia has been doing and their V Collection, you get the full range of filters, classic and modern (surgeon and comb). There’s also a bunch of effects, like wavefolder, overdrive, parametric EQ, and delay.

There’s also extensive routing for all those toys – drag and drop effects into inserts or sends, choose series or parallel routings, and so on.

The effects section is as deep as modulation, but somehow everything is neatly organized, visual, and never overwhelming.

You can modulate anything with anything, Arturia says – which sounds about right. And for modulation, you have tons of choices in envelopes, modulation shapes, and even function generators and randomization sources. But all of this is also graphical and neatly organized, so you don’t get lost. Best of all, there are “heads-up” graphical displays that show you what’s happening under the hood of even the most complex patch.

The polyphonic sequencer alone is huge, meaning you could work entirely inside Pigments.

Color-coded and tabbed, the UI is constantly giving you subtle visual feedback of what waveforms of modulation, oscillators, and processors are doing at any given time, which is useful both in building up sounds from scratch or picking apart the extensive presets available. You can build something step by step if you like, with a sense that inside this semi-modular world, you’re free to focus on one thing at a time while doing something more multi-layered.

Then on top of all of that, it’s not an exaggeration to say that Pigments is really a synth combined with a sequencer. The polyphonic sequencer/arpeggiator is full of trigger options and settings that mean it’s totally possible to fire up Pigments in standalone mode and make a whole piece, just as you would with a full synth workstation or modular rig.

Instead of a short trial, you get a full month to enjoy this – a free release for everyone, expiring only on January the 10th. So now you know what to do with any holiday break. During that time, pricing is $149 / 149€, rising to 199 after that.

I’m having a great deal of fun with it already. And we’re clearing at a new generation of advanced soft synths. Stay tuned.

Product page:

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