Inside Cypher2, and what could be a more expressive future for synths

For all the great sounds they can make, software synths eventually fit a repetitive mold: lots of knobs onscreen, simplistic keyboard controls when you actually play. ROLI’s Cypher2 could change that. Lead developer Angus chats with us about why. Angus Hewlett has been in the plug-in synth game a while, having founded his own FXpansion, […]

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Luminance adds shimmery reverb to your sound – and it’s a runaway hit

Reverbs can mimic real spaces (precisely or loosely), or sound like springs, or sound like thickened delays. Luminance goes somewhere else: unreal, shimmering spaces full of glimmering reflections. And it’s already taking off. Shimmer-y reverbs are perhaps a zeitgeist now, as developers return to digital effects and new twists on those ideas. From the team […]

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A soft synth that’s made to be played with futuristic, expressive control

We’ve seen lots of new controllers that are designed to be more responsive to gestures. But can they actually make new sounds, to match? ROLI and FXpansion have a new soft synth that’s designed for that. It’s called Cypher2, and it builds on the past (award-winning, no less) software instruments from FXpansion, but now built […]

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Free download: amps and cellos under your fingertips in the new LABS

If you don’t have a studio, four cellists, amps and recording equipment plus an engineer handy, try this — it’s free. “Amplified Cello” is the latest instrument in the ongoing LABS series from our friends at Spitfire Audio, a boutique sample house in the UK. They promised some more “experimental” content, after the soft piano […]

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The strange, cartridge-powered speech of TI Touch & Tell

No, not the better-known Speak & Spell. TI’s 1981 Touch & Tell was a singular moment in speech synthesis. Here’s its story – and a beautiful circuit bent mod. Before the iPad, the Texas Instruments Touch & Tell was a kid’s robotic learning assistant – a marvel of simple chip-based electronics combined with some Reagan-era […]

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This plug-in is a secret weapon for sound design and drums

It’s full of gun sounds. But because of a combination of a unique sample architecture and engine and a whole lot of unique assets, the Weaponiser plug-in becomes a weapon of a different kind. It helps you make drum sounds. Call me a devoted pacifist, call me a wimp – really, either way. Guns actually […]

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Output’s Arcade is a cloud-based loop library you play as an instrument

The future of soundware is clearly on-demand, crafted sounds from the cloud. Output adds a twist: don’t just give you new sounds, but give you a way to play them and make them your own. So, the latest product from the LA-based sound boutique Output is called “Arcade” – so play, get it? And it’s […]

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LABS is a free series of sound tools for everyone, and you’ll want it now

Everyone’s talking these days it seems about new users and finding an entry way into production. But Spitfire’s take is pretty irresistible: give you some essential sounds you can use anywhere, then charge you … nothing. Spitfire Audio are a little bit like the “recording studio, engineers, and world-class rented orchestra” you … never had. […]

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Get a powerful spectral delay, free, in MSpectralDelay plug-in

What makes a delay more interesting? A delay that’s combined with spectral controls. What makes that better? Getting it for free. MSpectralDelay is here – and looks like a must-download. It’s been a while – I’m sure I’m not alone in missing Native Instruments’ Spektral Delay, discontinued some years back. MSpectralDelay is a different animal […]

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