Stradipad Free – a Nebula Powered Pad & String Processing Plugin That You Should Try

Just wanted to tip you guys about this lovely free string and pad processing gem from Acustica Audio. The Stradipad Free Swedish Strings – developed by Acustica Audio in collaboration with AlexB – is a an Acqua plugin (VST) powered by Nebula technology (you don’t need to own any version of Nebula to use this), and on the right sources it can sound really nice. It’s great for adding depth, mojo and life to a pad or string sound, and I also find that sounds processed with this thing sit in the mix easier. On some rather two-dimensional sounding softsynth generated pads the Stradipad Free can be a bit of a life changer: the sound spectrum kinda opens up into a more textured 3D image, and things instantly become a bit more interesting to listen to. I’m loving it. According to Acustica Audio this particular version of the Stradipad series was made to give you that classic ‘ABBA’ string sound, but I’m finding that its potential uses go way beyond just that. I can see myself using this on lots and lots of stuff, particularly softsynth pads.

As with all Nebula powered plugins this thing does add a considerable amount of latency, so this is not something you would use for real time playing. Pull it out when you’re ready to start mixing, however, and you might just find yourself amazed at what it does.

While I’ve got a bunch of purely algorithmic plugins that are capable of making things a bit more 3D sounding, very few of them seem to do that particular job as well as a good Nebula program – and that’s one reason why I’m incorporating more and more Nebula powered stuff into my mixing. There’s also some serious albeit undefinable mojo that can be had with this type of technology – check it out for yourself if you haven’t done so already. I’m sold.

As far as I can see this is a Windows only plugin, so it’s the old “no soup for you” if you’re a Mac user, unfortunately – at least at this point in time.

To download Stradipad Free at no charge go to Acustica Audio online, where you can also purchase the Stradipad Platinum Collection, something you might find yourself inclined to do once you’ve given this freebie a good test run. Enjoy!

Camel Audio Artificial Intelligence: New Sound Library for Alchemy

Camel Audio has released Artificial Intelligence, a new sound library for their acclaimed (and absolutely awesome) Alchemy synth. Alchemy has become one of my favorite and most used synths, and while I do make my own sounds with it (you’d be crazy not to) I’m always excited to see Camel Audio release a new library for this synth – because I’ve found some real gems in the libraries I already own.

And this library certainly sounds like it’s right up my alley. According to Camel Audio:

“Artificial Intelligence draws inspiration from the futuristic, glitch-driven side of electronic music and is packed full of twisted, abstract soundscapes, intricately detailed sound effects, stuttering digital rhythms and warped synths and basses.

Whilst ideal for use in just about any genre of electronic music, these unusual yet versatile sounds also lend themselves to soundtrack, ambient and cinematic styles.

With eight carefully designed remix variations for every preset, it’s easy to tweak the sounds to fit your music, and with a full set of tags, finding the right sound is just a click away.”

Artificial Intelligence comes in both Desktop and Mobile versions. The desktop version contains 150 presets, works with both Alchemy and Alchemy Player, and costs 59 USD / 49 EUR / 39 GBP. The Alchemy Mobile version contains 50 presets and is available as an in-app purchase for 3.99 GBP / 4,49 EUR / 4.99 USD.

For sound demos and more info visit CamelAudio.com.

Trent Reznor & Alessandro Cortini Discuss The Virtues of Analog / Modular Hardware Synths

Here’s an  interview with Trent Reznor and fellow Nine Inch Nails member Allessandro Cortini, courtesy of the good people behind the I Dream of Wires modular synth documentary .

In the video Reznor discusses the evolution of the synthesizer from the big, analog synths he grew up with through the digital do-it-all synths of the eighties and nineties and then the emergence of the world of virtual instruments to the re-emergence of the modular synth, and  how working with real, analog hardware can yield benefits not limited to just the sound itself. We also get some input from Cortini on what the discovery of hardware synths has meant to him. Definitely worth a watch – so I thought I’d share it here.

To order your copy of the I Dream of Wires documentary, visit IDreamofWires.org.

Beat Assist Mantra – a Free Synth That Fuses Phase Distortion and Frequency Modulation Synthesis (Win 32-Bit)

Beat Assist Mantra is a brand new software synthesizer that fuses PD (phase distortion synthesis) with FM (frequency modulation) – I guess that would be kinda like if I took the innards of my old Casio CZ-1000 and Yamaha TX-802 synths and got some brainiac to put them in a virtual blender for me. Well, not quite, perhaps, but still: I’ve only just downloaded the Mantra and spent a few minutes toying around with it, and I quite like it. For an FM/PD synth it seems fairly easy to get your head around, and it is also equipped with stuff like good old fashioned filters (something you’re obviously not going to find on all those vintage FM and PD synths) as well as effects like reverb and distortion.

I like a good few of the presets and I think I can definitely find a use for some of them in my music, but what I’m really looking forward to exploring this thing and coming up with my own stuff. This is a synth with a simple, inviting interface, so I think I’ll be able to start doing just that and getting some decent result straight away.

BeatAssist Mantra has two oscillator modules, each with three panels. The FM Module has the basic waveforms follower by three waveform carriers (Sine/Saw/Triangle). The Phase Distortion Module has several waveforms divided in two waveform pickers. As mentioned, Mantra also has a built in effects processor.

This synth is SynthEdit based, which means it’s only available in Windows 32-bit.

Mantra was developed by Portuguese electronic music artist Duarte Vinagre.

For more info and to download for free visit BeatAssist.eu.