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.

Sample Logic Releases Waterharp 2

Sample Logic has released Waterharp 2, a Kontakt 5 sound library based around (but certainly not limited to) those classic “Matrixy” waterphone sound effects that work so well for giving a track or a cue that futuristic and other-worldly feel. Waterharp 2 is a 2.5 GB library that comes with over 550 instruments and multis, where waterphone samples have been scripted and and twisted and morphed, giving users both the well known waterphone type sounds as well as a host of score-ready morphed instruments one might never have guessed had anything to do with the instrument they originated from –  in true Sample Logic fashion. The library also contains enhanced, re-enginered and re-morphed versions of all the instruments from the original Waterharp library.

Sample Logic claims their latest release is the most comprehensive waterphone library to date – and I’m inclined to take their word for it. I also expect the library to be plain darn good, as I’ve been more than impressed with the handful of previous Sample Logic releases I have used, and that includes the original Waterharp library, which I’ve owned for a good while now and still use regularly. (And watch this space for a review of Sample Logic’s fairly recent release Morphestra Generations – I expect to have it ready in just a few days.)

According to the good people at Sample Logic, their new library “delivers mind-bending atmospheres, suspenseful tension building stingers, tempo-synced percussive rhythms, morphed melodic instruments and explosive score-ready impacts. “WH2″ is designed to streamline your workflow with powerful user interface controls and well-organized, genre specific, instruments and multis making it a must have sample library for all film, TV, and game composers.” Check out the demo below to get a small taste of what you can do with this instrument, or just go ahead and visit SampleLogic.com for more demos and much more info on their new Waterharp 2.

Waterharp 2 is formatted as a Kontakt based sample library, which requires a retail version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher.
Price: $99.99

Instrument categories:

  • Ambience (113)
  • Arpeggiated (22)
  • Hit Ensembles (18)
  • Impacts (79)
  • Tempo-Synced Rhythms (145)
  • Melodics (22)
  • Stingers (78)
  • Transitions (46)
  • Multis (37)

100 Free Monark Presets from Aiyn Zahev

Acclaimed sound designer and trance producer Aiyn Zahev has whipped up a nice treat for owners of Native Instrument’s eminent Minimoog emulation Monark: 100 presets free of charge, obviously highly suitable for trance but also a number of other electronic styles.

If you’re a dance music producer you probably already know of Zahev’s work, but if not then let me tell you that this guy really knows what he’s doing when it comes to sound design. I’ve followed his work in this area since the very beginning and I’m honestly quite impressed. This guy has got the talent, the skills, the ears and the taste that sets  the elite sound designers apart from the rest of the bunch – just check out what he’s done and I think you’ll see what I mean.

So if you’re a Monark owner don’t miss out on this chance to get 100 of Aiyn’s sounds for free. Head over to Aiyn Zahev Sounds and download the sound bank, and take a look at the other stuff he’s got as well: sound banks  for Waldorf Largo, NI Massive, Lennar Digital Sylenth1, U-He’s Diva & Zebra synths  etc – and they’re all sound banks of absolutely top notch quality. Highly recommended. There’s also an article section there with few BS-free reviews there that you might like. Check it out.

Here’s a quick demo of the Monark presets: