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!

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

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:

FREE Noiseash Virus TI Uplifting Trance Soundbank for Kontakt 5

Here’s a nice freebie for you Trance producers out there: Noiseash’s new Virus TI sample collection for Kontakt 5. Noiseash’s Beyhan Kilic has taken a bunch of his custom Virus sounds – big fat basses, leads, plucks and pads – and sampled them in 24 bit and layered and scripted it all into a Kontakt instrument, making the sound of the sought after Virus synth available to anyone with an updated copy of Native Instruments’ popular sampler. If you’re producing uplifting trance and hate the fact that you don’t own a Virus, this will probably help you get through your day!

Check out the demo below and download at no cost from!