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.

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)