Best freeware of the month: March 2021
We’ve scoured the internet for our pick of the month’s best freeware synths, instruments, processors and effects.
Audacity Audacity 3.0
- Mac & PC
- Standalone (Can host VST/AU/LADSPA/LV2 plug-ins)
- Contact AudacityAudacity is a free, standalone audio editing program that needs little introduction. Many producers and DJs started by messing around with the fully-featured software, and it has just been updated to version 3. The most significant change here is the way Audacity handles files. Previously Audacity projects were saved as a bunch of separate files that could sometimes part ways. The new version saves projects as a single .aup3 file that contains everything. There are also over 160 bug fixes, an improved Noise Gate effect, and a new Label Sounds analyser.
Intermorphic Wotja 21 (Lite)
- Mac & PC, iOS & Android
- (Plug-in version only available on Mac and iOS)
- Contact WotjaIf you’re after some inspiration and want to work with generative music, then this unique standalone desktop/mobile app and plug-in could be worth exploring. Wotja 21 is a powerful all-in-one creator, lab, mixer and player that lets you make ambient soundscapes, lush drones and melodies using scripting and randomisation techniques. You’ll have to get the Pro version to use your creations for commercial releases, but it could be a great way to unwind and inspire some new ideas.
Reflekt Audio Table Tops
- Mac & PC
- 32/64-bit VST/VST3/AU
- Contact Reflekt AudioWe’ve probably all spent some time absentmindedly tapping away patterns on a tabletop before, but Reflekt Audio has gone one step further and meticulously sampled hits for this unique, free percussion instrument. You’ll find a range of sounds, including palm hits, drum sticks, and pens, using different parts of the table to get different timbres. Each sound has several round-robins to give a more detailed and natural feel, and there are also some built-in effects to help shape the sound.
RDGAudio Saw Pluck
- Mac & PC
- 64-bit VST3/AU
- Contact RGDAudio
When a synth sounds good, it doesn’t matter if it’s pretty simple. This is especially true of RDGAudio’s Synth Pluck instrument, which uses DSP and maths to capture the warm analogue circuitry and electronic components of a single saw oscillator subtractive synth. It is especially adept at creating quick trance chords, riffs and melodies and features amp and filter envelopes, 15 filter types, and built-in delay and reverb effects. The installation is a little involved, but some clear videos on the website walk you through it.
Spitfire Audio LABS Pipe Organ
- PC & Mac (Apple Silicon not supported)
- 32/64-bit VST2, VST3, AAX and AU
- Contact Spitfire Audio
Spitfire Audio’s excellent LABS series continues to produce the goods with this pipe organ sampled as part of Christian Henson’s Pianobook collective sample project. Recorded by Spitfire’s Angus Roberts-Carey at his local church, it’s got a few different options for stops and pads, ideal for eerie soundtracks and all-out Zimmer-esque chord blasting.
Fanan Team Saxophia
- PC only
- 64-bit VST
- Contact Fanan Team
Let’s wrap things up with something a little different in the form of a free saxophone instrument. Saxophia uses 32-bit waveforms to generate alto, baritone, soprano and tenor saxes, each with its own size and colour. A complete synthesis section includes portamento, high/low-pass filters, and an extensive effects section offers saturation, chorus, phaser, tremolo, reverb, and delay. There are also two different MIDI velocity options, a built-in drawbar system and full MIDI learn.
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