Month in music tech: the biggest news of January 2021

It’s been a busy start to 2021. We round up the most important bits that you may have missed.

Korg ARP 2600 M

Despite the absence of a physical NAMM Show this January, it’s still been a hectic month.  2021 started with a morose goodbye to the great MF DOOM, whose influence will, no doubt, be felt for years to come. Things continued downhill as COVID-19 vaccine conspiracists convinced themselves that the circuitry of a BOSS pedal was proof of a 5G chip within the vaccine fluid. However, the pro audio world managed to pull it back with a slew of exciting announcements and developments, making us all spoiled for choice on what to treat ourselves to in 2021.

In this round-up, we recap the biggest and best news of January 2021, giving you a comprehensive overview of announcements, product releases and new freeware you might have missed.


  • On New Year’s Eve, the world mourned the loss of MF DOOM. Although announced on 31 December, the rapper and producer passed away on the 31 October 2020.
  • Phil Spector, the producer and convicted murderer died aged 81 in prison. His Wall of Sound production technique influenced music in the 60s and beyond. He produced The BeatlesLet It Be. 
  • Glaswegian DJ and producer, SOPHIE, passed away at aged 34 following a sudden accident. She was renowned for her experimental approach to pop music, collaborating with the likes of Madonna, Charli XCX and Arca, among others.


Boss Metal Zone / COVID-19 conspiracy theory
Image (left): Boss

Gear releases

Korg Minikorg 700FS


Moog Model 15

Freeware releases

  • We’ve uploaded a ton of MusicTech samples from our archive onto BandLab Sounds. The platform has a new feature that lets you audition and edit samples before downloading them. You’ll be able to quickly access this via the navigation bar on – keep an eye out for new packs.
  • Cymatics’ Diablo Lite is an easy-to-use drum enhancer.
  • Orchestral Tools’ SINEfactory is a free subscription service, giving you new software on a regular basis.
  • Puncher 2 Lite is a stripped-down version of W.A Production’s multiband compressor and transient shaper.
  • Plugin Alliance gives away the Brainworx Ampeg SVT-VR bass amp emulator.
  • SampleScience releases a free piano VST, Four EP. The independent developer is often releasing freeware, so its website is worth checking out, too.
  • Sensel has dropped a free MPE preset pack, Express MPE, to give you an MPE masterclass with your soft synths and ASM Hydrasynth.

BandLab Sounds MusicTech

For more news, reviews, interviews and tutorials, head to


Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.