This Week in Free Stuff: Virtual Drum Brain, VHS Drums & Keyboard Lessons for Electronic Music

Score the Synesthesia Virtual Drum Brain Software v3; Melodics drum, pad, and keyboard lessons; and AfroDJMac's Jack Burton VHS Drums Ableton Live Pack for free.
By MARKKUS ROVITO,

Melodics V2 with Free Keyboard, Drum, and Pads Lessons

The previously announced Melodics V2 has now launched, and it has added interactive keyboard lessons to go along with its electronic drum kit and finger pad drumming lessons. The free version includes at least 60 total lessons, including 20 free keyboard lessons. Subscriptions including hundreds of lessons for all three instruments, with new lessons added regularly, cost $19.99 per month if paid monthly, or about $120 a year if paid up front.

Melodics is best known for its original finger drumming lessons covering many genres of electronic music, such as hip-hop, house, dubstep, drun ’n’ bass, techno, etc. The video-game-style software connects to MIDI controllers and requires an Internet connection. Your performances are scored by accuracy, and you level up as you improve. You can practice at slower tempos before attempting the real thing.

The new keyboard lessons keep the focus on modern electronic styles and feature a cascading-notes interface with visual cues to aid your progress.

Synesthesia Virtual Drum Brain Software 3.0

If you’re one of those people interested in electronic drums, you may have noticed that full kits get really expensive the more sophisticated the hardware drum brain becomes. If you prefer piecing together your own kit to try to save some dough, you can use Synesthesia’s Virtual Drum Brain Software in lieu of an expensive hardware drum brain. The software was recently updated to v3. It has been designed to work best with Synesthesia’s own high-definition, position-sensitive Mandala MIDI edrums ($349 each; $666 for 2; $969 for 3), but you can also use it with other edrums, drum pad controllers, MIDI keyboards and even your QWERTY keyboard.

The download includes 1.5 GB of drum and instrument samples, and the software lets you configure many settings for each drum zone, and includes 100+ presets and 7 effects. You can control parameters by strike position (if your hardware supports it), velocity and LFO.

Mandala Software Specifications:

  • Samples: 1.5 GB of drum and instrument samples
  • BONUS *1.5 GB bonus sample library - Black Beauty Snare*
  • Per-Zone Settings: Instrument, Note, Volume, Pan, Pitch, Attack, Hold, Decay, Scale Type, Scale Root, Scale Pattern, Scale Step, Scale Range, 2 Effects Inserts, Velocity Curve, Reverb Send
  • Audio Effects: Filters (AllPass, BiQuad, Comb, Hilbert, PhaseShift, Resonant, State-Variable, Teeth), Chorus, Flanger, Ring Modulator, Pitchbend, Digital Delay, Reverb
  • Musical Scales: Major, Minor, Diminished, Wholetone, Indian, Gamelan, Ryuku, Pentatonic Major, Pentatonic Minor, Blues Major, Blues Minor, Combination Diminished, Melodic Minor, Chromatic
  • Musical Modes: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian
  • Scale Play Patterns: UpWave, UpRep, DownWave, DownRep, Full Wave Up, Full Wave Down, Velocity Up, Velocity Down, Random
  • Comes with more than 100 presets for easy out-of-the-box playing
  • Connect multiple Mandalas and build a kit that fits your abilities
  • Drag and drop your own sound library into the included Virtual Brain software
  • All effects parameters controllable real-time by strike position, velocity and LFO
  • Supported OS:
    • Windows 8/7/Vista/XP, Pentium III 1 GHz
    • Mac OSX 10.5 or higher or Intel Core Duo 1.66 Ghz

AfroDJMac Jack Burton VHS Drums Free Ableton Live Pack 163

I’ve always loved the ‘80s John Carpenter cult classic Big Trouble in Little China. At 31 years old, the movie hasn’t help up entirely, but it still maintains a lot of campy charm, absurdist humor and of course John Carpenter’s wonderfully dated, synth-heavy score.

AfroDJMac’s Jack Burton VHS Drums free Ableton Live Pack really nails the drum sound of that soundtrack, as well as many others of the era. Named after Kurt Russell’s protagonist from the film, the Drum Rack device pulls sounds from the collection of 600 drum samples in his larger paid product VHS Drums. ADJ recorded vintage drum machines and drum samples to VHS tape and then sampled those back into Ableton Live to create these instruments. Listening to the example beat on the product page, you can practically see a cheesy ’80s martial arts scene unfold before your eyes.

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