I feel like I repeat myself about this, but screw it: Now is a beautiful time to be a tight-fisted musician. The things that you do pay for deliver more and more value every year, and software and soundware developers continue to step up their freebie options. But forget money for a second; you know your attention is your most precious resource, and your music needs it — a lot of it — to be any good. So while you’re saving yourself some money, save yourself some time as well with this Music Theory Cheat Sheet from Tone Deaf Comics. It can come in handy, just like these high-quality free instruments and plug-ins.
LIMITED TIME OFFER: Air Xpand!2 Multi-timbral Sampling + Synthesis Instrument
Get on this now, because it’s a limited-time offer without a specific end date. As of this publish date (Nov. 3, 2017) it was still valid. The Don’tCrack shop, along with Air Music Technology is offering Xpand!2 (regular price: $69.99) free as a part of the shop’s 10-year anniversary.
This workstation synth has four parts, or sound slot, per patch, and uses a combination of subtractive and FM synthesis, along with sample playback (more than 1GB of sounds included). Each part can have up to 64 voices, and has its own MIDI channel and mix, arpeggio, modulation, and effects settings. 29 categories of sounds makes it easy to browse the 2500+ presets, which include many types of pads, polysynths, pianos, organs, basses, guitars, drums/percussion, arpeggios, and orchestral instruments like brass, strings, and woodwinds.
To get Xpand!2 for free, add it to the Don’tCrack shopping cart and use the coupon code at checkout: XpandFreebie.
IK Multimedia T-Racks Custom Shop (T-Racks 5 free version)
The T-Racks 5 modular mixing/mastering software came out this week, and similar to IK Multimedia’s Syntronik, SampleTank and AmpliTube software, you can download a free version that has some basic elements that you can expand upon anytime from their built-in digital shop.
The free T-Racks Custom Shop includes the framework for the overall T-Racks suite, which lets you chain as many as 16 processors together and to perform parallel processing. To start you out, IK Multimedia gives you the Classic EQ module, a 6-band parametric mastering EQ, as well as a metering module that shows detailed peak and RMS values of your audio material. Both the Classic EQ and the metering can be used as separate plug-ins in a DAW. If you want to expand your T-Racks 5 system from there, you can buy any of the 38 T-Racks processors a la carte from the Custom Shop or buy them in discounted bundles.
However, you can also try any of those processors before you buy. The trial period is 14 days.
AfroDJMac Harpsichord and Ancient Ableton Live Packs
Brian Funk, the maestro of the Music Production Podcast, puts out more free Ableton Live Packs than I can cover. Since I last reported on his works, he’s dropped three free Ableton Live instruments under his AfroDJMac alias. The Harpsichord instrument is quite straightforward. If you’ve heard a harpsichord, you know what to expect. However, as with all of Funk’s Ableton devices, the 8 macro controls are set for you to shape the sound. They include reverb, filter, release, articulation and other controls. Download it, and you can rock with Bach today.
ADM’s Ancient Ableton Live Pack comprises 104 Instrument devices using 1.5GB of samples and sells for $15. To whet your appetite for these historic sounds, you can get the Back in Time Chime and Deep Wood Drums for free in one Live Pack. The chime is a melodic, reversed metallic chime, and the Deep Wood Drum Rack comes from pitch-shifted drum samples. You can hear an audio demo of these from the product page.
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