This Week in Free Stuff: Light-Load Plug-in Instruments

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This week relative newcomer Channel Robot made its second contribution to our no-cost quest with the Tenori-On inspired Grid Machine Matrix instrument. The free version is somewhat limited, but still very capable. When that news hit my inbox, I decided to dust off a couple of older gems of the free instrument variety—a virtual analog synth and a lo-fi acoustic sample keyboard—and make this a plug-in themed post. Enjoy! And as always, be cheap, but be grateful.

Channel Robot Grid Machine Free Matrix
If you’ve ever wanted to try the 8x8 step sequencing style of the Tenori-on or Monome without the hardware expense, the new Channel Robot Grid Machine Matrix gives you a software alternative. And while there’s a full version available as part of a larger Grid Machine Collection (currently on sale at Kontakt Hub), you’ll get the full effect of the interface with the Grid Machine Free Matrix version. (Just log into a Channel Robot account first to download.) The free version limits you to the Major and Minor scales, as well as some other restrictions, but you’ll still be getting quick results and enjoying this very specific way of creating music. Extra features include random notes, stutter repeats, variable velocity, etc.

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Grid Machine Matrix uses Kontakt/Kontakt Player as a host, so it’s compatible with the major plug-in formats.

SampleScience Toy Keyboard

This sample-based plug-in gives you a recreation of the Yamaha PSR-78 home keyboard. The 300MB unzipped download includes the raw WAV samples of all the PSR-78’s instrument and lo-fi percussion sounds, as well as the plug-in for Windows 32-/64-bit VST and Mac VST/AU formats. Each instrument has only the C3 sampled notes stretched over the keyboard, adding to the “Toy” aspect of this fun, free plugin.

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Brain Control Tunefish Synthesizer
Commercial-quality virtual analog sound in a low-CPU plug-in: that’s the goal of this demoscene project by Brain Control. The full-featured Tunefish synth uses an additive synthesis-based wavetable generator with two ADSR envelopes, two LFOs, four filters (lowpass/bandpass/highpass/notch), an 8-slot Mod Matrix, and a suite of effects. What’s not to like? Tunefish works as a Mac AU and VSTi 2.4 for Mac/Linux/Windows. Donations are welcome.

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