Recommended commercial VST's

Icarus 2, Warlock, and Saurus 3 are my favorite Tone 2 products. Nemesis and Rayblaster 2 are very interesting as well. I have imitated some Novation Nova sounds and filter sweeps on Icarus; even the AM in Icarus is a lot like the Nova’s RM. However, I am still considering getting Serum (at least on Splice) because it has a different sound and filter characteristics from that of Icarus. Not to mention, the FM, harmonics, and unison are better in Serum.

Serum is a lovely beast, feature rich and flexible. So clean, too.

Any good black friday plugin deals going around?

If you are into 80s music then Softube have a Black November Warm-up this weekend only

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In case you didn’t realize: Zebra2 + Zebra2HZ (including Diva filters etc) and all soundsets are now available for 99 Euro. Strangely they currently do not tease Zebra2HZ at all, which is included here. ZebraHZ also in compatible to Zebra2 presets.

Also works like charm on macos, you can switch any u-he plugin’s gui now to fluent, hardware-accelerated 60Hz by adding the following lines to the plugin’s preference txt file:

V_PROPERTY name='Preference' id='0' value='AllViews:Cocoa View Update Strategy:AUTO'
V_PROPERTY name='Preference' id='0' value='AllViews:Cocoa View Cache Bitmaps:ALL'
V_PROPERTY name='Preference' id='0' value='AllViews:Cocoa Draw Async:YES'
V_PROPERTY name='Preference' id='0' value='AllViews:Editor Frame Rate:60'
V_PROPERTY name='Preference' id='0' value='AllViews:Cocoa View Updates:ECO'
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That’s a good deal, not sure I need it though - Synthmaster 2 is my all purpose synth right now. I wonder if Bazille by U-He will go on sale at some stage. I couldn’t get on with Softube Modular and the semi modularity of Bazille appeals to me.

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Oh that’s nice! Synthmaster 2 indeed can do a ton of synthesis. I only never liked the GUI nor the filter sound, no idea why. Surely it can sound very nicely. Also I like SynthmasterOne more, although it has the same filters and less features. Funny how irrational my judgement is.

Synthmaster One iOS seems to be free currently. This is how Synthmaster stuff gets interesting, if you use Synthmaster2 iOS, you can create presets in the iOS version and then transfer it to the vst version, which is really nice. So you could build your standalone workstation synth with an old keyboard and an old iPad.

Regarding Zebra Legacy, there really seems to be no need anymore to load the Zebra2.vst, if you start from scratch, since the ZebraHZ.vst loads all Zebra2 presets 100% accurately. Also to me, the GUI of the HZ version seems to be slightly better designed, more clear, values better visible.

Bazille now got beta CLAP support, which means that you can add as many LFOs and modulators as you want, if you use Bitwig (and Reaper?).

I recently bought shaperbox 3 from cableguys for a good discount (extra if you’re an existing customer), can recommend it as an excellent multiband fx unit with great modulation options including sidechain support. Check out youtube for more indepth reviews.

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I end up using Reaktor for pretty much every song I work on, so it’s fair to say I’ve gotten my money’s worth from it, even with how expensive it is. The core program can be extremely complicated, like head-spinningly so, which can make patching time consuming. But if stopping your composing to write complex logic for your synth cramps your style [it usually does mine] Blocks is a super fun and easy eurorack style environment that can output some awesome sounds [with one limitation: Blocks patches aren’t polyphonic]. It also helps that a huge chunk of the music industry uses Reaktor and so you can easily go find resources, usermade instruments and so on. is a modular tool like Reaktor, but simpler and more immediate so you can work on your instrument alongside your composition. Unlike Reaktor where you have to design a front-panel for your synth, you’re always looking at the patch. AF can run the CPU up pretty good, but usually doesn’t do so unless you’ve made an extremely complex patch. Overall the smooth workflow/keybinds, excellent sounding modules and overall flexibility make it my favorite VST if I’m doing instruments/FX from scratch, even compared to Reaktor. There are a few things it doesn’t do [it doesn’t have a sampler for example] but it’s so easy to use, a truly awesome tool and if I could only have one VST it would probably be this one.

I also bought MDrummer this week and it’s absolutely crazy. It might seem pointless to buy what’s essentially a sampler to use with Renoise [the king of all samplers], but this shit is changing my life. It’s got thorough multi-sample recordings of a billion different drumsets, a huge set of electronic samples as well, and it has ITS OWN MIXER so you can have your whole drumset mixed however you want, right next to each other in one Renoise channel, nice and easy to compose with. But it’s also a compositional assistant which writes fills, can do lots of probabilistic/humanized stuff, helps you come up with unconventional beats, and these features really accommodate for odd time signatures well. Would recommend.


The GUI is not very good that’s for sure, I like the filters but not the modulation system too much - I end up automating stuff with Renoise LFO’s in one shot for envelopes and LFOs for LFO work. I am tempted to switch to Hive by U-He if it has a Linux version as I am keen to escape the Windows trap.

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half off right now for 99.50 euro in their cyber season deals.

Total Studio Max 3.5 is now for 199 euro + vat.
Not a cheap price, but lowest possible.
And it’s a beast - Syntronik with 22 synths, SampleTank MAX with lot of great sounds, T-Racks, MixBox, Hammond, Sampletron, MODO Drum and MODO Bass. Unlike Native Instruments, here you have lot of really powerful effects too (including great compressors and limiters), not only synths and sounds.

If you can afford it - buy it and you’ll have everything you need.

It comes with 470GB of content… wow. That would FILL my system drive, or take 50% of my data drive instantly. It doesn’t look like it’s for me, but that a bargain if there are things in there that would fit your needs.

This is funny, Vanguard 2 available, now 64bit (+ ARM native support) etc: Vanguard2 | reFX

I think a lot of people liked Vanguard 1, but I stopped using it when 32 bit was considered to be dead. Upgrade is 49€, new is 79€. Thread is here. Price seems to be a bit high considering the age. Will raise after Black Friday. But they revamped the UX quite a lot

Falcon now as every year for 244€ (+100€ voucher for preset packs): UVI Falcon – Kreatives Hybrid-Instrument IMO very worth it, if you are a synthesis freak. Also has some unique features, like a key following graphical eq per voice… I guess also a good replacement for Kontakt or Halion.