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July 2018 / CM257




Video session with the multi-instrumentalist

FREEWARE Your must-have guide to today’s best free music software










> Audacity > GarageBand > VCV Rack


Design punchy sounds that slice through any mix with your new spectral polysynth from Dmitry Sches

KLINGANDE The tropical house prodigy talks plugins



> Tribal Adventures > Loopmasters CM257 > FX Megapack





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welcome The dedicated people that create free music software deserve celebrating. Developers release incredible freebies on a weekly basis, and while often lacking the gloss or marketing push of commercial products, the free stuff often rivals the big boys where it counts: the sound. Producers can no longer use a lack of cash as an excuse to not make any music – with the amount of awesome free software out there today, you can most certainly knock together a decent tune or two without spending a fortune. This is why Computer Music’s annual freeware issue has become a highlight of the music-making calendar. Throughout this mag, you’ll not only find how-to guides for the hottest new free DAWs and plugins released in the past 12 months, but we’ll also bring you workshops for some of the most popular gratis classics: Audacity, GarageBand and VCV Rack, the latter being the first instalment in a new multipart series. But the jewel in our freeware crown has to be the thing sitting front and centre on the cover of this mag. Not only does Dmitry Sches’ unbelievably powerful Thorn CM polysynth rival the best paidfor synths in the world in terms of sound quality, but it’s so, so intuitive to use. I’d advise you install it on your computer straight away – your music will thank you for it.

“How-to guides for the hottest new free DAWs and plugins”

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Joe Rossitter Editor

Issue 257 JULY 2018


Cover feature





Producer Masterclass YOUNGR

Get up to speed with the latest and greatest free music software, p20

From humming into your phone to hitmaking… Youngr shows you how




38 Freeware Vintage Studio The best virtual emulations that money can’t buy

50 THORN CM Learn every feature of your new spectral synthesiser

57 GarageBand Your get-started guide to the gratis Mac workstation

The tropical house whizzkid on his penchant for doing things live

Free samples 104 Tribal Adventures Branch out with this 500-strong collection of exclusive samples

62 The CM Guide to VCV Rack Get your head around this modular environment

66 AUDACITY The cost-free audio editor explained



/experts Your guides for the everchanging production world Dave Clews clues us in on negative harmony

76 s  tudio strategies

74 78 dr beat

Design a unique snare drum with pro producer Ed:it 4  /  Computer Music  /  July 2018

Got a case of the dull-drums? Our rhythm expert can help

80 Essentials 10 news


74 easy guide


14 freeware news 16 What’s on your hard drive? 42 SUBSCRIBE 86 back issues


56 next month


114 B  last from the past: MINIKORG

988WAVESFACTOrY SPECTRE 998soundtheory GULLFOSS 101 Mini reviews


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video Download this month’s videos:

FREEWARE Expert video guides on how to use the latest free instruments and effects Read the full article on p20

2  Getting started with SoundBridge

5  Exploring Full Bucket’s Korg synth emulations

6  Vintage fun with IK Syntronik Free

7  Random riffs with HY-Sequencer Free

9  Custom mixing chains with HOFA System Basic

11  Mixing with Kilohearts Snapins and Snap Heap

6  /  Computer Music  /  July 2018


Producer Masterclass


The talented pop producer and multi-instrumentalist deconstructs a hit record in our exclusive video session Note: this video is only available using the link on page 45 Read the full article on p44 July 2018  /  Computer Music  /  7


This issue’s videos are available from FileSilo – see p5 Thorn CM This comprehensive video manual shows you how to get started with your new PC/Mac synth Read the full article on p50

The CM Guide to VCV Rack Install this Eurorack-aping modular synth, and learn the basics with our videos Read the full article on p62

2  Building a basic synth voice in VCV Rack

3  Expanding our VCV Rack patch

AUDACITY Pro video walkthroughs for this popular audioediting program

Freeware Vintage Studio Discover the best retro instruments and effects you can install right now

Read the full article on p66

1  Audacity’s basic editing features

3  Mixing tricks with vintage freeware effects 2  Recording audio in Audacity

Read the full article on p38

3  Exporting audio files from Audacity

/experts Our resident music production Easy Guide: Negative harmony gurus walk you through their specialist field every month Read the full article on p74

8  /  Computer Music  /  July 2018

Dr Beat: Marimba mayhem Read the full article on p78

>  news

New releases • comment • industry happenings

Rob Papen Go2 For the man whose synths have everything, what’s left to add? Unbelievably, synth ’n’ sound design wizard Rob Papen has admitted to a gaping hole in his synth armoury. Is there a new type of ultra-powerful synthesis unrepresented? A complex control scheme missing? Or an unimaginably deep modulation system still to add? In fact, the problem lies in the opposite direction… Acknowledging that his other synths contain “many features and types of synthesis which sometimes can be daunting to the average user”, Papen offers the antidote: Go2. All of its controls are visible at once – something no other Papen creation can lay claim to. Papen recalls the relationship between Roland’s 80s power synths like the Jupiter-8 and the instantly graspable SH-101 monosynth. But that’s enough nostalgia. What’s Go2 got for us in 2018? It starts with the Morph Oscillator, blending two waveforms via Mix, Morph, Ring, FM, Inter and Range modes. Spread creates a thick, two-oscillator stack; the suboscillator offers sine or square waveforms. Sym adjusts waveform symmetry – presumably for PWM-style effects – and has a dedicated LFO. The analogue-modelled filter has eight filter types, and there’s an additional high-pass filter. Next up, Play Mode houses poly/mono/ legato options, portamento with various speed modes, analogue-style drift, and

Will Go2 live up to the promise of its name? Find out in our review next issue!

unison, octave and chord modes. Modulation includes dedicated filter and volume envelopes; mod envelope with tempo sync and sustain-fade options; tempo-syncable LFO with Poly, Free and Mono modes; and an eight-slot modulation matrix. The XY pad is “a live, interactive control and also an automated programmable modulation source.” Papen describes the arpeggiator as “classic-style”,

thought it has the twist of uncommon touches like per-step unison/chord setting. The effects section comprises chorus, flanger or phaser, and delay or chorus. Last but not at all least, did we mention the presets? Being a Rob Papen plugin, there’s hundreds of ’em. The Rob Papen Go2 is available for purchase now and costs just £42. URL

Togu Audio Line TAL-Mod

TAL-Mod: the freebie kings’ most ambitious synth yet

10  /  Computer Music  /  July 2018

A modular synth “for beginners and experts”, TAL-Mod’s modulation connections are formed by dragging virtual patch cables. The “special” oscillator model covers everything “from classic mono to rich stereo leads, effects and pads.” There are three oscillators with hard sync capability; noise oscillator with colour control; two “analogue-sounding” multimode filters; and FM/ring mod. The entire signal path is stereo, which should allow for impressive speaker-hopping patches. Out now, it can be bought for $72. URL

news <

TC Electronic TC2290-DT

The TC2290 Dynamic Digital Delay: what the future of music tech looked – and sounded – like in 1985

This software/hardware combo recreates TC’s 1985 classic, the TC2290 Dynamic Digital Delay. Punch the chunky buttons on the desktop unit to edit the plugin – parameter values show up on the retrotastic eight-segment LED displays. Soundwise, it offers “virtually any conceivable delay type… from crisp repeats, to complex delay rhythms and ultraexpressive modulated soundscapes.” The dynamic capability softens repeats in response to the dry signal, to avoid overbearing echoes. As to authenticity, TC’s engineers analysed four vintage units in order to imbue the plugin with “the clarity and warmth that has always been the hallmark of the classic 2290 sound.” It costs $349. URL

Roland Cloud TR-808 & TR-909 There are few – if any – pieces of gear that defined entire genres so fully as Roland’s TR-808 and TR-909 drum machines. To put it (overly) simply, they are the sound of hiphop/trap and dance music respectively. And now, at long last, Roland have released official software recreations of these untoppable, unstoppable early 80s icons. The 808 plugin uses analogue modelling to recreate the synthesised “sizzling hi-hats and snappy snare, the clicky rimshot, the unmistakable cowbell, and – yes – that booming bass drum” heard on countless tracks. Like the real thing, the 909 combines pumping synthetic kicks, snares, claps and toms with distinctive sampled cymbals. Roland have modernised the TR sequencer with eight variations, lane view showing all drums at once, adjustable flams, and more. Drag sequences as MIDI or audio into your DAW.

App watch We report on the latest developments in phone and tablet music making

iPad 9.7

The iPad is a great choice for musicmaking… but which model? We’d say that the new entry-level 9.7-inch model strikes a pretty good balance between price and power, with an A10 Fusion chip, higher-res touch sensor and compatibility with the Apple Pencil. This makes it altogether more appealing than its predecessor – and it’s cheaper, too. The 32GB WiFi version costs £319/$329, and the 128GB model – better if you want lots of apps – is £409/$429.


The Roland TR-808 and TR-909 plugins are available via Roland Cloud, which costs £18.95/month or £185/year. URL

Applied Acoustics Systems have been impressing us with their desktop plugins for years, and now they’re hitting the iOS world, with Objeq. This translates beats that you make by tapping your fingers on your desk into authentic percussion parts. Beam, drumhead and plate resonators are used, and you can tinker with pitch, material, decay and tone controls Objeq costs £3.99/$3.99.

oeksound Spiff

Tame harsh transients or creatively remove attack with oeksound’s Spiff(ing) transient processor

Audio can be considered as two sonic elements: momentary transients and sustained frequencies/resonances/ oscillations. Therefore, it makes sense that the followup to oeksound’s Soothe “dynamic resonance suppressor” is an “adaptive transient processor.” Spiff handles transients as Soothe does resonances, “reacting only where and when needed.” They suggest it’s great for curtailing unwanted artefacts like clicks and pops, or calming aggressive transients in musical performances. Suggested creative uses include removing a piano’s attack. The EQ graph can be used to “zone in on frequencies that require more attention,” with the Delta toggle and perband cue used to monitor the results. It’s available now for €149. URL


More of a hummer than a tapper? AmpTrack Technologies HumBeatz could be for you. This takes your melodic musings and plays them as MIDI instruments, so your song ideas can start to take shape whenever you have them. You can create arrangements using the four-track looper, and reverb and delay effects can be dialled in, too. HumBeatz is available for both iOS and Android and costs £6.99/$6.99. July 2018  /  Computer Music  /  11

>  news

Get with the programmers A new synth, better timestretching, expanded interfaces…. the Bitwig developer spills the beans


Claes Johanson

Phase-4 is your new phase distortion synth. What were the challenges you faced when designing such a deep instrument? CJ “The most challenging thing when creating Phase-4 was to come up with a GUI design that made it understandable enough to use. A modulation matrix is common, but often requires mental input from the user. Creating an intuitive interface for multiple operators was both novel and very rewarding. Otherwise, we spend about as much time building out our infrastructure as we do developing new features. In the case of Phase-4, this let us focus on the concept more — an instrument that allows both phase distortion and phase modulation simultaneously — and that made the actual development relatively straightforward.”

Which of the new 2.3 features was the most challenging from a development point of view? CJ “Many man-hours went into the new timestretching algorithms. It’s a DSP-focused task, so we enjoyed trying out many ideas before settling on the final 2.3 feature set. These new algorithms required a different approach to processing data, so we updated our sample-streaming model to do the maths ahead of time. This prevents CPU overloads, and ultimately makes for a seamless user experience.” How did you go about creating expanded interfaces for existing devices, and how did you approach this? CJ “With the user in mind. We see the Expanded Device View as an opportunity to enhance devices that would benefit from additional visualisation and interactive controls. This is why we’re adding the expanded view to our devices one at a time – each device has different needs, and this allows us to create meaningful interactions for the user.”

“Saving a musician several seconds, 100 times over, is valuable”

Bitwig Studio 2.3’s new Instrument and FX Selectors are designed for on-the-fly soundswitching, and unused layers are disabled from the computer’s CPU load. What inspired you to add this feature, and how did you implement it within the existing Bitwig Studio framework? CJ “Both production and performance workflows benefit from reducing the CPU load. Bitwig Studio already suspends DSP chains whenever possible, so the Instrument Selector and FX Selector devices take advantage of this technology, while allowing overlaps to naturally occur – for example, allowing a chain to complete its sound (ie, a decaying reverb tail), even after the selector has switched to a different sound source.” What’s next for Bitwig? CJ “Next up, a number of workflow enhancements, many that have been suggested by our users. Saving a musician several seconds, 100 times over, is valuable, so it’s well worth our time. And we’ll be adding a few more features, of course…” URL

12  /  Computer Music  /  July 2018

Neural DSP Darkglass Ultra plugins

Bass guitar mavens will know Darkglass, Finnish purveyors of the finest bass amps and pedals. New from their Neural DSP offshoot are modelled versions of their Microtubes B7K Ultra and Vintage Ultra pedals. Modern icons of bass-tuned overdrive/distortion, these feature adjustable Drive, Attack and Grunt switches to shape the tone and fourband EQ with switchable frequencies. Software additions include switching between pedals inside one plugin; linkable EQ; input/output gain; stereo processing; and three quality modes. It’s €119. URL

Audiority Pedalboard

If you’re more of a six-stringed plankspanker than a, er, fat-stringed fingerer, then check out this lot. These guitar pedal emulations recreate three legends of the floor. First up, Distortion 1, recreates the good-old Boss DS-1 distortion pedal. One of the bestloved drive boxes of all time, it produces tough yet articulate attack and singing sustain. Blue Face recreates the silicon-based buzz of a late-60s Fuzz Face. Crave the hairy fuzz that only a Big Muff can provide? Try Big Goat, which mimics ElectroHarmonix’ hirsute 70s dirtbox. €20 a pop. URL

SKnote Master Tools

Free to all owners of an SKnote plugin, Master Tools is an online mastering system oriented around “an extremely simple interface and original algorithms.” Drop a track into the web interface and use the four parameters – Tilt, Shaper, Pressure and Mix – to dial in broad-strokes EQ and dynamics settings. The resulting masters can be shared with other users, and timestamped notes left – for example, for bandmates or clients to leave their feedback. This all happens online, so no need to download files or email notes back and forth. Other features include automatic references and suggestions. URL

NI Komplete Kontrol 2.0

NKS – that’s Native Kontrol Standard – now supports effects too, following the free Komplete Kontrol 2.0 update. Compatible plugins enjoy full Native Browser integration and intelligent parameterto-knob mapping via a KK keyboard or Maschine. Native effects are already supported, while Waves, Eventide, u-he, Output, Sugar Bytes, Arturia and others are “confirmed NKS effects partners for 2018.” NB: while effects can be added to your Komplete Kontrol instrument chains, the software does not itself run as an effect – how ’bout that for v2.1, eh, Native? URL


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Computer Music 257 (Sampler)  

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