New Synth Hardware & Software Roundup
The synth industry has seen several companies closing their doors in recent months due to various factors, such as component shortages. However, many others are still going strong, and there have been plenty of new releases on the hardware and software front. In addition, a couple of freeware product has also been released that can be downloaded at no cost. The roundup below features some of the most notable new releases.
Steinberg has released the latest version of HaLion, which offers a range of new features. One of the most significant additions is an entirely new FM Zone, developed in cooperation with Yamaha. It allows users to freely combine up to eight operators, which can be used as carriers or sent to feedback loops. In addition to creating everything from classic DX7 tones to contemporary FM sounds, users can also import DX7 and TX81Z SYX files in the FM Zone. Other highlights include a spectral oscillator with an in-house developed time stretch and resynthesis algorithm, a new modulation concept, and a new shaper envelope. In addition, Steinberg has updated the interface and workflows for HALion 7, added native Apple silicon support, a new mixer, and much more. A 30-day trial version of HALion is also available for those who want first to test all the new features.
By Sample Science
Sample Science describes their GlowPads virtual instrument as “the ultimate tool for cinematic soundscapes.” It features 100 meticulously crafted sounds, and each can also be customized. The collection includes everything from ethereal ambiance to sweeping crescendos and is perfect for adding depth and emotion to tracks.
Xenos: Xenharmonic Stochastic Synthesizer
By Raphael Radna
Rapehal Radna has released his Xenos virtual instrument plug-in. It is designed to implement and extend the Dynamic Stochastic Synthesis (DSS) algorithm Iannis Xenakis invented. Xenos is open-source, cross-platform, and was programmed in C++ with the JUCE framework. In addition to an authentic DSS engine, Xenos features a xenharmonic pitch quantizer, custom scale import in the Scala format, parameter automation, and MIDI implementation. It is polyphonic, with 64 voices by default, and has a simple, streamlined interface. For an introduction to what Xenos can do, watch the video above and visit GitHub to download the software for free.
MS-2 is a free three-operator FM synth plug-in released by Mensla. Despite only having three operators, users will find that MS-2 packs plenty of functionality as well as a lot of flexibility. Each of the three operators has selectable waveforms as well as individual pitch and envelope controls. MS-2 features a matrix, and users can swap between frequency modulation, phase modulation, and amplitude modulation while a multimode filter is on hand as well with its own LFO and ADSR. In addition, MS-2 has a flexible arpeggiator with plenty of settings to tweak. Although MS-2 is free to download, it has no presets by default. Instead, users who show some support with a donation will be sent a preset bank via email as a thank you.
S2400 Sampling Drum Machine
By Isla Instruments
While it is not new, the S2400 Sampling Drum Machine made quite an impact when it was released. Unfortunately, those who have been trying to get their hands on one for the past year or so were out of luck. The good news is that Isla Instruments announced that they still have some units available from the last pre-order batch that are ready to ship. Unfortunately, with the difficulty that many manufacturers are having when it comes to sourcing microchips and parts, this might be the last opportunity to purchase the S2400 for a while.