Jump to content
Starship Krupa

Freeware Instruments Thread

Recommended Posts

Since the freeware FX thread is doing well, how about we have one for instruments?

Razor already mentioned the huge collection available free for registering with Native Instruments, and I followed up with the free Kontakt drum instrument  DrumMic'a.

If you're into combo organs, the first two I recommend are Combo V and Combo F, excellent modeled Vox and Farfisa organs. The developer went on to work for Arturia and expanded both of them into commercial products.

Dead Duck Software, mentioned in the Free FX thread, first released instruments that were the classic mda instruments with nice GUI's, one of which is one of my favorite Rhodes emulations, then came up with their own original synthesizer for last year's KVR competition.

Laptop Musician Blog recently released a trio of cool tiny ROMplers, my favorite of which is Padspheres, sort of an ambient-in-a-box. There are also a couple of treated pianos.

That's all for now, just a taste to prime the pump.

All of my suggestions are going to be 64-bit and thoroughly tested with Cakewalk. The freeware repositories are littered with 32-bit VSTi's thanks to Synthedit having been a dominant development tool for so long, but I no longer even bother with them due to the extra overhead and extra potential for issues. Cakewalk is a 64-bit host and I suspect the developers are no longer paying much attention to compatibility with legacy 32-bit plug-ins. As you will see, there is a cornucopia of 64-bit freeware.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Big thumbs up for the Tyrell N6 from u-he... Great sound, quite a few free presets available, and it's skinnable. It's not quite as good  as Zeta+2, but it's really close (and free!)

It's a" must have" freebie.

If you find a sound that seems a bit flat, just turn on the Chorus at the bottom and instant epic fatness 😍

TyrellN6.jpg

  • Like 2
  • Great Idea 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both of these threads should be stickies... for NEW users, one of the first things they are gonna want to know is "What are the most-liked free VST(i)s for CbB." Managing it for the OP could become a nightmare, but a link in the OP to an external webpage might be simplest.

There are often a lot of golden nuggets dropped by folks in these forums, but not everyone has time to mine for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

@Starship Krupa

Both this free VSTi and the free VST thread are wonderful ideas.  Thanks.   

Spicy Guitar:  http://www.spicyguitar.com/

Amplesound Free (sampled acoustic Martin steel six string guitar and electric Fender Precision fretted bass:  https://amplesound.net/en/download.asp

MT Power Drumkit:  https://www.powerdrumkit.com/

A whole bunch of good sounding free instruments from DSK Music:  https://www.dskmusic.com/

Don't forget the Studio Instrument suite of electric piano, electric bass, string section and acoustic drum kit available as an optional download with Cakewalk by BandLab!

Clipboard01.jpg

Edited by fogle622
added thank you
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, mettelus said:

Both of these threads should be stickies

I agree, but my hope for now is that they'll be "virtual stickies," that is, people will keep finding good freeware and posting them, which will bump the thread to the top. And if we keep the quality of the recommendations high, and stay on topic, we may very well wind up getting stickied anyway. Or the content may be used in a sticky.

Maybe there is so much great freeware available that you can get close to putting together your own "Cakewalk Platinum" by substituting freeware for the premium content. Maybe not, but it's a fun idea. Cakewalk Aluminum, maybe?

4 hours ago, fogle622 said:

Don't forget the Studio Instrument suite of electric piano, electric bass, string section and acoustic drum kit available as an optional download with Cakewalk by BandLab!

This, for sure.

I see people asking about where to find a good Rhodes or drum kit or strings plug-in, and wonder if they've even tried them. The Rhodes is really good, the drum kit is good if you go through the sounds and find the sampled kit you like and then fiddle with the onboard FX and most importantly for any canned drums, mess with your velocities! Especially on the hi hat. The strings are good enough that I might not have bought the Sonivox Orchestral Companion if I had already had them.

One of the problems with the Studio Instruments may be the interface, which I find makes it difficult to audition the soundsets. It's not immediately clear how to get at all the different kits or basses or pianos or string sounds. The Strings for instance, has synth pads and other different samples included, not just the default chamber orchestra, the Bass has synth basses, acoustic, fretless, and so on. There are at least a dozen different sampled drum kits, both acoustic and electronic.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One big feature that Cakewalk by BandLab is still lacking, in my opinion, especially for EDM work, is inclusion of a software phrase sampler.

While there are a few choices out there, the one I've found that's closest in functionality and workflow to the ones I'm used to in other DAW's is TX16Wx.

It has such a rich feature set that I'll probably never delve deeply enough to really find out what all it can do, but it quickly and easily does the bit where you get some phrases in there and trigger them with MIDI information, and that's what I want my phrase sampler to do. It has good tools for editing and pitch shifting as well, so I look nowhere else.

They recently updated it with a bunch of new features like a more scaleable GUI.

  • Great Idea 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think these plugins by Leslie Sandford deserve a mention:

  • Cobalt - a VSTi reminiscent of the Korg DW8000 & Kawai K5 
  • Sandford Delay - tempo based delay effect
  • Sanford Reverb - a no-nonsense reverb, with pretty low CPU usage
  • Bass Tightner -  a spatial effect for tightening up the stereo spread.

https://www.lesliesanford.com/vst/plugins/

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, sping said:

A good source for free synths is KVR OSC contest page.
Long list of synths and the KVR forum thread have lot's of info for each.

https://sites.google.com/site/kvrosc/

If you check that out you're gonna find good synths from Full bucket music.

Here's the site: http://music.fullbucket.de/vst.html

Every thing he does, and for free, is very good. I don't think he's capable of sloppy work.

My favorites is Modulair and Sequencair.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/16/2019 at 1:38 AM, Variorum said:

Big thumbs up for the Tyrell N6 from u-he... Great sound, quite a few free presets available, and it's skinnable. It's not quite as good  as Zeta+2, but it's really close (and free!)

 

When downloading Tyrell 6 take a look at the other u-he freebies Podolski and Zebralette. They are all available from the u-he main page. Click Products on the menu. They are listed in the freeware section.

For those interested in a preview of what the VCVRack will look like as VST, here is a port of v0.6 called VeeSeeVST which contains a lot of the free modules. The regular VST release of VCVRack will not be free. The current version of VCVRack is a standalone synth but has several record modules and there is a bridge which can communicate with  CbB albeit a little flaky. I doubt VeeSeeVST will see much more development given the scheduled release of VCVRack VST near the end of the year.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, LadyFuzztail said:

There's also Unreal Instruments : https://unreal-instruments.wixsite.com/unreal-instruments

Has 8 sampled instruments that are meant to be used with Plogue's Sforzando

Wow! That's an unexpectedly good collection of free instruments! Those are all commercial quality SFZ's. The UI Metal GTX alone is about 1.3GB... Some really advanced SFZ programming, too. 

These load up in Aria Player, as well (if you have it). You won't get the GUI's, but you can still adjust the parameters.

Thanks for the link! 😁

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Variorum said:

Wow! That's an unexpectedly good collection of free instruments! Those are all commercial quality SFZ's. The UI Metal GTX alone is about 1.3GB... Some really advanced SFZ programming, too. 

These load up in Aria Player, as well (if you have it). You won't get the GUI's, but you can still adjust the parameters.

Thanks for the link! 😁

The Metal GTX instrument has a pretty steep learning curve and you have to spend some time programming the keyswitch sequences, but it is worth it, so very worth it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're talking about sforzando, but I don't think there's been a link to how to download it yet.

For those who don't already know, it's a a sample player, specifically for the SFZ format.

If there's anything else to explain, I'll leave it to the experts! What I know is that there are a lot of free sampled instruments in the SFZ format available for download and this VSTi plays them like a champ.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a heads up... I updated to sforzando 1.952 because it now has a VST3 version, but the VST3 is crashing CbB (the VST2 version works fine)

It could be just my system... still investigating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick updates:
First, the VST3 version of sforzando seems to be working fine now after the first couple of crashes. No idea why. I blame quantum physics.

Second, I'm a dummy. If an SFZ instrument has a GUI (there will be a GUI directory and an XML file in the root folder) you need to drag that XML file into sforzando to "register" it. The GUI will then show up in sforzando AND Aria Player. I'm getting old... forgot about that.

Registering the instrument also makes it show up in the "presets" of both players. You can just select it rather than having to import it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×