There are more synths available than any other type of freeware, largely thanks to software like SynthEdit (the clue is in the name) which makes producing them easier. Last time we covered 12 – here are four more…
Dat Sounds OBXD – Classic synth emulator
The website claims it’s not a direct copy, but OBXD does have enough of the original Oberheim OB-X’s features to make this one of the finest freeware synths out there. We downloaded the Mac version and had no problems getting it up and running within the latest version of Logic.
We were treated to a great analogue synth with a couple of oscillators (plus noise source) and some fantastic soaring Oberheim leads. There are a couple of banks of presets to download, including a factory set of 34, which include lots of very typical OB sounds – a bit of brass, loads of the aforementioned leads and the odd modular movement – but there’s plenty of hands-on control and modulation to easily create your own.
W: obxd.wordpress.com – Platform: Mac, PC
u-he triple cheese – Comb filter synth
U-He loves a good synth, and a good freeware Mac one at that, with Triple Cheese not being the only U-He entry in our freeware chart by any means. Triple Cheese has been a firm freeware favourite for many years now, perhaps down to the fact that it is not doing the analogue ‘thing’, like so many other synths out there.
Instead, it uses comb filtering and three ‘cheese modules’ to get a variety of sounds, including pads and plucked sounds. There are many banks – 13 on download – produced by various people and including a bank of different cheese types (we’re partial to a bit of Gouda), which all goes towards making this one of the most distinctive freeware synths on the planet, and one of the pieces of freeware you will keep.
W: www.u-he.com/cms/triple-cheese – Platform: Mac, PC
Dexed – Yamaha DX7 emulator
Let’s face it, Dexed isn’t going to win any ‘come hither and play with me’ awards, as it doesn’t have what could be described as an enticing fascia. But nor did the Yamaha DX7 on which this is based.
That was – is – a complex FM synth, and Dexed makes a very good stab at emulating its strings, its pads, its pianos and percussive sounds, and there’s plenty – too much – to edit, just like on the original.
What you might well do, as (whisper) we did, is just dwell on the sound of the synth; and with 32 pre-loaded sounds you might stay there and dream for a while. They are superb and sum up happy memories of the original. Dexed is a great synth and, again, works well with the latest version of Logic.
W: http://asb2m10.github.io/dexed – Platform: Mac, PC
Brain Control Tunefish4 – Virtual analogue
Tunefish is an interesting freeware synth. It’s ’analogue’ (OK, virtual analogue) in many ways and utilises a noise generator plus standard waveforms and less standard pulse waves for the oscillator section.
Filters, plus a couple of envelopes and LFOs, make up a fairly robust feature set. It’s not the prettiest synth, but is capable of some varied sounds. It’s good to hear the developer being honest about its history and plans, and to see how dramatically the synth has developed over the years. It runs well on newer systems, too.
W: www.tunefish-synth.com/?action=download Platform: Mac, PC