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What? Shortcircuit is open source? Well yes, but there are big big caveats. Right now there are no downloadable assets you can get to play music, and there is no runnable open source Shortcircuit plugin. We estimate this will be the case for much of 2021, and maybe indefinitely. You may never be able to run an open source Shortcircuit. Might just be too much work. But if you are dev you can help!
What was Shortcurcuit?
Shortcircuit was created as a reaction against the ongoing trend where software samplers are being designed with the primary intent of library playback.
It is intended for people who, like us, consider a sampler to be a musical instrument in its own right, and not just a way to emulate other instruments. It has been a very high priority to make sure that adding and editing individual samples is as fast and logical as possible.
The sample hierarchy in shortcircuit allow you to place samples directly at the highest level of the multi, without having to deal with instrument hierarchies and patches. Want to add a sample to your song? Just drag & drop the sample into shortcircuit and you’re ready to go. Samples can be put in groups for multi-sampling and kit-building, but the complexity is only there when you need it
Sound quality is of highest concern, and shortcircuit uses very high-quality interpolation to ensure that your samples sound as good as the source material, regardless of the pitch you play them at. All filters & effects are calculated at the precision required for them to sound the way intended and oversampling are used when required to prevent aliasing.
Shortcircuit was designed to sound great, all other concerns have been secondary. But don’t take our word for it, download ‘shortcircuit free’ and find out for yourself.
Each voice in shortcircuit features two filter-slots, and the selection isn’t limited to the traditional pick. In addition to the regular lowpass/highpass/bandpass/notch & peak-filters and variations thereof there is an array of filter algorithms (not strictly filters in the traditional sense, but called so because of their location in the audio path) including distortion, parametric/graphic/morphing equalizers,bit-reduction/decimation, gating, limiting, slew-rate distortion, ring-modulation, frequency shifting and phase-modulation (better known as FM). The selection even includes analog-style oscillators that you can mix with the sample.
Over 2021, after the succesful release of Surge 1.9, the Surge Synth team undertook an effort to rebuild Surge in JUCE and add a variety of features. This project resulted in the new version of Surge, called ‘Surge XT’.
Synthesis method: Subtractive hybrid
Each patch contain two scenes which are separate instances of the entire synthesis engine (except effects) that can be used to create layered or split patches.
Quick category-based patch browser with textual search and favorites
Runs on a variety of operating systems, plugin formats, and architectures
3 oscillators per scene, with 12 versatile oscillator algorithms: Classic, Modern, Wavetable, Window, Sine, FM2, FM3, String, Twist, Alias, S&H Noise and Audio Input.
Classic oscillator is a morphable pulse/saw/dual saw oscillator with a sub-oscillator and hard sync.
Modern oscillator is a mixable saw/pulse/triangle oscillator with an optional sub-oscillator mode for triangle (which can also change to sine or square) and hard sync.
FM2/FM3 oscillators consist of a carrier and 2 or 3 modulators and various options.
String oscillator uses two filtered waveguides to emulate plucked or bowed string sounds.
Twist oscillator is based on a very famous Eurorack macro oscillator, and it offers a myriad of synthesis options in a very simple and quick way.
Most algorithms (except FM2, FM3, Twist and Audio Input) offer up to 16-voice unison at the oscillator level.
Oscillator FM in 3 different configurations and ring modulation between oscillators 1-2 and 2-3.
Most oscillator algorithms (except FM2, FM3, Sine and Alias) are strictly band-limited, yet still cover the entire audible spectrum, delivering a clear, punchy and clean sound.
Noise generator with variable spectrum (available directly in the oscillator mixer).
Two filter units in 8 different configurations.
Feedback loop available in 7 of those configurations.
Available filter algorithms: Lowpass (12 and 24 dB/oct, each with 3 variations), Legacy Ladder Lowpass (6-24 dB/oct), Vintage Ladder Lowpass (2 variations, each with and without gain compensation), Highpass (12 and 24 dB/oct, each with 3 variations), Bandpass (12 and 24 dB/oct, each with 3 variations), Notch (12 and 24 dB/oct, each with 2 variations), Allpass (3 variations), Comb (positive and negative), S&H.
Open-source additions to our filter algorithms include: K35 and Diode Ladder filter types from Odin 2 synthesizer, 12 and 24 dB/oct multimode filters from OB-Xd, and weird but fascinating Cutoff Warp, Resonance Warp and Tri-Pole filters by Jatin Chowdhury!
Filters can self-oscillate (with excitation) and respond amazingly fast to cutoff frequency changes.
Waveshaper (43 shapes).
12 LFO units available, 6 are per voice and 6 are global for the whole scene.
DAHDSR envelope generators on every LFO.
LFO shapes consist of 7 deformable LFO waveforms, step sequencer, a fully-fledged multi-segment envelope generator (MSEG) with various curves and up to 128 nodes, and last but not the least – a formula modulator which utilizes Lua scripting language to provide completely custom modulator output.
Voice LFOs allow envelope retriggering in step sequencer mode.
Extremely fast and flexible modulation routing. Almost every continuous parameter can be modulated!
16 effect units arranged as 4 inserts per scene, 4 sends and 4 master effects.
PlugData is a plugin and standalone wrapper around Pure Data. It aims to offer the same features as Pure Data, but in a DAW. It also features an updated GUI that will make patching more comfortable. PlugData also ships with a large library of extra objects.
Pure Data is an interactive programming environment that allows you to processes, synthesise and modify real-time audio signals. It also has a system for control messages. For more info on Pure Data see: https://puredata.info
OB-Xd is based on the Oberheim OB-X. It attempts to recreate its sound and behavior, but as the original was very limited in some important ways a number of things were added or altered to the original design. OB-Xd was designed to sound as good and as rich as the original. It implements micro random detuning which is a big part of that sound.
• 7x faster GUI controls.
• Linux build.
• Standalone app.
• Signed and notarized installers.
• Updated JUCE framework to 5.4.7 for better stability and compatibility.
• Updated Banks with 2.0 compatibility.
• Ilkka Rosma Dark Theme.
• macOS Catalina support.
• MIDI CC Learn.
• MIDI CC support.
• Parameter refactor.
• XML based skinning.
• HiDPI (Retina) ready GUI themes.
While not copying originals, some of the features were taken to a better point. Continuous blendable multimode filter (HP-Notch(BP)-HP in 12 dB mode and 4-1 pole in 24 dB mode). Also, like many synths of the OB-X’s generation, the OB-Xd has no internal effects so its sounds and textures can be greatly enhanced by the use of additional processing like chorus, reverb, delay, etc.
Thanks to 2Dat for the original OB-Xd and Soshi Studio for giving the rights to continue this wonderful product. Also thanks to all KVR artists for making the amazing skins!. OB-Xd Desktop has no restrictions and is free to use. Buy to support further development, thank you! Source code is available under GPL license at GitHub.
Spatial Audio Real-Time Applications (SPARTA)
An open-source VST audio plug-in suite for spatial audio production, reproduction and visualisation
AboutSPARTA is a collection of flexible VST audio plug-ins for spatial audio production, reproduction and visualisation, developed primarily by members of the Acoustics Lab at Aalto University, Finland.
• Download links of current and past versions can be found here.
• The suite has been formally presented in this publication, with the source code made available here (GPLv3 license).
• The SPARTA installer also includes the COMPASS suite, the HO-DirAC suite, CroPaC Binaural Decoder, and the HO-SIRR room impulse response renderer. These plug-ins employ parametric processing and are signal-dependent, aiming to go beyond conventional linear Ambisonics by extracting meaningful parameters over time and subsequently employing them to map the input to the output in a more informed manner.
• For the curious researchers and/or spatial audio developers: note that the plugins included in the SPARTA installer are all built using the open-source Spatial_Audio_Framework (SAF).
List of plug-ins included in the SPARTA installerThe SPARTA suite: • sparta_ambiBIN – A binaural ambisonic decoder (up to 7th order) with a built-in SOFA loader and head-tracking support via OSC messages. Includes: Least-Squares (LS), spatial re-sampling (SPR), time-alignment (TA), and magnitude least-squares (Mag-LS) decoding options. • sparta_ambiDEC – A frequency-dependent loudspeaker ambisonic decoder (up to 7th order) with user specifiable loudspeaker directions (up to 64), which may be optionally imported via JSON configuration files. Includes: All-Round (AllRAD), Energy-Preserving (EPAD), Spatial (SAD), and Mode-Matching (MMD) ambisonic decoding options. The loudspeaker signals may also be binauralised for headphone playback. • sparta_ambiDRC – A frequency-dependent dynamic range compressor for ambisonic signals (up to 7th order). • sparta_ambiENC – An ambisonic encoder/panner (up to 7th order), with support for up to 64 input channels; the directions for which may also be imported via JSON configuration files. • sparta_ambiRoomSim – A shoebox room simulator based on the image-source method, supporting multiple sources and ambisonic receivers.. • sparta_array2sh – A microphone array spatial encoder (up to 7th order), with presets for several commercially available A-format and higher-order microphone arrays. The plug-in can also present objective evaluation metrics for the currently selected configuration. • sparta_beamformer – A spherical harmonic domain beamforming plug-in with multiple beamforming strategies (up to 64 output beams). • sparta_binauraliser – A binaural panner (up to 64 input channels) with a built-in SOFA loader and head-tracking support via OSC messages. • sparta_decorrelator – A simple multi-channel signal decorrelator (up to 64 input channels). • sparta_dirass – A sound-field visualiser based on re-assigning the energy of beamformers. This re-assigment is based on DoA estimates extracted from “spatially-constrained” regions, which are centred around each beamformer look-direction. • sparta_matrixconv – A basic matrix convolver with an optional partitioned convolution mode. The user need only specify the number of inputs and load the filters via a wav file. • sparta_multiconv – A basic multi-channel convolver with an optional partitioned convolution mode. Unlike “MatrixConv”, this plug-in does not perform any matrixing. Instead, each input channel is convolved with the respective filter; i.e. numInputs = numFilters = numOutputs. • sparta_panner – A frequency-dependent 3-D panner using the VBAP method (up to 64 inputs and outputs). • sparta_powermap – A sound-field visualisation plug-in based on ambisonic signals as input (up to 7th order), with PWD/MVDR/MUSIC/Min-Norm options. • sparta_rotator – A flexible ambisonic rotator (up to 7th order) with head-tracking support via OSC messages. • sparta_sldoa – A frequency-dependent sound-field visualiser (up to 7th order), based on depicting the direction-of-arrival (DoA) estimates derived from spatially localised active-intensity vectors. The low frequency estimates are shown with blue icons, mid-frequencies with green, and high-frequencies with red. • sparta_spreader – An arbitrary array (e.g. HRIRs or microphone array IRs) panner with coherent and incoherent spreading options.
The COMPASS suite: • compass_binaural – A binaural ambisonic decoder (up to 3rd order input) based on the parametric COMPASS model, with a built-in SOFA loader and head-tracking support via OSC messages. • compass_binauralVR – Same as the compass_binaural plugin, but also supporting listener translation around the receiver position and support for multiple simultaneous listeners. • compass_decoder – A parametrically enhanced loudspeaker ambisonic decoder (up to 3rd order input). • compass_gravitator – A parametric sound-field focussing plug-in. • compass_sidechain – A plug-in that manipulates the spatial properties of one Ambisonic recording based on the spatial analysis of a different recording. • compass_spatedit – A flexible spatial editing plug-in. • compass_tracker – A multiple target acoustic tracker which can optionally steer a beamformer towards each target. • compass_upmixer – An Ambisonic upmixer (1-3rd order input, 2-7th order output).
The HO-DirAC suite: • hodirac_binaural – A binaural ambisonic decoder (up to 3rd order input) based on the parametric HO-DirAC model, with a built-in SOFA loader and head-tracking support via OSC messages. • hodirac_decoder – A parametrically enhanced loudspeaker ambisonic decoder (up to 3rd order input). • hodirac_upmixer – An Ambisonic upmixer (1-3rd order input, 2-7th order output).
Other: • cropac_decoder – A binaural 1st order ambisonic decoder based on the parametric CroPaC model, with a built-in SOFA loader and head-tracking support via OSC messages. • HOSIRR – An Ambisonic room impulse response (RIR) renderer for arbitrary loudspeaker setups, based on the Higher-order Spatial Impulse Response Rendering (HO-SIRR) algorithm;
• Many optimisations for the internal signal processing (especially for the compass plug-ins)
• Some improvements for compass_upmixer (increased internal spatial grid density)
• Some bug fixes and minor improvements all round
Beatzille: little monster
Beatzille is a compact version of our monster modular synthesizer Bazille. Although its condensed feature set makes it the ‘little brother’, Beatzille is still an engaging and capable synthesizer. Power and style run in the family. Digital oscillators, analogue-style filter and flexible patching will keep you busy for a good while before thinking about tackling Bazille.
• Modular architecture
• 2 digital oscillators with simultaneous frequency modulation (FM), phase distortion (PD) and fractal resonance (FR)
• Polyphonic (up to 8 voices), duophonic (split oscillator pitches), legato or retriggered monophonic
• Pitch transpose, drift and glide control
• 1 multimode analogue-style filter with 6 parallel outputs (4× lowpass, bandpass, highpass)
• 2 ADSR envelopes with sustain slope (fall/rise) and 5 trigger modes
• 1 LFO with 3 parallel outputs with various waveforms
• 16-step sequencer with 8 morphable snapshots. 4 output sockets for parallel sequences, envelope triggers and more
• 2 multiplex units for mixing, crossfades, ring modulation or amplitude modulation
• Built-in stereo delay with tape wow, feedback and damping filters
• 1 mapping generator (waveshaper / incrementer)
• Audio-rate signal processors: inverter, rectifier, sample & hold, dual lag generator and quantizer
• White and pink noise generators
• MIDI modulation sources include modwheel, velocity, breath, pressure, key follow, gate and more
• Single-page interface
• Skinnable UI
• Resizable UI from 70% to 200%
• Global preferences page
• MIDI learn overlay and editable MIDI CC list
• Over 160 factory presets
• NEW in v1.0.2: Support for Oddsound MTS-ESP
Small and mighty
Striking the balance between too much and too little, Beatzille is the happy medium. It presents an introduction to modular synthesis and a taste of the power of Bazille without being overwhelming.
Beatzille’s oscillators embrace two digital synthesis methods developed during the 1980s: frequency modulation (FM) and phase distortion (PD). We also added a process we call fractal resonance (Fractalize), which sounds similar to the classic oscillator sync effect when swept.
All three synthesis methods run simultaneously, so you can combine them to create an extensive range of sounds. Beatzille is great at generating weird modular blips and squeaks, but you can even coax soft pads and organic keys from the oscillators—as demonstrated by the factory library. Add modulation for even more sound possibilities.
The filter is a favourite in the sound designer’s toolkit. Cut frequencies, boost others, add texture and colour. Beatzille’s analogue-style filter complements the digital oscillators, providing warmth and drive. And its self-oscillation capability opens up some intriguing sound design opportunities.
Even with a single filter Beatzille offers plenty of creative horizons. The six parallel outputs (highpass, bandpass and four types of lowpass) with multiple modulation options make it easy to create complex, shifting textures.
Beatzille has only one built-in effect, but it’s good one: stereo delay with optional host sync. Push your sound around in space with independent delay times and volumes for each channel. Conjure ghostly echoes using tape-like wobble and filtering or set up endless repetitions. Tweak all controls to find the perfect delay.
Beatzille 1.0.2 (revision 12092)
Native M1 ARM support
• Native support for Apple Silicon chips (M1)
• macOS Big Sur compatibility
• Improved GUI performance
• Support for Oddsound MTS-ESP
• Improved handling of junction links on Windows
• VST3 support added
• Improved preset browser
• Improved soundset installation
• Pitch Bend range now +/-48
• Minor GUI fixes/tweaks
• Various Mac and Windows installer improvements
• System info displayed in GUI (revision, OS, plugin format)
• Hold pedal behaviour improved (0-63 = off, 64-127 = on)
• Ctrl A/B replaces fixed Breath and Expression modulation
• Changed how LFO Wave and LFO Phase influence envelope triggering
• Fixed multiple sequencer issues
• Fixed multiple issues with envelope triggering via LFO and sequencer
• Fixed notes starting on same time stamp but different MIDI channel might not play
• Fixed LFO in sync mode being too slow on its first cycle
• Fixed mapping generator not updating instantly
• Fixed multiplex potentially killing audio output
• Fixed crash when loading script presets (e.g. Randomizer)
• Fixed rare crash on project reload
• Fixed audio clicks when switching presets
• Various small fixes and improvements
• Context menus need plugin focus to work (Apple issue)
• Cable style “natural” can cause GUI glitches
• AAX support on Mac removed temporarily (will come back in next update)
• Updated minimum requirements, CPU needs to support SSE4.2 instruction set
• Linux: minimum required glibc version is 2.28 (otherwise plugins won’t show up)
• macOS 32-bit support discontinued
The Windows installer was improved to prevent common installations issues. Please check the suggested installation paths during installation, making sure the update is installed into the same location as the previous version, and all installed plugin formats are being updated.
Envelope triggering via LFO and sequencer was reworked in order to fix multiple bugs in this area. This means some presets might not sound as intended anymore. We therefore recommend to finish ongoing projects before updating to the new version. Please refer to the “Patch Conversion Tips” file to get more info on how to adjust your presets.
ZebraCM is a stripped-down version of Zebra2 with a selection of modules organised in a simple layout. Though smaller, ZebraCM is still an adept synthesizer with enough features to keep you busy before stepping up to the full experience of Zebra2.
Please note: ZebraCM was commissioned by Computer Music magazine for their readers. It is only available via Computer Music, not from u-he.com or our resellers.
2 wavetable (16) oscillators with integrated sync and spectral filter
Polyphonic (up to 16 voices), duophonic, mono or legato
Stereo signal path
Noise generator: White, pink, digital or crackles
Filter with 20 modes (various lowpass, bandpass, notch, shelf, allpass…)
2 ADSR envelopes with fall/rise sustain
3 effects: chorus, delay, reverb
Resizable UI from 70% to 200%
221 factory presets
NEW in v1.1.1: Support for Oddsound MTS-ESP
Bespoke is a software modular synthesizer. It contains a bunch of modules, which you can connect together to create sounds.
Bespoke is like a DAW* in some ways, but with less of a focus on a global timeline. Instead, it has a design more optimized for jamming and exploration.
Bespoke is a project I started in 2011 as a way for me to learn more about creating music. Instead of putting in the time to learn the intricacies of an existing DAW, I took on a foolhardy exercise to try to build my own. The software is custom built by me and for me, hence the name “Bespoke”.
Bespoke’s core design is to break everything into separate modules that can be patched together in a custom layout, much like a hardware modular. Bespoke is designed to be highly customizable, with the idea that any of the custom layouts that you create will be “bespoke” to you as well.
In a way, Bespoke is like if I smashed Ableton to bits with a baseball bat, and asked you to put it back together.
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