1. Arturia Pigments 4 (Wavetable & Sample-Based Synth)
Pigments 4 is a powerful and versatile synth that combines the best features of both virtual analog and granular synthesis.
It features a user-friendly interface and offers a wide range of sounds and presets, as well as the ability to create and modify your own sounds. It also includes a built-in modulation matrix, effects, and a step sequencer. Lastly, it features analog, wavetable, Harmonic, and sample-based synthesis engines.
It is the fourth version of their Pigments software, which is known for its versatile sound design capabilities and advanced modulation options. It includes new features, such as a granular engine, a revamped modulation matrix, and new user interface, as new upgrades. It also includes a wide range of sounds and presets and the ability to import samples and use them in the synthesizer.
- Virtual Analog and Granular Synthesis
The plugin combines the best of both worlds by offering the warmth and richness of virtual analog synthesis with the flexibility and granularity of granular synthesis. This allows you to create a wide range of sounds, from classic analog emulations to more experimental and unique sounds.
- Dual Oscillator Engine
The synth features a dual oscillator engine that allows you to layer and combine different waveforms and samples. You can also use the dual oscillator engine to create complex modulation and cross-modulation effects.
- Modulation Matrix
Pigments 4 includes a built-in modulation matrix that allows you to create complex and dynamic sounds by routing different modulation sources to various destinations. This feature is particularly useful for creating evolving, organic sounds.
- Step Sequencer
Pigments 4 includes a step sequencer that allows you to create patterns and sequences in various ways. The step sequencer can be used to create simple beats or more complex patterns and can also be used as a modulation source in the modulation matrix.
The synth includes several effects that can be used to shape and sculpt the sound. These effects include delay, reverb, distortion, chorus, compressor, EQ, filter, and more. The effects can be used in series or parallel and modulated using the modulation matrix, which allows for high sound design possibilities.
The arpeggiator in the synth can be used to create arpeggiated patterns. It allows you to adjust the tempo, the number of octaves, the direction, and the pattern of the arpeggio.
- Presets and Sound Library
The presets are organized into categories, such as bass, leads, pads, and effects, making it easy to find the type of sound you want. You can also search for presets by keyword, which can be useful when looking for a specific type of sound.
Lastly, the presets are categorized into Types (leads, pads, etc.), Styles (e.g., Ambient cinematic, modern, dubstep, etc.), and Banks.
- Sequencing capabilities
The synth includes a built-in step sequencer that can be used to create rhythmic patterns and melodic sequences, which allows you to adjust the sequence length, the number of steps, and the tempo. In addition, you can add and edit notes, rests, and ties and adjust each step’s velocity, swing, and gate. Lastly, the modulation matrix can connect the step sequencer to other synthesizer parameters, such as oscillator pitch or filter cutoff.
- Advanced Interface
The interface of Arturia Pigments 4 is well-designed and user-friendly, making it easy to navigate and adjust the parameters of the synthesizer. It also allows for a high level of customization, which makes it adaptable to different workflows and preferences.
For example, it lets you adjust the layout and color scheme to suit your preferences. It also includes a full-screen mode, which allows you to focus on the main panel and hide the sidebar and bottom bar.
The synth includes a variety of views that can be accessed from the left sidebar of its interface. These views let you isolate and edit different synthesizer sections, such as the oscillators, filters, effects, and modulation matrix. Each view displays the relevant parameters and controls for that section, making it easy to access and adjust the settings you need.
The plugin has a variety of skins by which you can change the overall look and feel of the interface. These skins include color schemes and layouts, such as classic, dark, and minimal. The skins can be selected from the global settings menu, and you can switch between them anytime.
- Macro Controls
Arturia Pigments 4 includes macro controls, a set of eight knobs that can be used to control multiple parameters simultaneously. They allow you to quickly adjust multiple settings with a single control, making it easier to create complex sounds and perform live. The macro controls can be mapped to any parameters within the synthesizer, such as filter cutoff, oscillator pitch, or LFO rate. This allows you to create custom mappings that suit your workflow.
Arturia Pigments 4 is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems and can be used as a standalone application or as a plugin within a digital audio workstation (DAW) software that supports VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
In addition, it requires a minimum of 4GB of RAM and a 2GHz processor, and also a display with a minimum resolution of 1280×800 pixels. It is also compatible with eLicenser, iLok, and Arturia Software Center for managing and authorizing Arturia software products.
The synth combines the best features of virtual analog and granular synthesis and features a user-friendly interface. In addition, the plugin features a set of macros controls that allow you to quickly and easily shape and sculpt the sound of the synth, which also includes a randomize button that can be used to randomly adjust the values of the macros, which can be useful for generating new and unexpected sounds.
2. Arturia Augmented Voices (Choir & Voice Synth)
More Info & Price (Trial Available)
The blending between sample voices and sound synthesis resulted in this brand new plugin effect.
Augmented Voices is made possible due to a very exciting mixture: you can blend multi-sampled voice tracks with a unique synthesis engine in order to create completely fresh, new sounds. Presets offer
The possibilities and variations are endless, allowing to open the doors to many creative ideas that couldn’t be achieved otherwise.
Choirs can provide beautiful harmonies and melodies and naturally fit most genres and music styles due to their blissful sounds. Furthermore, as modern times provided us with techniques such as sampling, Arturia decided to take one step further and blend the best parts we know and love about choirs with a modern engine, and the result is Augmented Voices.
- Two engines
This exquisite synthesizer works with two different engines. The first one is the main display itself, with seven macro knobs that allow you to quickly change the nature of your sound in a few tweaks. You can control aspects such as “Color,” “Time,” and “Motion” here. The second engine is the “Advanced Panel,” in which a deeper sound design control is presented via a myriad of knobs and controls. You can access two layers of sound (“A” and “B”) based on any combination of sampling, granular, wavetable, harmonic, and virtual analog synthesis.
- Delay and reverb
Aside from the many changes you can make to the final sound, you can also add reverb and/or delay directly from the plugin’s master channel. This can help expand the ambiance and texture in any samples you’re working on, thus offering a wider and more vivid sonority to your track as a whole.
- Morph knob
The big knob centered in the main interface was created in that size for a reason. By twisting it, you can morph around between both A and B layers, adjusting the other parameters around it to make it sound just like you want it to. This way, you can have two different syntheses going on in each layer and blend them to your taste.
The two toolbars present in Augmented Voices are important to control the general settings present in this plugin. The top toolbar houses options such as saving, loading, and browsing preset, adjusting MIDI mappings, and accessing the “Advanced Panel.” The lower toolbar provides quick readings of your CPU power consumption, undo and redo history, and a “MIDI Panic” option that resets all MIDI notes that may be stuck or presenting issues.
In the main interface, other than the big “Morph” knob, you can find other specific adjustments for the effects running in the plugin. “FX A” adjusts any parameters connected to the insert effect that will affect layer A, and “FX B” does the same for layer B, both present in the “Advanced Panel.” Other than that, you can set the values for “Reverb” and “Delay,” as previously mentioned.
- Two engines
This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST, NKS, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Few effects can be as inspiring as Augmented Voices. The real catch here is the way you can blend vocal samples with multiple forms of audio synthesis, with extreme precision in the multiple parameters presented.
If you’re a sound designer looking for something fresh and innovative, this plugin can be the perfect resource for you – ideally, if you like to create spatial soundscapes and airy textures.
The blending between different synth layers is superb and can offer an insane amount of variable sounds, each with a distinctive character that reflects the quality behind this awesome Arturia product.
3. Arturia Piano V3 (Piano Collection Based on Physical Modelling)
The piano is one of the most popular, used, and familiar sounds in music history.
However, finding a good one in the digital era is often challenging, especially if you’re after a realistic and authentic sound. Arturia has created Piano V3 to capture the most authentic piano sounds possible through physical modeling, from mechanical to sonic behavior.
- Wide range of sounds
Piano V3 doesn’t focus on a single piano sound. Instead, Arturia was interested in creating an instrument that accurately portrays various pianos styles. Therefore, with Piano V3, you can access American, Japanese, or German Grand Pianos, Jazz, Classical, or Pop Upright Pianos, plucked Grand Piano, or experimental options like the Glass and Metal Grand Pianos. You can achieve all sorts of sounds and feelings with these models, from shimmery Pop piano sounds to punchy and dark hip hop sounds.
- No samples
When you invest in a high-quality piano instrument, you’ll need many gigabytes of space on your hard drive to cover the large sample libraries that come with it. Fortunately, Arturia’s Piano V3 is not sampled-based. Instead, it uses physical modeling to simulate a real piano’s physics and acoustics in real-time. This complex algorithm guarantees consistency and authenticity in your piano sounds.
- Tweak the sound
Even though the piano sounds are excellent and authentic, you can still adjust and tweak certain parameters to make them fit your productions. For example, you can adjust the brightness knob for brighter or gloomier sounds, the timbre knob for different sonic and harmonic characteristics, the dynamics knob for a punchier or more sustained feel, and the stereo width knob for customizing your stereo field. Each of these knobs can transform the sound drastically, giving you much room to play with.
- Dig deeper
You can dig deeper with the studio page if the above knobs are insufficient to get the piano sound just right. Here, you can adjust the mic positions and create realistic spaces for your pianos to exist in with amazing reverb algorithms. Effects like EQ, compressor, and preamp are further tools you can use to customize your sound. Finally, you can adjust the noises that come through the hammer and pedals, the age of the strings, as well as their exact tuning and acoustic settings like the lid position, soundboard resonance, and sympathetic resonance.
Piano V3 is available on Windows 8.1 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher in VST, AAX, and AU formats, 64-bit only.
The interface is very simple, with few controls on the main page that help you tweak the basic characteristics of the sound, while the 12 piano models offer plenty of variation and sonic flexibility.
The fact that you can dig deep and adjust some of the more niche controls, like the age of the strings or the soundboard resonance, is a testament to how accurate and meticulously designed this instrument is.
4. Arturia ARP2600 V (Semi-Modular Synth)
Bring Alan R. Pearlman’s 1972 icon ARP 2600 back to life with Arturia’s deep hardware emulation.
Arturia’s ARP2600 V is a semi-modular synth that shares the UI design almost precisely with the original hardware. It features three oscillators and one filter with multiple types featured in the ARP 2500 hardware synth. It has 2 to 32-voice polyphony.
These idiosyncrasies do make Arturia’s plugin have a much more comprehensive range of sounds.
However, thanks to the modular approach, beginners may not find it the easiest synth to use. Still, it features over 500 presets and in-app tutorials, making the learning and user experience a lot more intuitive.
- Synth Engine
As I mentioned earlier, three oscillators release these signals: triangle, sine, saw, square, and rectangle waveforms. There is also a noise module, ring modulator, a sample/hold module, and a mixer. You can pass these to a 24 dB/oct low-pass or a 12 dB multi-mode (LP, HP, BP, notch) filter.
You’ll find two envelopes: an ADSR for the low-pass filters and an AR filter for the amplifier. And, unlike the original hardware’s OSC 2 used as an LFO, ARP 2600 V employs a separate LFO, which is pre-routed for vibrato. But you can also route it to anywhere else, of course.
On top of the reverberation already present in the original instrument, the effects section allows you to add a Stereo Delay and Chorus to your sound. These effects give much more depth and a contemporary vibe to the sound.
You’ll find an emulation of the ARP model 1601 sequencer in this plugin. The design may catch you off guard, but it’s pretty easy to use. The top row of faders lets you select which “bus” outputs the signal per step (a gate). And you can choose transposition or modulation in the faders below. So, you could use this sequencer for note arpeggiation or modulation.
ARP 2600 V is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
If you don’t already own a modular synth plugin, you should give ARP 2600 V a try to understand the concept. It’s quite easy to use as all of the modules are on the UI.
Furthermore, you’ll love it if you enjoy the analog sound, which Arturia is renowned for recreating. You can also consider their V-Collection, which includes this instrument. However, it does require a reasonably fast CPU to operate well.
5. Arturia Modular V3 (Modular Synth)
Arturia takes us back to the roots of synthesis with this emulation of a revered classic.
The Arturia Modular V is based on the Moog Model 55 modular synth, which was a two-notes polyphonic synth. This software emulation adds sensible features like formant filtering and 64-voice polyphony to the original design.
The interface, however, remains faithful to the hardware along with the manual patching workflow.
- Powerful Oscillators
Sometimes, more is more in synthesis. Modular V features 9 oscillators in total, and each can generate sine, triangle, saw, and square waves. Furthermore, they also feature frequency and amplitude modulations. While it may seem unnecessary to have so many oscillators, you’ll probably spend most of them for unison as there isn’t a dedicated feature for that. Also, there’s a noise generator.
- Moog Filters
There are three filter modules in the plugin, and they accurately recreate the sound of the original filters (low-pass). The plugin lets you select one of four types of filters for each module: a low-pass, high-pass, notch, and a band-pass, all of them with 24 dB/octave slope steepness. Furthermore, you’ll also find a Fixed Filter Bank, where you can equalize the signal coming from the two output amplifiers (VCA) using 14 bands.
- Effect Processors
The plugin features chorus, phaser, and stereo delay processors. There are three chorus types selectable with a toggle switch. And you can sync the stereo delay to the host tempo. You’ll probably want to use the delay as an echo effect rather than as a spatial effect.
- Sequence Generator
This module, better known as a sequencer, is comparable to the original model 960 sequencer but simplifies programming with internal connections. The low-frequency oscillator, the 8-step sequence manager, and the output controller are the three components of this module. The oscillator sets the playback rate, which can also be synced to the host.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Featuring over 600 presets, Arturia’s Modular V is probably one of the most inspiring synths yet.
However, the interface often feels overly large and clunky, especially if you use a smaller screen like a laptop, although it retains the original hardware’s feel. Sound-wise, the emulation is spot-on, and if you like analog sounds, this synth should be at a high place on your list.
6. Arturia Augmented STRINGS (Versatile Strings)
More Info & Price (Trial Available)
Experience acoustic string sets in a refreshed way like you’ve never heard before.
Similarly to the aforementioned Augmented Voices, Arturia brings a refreshed and modern approach to string sets with Augmented Strings. The perfect blending between the samples of string sets with bold synthesized sounds is the recipe for inspiring new sound layers and eccentric ambient sounds with extremely intuitive controls.
- Morph control
The big knob in the center is the soul behind this plugin’s functions. By tweaking it around, you can blend synthesized layers “A” and “B,” with further addition of setting the nearby parameters to better adjust this union. You can alter both layers or one of the two at a time if desired.
- Morph control
- Fresh design
The Augmented plugin series shares a common trait: all effects bear a very fresh-looking user interface. Most people are not familiar with this particular effect, so Arturia thought of displaying every parameter and preset selection in the most fluid, intuitive way possible. It won’t be hard to get big sounds from this collection.
Containing a big collection of factory presets, Augmented Strings is fully packed with inspiring configurations for the most diverse situations. You can choose between types like “Bowed Strings,” “String Ensembles,” and “Arpeggio,” for instance, from multiple sound designers and even by the best-suited music style to fit your track.
- Color knob
One of the many macro effects included the “Color” knob is ideal for adding some color to your frequency spectrum. You can easily enhance certain harmonics to your signal, affecting the sound engine behind both layers “A” and “B” simultaneously, with up to six destinations for your sound’s texture.
Going further in the “Advanced Panel,” you’ll see that Augmented Strings has some cool features that are worthy of a good synthesizer unit. The “Arpeggiator” section includes a sequencer that deals with up to 16 steps for creating the best rhythmic pattern for your song.
- Fresh design
This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST, NKS, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Arturia plugins always seem too good to be true. Augmented Strings follow this example by uniting two very different instruments – string sets and a synthesizer – into one beautiful, revamped effect.
Sound designers will be delighted with every plugin from this series, mainly to the infinite capabilities of creating new textures and soundscapes, and to have this going on with real string ensemble samples is marvelous.
7. Arturia Prophet-5 V (Subtractive Synth)
This plugin is the official software emulation of the classic Prophet-5 that you would have surely heard on many popular songs and is known for its massive, warm, and versatile analog sonic characteristics.
Before Arturia, Native Instruments had already created a software version of the classic synthesizer and several other accurate copies and clones created by various plugin companies, so they have a lot to compete with.
However, the 5-V is an upgraded version of the Prophet-5 and has many more advanced features. It takes advantage of the DAW-based and MIDI features and combines them with the features of the classic synth virtually.
- The Look
After opening the synth, you’ll find a visually stunning virtual interface of the Prophet V, and if you’re using the Prophet V3, then you can switch between the Prophet 5, Prophet VS (Digital Vector Synthesizer), and Prophet 5VS (a combination of 5 and VS) windows. You can also change the color of the plugin from back to red & purple, and vice-versa. The company’s design team has done a great job recreating the software version look.
- Sound Design Workflow
It has two main oscillators: A and B, with adjustable levels in the mix, with A having the option to select between the sawtooth and pulse-width waveforms, with adjustable frequency and pulse width, along with the option to “sync” the frequency with the tempo. You can select the waveform for Oscillator B between sawtooth, triangle, and pulse-width, with additional features of fine-tuning the pitch and turning Oscillator B into an LFO.
You also get the option to add a noise oscillator to the mix. For modulations, you can use another LFO with adjustable rate and waveforms (sawtooth, triangle, and pulse-width) and an amplifier/amplitude envelope (ADSR).
- Advance Modulation and Effects section
Under the “Advanced” mode, the Prophet 5-V offers additional digital modulations. Here, you can select between the following tabs: Envelope, LFO, and LFO retrigger. Here a lot more waveforms, including some complex curves, can be selected for the LFO (and envelope) with an option to select the source and destination for the modulation. This option opens up the scope of the amount and kind of modulation you can do.
In the Effects section, under the same “Advanced” mode, you can add up to three different serial or parallel effects, including reverb, chorus, multiband compressor, delay, etc. Finally, in the Keyboard section, you can select Velocity, Aftertouch, Modulation Wheel, and Keyboard tracking as a modulation source, with changeable response curves. With this option, you could use external MIDI device and performance expressions to modulate different parameters further.
- Organized Preset section
Arturia has put an insane number of presets in this synthesizer in a highly organized and structured way. It allows you to look for presets by categories like Types (Eg: Brass, Pad, Bass, FM, etc.), Style (Eg: Aggressive, Evolving, Funky, Soft, etc.), and Banks. They have called this section “Playlists,” in which you search for a preset with different combinations of styles, types, and banks. You can also browse a preset by typing its name on the “Search” bar.
- Analog sound
It models SSM VCOs with five waveforms, a noise generator, a hard sync, a detune option, and an emulated voice dispersion to add more analog texture to the sound. The low pass filter is modeled after the Dave Rossum-designed SSM 2040 LPF. So whether it is a shimmering lead patch or a silky-smooth RnB pad, you can always turn to V-5 for warm & vintage analog sounds.
The Prophet 5-V can run as a standalone instrument or a VST, NKS, AU, and AAX plugin on only 64-bit DAW. It requires at least 4 GB of RAM, Windows 8.1+ (64 bit), Mac OS 10.3+, and four cores CPU (3.4 GHz processor), and an Open GL 2.0 compatible GPU.
Overall, it does a good job of recreating the sonic characteristics of the original hardware machine. However, the heavy CPU usage and high compatibility standards limit it to only a limited number of music producers and sound designers.
Nevertheless, the advanced effects add great functionality and make it sufficiently competent with other desktop synthesizers.
It is suggested to try the demo first and compare it with other emulations of the Prophet 5 if that’s what you’re looking for.
By itself, it’s a synthesizer with limitless potential, amazing presets, and a beautiful-looking, user-friendly interface. As a subtractive synthesizer plugin, it’s one of the best options.
8. Arturia Dist COLDFIRE (Distortion)
The Arturia Dist Coldfire is a revolutionary dual distortion plugin featuring a powerful modulation engine and a wide variety of distortion types that you can swap in and out.
There are two independent distortion engines in Dist Coldfire, and you can use them in whatever combination you like. A variety of pre-and post-distortion filters are available for each distortion type. Analog-modeled and purely digital distortion types are both available.
With assignable parameter modulation and dynamics processing, Dist Coldfire can dish out virtually any dirt you want.
- Distortion Types
There are 150 factory settings to help you get started, some of which are meant to transform ordinary drum loops into snarling, ripping monsters. A total of eleven distinct kinds of distortion are available in the various distortion menus, with more options available in some categories.
For example, bit inverters and bit crushers are just two of the eleven primary flavors. Other examples include wave folders, wave shapers, rectifiers, tape and analog saturation, driven transformers, and so on. In addition, there is a delay section in the processing, with feedback, filtering, and tempo sync as options.
- User Interface
The distortion engines sit opposite sides of the interface, while the master, band split, and dynamics controls sit in the middle. Tooltips explain what each control does and show the current setting. The input and output level controls can be linked to keeping the volume under control when cranking up the distortion.
You can independently adjust the overall output level and wet/dry ratio. A horizontal fader controls the volume of each distortion engine independently.
The pre-and post-distortion filters, multiband/feedback, and extensive modulation section are all accessible via the advanced panel’s tabs, wherein you can choose LFO, Function, Follower, or Sequencer options. Because of its modulation capabilities, Coldfire is a potent tool for improvising with drum loops, and its modulators can be assigned to virtually any control in Dist Coldfire, including other modulators.
However, the sequencers and function generators can also transform rhythmic elements from sustained instrument parts. The output filters can be set to a high pass or low pass, while the pre-filters can be set to a bandpass, notch, or one of two combs.
Studio and Render oversampling modes are offered. The latter uses higher resolution but at the expense of increased CPU overhead. Whichever is selected, it will apply to both online and offline renderings despite the different titles.
- Dynamics And Feedback
Arturia includes a dynamics and feedback component to round out the signal chain. Compressors, multiband compressors, and a limiter that can be placed before or after the distortion make up the dynamics section. Instruments that assist you in reining in and smoothing out your distorted audio.
Whether you find these instruments too simplistic or the entire dual distortion doesn’t have enough bang; feedback is always there to help. Dist Coldfire incorporates a feedback processor, which you may access through the panel’s advanced settings. It uses a filter to delay the feedback, and you can change the beat rate.
The OS requirements for this plugin are Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.9 or higher for Mac. It comes in VST/RTAS/AU/AAX formats and supports 32 and 64 bit systems.
Arturia’s Dist Coldfire is yet another innovative plugin that aims to expand traditional sound design. That goal was met, too. One of the best features they provide is a dual distortion plugin that sets them apart. From traditional saturations and distortions to techniques like wave folding/waveshaping and bit-flipping, you’ll find it all here.
9. Arturia Bus FORCE (Parallel Processor/Channel Strip)
Bus FORCE is a parallel processor effect that was created to improve the sound of anything.
A parallel processor effect called Bus FORCE was developed to enhance any sound. With ultra-powerful parallel processing that is easy to use, Bus FORCE is intended to ignite the energy of your mix, from subtle tweaks to forceful cranks. Whatever sort of music you are composing, use this plugin before any other plugins.
- VCA-style Compressor
The VCA-style compressor offers a beautiful analog-like tone, can be rather forceful and provides basic high-pass or peak sidechain filtering. Last but not least, the saturation stage allows for effective control over saturation character and tone. Although it’s rarely subtle, the overdrive may be turned to severe levels.
- 3 Busses in Parallel
Three parallel buses with separate level controls are present in the plugin. The Compressor processor is always connected to the Compression bus, as the name would imply, while the Saturation processor is always connected to the Sat bus. The remaining processors can then be added to whichever buses you desire, but this decision is not free. For instance, if the compressor is on the Sat bus and the Equalizer is on the Comp bus, the eq must also be on the Sat bus. While making this work might be challenging, it makes sense in theory.
- Filter Processor
The Eq may also be placed in the Dry bus, however, the filter processor can only be used in the Comp and Sat buses. The filter could have been freely allocated to various busses if it had been placed before the Eq.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Bus Force’s parallel processing paradigm is minimalist and enables CPU configurations that would otherwise be challenging to design, even though bussing can be painfully unpredictable.
Consider a single effect that can be applied to each track individually, from the snare to the synth, to the bus channels for beautiful dynamics, and to the stereo master for that quick gloss you’re looking for. Therefore, if you take the time to set it up properly, it will pay off with some fantastic outcomes.
10. Arturia Tape MELLO-FI (Tape Saturation/Emulation)
Inspired by the iconic Mellotron, this plugin brings the tape simulation and all its desired imperfections straight to your computer.
The famous unit, which excels as one of the earliest sampling devices ever produced, has gained fame through classic songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever” by The Beatles. The grainy and lo-fi character of the Mellotron is brought to life on this plugin by Arturia, in all its glory.
Distributed between three main modules, the Arturia MELLO-FI recreates that old-school atmosphere present in these instruments with a dedicated preamp, a tape module ready to adjust the perfect tone, and a filter. A tape stop feature is also present to make it even closer to the authentic feel of these machines.
- Tape controls
In this section, you’ll find the heart of the plugin, which makes it sound like a tape. Distributed between four knobs, the quality and design of the tape sound can be easily molded. For example, the “Flutter” knob directly impacts the pitch of the recording by mimicking the rotations of a tape motor, which can also be visually seen on a little screen above the controls. Similarly, the “Wow” knob also alters the pitch but at a slower rate than the previous knob. The “Wear” control, as it might suggest, deals with the amount of degradation in a tape, and, lastly, the “Mechanics” knob controls the amount of tape motor noise in the signal. Combining these four elements can create the perfect recipe for an authentic vintage sound.
The preamp module features three primary controls: “Drive,” “Tone,” and “Noise.” At this stage, the signal can be manipulated and processed similarly to the genuine preamp of a Mellotron. The “Drive” knob deals with the amount of distortion applied to the original signal, and this value can easily be monitored via the VU meter. Underneath it, there’s a switch for a gain-compensated boost, which will make it sound even crunchier. The “Tone” knob allows you to change the color of the original sound by damping the high frequencies. Also, you can altogether bypass it out of your signal chain by pressing a switch underneath the control. Lastly, the “Noise” knob adds a tape noise texture to the overall sound, sometimes even capturing the aspect of a vinyl sound.
- Tape stop
This great function is present to instantly bring that classic tape stop effect to your track, a ubiquitous tool used in sampled recordings that can be added to your instrument while you play. You can either click on the exposed wheel or on the “Play/Pause” switch underneath it to have it activated and can be triggered in an “Instant” or “Fast-Forward” style (abrupt or slightly fading out the effect).
This control deals with the high-pass and low-pass filters that might apply to your signal. You can rapidly shape the high or low-end spectrum and tame any undesired frequencies created or enhanced by any previous controls by twisting this knob.
- Tape controls
This plugin runs in macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2.4, VST3, AU, NKS, and AAX plugin formats and requires Open GL 2.0 compatible GPU.
An excellent option for any producers searching for a tool that brings the classic lo-fi vintage aspect of a tape recorder to your sound. This is a faithful reproduction of a classic sound profile from a famous instrument, and Arturia nailed remodeling it, as usual.
The variety and subtle alterations each control can bring showcase how sensitive this effect is, having the power to change any track processed through it drastically.
11. Arturia Efx FRAGMENTS (Granular FX)
Arturia’s Efx FRAGMENTS is a granular synthesizer capable of creating the lushest, experimental, chaotic, or captivating soundscapes imaginable through an intuitive and dynamic interface.
The 24th plugin in Arturia’s collection of signal processors focuses on providing a creative playground for you to alter and expand your sound. Whether the sound is a vocal, guitar, stringed instrument, or programmed drum sequence, FRAGMENTS can take it and create an otherworldly auditory experience.
It features a variety of standard granular synthesis features that will allow you to control how it dices up your audio, samples it, and plays it back, and a few extra features that reward creativity and experimentation with tasty tones to lose yourself in.
If you want to hear what could be possible, Arturia’s product page for Efx FRAGMENTS features clips along with an FX On/Off option to preview the differences.
- The Granular Modes
You can adjust how the plugin processes the grains using classic, texture, and rhythmic modes. Each mode has its own set of controls for adjusting the sound of the effect and caters to a different purpose. Classic mode is for standard granular processing. Texture mode is for creating atmospheric and droning tones. And Rhythmic is for creating pulsating rhythmical patterns using the grains taken from the audio.
- Adjustable Macros
You will have access to dual macro controls. By default, they adjust the intensity of the granular processing based on the Grain Capture and Release parameters and the level of the assortment of adjustable FX (Reverb, Delay, etc.). However, you can adjust what the Macro controls do—within the plugin’s Advanced window under Macro 1 and 2. In addition, You can alter their names to reflect what your Macro control does.
- Built-In Effects
The plugin does feature its own set of effects. You can choose from nine effects to mix with your granular sounds: multi-filter, distortion, compressor, delay, pitch-shift delay, tape echo, chorus, flanger, and reverb. In addition, you can use up to two of these nine at the same time. The basic window only features a dry/wet control and routing. But, if you switch to the Advanced panel, you will have several added parameters for further control.
- Three Function Generators
You can use the function generators to create modulation shapes for various parameters within FRAGMENTS. They act similar to an LFO or EG within a synthesizer, except you create the waveform shape and envelope by drawing it in. Also, you can set them to sync to the track’s tempo—regularly, in triplets, or dotted notes—or to adjust the rate in Hertz.
The rhythmic mode and the modulation section have their own 16-step sequencer for creating interesting in-time patterns. Both step sequencers have an adjustable step range, and you can adjust the direction in which the patterns are played. Overall, the rhythmic mode’s sequencer allows you to adjust how many grains are played in a pattern, and the modulation section’s sequencer rhythmic automates set parameters.
The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.12.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Efx FRAGMENTS rewards creativity with captivatingly beautiful and complex sounds. The user interface is easy to navigate and understand, and a tutorial panel is built into the plugin, so you can grasp what each parameter does on the go without having to watch libraries of videos.
If you are looking for a plugin that offers a wonderland of tones and sound sculpting opportunities to lose yourself and your listeners in, then FRAGMENTS is a fantastic choice! If you want to try it before buying it, Arturia offers a demo download. Unfortunately, the demo only lasts twenty minutes, but it offers all of the features, minus saving/loading and importing/exporting.
12. Arturia Chorus DIMENSION-D (Chorus)
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One of the most popular effects ever brought to you in one of its best renditions.
As always, Arturia is great when it comes to recreating an iconic sound. They do that with virtual instruments and effects likewise. This time, they decided to recreate Roland’s iconic Dimension C chorus effect.
This iconic effect was included in many of their equally iconic synthesizers and even got to be recreated in a BOSS pedal format. So now, you can have all nuances of this swirling effect inside your DAW.
- Dimension mode
One characteristic elements of this particular chorus was the few buttons in the main interface. Here, you have five – from zero to “4” – chorus preset parameters. Each mode, except for zero, has a particular configuration and sound characteristic, and they all sound good nonetheless.
- Oscillator shape
Similar to the Dimension’s parameters, you can switch between different oscillator shapes. There’s “Default,” “Sine,” “Ramp,” and two variations of waveforms. They all correspond to the modulation LFO options available, leading to interesting results that are not normally achieved with this kind of effect.
- Dynamic color
This configuration changes the original behavior of the compressor and expander stages of the unit. There are four positions: “LF SAT 2,” “LF SAT 1,” “Default,” and “Smooth.” The first two have shorter time constants, bringing a slightly more saturated aspect to the final sound, whereas the latter two offer smoother and more traditional settings.
- Width control
The sole “Width” knob below the “Output Level” meter controls the wideness of the stereo field in the effect. With the knob fully turned to the right, the processed signal stereo field is significantly wider than the original and will bring a mono-oriented sonority in the opposite direction.
- Dimension mode
This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST2, VST3, and AU plugin formats.
Chorus is a very sought-after effect. Guitarists, bassists, keyboardists, and even vocalists can benefit from using it, rendering superb smoothness and delicacy to your sound. The DIMENSION-D chorus from Arturia is a nice recreation of a very specific chorus model, included in multiple synths and even made into a guitar pedal format.
There are a few extended configurations than the real unit, but they all sound marvelous and are highly responsive to your commands.
13. Arturia Flanger BL-20 (Flanger)
Arturia Flanger BL-20 lets you create your own control patterns.
The Arturia Flanger BL-20 plugin is a recreation of the legendary BEL BF-20 stereo flanger, a single-oscillator flanger with variable depth control, and a modulation frequency knob from the ’70s. The interface is intuitive and straightforward, allowing you to adjust the effect quickly, and it’s a great plugin for scoring and EDM producers.
If you want to get flanging effects right in the DAW of your choice, then this plugin is worth checking out, so let’s see some of the essential features of this release. Instant Flanger is an analog recreation of the original Instant Flanger from 1979.
- Stereo Enhancer:
It has a stereo enhancer, which can operate in either mono or stereo mode. You can use the stereo enhancer in mono mode to enhance the bass response of a mix. In stereo mode, the left and right channels are processed separately to produce a wide, three-dimensional sound that enhances the sense of space.
- BBD Warmth:
The Flanger BL-20 replicates an authentic bucket-brigade device circuitry to emulate its analog older brother’s characteristic warm response. It provides you with a smooth analog sound but with all of the advantages of the digital world.
- Advanced Controls:
The plugin adds a new dimension to the familiar flanger. This pedal goes beyond the standard principles of flangers by adding cutting-edge controls that encourage users to explore the potentials of the sound, like the hi-pass filter and the LFO shaper, which allow you to switch between sine, square, sawtooth, and reverse sawtooth. You can also trigger the envelope follower using external sources.
This release provides you with 28 presets, which are all excellent for different textures, and you can switch between three modulation sources: LFO, ENV (including internal and external), and manual, or try different combinations of them.
Supports Windows 8.1 and higher, Supports macOS 10.13 or higher, runs on 64 bit, and comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Flanger BL-20 is an excellent emulation of the original hardware that takes the best out of the analog version and its digital recreation. It sounds great and gives you plenty of tweaking possibilities to get the best of your creativity going.
14. Arturia Rev INTENSITY (Reverb)
The Rev INTENSITY is a new modern reverb, suited for anyone who wants a different approach and a 21st-century option for reverb sounds.
Arturia always brings top-notch effects and instruments to their plugin bundles, and this one is no exception. Rev INTENSITY is a revamped plugin ready for every eccentric necessity.
Normal variations, such as the “Pre-Delay” that alters how the effect kicks in, or the “Modulation” that modulates the reverb engine to exciting new levels of creativity (which by the way go along brilliantly with pads instruments), are present and may be pushed hard to non-conventional ways.
However, with specified unique settings, the second menu is why this plugin is a futuristic reverb unit.
- Pre and post filter
Inside the expanded menu, these are two great tools for sound designers. The Pre-Filter section is based on three modes – Band Pass, Low Pass, and High Pass filters -, with three different dB levels each (06, 12, or 24dB/oct). The “Freq” and “Resonance” knobs will make any alterations to the sound before entering the plugin. On the other hand, the Post-Filter section deals with the signal coming after the plugin. With four modes – Band Pass, Notch, Low Pass, and High Pass – the same two knobs instantly control the frequencies of the wet signal.
- Envelope follower
These two following features are what make this plugin unique. The Envelope Follower screen shows us that it can create an envelope based on the waveform shape of the input signal, with the possibility of using it as a modulation source. You can send that signal through four different destinations, located on four other knobs distributed on the right side of this menu. It also features a built-in compressor and familiar controls, such as “Threshold” and “Attack,” and a delay with milliseconds or time division controls.
A real treat to sound designers out there, the Function section serves as another modulation source. It can create and alter the different parameters, such as “Sharp Decay,” “Slow Rise,” “Triangle,” “Step Sequencer,” and “Pump.” You have the same destinations as in the Envelope Follower section, aside from choosing the modulation rate either on hertz or time division directly at the “Rate” knob.
This knob controls the amount of reflectiveness on the reverbed space. This means that you control the reverberation on the high-frequency bands, which is very useful to darken or brighten the sound you’re modeling. Alongside the “Width” control, the spatial dimension of the instrument or the track can be enlarged and manipulated freely.
- Soft clipping
The Soft Clipping controls offer an extra gain at the output signal and adjust your effect’s amount of grit and thickness. The “Gain” knob takes care of your dry signal, applying any gain changes only there. If you want to blend in the sound of the actual plugin, the “Rev Level” knob does this job beautifully, and the final result is the mixture of these both controls.
- Pre and post filter
This plugin runs in macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2.4, VST3, AU, NKS, and AAX plugin formats. Minimum 4GB of RAM and OpenGL 2.0 supported hardware are required.
This is probably the most forward-thinking reverb on this list, and it comes as no surprise that it’s an Arturia plugin. The possibilities regarding sound manipulation are an excellent attraction for sound designers and music producers alike who enjoy venturing into new sounds, as made evident by specific envelope and modulation controls.
If you’re looking for something extraordinary and revamped, Rev INTENSITY might assist you wonderfully in the most extreme and varied situations.
1. Arturia CMI V (Sampler)
Arturia CMI V is a software synthesizer that emulates the legendary Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) from the 1980s.
The Fairlight CMI was one of the first digital sampling workstations, and it revolutionized music production by allowing musicians to manipulate and transform sounds in previously impossible ways. The CMI V brings this iconic instrument into the digital age, providing modern musicians and producers access to the groundbreaking sound and workflow of the original Fairlight CMI.
- Sampling capabilities
As a sampler plugin, the Arturia CMI V is a powerful tool for manipulating and transforming sounds. The instrument’s sampling engine allows you to import and manipulate your sounds, with controls for adjusting the samples’ pitch, duration, and timbre. The sampler also includes tools for slicing and looping samples, which can be useful for creating complex rhythmic patterns.
- Granular synthesis
The granular technique involves breaking down sounds into tiny grains and manipulating them in various ways to create new sounds. The CMI V’s granular synthesis engine allows you to adjust parameters such as grain size, pitch, and density to create unique and interesting sounds that are difficult to achieve with other sampling plugins.
- User-friendly GUI
CMI V’s interface is modeled after the original Fairlight CMI, which can take some time for those unfamiliar with the instrument. However, once you become familiar with the interface, you will find that it provides a powerful and intuitive way to manipulate sounds.
- Sequencing capabilities
Along with the plugin, you get a sophisticated sequencer that allows you to create complex musical arrangements. The sequencer includes various editing tools, such as quantization and swing, and the ability to sequence parameters like filter cutoff and resonance. This allows you to create dynamic, evolving sequences that add interest and movement to your tracks.
- Advanced synthesis capabilities
The instrument includes several sound engines, including additive, spectral, and virtual analog synthesis. This allows you to create a wide range of sounds, from lush pads to biting leads and everything in between. The instrument also includes a variety of built-in effects, such as reverb, chorus, and delay, that can be used to shape further and enhance the sounds.
The Arturia CMI V is compatible with various digital audio workstations (DAWs) and operating systems. The plugin is available in several formats, including VST, AU, and AAX, and is supported by the most popular DAWs. That means it can be easily integrated into existing production workflows regardless of the DAW used.
To summarise, the Arturia CMI V is a software synthesizer and sampler plugin that emulates the legendary Fairlight CMI from the 1980s. It offers powerful sampling and synthesis capabilities, granular synthesis, built-in effects, a sophisticated sequencer, and a user-friendly interface. It is compatible with the most popular DAWs and operating systems and provides versatile sound design and music production tools.
Arturia Filter MS-20 (Filter)
Arturia Filter MS-20 is a software emulation of the classic Korg MS-20 analog filter.
It offers many filter types and modes, including high-pass, low-pass, band-pass, and notch filters. The plugin provides a variety of modulation sources, including envelope followers, LFOs, and step sequencers, allowing you to create complex and evolving filter effects.
It also includes a comprehensive effects section featuring distortion, EQ, and delay effects. The plugin is compatible with leading digital audio workstations and features a user-friendly interface, making it easy for you to integrate it into their existing workflows.
- Advanced modulation matrix
Plugins’ modulation matrix allows you to route modulation sources to different parameters, offering greater flexibility and control over the sound.
- Comprehensive effects section
You can add extra processing to your filtered sound with a comprehensive effects section, including distortion, EQ, and delay effects.
- User-friendly interface
Arturia Filter MS-20 has a user-friendly interface that provides visual feedback on settings and adjustments. The interface is intuitive and easy to navigate, making it easy to create unique and complex filter effects.
- Wide range of filter types and modes
You can shape your sound according to your preferences with various filter types and modes, including high-pass, low-pass, band-pass, and notch filters.
- Comprehensive modulation sources
By including a variety of modulation sources, including envelope followers, LFOs, and step sequencers, Arturia Filter MS-20 enables you to create complex and evolving filter effects.
The plugin is compatible with leading digital audio workstations, including Ableton Live, Logic Pro X, and FL Studio. It can be used on both Mac and Windows operating systems.
Overall, Arturia Filter MS-20 is a powerful and versatile filter plugin, providing you with a wide range of filter types and modes, comprehensive modulation sources, and a user-friendly interface, making it an excellent tool for sound design and music production.
Arturia Dist TUBE-CULTURE (Distortion 2)
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One of the best harmonic distortion recreations to come by recently.
Dist TUBE-CULTURE is a rendition of the classic Thermionic Culture’s Ultra Vulture unit that provided rich harmonic saturation in the audio signal. Some extra and modern features were also included by Arturia, making it a versatile and trustworthy software that highly resembles its precursor.
- Adjustable BIAS
The original Ultra Vulture unit was built in a tube-powered circuit, as the most common choice regarding great-sounding audio gear. Tubes provide a very specific warmth and character to your equipment, and this is greatly transcribed inside Dist TUBE-CULTURE. The “BIAS” knob adjusts the total amount of current running in the tube – a 6AS6 in this case – which can dictate whether the tube sounds more aggressive or more subtle in the mix.
- Distortion modes
Distortion is a subjective effect that can vary significantly. You can saturate any signal from a slight way all the way up to aggressive behavior, and this can be even more simplified with the distortion modes available in Dist TUBE-CULTURE. You can choose between “Triode,” “Pentode 1,” “Pentode 2,” and “Pentode 3,” each reflecting a specific sound character ranging from subtle to gritty.
Everything’s much easier with presets. Arturia included 51 factory presets that extend through a wide range of dynamics, from smooth and harmonic textures to more edgy, hard distortion. They offer easy access to iconic sound profiles, even tailored for specific instruments.
- Presence switch
This useful switch works just like in the original hardware: you can switch between mid and high boosts. In essence, the “Air” position boosts high frequencies only, whereas the “Presence” option boosts both mid and high frequencies. You can also deactivate this option at any time
The main panel contains another ode to the original hardware. The ammeter displayed in the user interface is a handy way to monitor the exact bias value running in the plugin, measured in milliamps. When in “Advanced Mode,” clicking in the meter will alternate between input, output, and bias graphic displays, aside from a frequency analyzer that extends the entire spectrum.
- Adjustable BIAS
This plugin is available for macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 8.1 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST, NKS, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Digital renditions of famous audio hardware are mostly tricky because they can promise more than they can offer. That’s not the case with Dist TUBE-CULTURE, mainly due to the harmonic response in every subtle parameter variation.
Distorting a signal does not depend solely on adding gain but also on adding character simultaneously. This is why great records we know and love sound the way they do, and Arturia once again nailed this rendition in the best way possible.
The presets are a good way to start exploring, but tweaking the parameters around them can be just as inspiring to do.
Arturia Pre V76 (Preamp)
Arturia’s Pre V76 preamp plugin is a digital emulation of the vintage Telefunken V76 preamp, widely used in the recording industry in the 1960s and 1970s.
The plugin aims to replicate the warm and rich sound of the original preamp and includes various controls such as gain, bass, treble, and output level. It also includes a variety of presets that can be used as starting points for you and allows you to save their custom settings.
- Advanced noise-reduction algorithm
The plugin includes an advanced noise-reduction algorithm that helps to minimize noise and artifacts, resulting in a cleaner and more polished sound.
- Stereo Modes
The Arturia plugin allows you to switch between L/R and M/S processing, which gives you more flexibility and control over their audio processing. With this feature, you can adjust the stereo field, balance the mid and side components, and achieve a more dynamic and balanced sound.
- Automatic Gain Control
The plugin includes an automatic gain control (AGC) feature, a dynamic range compression type that adjusts the audio signal’s gain in real-time. AGC keeps the loudest and quietest parts of an audio signal at a consistent level, which can help prevent clipping and distortion and make the audio signal easier to listen to.
The presets in the plugin are designed to provide a range of different sounds and to cover a wide range of recording and production scenarios. They are organized into categories, such as Vocals, Drums, Guitars, etc. Each category includes a selection of presets tailored to the specific instrument or sound source.
- Natural sound
The plugin is also designed to add character and warmth to digital recordings, which can help to make them sound more natural and organic. This is achieved by emulating the nonlinearities and harmonic distortion in analog gear and providing a range of different saturation options, which can add warmth and character to the sound.
- Phase Inversion
The software includes a phase inversion feature, which allows you to reverse the polarity of the audio waveform, causing the peaks of the waveform to become troughs, and vice versa.
The phase inversion feature can be useful in several situations, such as when working with stereo recordings. When two identical signals are played back in phase, they combine to create a stronger, more pronounced sound. However, if one of the signals is out of phase, the signals will partially cancel each other out, resulting in a weaker or thinner sound. Using the phase inversion feature, you can quickly and easily adjust the phase of one or more audio channels, making it easier to achieve the desired sound.
The Arturia Pre V76 requires an operating system such as Windows 8+ or macOS 10.13+, along with a CPU with an Intel Core i3/i5/i7/Xeon/AMD Quad-Core, 4 GB RAM, a display with 1024 x 768 resolution and 32-bit color, and 2 GB of free hard disk space. The plugin is available in multiple formats such as VST, VST3, AU, and AAX, and it is compatible with a wide range of DAWs like Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, FL Studio, etc.
The Arturia Pre V76 preamp plugin is a comprehensive recording, mixing, and mastering tool. It includes a variety of controls and features that you can use and adjust to shape your sounds to your liking.
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Processing & Sound Design:
Reverb & Delay Plugins:
Amps & Preamps:
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