Best VST Sampler Reviews- Sampling at Your Fingertips

Virtual studios are not exactly ‘studios’ without a massive library of samples; the most entertaining and enjoyable process of crafting unique tunes is introducing an array of pre-recorded, modified pieces of audio that are commonly called ‘samples’.

Now, you may have plenty of samplers and virtual instrument colors lying around; you may even have a beginner’s sampler and are looking for an upgrade; regardless of which scenario you’re found in, we’ve compiled a list of the top VST Samplers that the market has to offer, so let’s dive in:

NI Kontakt 6

You’ve probably heard about Native Instruments if you’ve been in the music industry for at least a month; this company has released a ton of cool software and programs, and it’s pretty safe to say that Kontakt 6 is, by far, one of their greatest accomplishments.

Essentially, this is a highly intuitive and exceptionally versatile program that is already packed with an array of presets, samples, customizable keys, banks, and much more.

It’s actually very rewarding to beginners who have just begun building up their VST instruments and sample libraries as Kontakt 6 already comes supplied with a plethora of both types.

Musicians use it, producers use it, and even movie composers rely on it for crafting film scores.

One of the best things about Kontak 6 is the fact that it features a well-designed interface that is both intuitive and versatile.

The instrument banks are neatly organized and clearly visible while you can also ‘pop out’ several different plugin screens, allowing you to both compose and mix your tunes simultaneously. 

It’s a perfect choice for professionals, seasoned veterans, and newbies alike, but its most notable downside is that it isn’t exactly available cheap.

Nevertheless, its well-roundedness and exceptional sampling capabilities more than make up for the somewhat hefty price tag.

MOTU Mach Five 3

Essentially, the Mach Five 3 is an eclectic plugin that combines the aspects of mixing consoles, composing programs, and samplers.

It’s not as intuitive as the Kontakt 6 from NI, but it’s relatively easy to use, even by beginners.

The first thing you’ll notice about this sampler (plugin) is that you will be able to fill the screen with numerous panels, including equalizers, VST instruments, tracking bars, pitch benders, volume mixers, and so forth.

Its generous versatility and well-roundedness are the main reasons why this has been one of the first choices for many music producers, but these are also the reasons that have probably dissuaded many beginners from even trying it out.

Although the relatively cramped-up design of the Mach Five 3 program may appear as intimidating, its learning curve is actually pretty straightforward.

You’ll be able to learn the ropes of how it operates within weeks, and you can always pull back a couple of notches by simply focusing on its individual aspects and segments if you’re an immediate beginner in the world of VST sampling.

Ableton Simpler

Ableton is a synonym for both one of the most massive brands in the VST world and ‘quality’.

Most DJs and music producers think of the ‘Ableton Live’ when the name pops up simply because this was the brand’s biggest release, but they also offer a huge and eclectic catalog of standalone plugins and programs, Simpler being one of them.

In essence, Simpler is an integrated plugin that is built into every version of the Ableton Live (with slight differences depending on the version in question).

It’s incredibly easy to use, hence the name, and it’s absolutely perfect for greenhorn producers, musicians, and DJs.

It was designed in such a way that its interface can be placed atop the main interface of any mixing, mastering, or music production program; it’s exceptionally convenient if you’re into multitasking and experimenting, but it’s a definitive go-to choice for people who are looking for an easy-to-use VST sampling software.

TAL Sampler

The TAL Sampler looks pretty old-school and vintage, but what’s so great about it is that it actually packs bleeding-edge technologies with a neatly organized interface that is remarkably easy to work on.

It features multi-layer VST tracks, several onboard equalizers, a ton of integrated controls, and a decently spacious integrated sample library, as well as an onboard piano that you can use to check out each and every color, tone, and timbre at your disposal.

On the downside, it’s not as versatile as some of our previous choices; ‘what you see is what you get’ basically, and the sad thing about TAL Sampler is that its display can’t quite be tweaked with or rearranged.

On a bit brighter note, it’s fairly cheap and one of the easiest VST sampling programs that the market has to offer.

Steinberg HALion

Although Steinberg is mainly famous for its Cubase software, they are just as renowned for HALion; this program has been around on the market for quite some time now, and even today it’s still recognized as one of the finest DAW samplers available.

In a nutshell, this is a robust sound-designing software that can sculpt, mold, and shape audio files with authenticity and realism.

That’s just one of the reasons why many people don’t consider it as a ‘sampler’ primarily; this is an exceptionally well-rounded and balanced tool that features a huge library comprised of VST instruments and samples, so it’s pretty much all you need to start recording and producing straight off the bat.

DiscoDSP Bliss – honorable mention

Essentially, this is a very basic and straightforward sampler that is best used by immediate beginners and neophytes in the music business.

Its library is modest, to say the very least, but it’s fully compatible with most plugins and third-party programs.

Due to its versatility and easy accessibility, it’s one of the better samplers for people on a budget.

Conclusion

There are dozens and dozens of VST samplers on the market, and all you have to do is to decide which models are capable of catering to your personal needs.

Some are free and straightforward; some are cheap and easy to use while others are a bit less affordable but offer superior features.

Best Prime Day 2020 Music Promotion Deals

It’s (kind of) finally here- The shopping season is upon us and as always, retailers are starting off with a bang with amazon’s prime day.

Although pioneered by Amazon, several brands have joined in on the fun and have started offering up to 90% off their products.

And, as always, we’re here to guide you through the best deals and freebies

VST Plugins Prime Day Deals

Waves

As usual, Waves is running a series of crazy discounts. They are marketed as black Friday deals, though we’ll include them here are they are still on time for prime day.

We still consider their subscription to be one of the best deals out there, especially because it includes a free trial period of 1 month– more than enough to produce several award-winning tracks.

Scheps Omni Channel- 74% off (38.99$)

The Scheps Omni Channel gets its name from the brilliant Andrew Scheps- engineer to jay z, Adele, Metallica, and many others.

This channel strip is a staple of any modern producer, and it’s now 74% off!

Vocal Rider- 86% off (35.99$)

Vocal rider is known for its simplicity and effectiveness. It will adjust your vocals automatically with great results.

It’s at 86% off for a limited time.

Waves Tune Real Time- 82% off (35.99$)

If you run a studio or record vocals frequently, this is a must have VST. It allows singers to stay in tune in real time. It’s basically a magic box that makes anybody a great singer.

At this price, this is a great tool to just play around if you ever wondered how your voice would sound if recorded professionally.

There are a bunch more waves plugins heavily discounted at the waves website, these are only the ones that caught our attention, for a full list, click on the link below:

WAVES DEALS

Plugin Boutique

W.A Productions Back to School Bundle- 95% off (9.99$)

For the price of an expensive coffee, you’ll get WA Babylon, instascale and instachord.

It’s a no-brainer.

Soundspot Union & Expansions sale 90% off (16$)

IK Multimedia

Total Studio Max 2- 75% off (249.99$)

17 synths with over 2000 presets, 2 400 instruments, 34 effects, 39 high end audio processors, guitar amps, samples, and much more.

All this for 249.99$ (Down from 999$). What more can we say?

Sample Tank 4- 50% off (149.99$)

Included in Total Studio Max 2.

This is a huge sound library of over 260GB with a beautifully designed interface.

IK Multimedia is running a couple of other promotions, which you can check in the link below:

IK MULTIMEDIA

Musical Instruments

Amazon U.S Prime Day Music Deals

Amazon’s prime music deals are too many to list in one single post.

So feel free to browse headphones, musical instruments, and home audio using the link below:

AMAZON DEALS

Principle Pleasure Studios Releases 1GB of Analogue Synth and Drums

No point in adding much fluff to this one. Here’s a link to the 1GB treasure trove of samples released for free by Principle Pleasure Studios.

DOWNLOAD LINK

DOWNLOAD LINK 2

In another selfless act designed to help bored stuck-at-home producers, Sharooz Raoofi of Sample Magic, has made this 1GB sample pack available for free.

These are the result of sampling over 100 analogue synths and drums located in the LA based principle pleasure studio.

How can you use them?

Simply import them to your favourite DAW, assign them to your favourite MIDI, etc.

If you’re not sure what this all means, we strongly recommend taking an online music production course.

But if you’re reading this, chances are you are already familiar with all this.

Anyway, happy producing, feel free to share your coronavirus freebies in the comment section below!

Best Rent-to-own VST Plugins [2021]

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking for a summarised list of best rent-to-own VST plugins? Check the table below, with our selection of the four best rent-to-own services. Also please note that this list is constantly updated so bookmark it for later reference.

If you are on a mobile device, scroll left and right in the table to see all the entries, and up and down in the cells to see all the content.

Name Plugins Included Cost per month Our Rating
Editor’s Value Choice
Splice Rent-to-Own
49 plugins on offer. Including: Serum, Ozone 9, Arturia, Studio 1 Professional. Starts at 4.99$ per plugin.
Option for a free 3 day trial.
4.7/5
CHECK OFFER
Waves Subscription Over 200 waves plugins. to choose from.
You will NOT OWN them at the end, you have to keep paying to access them.
6.99$ for 16 plugins.
9.99$ for 42 plugins.
19.99$ for 60 plugins.
4.9/5
CHECK OFFER
Reason+ Subscription First month FREE!
Weekly sound packs
70+ instruments and effects
19.99$ 4.6/5
CHECK OFFER
Landr Rent-to-Own Lethal Synth
Auto-tune
9.99$ 4.1/5
CHECK OFFER

It’s really fascinating when you think how easy it is today to make your own home studio and be able to make solid music with it. What’s more, you can even set up a mobile studio with your laptop and an audio interface and take it anywhere with you to either record or just make your music. It’s something that opens up new possibilities and was unimaginable back in the old days.

What’s also great is that you can even rent different plugins by using some handy services today.

👉 CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEALS AND DISCOUNTS ON VST PLUGINS AND DAWS

In this brief guide, we will be taking a closer look and explaining how so-called “rent-to-own” plugin services work, as well as some great products that you can get on them.

Rent-to-own VST plugin system

The whole idea is to have a service and a system that will allow you to rent plugins for a certain monthly price. But, as the name of this concept would suggest, if you rent these plugins long enough to pay for their full price, the product (or, in some cases, a bundle of multiple products) is yours.

It’s the same principle we see on the housing market when you rent a home for a while, see if it fits your needs, and decide if you want to keep paying for it until you pay off the full price. You can just cancel any time you want.

What’s really useful here is that you no longer need to deal with demos and all the annoying features that come with such them.

And you don’t have to buy a full version after 30 days only to realize that you don’t really like this product 3 months after paying the full license price. Is there a plugin you think will help you in your creative endeavors? Try and rent it for a few months and see what the full product with all of its features is like.

If you think you’ll need the plugin in the longterm, you can keep renting it until you pay off the full price. If you need it for some smaller tweaks and adjustments in a few of your songs, then rent it for a month or two.

It really is that simple.

NOTE: Waves had a rent to own service but it has been discontinued. Instead, they made it cheaper but removed the “own” part, so that you perpetually pay for the subscription.

There are usually no extra charges and you pay around the same price in the end as you would for the plugin on the creator’s website. The plugins you can purchase via these services can be effects, synths, or any other different products, sometimes even entire Digital Audio Workstations.

It’s especially useful if there’s a pricy plugin that you set your eyes on but can’t afford to pay the full price upfront. All of the best vst plugins, the ones used by the pros, are now available for anyone with a few extra dollars per month.

With all this in mind, we’ll now go into some of the rent-to-own plugin services that you can find online.

Splice Rent-to-own VST plugins

Splice is one of the most famous services of this kind. On there, you can also buy royalty-free samples, get your hands on some of the plugins in the rent-to-own section, or even buy DAWs. Splice can either be used in the browser or via their specialized desktop app.

This app allows you to open project files of a few different DAWs: Logic Pro, Ableton Live, GarageBand, or FL Studio.

It also comes as an extremely useful service for collaborative projects, serving as sort of a GitHub for musicians. The rented plugins can be used in individual DAWs or within the app.

Whether it’s plugins or any other services that they offer, you can purchase them with Splice credits. There are four pricing models for buying these credits, going from $7.99 per month up to $139.99 per year.

At the moment, there are 49 plugins and DAWs to choose from. The list includes Ozone 9 Advanced compressor and EQ, Serum synth, Punchbox distortion and synth, and others. Some of these made our best vst synth list.

Here are some of the plugins on offer at Splice rent-to-own VST plugins:

Plugin NamePlugin Maker
1. SerumXfer Records
2. Ozone 9 AdvancediZotope
3. VocalSynth 2iZotope
4. Nectar 3iZotope
5. Neutron 3 AdvancediZotope
6. V Collection 7Arturia
7. Studio One ProfessionalPreSonus
8. Ozone 9 + Neutron 3 AdvancediZotope
9. Decimort 2D16 Group
10. MOVEMENTOutput
11. PigmentsArturia
12. RX 7 StandardiZotope
13. PunchboxD16 Group
14. Neutron 3 StandardiZotope
15. Toraverb 2D16 Group
16. Devastor 2D16 Group
17. Ozone 9 StandardiZotope
18. Ozone 9 + Neutron 3 StandardiZotope
19. Circle²FutureAudioWorkshop
20. ZoneAudiaire
21. Regroover ProAccusonus
22. ParallelsSoftube
23. BeatformerAccusonus
24. D16 FX BundleD16 Group
25. NuxxAudiaire
26. TekturonD16 Group
27. AntresolD16 Group

Waves Subscription (NOT OWNED)

Waves.com is a service that sells an abundance of different plugins. There are over 200 plugins for any kind of studio work that you need: effects, synths, distortions, even specialized professional-level guitar plugins. Waves VST plugins are top class, trusted and recommended by almost everyone in the industry.

Even if the service does not end with a full ownership of plugins, it is still worth noting on the list.

These plugins and different software can be bought in bundles. There are three basic subscription models for bundles. Depending on the number of plugins that you want, they offer a Silver, Gold and Platinum package.

If you feel that first you want to try music production with free products and then move to rent professional VST plugins, we have an extensive list here.

Of course, you can just cancel any time before the subscription period ends and you’ll be charged for the last payment at the end of the billing cycle. What’s really great is that there are literally hundreds of plugins to choose from.

You can also buy different product bundles straight away if you don’t feel like taking the subscription.

Aside from these, Waves offer different educational courses, digital mixers, racks, and even some specialized hardware products.

Reason+ Subscription (NOT OWNED)

This one is new and interesting for most old-school producers like myself. Oh, Reason! We loved you, but now we don’t because we all love Ableton now. Reason was the… reason we started. It had all the flexible routing that we need, and the workflow that suited us best until something better appeared.

We now Reason is back, and with a vengeance. If you already own Reason software, you will get 50% off the first year, which is great. For 19.99 per month you get not only plugins, but also the Reason stand-alone DAW and Reason Rack. Reason Rack is a plugin host (VST/AU/AAX) that you can insert into your own DAW of choice to access the main contents of this pack, which are 70+ plugins plus a lot of sound packs. These sound pack are always new and interesting and are updated weekly.

The 70+ plugins contain all the stuff that Reason has ever made! Also, you will get access to everything that Reason will make in the future. The Reason+ companion app will automatically give you the recent updates, for both devices and sample libraries. And if you are not sure, you get the first month free of charge!

Landr Rent-to-own VST Plugins

With Landr, you can try out plugins and other products for 3 days completely free of charge. But the platform is also very well-known for its different trap beats and samples and also allows collaborative projects, kind of similar to the Splice model.

Their main plugin offer is a synth called Lethal. This is a very versatile synthesizer plugin with around 50 GB of different sounds (with all expansions included), presets, and samples.

The monthly rent-to-own price is $9.99 and you can stop it or cancel it at any time. Although it’s aimed for trap sounds, it comes really in handy for other genres as well. With Lethal, you can get any of the 24 different expansions, each specified for a certain style of music. These expansions, however, are charged separately.

On display is also a very nifty auto-tune effect.

Final Thoughts

Investing in a good set of plugins for your music production setup can really have an impact on your sound. It used to be the case that the premium VSTs such as the ones sold by waves were only available for the professional studios, but fortunately along with technical innovation, plugin companies have been investing in business model innovation.

The results are great for the bedroom producer. You can now go pro for only a few bucks a month. We hope this article has helped you choose a rent-to-own service. If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comment box below.

The BEST Online Music Production Masterclass Course [2021]

Investing in an online music production “masterclass” course is one of the best decisions you will make this year.

This might seem like a bold statement, specially for those of you who have previously tried free courses or dabble around some youtube videos on production, but it’s the truth: Knowledge is more important than any piece of gear in your studio. Furthermore, enrolling in one of the below courses is nothing like doing a free course or watching youtube videos.

These online music production masterclass courses allow you to follow a tried and tested structure devised by top producers and engineers, plus incentivises you to follow through, as you have money invested.

Anyways, if you’re looking for a summarized version of this article, check out the below table with our favorite online music production courses, including our very own choice for the best online music production course. And if you are also looking for a music production laptop, we have a comparrison and test article with the top models here.

Note: if you are on a mobile device, scroll left and right in the table to see all the entries, and up and down in the cells to see all the content.

Summarizing Table

Course Name Cost Duration Main Focus Our Rating
Editor’s Choice – Best Value
Groove3
Starts at under 50$
– Over 20 000 hours of video,
– Over 20 books.
– Workflow,
– Plug-Ins + DAWs,
– Recording,
– Production,
– Mixing + Mastering.
9.5/10
Deadmau5 Masterclass
Starts at under 20$ / month or under 100$ total
– 6 hours of video,
– Assignments
– Electronic Music Production,
– Synths,
– Music Business,
– Mixing and Mastering,
– Workflow.
9.3/10
Hans Zimmer Masterclass
Starts at under 20$ / month or under 100$ total$
– 4.5 hours of video – Film Scoring,
– Soundscapes,
– Composing,
– Industry, and More.
8.7/10
Timbaland Masterclass
Starts at under 20$ / month or under 100$ total$
– 3 hours of video – Hip-hop Production,
– Beat Making,
– Inspiration and Workflow,
– Industry and Motivation.
8.5/10
Point Blank Music School Online
Under 150$
CHECK PRICE
– Huge subject diversity
– Mixing/Mastering
– Dj
– Music Business
9.6/10
Udemy Music Production Courses
Under 150$
CHECK PRICE
– 38 hours of video
– each DAW has it’s own course
– other specific topics have dedicated courses
9/10
EQ Fundamentals
Under 50$
CHECK PRICE
– 2.5 hours of video,
– PDRs,
– Assignments
– EQ,
– Mixing + Mastering,
– All Musical Genres
9.2/10
Berklee Online- Electronic Music Production
Under 150$
CHECK PRICE
– 16 weeks – Electronic Music Production,
– Vocal Recording,
– Ableton Live.
9.3/10

Groove3 Online Music Production Course Review – Editor’s Choice

  • Music style: All
  • Financial Investment: Low
  • Duration: Over 20 000 hours of video + over 20 books. 1 077 Courses 17 979 Individual Tutorials.
  • Main DAW used: All DAWs available.
  • Our Rating: 9.5/10
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
  • Certificate upon completion: No

PROS:

  1. High quality of content
  2. Content available on all formats and platforms: Video, books, Desktop, iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku.
  3. Very affordable on a month-to-month basis
  4. High quality instructors
  5. Most comprehensive library of learning resources

CONS:

  1. Lack of focus
  2. Can be overwhelming

We’ll start with our favorite online music production course: Groove3. What an absolute gold mine of music production knowledge.

If you watched all of groove3’s videos back-to-back you’d take over 2 years to finish, probably much more, given that they update the content regularly.

There’s tutorials on all topics you can image, including all DAWs, Plugins, and musical styles. If you search around the forums, it’s often mentioned as a student favorite, along with some of the masterclass courses we’ll review below.

When it comes to price, an all-access pass costs only 89$, with b&hphoto. This represents without a doubt the best value of all courses.

We’ve found this to be a great way to stay focused for idle studio time. Simply browse around their website, find an interesting video, watch it, then apply it to your current project.

MORE INFO

Deadmau5 Masterclass Review

The first course we’ve had a chance to review is Deadmau5’s Masterclass Course.

  • Music style: EDM / Electronic
  • Financial Investment: Low / Moderate
  • Duration: 6 hours of video + assignments
  • Main DAW used: Ableton, though teachings can be applied to any DAW.
  • Our Rating: 9.3/10
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Certificate upon completion: No

Pros:

  1. Very entertaining, huge production value. Very easy to follow through with the teachings.
  2. Very well-rounded. All major topics are discussed (mastering, mixing, synths, drums, music business, live performance, and more).
  3. Composed of videos, assignments, and discussions.
  4. Great community if you’re willing to engage.

Cons:

  1. This 6 hour course will set you back 90$. It’s not a cheap course by any means, but we found the cost/quality relation to be quite good.
  2. It’s a short course. It could benefit from going more in-depth into certain topics.

Course Structure

The course has 23 lessons, all delivered through video classes. It also has assignments and discussions.

The classes touch upon the following topics:

  • The Deadmau5 Production Process
  • Building Your Home Studio
  • Melodic Structures
  • Arrangements
  • Synthesized Sounds
  • Modular Synths
  • Digital Vs. Analog Synths
  • Sound Design with Effects And Processing
  • Drums / Beats
  • Song Structure
  • Remixed
  • Mixing
  • Mastering (includes case study)
  • Starting a Career
  • Music Business
  • On Stage Performance

Our Thoughts

Overall, this is a solid and very well rounded online music production masterclass course. It won’t hold your hand and automatically offer you a career in audio engineering or music production, but if you follow through with all the tips shared, your chances of making it will increase exponentially.

Furthermore, if you take your time to network and reach out to the community, you’ll likely make some useful connections out of this online music production masterclass course.

This is a great course for anyone looking for a well-balanced course on electronic / pop / hip-hop / digital music production, with no specific focus on any are of the music production process, but rather a wholistic approach. It gives you a framework, the one used by deadmau5, to produce a song. It is not a case study, i.e- it won’t show you how deadmau5 produces a song from scratch, but it will show you every single step of the process. We recommend deadmau5’s online music production masterclass course to people that are starting out and want something a bit lighter (shorter) and more fun.

LEARN MORE

Hans Zimmer Masterclass Review

Up next is Hans Zimmer’s online music production masterclass course.

  • Music style: Film Scoring / Soundtrack / Sound Design
  • Financial Investment: Low / Moderate
  • Duration: 4.5 hours of video + assignments
  • Main DAW used: N/A.
  • Our Rating: 8.5/10
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Course Structure

  • Themes
  • Story
  • Directors
  • Sound Palettes
  • Creating with Synths
  • Scoring to Picture
  • Scoring Under Dialogue
  • Tempo
  • Music Diary
  • Character
  • Case Study: Frost/Nixon
  • Working With Musicians
  • Feedback & Revisions
  • Audience Feedback
  • Writing Tips
  • Hans’ Journey
  • Learning by Listening
  • Life of a Composer
  • Closing

Our Thoughts

This is a very interesting course. The simple fact that you get to hear Hans Zimmer talk on the first person about stuff that he has never revealed on interviews is worth the cost of the program.

However, we found the structure a bit random.

Unlike deadmau5’s course, this program kind of jumped around topics, with one class being solely about Hans’ career and progression in the industry. To be honest, if we wanted to learn about that, we could just check one of the hundreds of interviews that he’s given.

Having said that, there are loads of golden nuggets there about his process, inspiration, and process. It is packed loads of synthesiser tips as well as general aesthetic in sound design.

LEARN MORE

Timbaland Masterclass Review

To finish off our selection of Masterclass courses, we’ll have a look at Timbaland’s online music production course.

  • Music style: Hip-Hop / Pop
  • Financial Investment: Low / Moderate
  • Duration: 3.5 hours of video + assignments
  • Main DAW used: Ableton
  • Our Rating: 8.5/10
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Course Structure:

  • Studio Session: Making a Beatbox Beat
  • Building Beats: Tim’s Process
  • Making a Beat: Getting Warmed Up
  • Song Origins: “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
  • Making a Beat: Starting With a Chord Progression
  • Making a Beat: Tweaking and Layering Drums
  • Song Origins: “Pony”
  • Making a Beat: Manipulating Vocal Samples
  • Making a Beat: Creating a Breakdown
  • Song Origins: “Gossip Folks”
  • Making a Beat: Adding a Topline
  • Song Origins: “Are You That Somebody?”
  • Tim’s Influences
  • How to Persevere

Our Thoughts

We found this masterclass to be the least technical of all online muic production masterclass courses reviewed. Perhaps on purpose, as Timbaland’s production process seems to be based a lot around feeling, leaning on his team to fill in the more technical gaps.

We still found it very useful and inspiring, with some pretty straight forward but useful tips such as thinking about drums through beatbox.

His team of “co-producers” also share some gems on drums layering, chord progression and more.

If you’re a hip hop head, you’ll love this course. You’ll learn about how Timba produced hits for Missy Elliot, Jay-z, and others, as well as some inspiring tips on how to succeed in the industry. If you’re not a hip hop nerd, then you might find it not that inspiring. Though we still recommend purchasing it as part of the masterclass bundle of classes.

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Point Blank Music School Online

Point Blank is an well established English music school, which has opened it’s expertise to the online sector. The sheer diversity of courses that they offer, including Music Business courses, is practically unmatched. This Online Music Production Masterclass Course set is both formal and fun.

  • Music style: None in Specific
  • Financial Investment: Medium-high
  • Duration: Depends on the subject of choice.
  • Main DAW used: Ableton
  • Our Rating: 9.5/10.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate-High

The “Online” courses of Point Blank Music School are actual real-time/live lecture by teachers, customised to you as a student. You get to ask questions and interact with your teacher via webcam. Each course thus has it’s own structure.

Our thoughts:

So this is clearly something different. Theere are no pre-recorded sessions, like the others. This would also explain the high price point compared to the others. As a drawback, their online music production courses are not instant, you have to enroll like you would to a school. Only that the school location is your home, if you cannot access the offline schools Point Blank Music School has running in London, L.A., Mumbai, Ibiza and China.

We feel like this product is for the more advanced music production, since asking questions is key here.

If you feel like you have run out of material to study on your own and feel like it’s time to get 1:1 with a teacher who can guide you further then look no further and click the button below to access the Point Blank Music School website.

LEARN MORE

Producertech EQ Fundamentals Review

Producertech is a well established music course provider. It was founded in 2009 by Rob Jones. Of all their online music production courses, EQ fundamentals is one of our favourites. Here’s why:

  • Music style: None in Specific
  • Financial Investment: Low
  • Duration: 2.5 hours of video + assignments +
  • Main DAW used: Ableton
  • Our Rating: 9/10.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate

Course Structure:

  • Introduction to Frequencies
  • EQ Controls 
  • EQ in Isolation
  • Frequency Demo #3 – Combining the Piano and Sine Wave 
  • The Frequency Spectrum Explained
  • EQ with respect to other parts
  • EQ’ing Drums 
  • Common EQ Practices
  • EQ’ing Kick and Bass
  • EQ on the Master Channel
  • EQ In The Mix

Our thoughts:

This course is, in our opinion, a must do for all aspiring producers. Having a solid grasp of EQ can be the difference between an amateur sounding song and a commercial grade end product.

Producertech’s EQ Fundamentals online music production masterclass course will give you the foundation you need to make clean sounding mixed, at a very accessible cost (25$).

It doesn’t have a rock star teacher or cover 10 different topics, but that is, in our opinion, a strength. There is no magic pill that will make you a successful musician. Instead, the path to success is continued investment in small courses on different topics. This laser focused course will give you a very complete foundation on one of the most important skills in the game: EQing.

It also comes with the EXPOSE software, which allows you to “test” your final mix for any potential issues. We were positively surprised by the production quality of the course. Here’s a sample video from the course:

There is a special focus on bass and kick mixing, thus making it slightly more relevant to electronic, hip-hop, and pop producers, though it really suits any kind of music style.

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Berklee Online Review- Electronic Music Production

Berklee is one of the most famous music schools in the world. This institution is a pioneer in online music production courses, having started in 2002! They still are an industry leader and offer the most formal type of education you’ll find in this list.

  • Music style: Electronic
  • Financial Investment: Moderate
  • Duration: Around 6 months (4 hours / week recommended)
  • Main DAW used: Ableton, though teachings can be applied to any DAW.
  • Our Rating: 9.5/10.
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate
  • Certificate upon completion: Yes

Course Structure:

  • The Technology of Music Production
  • Introduction to Ableton Live
  • Creating Sounds for Electronic Music
  • The Art of Vocal Production

Our Thoughts:

This is a solid course for students looking for a serious commitment and some degree of credibility. It teaches all the theoretic background + gives you a solid foundation in ableton production and recording / mastering vocals.

If you’re looking for some credibility in the industry, the Beerklee is something to stick in your CV that can also teach you some good theory.

However, there are more advanced and complete courses in this list in terms of knowledge.

Finally, one of the main advantages is that coursera offers financial aid to certain students.

All in all, it is pretty inexpensive, at 39$/month, and if you’re feeling motivated, you can knock it off in a couple of months, getting a “mini” degree for a very affordable price.

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Udemy Music Production Courses review

Next up, we have a couple of udemy courses. We’ll start with probably the most popular music course in the platform, “Music Production in Logic Pro X”.

Udemy has a lot of online music production course programs on it’s website, they mostly have a similar structure to the Logic X one which is our reference.

This course was developed by Digital Music Masters, a well established music school.

  • Music style: None in Specific
  • Financial Investment: Low
  • Duration: 38 hours of video + articles and resources
  • Main DAW used: Logic Pro X
  • Our Rating: 9/10.
  • Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate

Our Thoughts

This is mostly for those more advanced. What we like is that you can just pay for one “topic” and not buy the whole online music production masterclass course package like with the others. You just get to Udemy, shop for what you want to know and that’s it.

These courses are mostly focused on daw workflows, with some specific items covering hardware gear like the Maschine and others focusing on specific sub-genres like music for games. All in all we think it is good product if you just want to fill some specific empty spaces in your skill arsenal.

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Final Thoughts

We hope that the above suggestions help you kickstart your music production career/hobby.

This article is in constant update as we try new courses, so if you have any recommendations, please post them below in the comments section!

Loopcloud Drum – New Free Drum Plugin by Loopmasters

Loopcloud Drum is a new free plugin that features 16 pads for drum/samples, built in sequencer and effects.

We’ve written about loopcloud before- It’s a great piece of software to store all your samples and organize your library and production workflow in the cloud.

It comes with ready to use kits from some very popular producers including Audiojack, Evil Needle, Maribou State, Justice, Timo Maas, Phaeleh, and many more.

The coolest feature of a new plugin is of course integration with Loopmasters sample libraries/Loopcloud.

Here’s a quick look at what the interface and main features look like:

It also comes with loads of preset patterns, making it possible to get some very high quality drums with just a few clicks. If you’re looking for a simple solution to adding high quality drums to your instrumentals, look no further.

There is a focus on electronic / EDM beats, but you can really find most styles present in their sound bank.

The best part? It’s absolutely free.

Have you tried this piece of software? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Best Free Kontakt Libraries for 2021

Surely everyone that uses Native Instruments’ industry standard Kontakt sampler has at least 1 favorite free library or instrument.

What I’ve compiled here is a list of my personal favorites.

These are among what I find to be some of the most usable high quality libraries available.

This is not a complete list of free kontakt libraries or kontakt instruments, its simply a curated list of my favorites.

There are hundreds and hundreds of free kontakt libraries, but to be honest, a lot of them simply aren’t that good.

They get plenty of burn in my production projects at least, some may even be slept on. So here they are, in table form for your viewing pleasure:

👉 CHECK OUT THE LATEST DEALS AND DISCOUNTS ON VST PLUGINS AND DAWS
Library
Instruments
Website
Ivy Audio Pianos, Vocals, Drums, Trombones DOWNLOAD
AURORROR by Fluffy Audio More than 25 sound sources DOWNLOAD
The Free Orchestra Cinematic, Orchestra DOWNLOAD
Sketching Chamber Orchestra Orchestra DOWNLOAD
Jerry’s Pianos Piano DOWNLOAD
Precisionsound Amore Grand Piano Piano DOWNLOAD
16PAD by HelloSample Drums DOWNLOAD
Cinematique Instruments Chimes Percussion DOWNLOAD
Free HD Orchestra Chords & Sustained String Chords by Sonuscore Strings DOWNLOAD
Free Fall by Soundethers Synth DOWNLOAD
NS Drums J13 Drums DOWNLOAD
Alpine Project Strings, Woodwind, Brass DOWNLOAD
Ivy Audio Pianos, trombones, vocals and drums DOWNLOAD
Bicat Instruments Guitar, Bass, Organ, Pianos, and much more DOWNLOAD
Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Stratus Guitar DOWNLOAD
Waves Factory Whispers Creepy Voices DOWNLOAD
Cinematique Instruments Landscape Drone Generator DOWNLOAD
Cinematique Instruments Esemblia Chamber Orchestra DOWNLOAD
Producer’s Store- Angel’s Harp Harp DOWNLOAD
Retrosampling- Electric Piano, Breaks and Beats, and More Piano, Drums, and More DOWNLOAD
Sonic Bloom- Mellotron Samples Woodwinds, Strings, Brass, Flute and Choir DOWNLOAD
Cymatics Free Kontakt Libraries Strings, Guitar, Keys, and Much More DOWNLOAD
Red Room Audio- Pallette Primary Colors Orchestral DOWNLOAD
Detuned Upright Upright Piano DOWNLOAD


Also, don’t forget to check our updated MEGA-LIST of 400+ FREE VST here.

AURORROR by Fluffy Audio free Kontakt library

This excellent free Kontakt library is definitely the one I use the most.

Although it is a limited version of their fantastic AURORA library in terms of NKI presets, it still delivers on usability and sound quality.

AURORROR is advertised as a “horror cinematic and hybrid library” on Fluffy Audio’s website, but it’s a surprisingly versatile and flexible synth. 

With more than 25 unique sound sources, 13 different modulators, an arpeggiator and polystep modes, there’s a lot to work with.

The idea is to layer up to 3 sounds and adjust the plethora of parameters to create your own sound. Your new custom preset can then be saved. Check out this review by Saint Joe of Sounds And Gear.

16PAD by HelloSamples free Kontakt library

This developer has been around for quite some time and continues to offer a generous amount of extraordinary free and premium kontakt libraries.

Recently they stepped their game up even further by designing their own Kontakt instrument, 16PAD. Here’s a word about it courtesy of the included pdf manual:

To put it simply, it’s a 16 Pad instrument, each Pad has Volume, Panorama, Tune, ADSR, Filter + LFO, Distortion (Lo-Fi, Distortion, Skreamer, Tube) and Modulation (Chorus & Flanger) controls, plus 4

Send controls for 2 global Delay, Reverb and a Convolution Reverb (IR) effects.

There is also a simple on board step sequencer with controls for Volume, Tune and an Assignable Parameter per pad.

The pads can be selected via MIDI and can be colorized individually. The 16-channel mixer can be viewed by clicking the MIXER button to the bottom left of the step sequencer. 

I would have liked to have had the ability to load my own samples and have darker more pronounced colors on the pads, but this is a very nice instrument nonetheless. Big up to HS!

Amore Grand Piano free Kontakt library

This is a new addition to the list and honestly, we don’t have much to say about it.

It’s a great piano. And it sounds great. And it’s free.

Download it here.

Free HD Orchestra Chords & Sustained String Chords by Sonuscore free Kontakt library

Both of these Kontakt instruments have an awesome sound and are dead easy to control.

There is only 1 knob on each interface, low velocity triggers major chords, and high velocity triggers minor chords. On Sustained String Chords, you can control the dynamics with the mod wheel and mix sustain and tremolo chords.

On both libraries, you can play low, mid, and high strings separately or play huge chords altogether. The interface is simple and the design straight forward.

It’s a great library for generating or enhancing your compositions.

Check them out below:

Free Fall by Soundethers free Kontakt library

Free Fall is another library that has been out for a while, but I think it’s one of the most underrated free Kontakt libraries.

It’s dedicated to ambient textures and evolving type sounds which are useful in many musical genres.

It comes with 18 otherwordly patches and you are free to create and save your own custom patches.

This library just begs to be experimented with and you will have 4 pages of parameters to play with:  Main Engine, Effects Engine, Rhythm Engine and Output Engine.

There’s really a lot to go through with this library, once you download it, no doubt you’ll feel the same.

Also, remember to check our own list of best VST Synths here.

And now, for some honourable mentions:

NS Drums J-311 by NS Drums

Just released a few days ago, NS Drum kicks (pun intended) in with a well-crafted and high quality sounding acoustic kit.

Not only does the library sound great, but it offers the ability to really customize your drum sound with a nice set of sensible parameters: Pan, Tune, Room (mic), Attack, Hold and Decay.

There are a good number of presets for each of the 6 drum sounds represented in the intuitive interface: Kick, Snare, Hi-Hat, Tom, Ride and Crash.

NS Drums J-311 also boasts I very high level of detail as there are no less than 27 layers per instrument, so you will be able to dial in just about any acoustic kit sound you like. 

In addition, the FX page provides an EQ and Compressor for each instrument, while the MASTER page has an EQ and Compressor for the entire kit as well as a number of presets to choose from. Can’t wait to play around with this one.

It’s a great drum machine, and, you guessed it, it’s absolutely free.

The Alpine Project

If you’re looking for free orchestral kontakt instruments, look no further.

The alpine project is one of the most complete orchestral libraries we’ve seem- and it’s totally free!

There’s strings, woodwind, brass, and more.

Ivy Audio

Ivy Audio is a donation based sample/library producer known for its piano library.

It also offers trombones, vocals and drums, as well custom made libraries, which are of course, not for free.

If you’re looking for some classical piano, check out piano in 162.

If you’re on the hunt for some usable libraries, go check these 5 out. They are sure to inspire. Tell me what you think.

Also, if you’re looking for a cloud based solution to manage all these free libraries + search for buyable options, check out loopcloud.

*These libraries require the Full version of Kontakt

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Battle of the Synths

Omnisphere and Serum: Two giants of the software synth world. We’ve all wondered how they compare to each other, and today, after thorough analysis of both, we will come up with a winner.

It is, however, important to note that this article isn’t an attempt to determine which one of these beastly VSTs is ‘the OVERALL BEST’. This a far too subjective decision for one humble reviewer to ascertain, so please note that this is based on our personal experience and preferences.

What you are about to read is merely a comparison of 2 industry leading virtual instruments in order to help you understand the differences and similarities between them. If you’re on the fence about purchasing either one, or if you own both and struggle with which one to use for a particular task, you will benefit from the information in this article.

If you’re not familiar with either of these, we strongly recommend checking them out. We’ll start with the most obvious differences, then we will break things down into various sections:

You should also check out Splice, where you can try out both Omnisphere and Serum and other plugins for free for 3 days then rent to own them.

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Obvious differences

Omnisphere 2 is an 8-part multitimbral VSTi, meaning you can play up to 8 different sounds at once with one instantiation. Serum can only play one sound at a time, so if you want to play more than that, you’ll have to have to use a different instantiation for each different sound you use from it. Spectrasonics hasn’t provided a demo of Omnisphere 2 yet, so there is no way to test it out unless you buy it. A demo version of Serum is available with Splice.

To get more acquainted with each synth, please check out the links below:

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Oscillators

Omnisphere 2 comes with over 400 new waveforms each of which is a morphing wavetable. Ethnic instruments and unusual sound sources like a burning piano are also included and can be used as oscillators. Additionally, you can add your own sounds and use those as oscillators or mangle them in the granular synthesis section.

However, when compared to other dedicated granular synths like Mangle or PadShop, Omnisphere 2 falls a bit short in terms of editing features.

Serum on the other hand, comes with 144 wavetables and also gives you the ability to draw waveforms or load your own sounds and use them as oscillators.

Aside from being an “advanced wavetable synth”, Serum is also capable of performing additive and VA synthesis with classic waveforms (saw, square etc.) + a sub oscillator + noise oscillator.

Because of the array of waveforms and synthesis techniques that can be applied in both synths, they both could very well be referred to as modern hybrid synthesisers.

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Filters

Serum has a variety of filter types. All the filters from Xfer’s LFOTool are included in addition to some new ones like Flangers, Phasers and the dirty sounding French LPF. There are also Dual Filter types allowing you to morph between filter types.

Omnisphere 2 boasts a more flexible filter engine and 8 new filters giving you the ability to create your own filter sound with stereo control, drive and a host of other parameters to further customize your filters. Also, it now includes all of the filters from GForce Software’s virtual synth, “impOSCar”.

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Modulators

Personally, my favorite thing about Serum’s modulators is how easy it is to drag and drop a modulation source to a destination.

This makes for a much faster workflow when creating or editing complex a patch. Then there are the drawable LFOs, Envelopes and Macros which, depending on your preference, are more fun to play with than mousing around with percentages or virtual knobs.

Omnisphere’s Modulation Matrix is unbelievably massive and flexible!

Almost every parameter can be modulated and there are a plethora of modulation sources and targets.

All 4 Effect Racks’ parameters, all the granular parameters, all the FM parameters, numerous parameters in the arpeggiator and envelopes can all be modulated by a multitude of sources.

But with all this modulation power, there is no drag and drop ability in Omnisphere 2

Omnisphere 2 vs Serum: Effects

In addition to Serum’s classic synth effects and advanced effects such as a multiband compressor, Serum can be used as a dedicated FX processor as well. Off the top of my head, the only other synths I can think of that have this feature are Native Instruments Absynth 5, FM8 and Reaktor 6.

The results of running an audio source through an effect with synthesizer parameters can be extremely inspiring and a lot of fun!

Omnisphere 2 has a wider variety of effects. Vintage effects like echoes, choruses and compressors as well as various reverb types are included.

And remember, all of the parameters in each effect can be modulated. This does come at the cost of higher CPU usage, however. I’d be curious to see what kinds of sounds could be generated if Omnisphere 2 was able to be used as a dedicated FX processor, but that feature isn’t available.

Overall Winner

I think Omnisphere 2 has a better sound library and is well-rounded as far as sound selection thanks to some of the best sound designers of our time, Eric Persing and Diego Stocco. Therefore, it takes the prize.

Serum may have a more flexible wavetable engine and deeper sound design capabilities with the wavetable editor, formulas and additive engine.