2017 has been an amazing year for new music software products with some significant advancements made in the world of plug-ins and virtual instruments. iZotope‘s Ozone 8 and Neutron 2 have revolutionised the way we go about mixing and mastering. Synthogy have cemented their place as one of the finest virtual piano creators with Ivory II Studio Grands. And Toontrack’s Superior Drummer 3 has given us a truly superior virtual drum instrument which can even turn cardboard boxes into a professional sounding drum kit! (Don’t believe us? Click here to see it for yourself!)
With so many awesome releases it’s likely that your Christmas wish list (or that of the music producer in your life) is rather long this year! If however, you’re stuck for ideas, or simply looking for something to inspire your music over the festive break, we’ve put together a list of ideas for every kind of producer and composer, many of which are included in the Holiday Sales!
2017 has seen Gothic Instruments cement their place as one of the top creative plugin creators in music, and this is largely due to the success of their DRONAR and SCULPTOR series of plugins. They’re perfect for creating rich complex atmospheres and professional-grade SFX, and they offer limitless potential for film, tv, and video game soundtracks as well as electronic and ambient music. With the Complete Bundle in your arsenal of tools you’ll have everything you need to forge your next cinematic masterpiece. Not only does this bundle save you 50%, but you’ll also revieve 40% off all future Gothic Instruments releases!
Expert Verdict: To create the depth of some of these patches would take hours if not days of work with a great deal of gear… here they are all on tap!“- Ty Unwin, Composer
This bundle (exclusive to Time+Space) truly is the ultimate synth bundle. Not only do you get Spectrasonics’ iconic Omnisphere 2 synthesiser, but you also get a Groove 3 Omnisphere 2 Explained tutorial video package, Audiority Relative Dimension preset pack and a copy of Ian Boddy Dark Ambience patches for Omnisphere. Just in case you’ve been living in a cave over the last decade Omnisphere 2 is an award-winning plugin brings many different types of synthesis together into one amazing-sounding instrument that will inspire a lifetime of exploration! But if the 10,000+ sounds don’t tickle your fancy then you can import in your own sounds sources, which you can then use in Omnisphere! If you’re still not convinced then why not check out what the legendary Gary Numan had to say about it in our blog post.
Expert Verdict: “Omnisphere 2 is the best thing ever invented – more useful than the wheel!” – Gary Numan
For all of you producers who lean towards more urban genres, this product should be top of your Xmas wishlist. It really is a one-stop shop when it comes to beat creation. Not only is it a powerful sequencer, with built-in 808 basses and a drum roll creator, but it also has both a pitch and a sample length editor. Therefore you can easily tweak and edit the 4000+ sounds that Sequence contains. There’s also no need to worry about needing to scroll through page after page of endless sample folders, Sequence’s menu page makes it easier than ever to find the sound you need. The best bit is you don’t have to worry about it being too heavy on your CPU either as it’s low CPU footprint means that crafting your next beat is not only easier but quicker than ever.
Expert Verdict: “Sequence is an awesome tool to have in your arsenal!!! It´s easy to use and sounds great. To all my producers and songwriters, get it. You won’t regret it.“ – Antonio Dixon (Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Chris Brown, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys)
If you’ve ever been frustrated with your tracks lacking energy, then Softube’s latest effect plugin may be just what you need. Whether it’s turbo-charging your lead guitar, adding width to your percussion, or creating movement in your keys Fix Phaser has your back. Despite using the same mind-warping technical concepts already presented in their Fix Flanger and Doubler plugins, Softube were able to preserve that quintessential 70s/80s sound and style.
Expert Verdict: “When I engaged the Fix Phaser on my mix buss, in the factory default setting, I started time travelling through the galaxy, and realised I was wearing shiny silver pants. This thing is absolutely awesome… all the best parts of a phaser without the silly overcooked elements. Nice job, folks!” – Greg Wells, Producer and songwriter for Katy Perry, Weezer, Adele, Timbaland, Mika, OneRepublic, Pink, The Deftones, Rufus Wainwright, etc.
Since it’s release last month Hollywood Choirs has been turning heads left right and centre. Many were wondering if it would live up to the hype of its incredible cinematic trailer and, judging from the reactions of those who have used it, it most definitely has. Hollywood choirs features powerful, blockbuster sound that opens up a whole new world of 3D soundscapes to help create incredible and emotional journeys for your audiences for many years to come. Once you get your hands on it and watch as typed phrases are brought to life by their blockbuster female and male choir, there’s no denying that you’ll be able to see for yourself why this product has been flying off the Time+Space shelf!
With the addition of SubBoomBass 2, there has never been a better time to pick up the ultimate virtual synth and effects plugin collection from Rob Papen. Combining all eight Rob Papen virtual synths, plus the company’s six award-winning effects plug-ins, eXplorer 4 provides all the tools you need for contemporary music production including thousands of rich, complex, track-ready presets created by Rob Papen and guest artists including acclaimed DnB artists Noisia. With over £1,000 worth of products now in the bundle, it’s no wonder eXplorer is many producers first port-of-call when they need to take their music to the next level.
Expert Verdict: “A true master of all trades – basses, pads, leads, FX, drums… you name it.” – Future Music
The iZotope Music Production Suite combines six of the most powerful music production tools in iZotope’s portfolio – Ozone 8 Advanced, Neutron 2 Advanced, RX 6 Standard, Nectar 2 Production Suite, VocalSynth, and Trash 2 Expanded – into a go-to collection of the industry’s best mixing, mastering, vocal production, and audio repair tools. With a grand total of 34 plugins, this bundle acts as your one stop shop for all your production needs. And until 2nd January you can get all of this for only £549! What’s not to like…
Expert Verdict: “Now an essential tool for both music and post-production” – Music Tech
Orchestral Essentials is the perfect place to start if you’re getting into composing cinematic projects. The mixed orchestra section offers you beautiful, live recordings of different orchestral sections playing together, such as full orchestra recorded with choir and strings recorded with brass. On the other hand, you can also use the individual Strings, Brass, Woodwinds and Percussion sections which deliver new articulations and sounds including lush string sordinos and flageolets, a massive, 8-player French Horn section, new, powerful drum sounds and chilling bowed cymbal scrapes. New Keyboards include a soft, delicate grand piano, box organ and cimbalom. It really is your one-stop shop for all things orchestral at a great price! Plus all ProjectSAM virtual instruments are 25% off until January meaning it’s at an even better price!
Expert Verdict: “It sounds great, is easy to use, and has an interface that allows you to quickly tailor it to your own tastes” – Soundsandgear
With 203 models, TH3 is the world’s largest collection of guitar amp models in a single software. But quality is not sacrificed for quantity. Designed by renowned DSP engineer Thomas Serafini, TH3 takes centre stage in a world seemingly overrun with amp simulators. The sound quality, tone, and feel of TH3 is unmatched, whether you´re after a clean lead or a distortion monster. It includes: Randall®, DVmark®, Brunetti® and THD® authorised modelling, with models approved by original manufacturers so you know you’re going to get high-quality results.
Expert Verdict: “I got this one mostly out of curiosity, but it proved to be one hell of a good choice. If Amplitube has a million sound colour choices, Guitar Rig raw power, what this one does is bring back the sound of a guitar that we all remember. Thumbs up, Overloud.” – Soundbytes.net
To be honest it was hard to choose which one of Synthogy’s range of pianos would get this spot on the list, as they’re all so great! But with over 77Gb of stunning, Acoustic Grand Piano sampled instruments Grand Pianos was my final choice. The playing experience from the included pianos is simply extraordinary, with an emotional range extending from the heartiest fortissimo to the most delicate and nuanced pianissimo. Ivory II Grand Pianos will breathe under your fingers, inspiring your best performance from a truly organic instrument. Plus right now you can save 33% on all Synthogy Pianos!
Expert Verdict: “Superb. Stellar. Excellent. Outstanding. Best in class. Pick a superlative, and it won´t adequately convey how real Ivory II sounds, nor how immersed in the music you’ll feel when playing it” – Keyboard Magazine
Don’t really know what you want other than just a kick start to your creativity over Christmas? We’ve got plenty of plug-ins and instruments to help, with many in the Holiday sales. Check out iZotope Iris 2 (67% off!), Sample Magic KLIP (30% off), In Session Audio Riff Generation (30% off) for instant inspiration.