Essential software and shiny gear for music producers

Linux-Friendly Ardour DAW upgraded to 7.4

Linux-Friendly Ardour DAW upgraded to 7.4

The open source and cross platform (Linux / Mac / Windows) DAW Ardour just upgraded to version 7.4, bringing some new features along with bug fixes. Of the few DAWs I’ve tried running under Linux, Ardour sure looks the most polished and I’ve been wanting to give it more of a real go soon.

New features in Ardour 7.4 is:

  • Support for MIDI subgroup busses
  • Support for the Lua DSP processor (downmix 5.1 audio to stereo)
  • Added a volume control to the clip picker
  • Added a preference item for the PPQN value in exported MIDI files
  • Added an option to use a neutral color for new tracks & busses

Now as for improvements and bug fixes you can see the whole list on their what’s new page, but there’s been improvements in handling Faderport8 and Ableton Push 2 as well as a lot of UI-fixes and VST/VST3 bug fixes.

Ardour is free to download and use if you can compile the source tarball on your own machine, but for those not so tech-savvy there’s binaries for Linux, Windows and Mac available for purchase (either a pay-what-you-want starting at $1/mo or single payment from $45). Demo versions that goes silent after 10 minutes are available for those wanting to give it a go as well.

Download Ardour at

Softube Model 80: Replicating the Prophet 5

Softube Model 80: Replicating the Prophet 5

“Like a prophecy from 1980 fulfilled”. Here’s Model 80; a 5-voice synth (VST/VST3/AU/AAX) by Softube aiming at replicating the famous Prophet 5, the first synth with a digital microprocessor to control the analog polyphonic engine made famous through hits made by the likes of Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Peter Gabriel and Radiohead.

Model 80 comes with the original Prophet 5 presets heard on countless hits and they’ve eased the workflow a little by adding poly-portamento glide, voice pan spread, modulation by velocity and aftertouch, quantize filter cutoff, DAW sync, “aging” knob and a Invert Voice Mod button.

High-end and highly sought-after, this is a synthesizer that many producers and artists have aspired to own. Our expert modeling of the circuit, interactions, and performance of this five-voice legend ensures that anyone can have the authentic sound, feel, and experience of the hardware.

Read more (and buy) at (USD $100)

See it in action here:

Teenage Engineering CM-15 Microphone

Teenage Engineering CM-15 Microphone

Here’s Teenage Engineering‘s new CM-15 microphone, the latest addition to their ‘Field’ system. Besides the obvious good looks, Teenage Engineering promises this to be a ultra portable, studio quality large-diaphragm condenser microphone with a built-in audio interface and preamp (with 3.5mm output) powered by either USB-C, battery or 48v phantom mini-XLR. Running on the rechargeable battery should get you around 10 hours of use.

Now, this beaty will set you back a little, a whopping EUR 1058 or SEK 11,990 to be exact (but then you get textile cords and a carrying pouch with it, so that’s always something)

Read more @

Arturia releases Augmented Brass VST Plugin

Arturia releases Augmented Brass VST Plugin

I’m always on the look-out for new brass plugs and Arturia just released Augmented Brass plugin to go along with their Cinematic Trio (Augmented Strings, Augmented Voice and Augmented Grand Piano) allowing you to blend, morph and multi-layer chamber, orchestral and processed samples with synthesis.

Go from evocative chamber trumpets to huge cinematic ensembles, somber melodies to thunderous synth-infused fanfares, essential brass tones to experimental textures unheard – all in the same place.

Augmented Brass is available as VST, VST3, AU and AAX plugins for Windows (10+) and Mac (10.30+).

Read more and buy at Augmented Brass (introductory price: 69, regular price: 99)

Arturia Augmented Brass VST Plugin

Spotify adding TikTok-style video discovery feed

Spotify adding TikTok-style video discovery feed

TikTok for everyone! Sounds like it’s really about time to get better at adding those video snippets if you distribute music on Spotify since they just announced that they, after a beta test run, will roll out an updated design for the Home section in the mobile apps, allowing you to scroll through feeds via personal and curated previews of songs, podcasts and audiobooks.

Our data shows that more listeners become committed fans after previewing what they’re about to listen to, making this feature simply the latest update in our larger mission to create even deeper connections between artists and fans. 

Premium users in the US and Canada will also be seeing Spotify’s AI DJ under the Music tab – allowing the users to see audio and visual snippets and quickly preview other songs from those albums or playlists by tapping them.

Interaction-wise, users can save, download or share the content with one tap and tapping a recommendation takes you to the actual playlist, album or single.


Porter Robinson releases Po-uta: His own Vocaloid bank

Porter Robinson releases Po-uta: His own Vocaloid bank

This is pretty amazing (and meta), but Porter Robinson, the Grammy nominated artist who has used Vocaloid voices in many of his exceptional tracks now actually got his OWN Yamaha Vocaloid AI bank, dubbed Po-uta (if you for some reason haven’t heard Shelter you should listen to it right away).

Listen/watch Porter Robinson’s Vocaloid bank Po-uta in action here:

Buy Po-uta Vocaloid Bank ($108)

Teenage Engineering Field Desk

Teenage Engineering Field Desk

This is the Teenage Engineering Field Desk, the customizable desk they use themselves at the TE office to develop all those neat, minimalistic products. It’s made by double-sided formica birch plywood and rails by recycled Scandinavian aluminum. It ships flat-packed IKEA-style and is easy to assemble/disassemble and the rails used makes it easy to attach own accessories or ones they’re in the process of developing using m5 screws.

Our office is made up of people doing a variety of tasks, each with their own needs. since we love to build things, we decided to create our own modular work environment. field desk acknowledges our evolving workspaces and everything that comes with them.

Now, this might look minimalistic and all but the price tag sure isn’t. They want 15,990 Swedish krona for one of these, that’s a little more than £1200 (shipping not included). But then again, they make wonders with these desks, perhaps we could as well?

Read more at Teenage.Engineering Field Desk (£1260)

FiiO R7 HiFi Desktop Music Player & Headphone Amplifier

FiiO R7 HiFi Desktop Music Player & Headphone Amplifier

FiiO has unveiled the R7, a device they dubbed a “Desktop High Resolution Transmitter, Decoder and Headphone Amplifier All-In-One Unit”, a stylish little box that can act as an amp for either active speakers or headphones while displaying what you’re playing as well – be it local media via MicroSD or via major streaming services since it’s Android powered. Now, the FiiO R7 might be a little pricey, but I’m actually intrigued by getting a separate device for playing music (with a dedicated display) instead of just running apps on whatever other device I’m using at the moment.

Available in white or black, this device comes with a Android 10 powered display (Snapdragon 660+) to show and control your media, customizable RGB lights, 3.6W output power, exclusive DP mode and dual USB ports. Connection-wise you get a 6.35mm headphone + 4.4mm balanced headphone + four pin XLR balanced output in the front, in the rear you get support for up to 2TB MicroSD cards, 2xRCA line out, USB Host interface, optical input/output, three pin XLR balanced line out, USB-C, WiFi/Bluetooth (5.0) antenna, coaxial input/output and Ethernet for wired networks.

The FiiO R7 got the following modes by turning the knob on the front: Pure Music, USB DAC, Bluetooth receiver, Airplay receiver, Roon Ready, Coaxial/optical decoding.

The R7 can be controlled remotely using a Bluetooth remote (FiiO is planning to release a remote control in the future) or the FiiO Music app and the screen supports customizable screen savers (clocks, flying goats, what have you).

Read more at R7 (£649.99)

Minimonsta 2: A new level of Minimoog VST emulation

Minimonsta 2: A new level of Minimoog VST emulation

GForce Software has released a sequel to their Minimoog Model D emulation VST instrument: The Minimonsta 2.

So what’s new under the hood?

  • A new fully resizable UI (with three skins: black, light wood, dark wood)
  • An improved audio engine
  • A powerful new Preset Browser
  • Over 300 new presets
  • new Reverb effect
  • Vintage control for adding subtle analogue imperfections
  • Four programmable Macros
  • Selectable 4-stage envelopes
  • An alternative bass-preserving ladder filter
  • PWM for OSC1 and much more

Check out the video below. The Minimonsta 2 is available for an introductory price of £49.99, otherwise priced at £99.99.

Read more at Minimonsta 2

Cherry GX-80: Yamaha GX-1 and CS-80 synth emulation plugin

Cherry GX-80: Yamaha GX-1 and CS-80 synth emulation plugin

Cherry Audio has released their new ”visionary flagship” synth plugin GX-80, which combines the emulation of the classic Yamaha GX-1 and Yamaha CS-80. The latter, of course, famous for being used by legends like Vangelis for the Blade Runner soundtrack, for instance.

GX-80 is not just another CS-80 emulation. GX-80 adeptly integrates the GX-1’s distinctive feature set into the CS-80 architecture; most significantly, the massive dual-layer architecture that effectively made the GX-1 the equivalent of two CS-80s and then some. The GX-1’s unique high-passed resonant pulse and bandpassed sawtooth waves, octave-up triangle wave, and filter envelope inversion are incorporated, opening up a new universe of sonic experimentation. Most notably, GX-80 includes an expert reproduction of the legendary GX-1 filter, delivering exquisite timbres that even the mighty CS-80 cannot produce.

Check out the Cherry Audio GX-80 here

Both the GX-1 and CS-80 cost around $50,000 back in the 70’s, this software… replicant, if you will, gonna put you back $59 at this date.

CherryAudio: GX-80 ($59)