Inspired by the original TR-series, Spark features a 16 step sequencer inspired by the original TR-series, that makes programming tracks a breeze. Pattern length is expandable to 32, 48 and 64 steps. If you want to capture your beats with their original timing and velocity, you can also map your favorite MIDI keyboard to the 8 drum pads.
Spark Vintage includes a dedicated mixer with 16 independent stereo outputs that you can easily route into your DAW. It is also a powerful interface to refine your drum mix within Spark thanks to 14 professional audio effects: Multiband Compressor, Reverb, Bit crusher, Multiband EQ, Chorus, Delay, Distortion, Phaser, Plate reverb, Destroyer, Flanger, Space pan, Limiter, Sub generator.
Spark Vintage offers the same exact live features as its elder brother, Spark Creative Drum machine. The XY Pad offers real-time filtering and slicing, to quickly generate mind-blowing breaks. It features 3 types of Filters (Low Pass, High Pass, Band Pass), Repeat, Repeat Mix, Bit Crusher, Reverse, Tape, Strobe and Pan. Spark also comes with an advanced Looper, that allows you to divide the loop size and move the looping position simultaneously. This feature brings a lot of stutter dynamics into your playing. Combine it with the XY Pad and it will generate even more impressive live effects.
Spark Vintage integrates seamlessly with any DAW as a plugin (AAX (pro Tools 11), VST 2.4 (32-bit and 64-bit), Audio Unit (32-bit and 64-bit) and RTAS) and also features MIDI assignment on all its key knobs and pads, making it compatible with your favorite MIDI controllers, whether they are keyboards or drumpads.
Spark includes a feature to export your patterns in .wav and MIDI directly in your DAW. Simply drag and drop any pattern from your current kit and it will be automatically rendered in the format of your choice. This becomes very handy when you are working with loops and want to quickly use an idea in the context of a full production.
All models have been carefully reproduced using two techniques : analog emulation (based on TAE) for the analog circuits, and high resolution sampling of mint condition units for EPROM and PCM based drum machines.
Spark VDM includes a faithful analog emulation of the Roland TR-808, a true cornerstone of Hip hop, R'n'B and electronic music. The TR-808 has been used in more hit records than any other drum machine and is still highly sought after for its deep bass drum and snappy percussion sounds.
The TR-909 is the backbone of countless house and techno hits. It has been used by Daft Punk, Moby, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and many more. Spark VDM recreates the TR-909 sounds with attention to detail, reproducing both the analog circuitry and the Eprom engine with enhanced controls.
The CR-78 is another classic analog machine which left a big imprint in music thanks to artists like Marvin Gaye to Alicia Keys, Gary Numan, John Foxx, etc. Spark VDM not only offers a realistic analog emulation including the original sounds and patterns, but it also brings the flexibility of tweaking the instruments in depth.
The LinnDrum was recognized as the most professional Eprom based drum machine in its time. Its punchy 35 kHz acoustic samples and its natural groove took a key part in defining the sound of the 80's. The LinnDrum is at the core of cult records by Prince, Peter Gabriel, Jan Hammer, Madonna.
Best known for its use on Jean Michel Jarre's Oxygene, the Korg Mini Pops 7 offered 20 programmed rhythms, which could be combined by pressing preset buttons. Spark VDM carefully recreates the original patterns and organic sounds of this little gem thanks to virtual analog synthesis.
Hyped up by the acid house genre, the TR-606 is still widely used today by electronic producers. Its unmistakable noisy hi hats and minimal percussion sounds are able to bring a unique color and character to any mix. The Spark TR-606 analog emulation adds tuning for all drum tones, snap and body settings for the snare drum, pitch bend for the toms, and more.
Manufactured in the late 60's by Ace Electronics Industries Inc. (an early incarnation of the Roland Corporation) the Ace Tone Rhythm Ace FR-2L was meant to be played with organs, providing key rhythm accompaniments. While the presets are mostly outdated (cha cha, mambo, samba, etc.), the tones are gorgeous and full sounding as in any other analogue CR/TR if not fatter than some.
The Roland TR-707 Rhythm Composer is a programmable digital sampling drum machine introduced by Roland in 1984. The TR-707 was a staple in early house music, particularly with acid house. Today, its punchy 12-bit sounds are making a noticeable come back in new disco and electro genres.
The TR-727 is a Latin drum kit version of the TR-707. It excels at producing tribal, latin and Indian house beats. Unlike the original where the only possible adjustment is volume, the Spark emulation features pitch, envelope and a frequency shifter capable of adding overtones on each instrument.
Spark VDM features a faithful emulation of the punchy analog sounds of the KPR-77 which was Korg's answer to the TR-606. As a bonus, it also integrates a few percussion sounds based on the older and rarer KR-55 and KR-33 models.
If you are looking for classic 80's electro beats, the DrumTraks is your go to drum machine. While the original unit only had programmable tuning and level, the Spark version features envelope editting as well as integrated new modules including Karplus strong, Frequency shifter and Filter envelope.
The Simmons brand was popular for its extremely powerful line of analog drums. Using a "brain", and various hexagonal pads as triggers, the SDS drums had an instantly recognizable look and a powerful sound that shaped many hits in the 80's. If you are looking for classic analog drum sounds and nice filters, Spark has got the perfect emulation for you.
The Drumulator is a famous sample-based drum machine originally launched by E-Mu as an affordable alternative to the Linn LM2 and Oberheim DMX. The Drumulator had eight gritty, lo-fi 12-bit drum samples on a ROM microchip which quickly became classic sounds widely used in early 80's hip hop.
The DR-55 Dr. Rhythm was one of the first step-edit-style drum machines. Basic controls and sounds made this drum machine an instant hit among musicians looking for drum accompanient. Spark reproduces the original DR-55 sounds (Snare Drum, Kick Drum, Rim Shot and Hi-Hat) and introduces many new variations including Karplus, Bode Shift modules to enrich the tones, as well as useful synths to compose basslines.
The Maestro Rhythm King MRK-2 was popularized by Sly Stone on his album "There's a Riot Going On" in 1971. Despite being nicknamed "funk box", its gorgeous analog sounds were used in many different music genres, and it even made an appearance on Kraftwerk's Autobahn album. As usual, Spark VDM proposes in-depth adjustments like Noise Color, Ring Mod, Oscillator Pitch and Filters, making this beautiful unit totally flexible while keeping the typical analog character of the sound.
The Oberheim DMX was one of the cult drum machines in early Hip Hop. It embedded sampled recordings of actual acoustic drums. Due to the 12-bit resolution of the EPROM memory chips and the analog circuit, the sounds were very different from "real" ones, but they were enriched by a lot of punch and an unmistakable personality. The DMX was notably used by Run DMC, Roni Size, and New Order on the hit "Blue Monday".
The Linn 9000 was designed by Roger Linn, the pioneer of samplers, sequencers and sample based drum machines. Designed as the high end of its range, the Linn 9000 sported many innovations such as sampling capability, programmable envelopes, and a nice LCD screen. After years of disappearance, the Linn 9000 remains one of the most innovative drum machines with a collection of EPROM based sounds that are still very inspiring for modern pop production.
Spark's DDM-120 pays tribute to the digital series of Korg drum machines, giving you access to the unique 8 bit sounds of the DDM-110 and DDM-220. Their crispy digital samples are the perfect ingredients when you want to add a lo-fi edge to your mix.
The E-mu SP-12 is a classic drum machine and sampler that paved the way for the AKAI MPC series. Its design was adapted from E-mu's Drumulator drum machine and completed by useful additions such as a set of sliders. It was very popular among hip hop artists for the lo-fi character of its sampling (sounds were stored on Eproms), and the inherent natural groove of its sequencer.
Spark VDM features a Kaziotone project that pays tribute to the lo-fi and loveable Casio VL-1 (or VL-Tone) and SK-1 synthesizers. Each of these cheap portable keyboards featured a number of interesting drum loops that could be played in accompaniment of melodies. Despite being toy-sounding, the patterns had a true originality and were featured in many classic pop songs from Devo, the Talking Heads, the Cars, Stevie Wonder, Vince Clarke, etc.
Casio's RZ1 was one of the first affordable sampling drum machines. It featured 12 x PCM samples but also had four pads into which you could sample your own sounds which could be used as part of patterns. Its sounds obviously don't sound like real drums, but they do sound electronic and different in character than the more common Roland and Linn drum machines. The Casio RZ-1 has been used in lots of Hip Hop and House tracks.
The Kawai R-100 is one of the most underrated drum machines in history. It features powerful 12-bit Kicks, Toms and Snares that range from percussive tones to the fatest hits sunk into gated reverb. Despite its natural in-your-face character, it is possible to mix the R-100 to get the kind of house sounds you would obtain from a Roland TR-707. The Kawai R-100 was actually used in many Chicago house tracks, as well as in industrial music.
The RX5 was Yamaha's flagship drum drum machine back in 1986. It had many features that other drum machines simply did not have. Aside from all of the basics, such as pitch adjustment, level control, etc., this machine also featured "Attack" and "Decay" envelope controls and two levels of "Accent" for each sound, allowing players to really change the character of any of its built-in sounds. The Spark VDm version comes with added Frequency Shifter and Filters to shape the original sounds even further.
The TR-626 by Roland was a sort of digitalized adaptation of the classic TR-606 and TR-505 Rhythm Composers. Its basic design included 12-bit samples based on acoustic samples that still retain some of the personality of its legendary ancestor the TR-909. It also features Latin sounds that are comparable to the TR_727. I twas used by Vangelis and Jimmy Edgar.
Considered as a toy by many, The Yamaha MR10 reveals a surprisingly powerful set of analog sounds that can be compared with the more expensive Simmons drum modules. The Kick is particularly powerful and the controls make it very flexible, allowing you to shape conga and snare sounds out of the tom instrument. It has the perfect sound for minimal electro tracks.
The Roland R8 is one of the best sample based drum machines ever. It has powerful sounds whch are ideal for rock, electronic, ethnic and industrial styles. Most of the sounds are editable - tune, decay, attack, nuance, output, etc... The Spark RLD 8 version goes further by bringing Sub harmonix generator, Ring Modulator and a new set of Filters to reshape the sounds. The R8 was used by Orbital, Underworld, Jimmy Edgar, Autechre, 808 State, Dave Holmes, Fluke, Human League and The Shamen.
Pulsator is a sophisticated hybrid drum machine delivering in-your-face dynamics. It uses sampled pulse waves to generate acoustic-styled attacks, and processes them through virtual analog modules to beef the signal up. Its sharp attacks, solid low end, and warm presence will nicely cut through the mix of any modern hip hop or electro track.
Micromatix is a minimal sounding beatbox inspired by vintage soviet drum machines like the Lell UDS, fitting perfectly the electro, IDM and nu-disco genres. Gritty percussions are blended with laser toms and synths, bringing a superb retrofuturistic feel. If you are looking for raw analog drums and sci-fi effects, this unit will bring you plenty of fun!
Phatwerk is a huge sounding kit built upon the structure of a modular drum synthesizer. Every parameter from waveshape to noise and filter sweep is accessible to help you shape huge bass drums, punchy snares, smooth hi hats... To make it even more complete for your sequencing needs, the Phatwerk also integrates 5 different melodic synthesizers which are fully tweakable.
Our beloved TR-909 analog emulation went under the knife of a mad scientist... The result of his heavy bend : a way more agressive tone, ultra-heavy audio pressure and raspy tonal possibilities. Be warned, the Dirty-909 is not for the faint-hearted!
Drum machines and synthesizers are in every recording studio and surely give a better feeling than making music with your keyboard and mouse. If you are that person take a look at The best Drum Machines and The best Synthesizer keyboards.
In our days the case is not the same. VST plugins are now at the top of the list of most music producers around the world. Think of them as really affordable ways to make your home studio sound like you use really expensive professional equipment.
The 6 operators are all easily located on one single interface. It also offers 144 DAW automatable DX7 parameters to create your own daydreaming melodies. Dexed FM can be used for making bright keys and bold plucked sounds.
Tyrell N6 u-he is developed by German online magazineAmazona.de. It was originally intended to be an affordable hardware synth inspired by Rolands Juno-60, instead is a great free digital replica of this legendary instrument.
TAL-Elek7rois a virtual analog synth with some special features like hard sync oscillators (saw, rectangle, triangle, sine), effects, and LFOs. It is available only for Windows, while the NoiseMaker is for Mac users only.
TAL NoiseMakeris an improved version of Elek7ro and has a completely new synth engine and a lot of improvements in sound and usability. The synth plugin offers 3 Oscillators with up to 6 voices. It also includes a filter section with a reverb, chorus, and a crusher effect.
Both plugins are great free plugins to cover your basic bass and guitar needs. The sound quality is more realistic than any other free bass/guitar plugins out there and you can easily adjust all the parameters and settings on a user-friendly interface.
Ample Guitar M Lite II aims to bring the Martin D-41 Acoustic Guitar sound to your studio, while Bass P II is trying to imitate the Fender Precision Bass. You will also find elements, in both plugins, such as Sustain, Hammer On & Pull Off, Legato Slide, Palm Mute, Accent, Natural Harmonic, and many more.
These two free guitar plugins are WIN and MAC compatible so you wont have a problem running them in any DAW out there. You can import a midi track and just draw your chords, lines, arpeggios, or you can use a midi controller and route any parameter.
Nightlife is a virtual synthesizer by Acoustica. It offers three oscillators with editable waveforms, dual filters, and five modulation sequencers. As well as four LFOs and fifteen filter types (including lowpass, bandpass, highpass, and more), all on one user-friendly interface.
In this virtual instrument, you will be able to produce deepbasses, soft pads, arpeggiated patterns, and more. Ideal for any kind of electronic music, but especially for dance, EDM, and trance music genres.
The Xfer OTT is a free multiband compressor plugin, used by many electronic music producers and will work perfectly in your free VST effect library. A very useful compressor plugin for sound design and to increase the volume of your tracks.
It is ideal to edit your vocals, guitars or synths, giving depth and character. Xfer OTT display gives you the opportunity to work with Low, Mid, and High frequencies to adjust, reduce or pump up the frequencies you want.
TDR VOS SlickEQ is a mixing/mastering equalizer designed for ease of use, musical flexibility and flawless sound. A modern user interface with four filter bands arranged in a Low/Mid/High parametric EQ layout that offers extreme usability.
Four interesting presets (British, American, German and Soviet) and Five output stages (Linear, Silky, Mellow, Deep, and Toasted) making it a useful effect plugin for those who want something a little different than the usual EQ plugin.
TAL-Filter-2is a host synced filter module which will give your tracks a nice vintage analog sounding. It offers 4 different TAL-NoiseMaker filter types and volume editing possibilities you cannot afford to miss especially when its free.
Vadg Molot is afeature compressor, ideal to use for loud and punchy instruments, such as drum sounds. It is a bit aggressive but adds a lot of coloring to sound. In the same interface, you can find Slick EQ and amastering equalizerwith soft saturation modes.
Vladg Limiter N.6 offers a lot more options, including RMS compressor, peak limiter, high-frequency limiter, clipper, and true peak limiter. It is the perfect VST effect plugin out there to master your tracks.
SPAN is a free real-time fast Fourier transform audio analyzer for professional sound editing and music production. This VST plugin offers a very flexible mode system which you can use to set up your range analyzer preferences.
Available for free download and easy install to your MAC or Windows PC. Once again, it doesnt matter which music production software you use, as all VST plugins are compatible with Reason, Fruity Loops Studio, Ableton Live, and more.
The VST plugins will run to your computer and favorite DAW such as Ableton Live, FL, Logic Pro, Reason, and many others. You can read more about music production softwares at the best DAWs in the market. They do not need any special setup, is just like any other regular software install in your MAC or Windows PC.
Most music software has its own built-in instruments and effects, but if you properly learn how to use external VST plugins, it will provide you with thousands of tools to experiment and take your sound to the next level.
There are a few things to consider before buying any VST plugin, but as long as we do not spend any money to use the software below, there is no point to dig into it deeper. You download, you use, you experiment, and if you dont like you delete.
We often say that mostly you get what you pay for, but there is a difference between free or being bought. There exist paid plugins which definitely are not worth their price because of the sound, interface,etc., and there are also some pretty good free plugins with a sound or GUI, you could pay for.
It does not matter if you are a beginner music producer or you have been a few years in the game, you shall not ignore free plugins as they can help you produce, finish and polishyour music productions fair well.In case you are looking for a music production guide, check How to become a music producer.
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