BlauKraut Engineering has announced the beta version of Charlatan 2.0, a brand new and completely overhauled iteration of one of the best virtual analogue synthesizers on today’s freeware market.
So, what exciting improvements does the new version of Charlatan bring to the table? First off, there’s the completely reworked and optimized sound engine which now uses 50% less CPU when compared to the previous versions of the plugin (in polyphonic mode). That’s a fantastic improvement for a virtual instrument which was already so well optimized and easy on the CPU resources.
Perhaps even more importantly, Charlatan now comes with a brand new and awesome sounding 7-note stereo unison mode. The unison mode is also highly optimized for low CPU use and it will work great even on less powerful systems. With this new playback mode, Charlatan can now be used to create a wide range of stereo pads, huge detuned bass sounds and modern unison leads.
Other improvements include the stereo noise generator (previous versions of Charlatan only had a mono noise source) and a couple of new waveforms in the LFO section. The developer has also included a set of additional factory presets to showcase the new features included in Charlatan 2.0 beta. Speaking of presets, Charlatan 2.0 should be compatible with v1.x presets, however the developer suggests the users to keep the previous version of the plugin installed because there will be some slight sonic differences when loading older presets. This couldn’t be avoided due to the changes in the new sound engine.
The GUI has also been changed (the awesome looking red panel is still the plugin’s signature look) and now features a thick gray/blue area at the top of the interface. Now, this might be just a wild guess, but it seems to me that we might be seeing a preset manager included in future versions of the plugin. I don’t know why, but this darker colored section looks to me like it could be reserved for that very purpose.
Please note that Charlatan 2.0 is still in beta stage and that some users might experience stability issues with this version of the plugin. The first bugfix update has already been released, fixing hanging notes and loading issues in certain hosts. There are several reports that Charlatan 2.0 doesn’t work well on AMD powered systems, but this is still just a speculation. Please leave a comment below if you have trouble loading Charlatan 2.0 in your DAW (also include your system specs) and I will forward that info to the developer.
With the amazing PG8X getting closer to its official 1.0 release and Charlatan 2.0 now in public beta, sticking to using just a single free virtual analogue synthesizer is now harder then ever. As I’ve mentioned many times before, my personal Top 3 of freeware subtractive synths is Charlatan, Tyrell N6 and PG8X and I couldn’t imagine my virtual studio without any of these three amazing instruments. If you want more options, fear not because you’ll find even more awesome freebie picks in our round-up of subtractive synthesizer VST plugins.
Charlatan 2.0 is available for free download via BlauKraut Engineering (1.29 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows, a Mac OS version is planned but still not very close to being released).