Matt Tytel has announced the release of Helm, an open source virtual analogue synthesizer that runs as a VST/AU/AAX plugin on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Helm is still a work in progress, but the plugin definitely looks very promising at this point. It is a free multi-platform virtual synthesizer developed by Matt Tytel, packing a rather capable synthesis engine underneath a very nice looking GUI. Seriously, the GUI is one of the best I’ve seen lately among freeware releases, sporting a soothing color palette and fresh material design style shadows underneath the knobs. It is a joy to look at and perfectly suitable for long preset programming sessions.
See also: Best Free Virtual Analog Synthesizers!
The overall sound quality of Helm’s synthesis engine is also very good, however what’s even better is the fact that the instrument comes with a couple of features we don’t usually see in freeware synthesizers. The formant filter section and the stutter effect module can lead to some surprisingly neat results when used in tandem, especially if you’re looking for rhythmic sequences and noises suitable for use in modern electronic music. Also, the modulation controls are perfectly laid-out across the interface and it’s easy to connect different elements of the sound engine, as well as to figure out what target is being modulated by which modulation source.
Helm is free software, which means that you can take a look at the source code (available on the developer’s website) and study it or even modify it to your liking. If you’d like to show support for Matt Tytel’s work on Helm, you can send a donation through the developer’s website, or purchase a set of Helm synthesizer vinyl stickers.
The plugin still has stability issues on certain systems, however the developer is constantly working on releasing maintenance updates containing the latest bug fixes. Helm works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, with support for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. We’re curious to see how this rather interesting virtual instrument will be developed in the future, but either way it’s one of the nicest surprises in the plugin world this summer. At the moment, it is a strong contender for one of the top five spots in 2015’s edition of our annual freeware VST plugins round-up.
Helm is available for free download via Matt Tytel’s website (4.9 MB download size, MSI installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows, Mac OS & Linux).