Leslie Sanford has updated the freeware Cobalt virtual synthesizer to v2.0, featuring completely re-written graphics code and making the plugin completely skinnable.
The re-release of Cobalt as a freeware virtual instrument in November last year was one of the hottest freeware VST news of 2016. The plugin eventually took the #2 spot in our Top 25 Free VST Plugins Of 2016 article and is certainly among the best freeware virtual instruments on the market. It is a purely digital synthesizer with a nice late 80s vibe, loosely emulating hardware synths like the Ensoniq ESQ-1 and Korg DW-8000. Its “secret sauce” are the included digital waveforms which give the synth its unique flavor.
The future seems even brighter for Cobalt as Leslie Sanford has now released an optimized version (v2.0) which comes with a brand new graphics engine and the ability to create and load custom skins. The default skin resources are located in the Cobalt Resources folder which is included in the download package and the skinning process is fully documented in the included README file. The user interface still comes in two different sizes, with the large size being the default setting (this can be changed by modifying the included INI file, as documented in the README file).
Apart from the new graphics code and skinning ability, Cobalt is identical to the previous versions. However, even if you’re perfectly happy with the default user interface and don’t have any intent to use custom skins, it still might be a good idea to update your installation to the latest version because the new code is supposed to be more efficient. Cobalt is not a very CPU demanding synthesizer, but it never hurts to help your DAW run a bit smoother if possible.
Cobalt is available for free download via Leslie Sanford’s website (4.82 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows).