Variety Of Sound Releases FREE ThrillseekerXTC mkII Exciter


Variety Of Sound releases ThrillseekerXTC mkII, an updated 64-bit version of its popular psychoacoustic audio exciter effect.

ThrillseekerXTC mkII is yet another release in Variety Of Sounds brand new lineup of 64-bit VST plugins. We recently covered the long-awaited FerricTDS mkII update, and we’ve been following the story ever since the first time Variety Of Sound announced they’re going 64-bit.

Exciters don’t fall under the “bare essentials” category of mixing and mastering tools. If you could pick only two mixing tools to take on a desert island (what a super-realistic scenario!), you’d probably opt for an EQ and a compressor.

Our writer Emanuil would probably choose a tremolo and a phaser, but he’s weird like that.

Either way, exciters are often used along with saturation tools and modulators to add some character and depth to sounds. They won’t ever make a bad mix sound good, but they sure can make a good mix sound excellent (if utilized properly).

As the developer states on the ThrillseekerXTC mkII product page, it’s all about “bringing mojo back.”

Variety Of Sound has a knack for developing state-of-the-art mixing tools and releasing them as freeware. Their FerricTDS mkII plugin is one of the best tape saturation plugins around, and ThrillseekerXTC mkII is among the finest exciter plugins ever released.

The new “mkII” edition of ThrillseekerXTC is now compatible with 64-bit plugin hosts on Windows. Of course, 32-bit plugin hosts are still supported. It seems that macOS support isn’t yet on the horizon, though, so Variety Of Sound plugins are still a Windows exclusive.

Under the hood, ThrillseekerXTC mkII delivers improved level calibration, a refined DRIVE/MOJO, internal oversampling, and some improvements in the mid-frequency range.

Here’s how Variety Of Sound describes the plugin:

“ThrillseekerXTC mkII is a psychoacoustic audio exciter based on a parallel dynamic equalizer circuit. It takes our hearing sensitivity into account, especially regarding the perception of audio transients, tonality, and loudness.”

You can download ThrillseekerXTC mkII for free from the Variety Of Sound website. You don’t need to sign up or activate the software.

If you haven’t used Variety Of Sound plugins in the past, hurry up and download their updated 64-bit effects. If it could, I’m sure your DAW would thank you. And for more excellent freeware, take a look at Airwindows.

Download: ThrillseekerXTC mkII (14.5 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows)

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. I’m grabbing these with both hands as they come out. Goodbye 32bit, Hello 64bit. To some of the best free VSt available.

  2. Guys, why is there so little news about Airwindows plugins in your blog. This developer deserves much more attention.

  3. I only started dabbling in DAW music production during this 64-bit era, & so completely looked past Variety of Sound stuff.

    Now that they’re coming to 64-bit, i’d love to see a write-up on EpicVerb, & how it compares to other more recent free/gift reverbs out there today. Perhaps a guide on what some of its more convoluted-looking knobs actually do? (Convolution reverb pun haha, even though this is algorithmic! :P)
    I assume it would now make it into the main list on your “Free Reverbs” page?

    • EpicVerb was never a favourite of mine, even being a huge VOS fan. I think his expertise lies within stateful saturation, not reverbation. Voxengo Oldschool or the Signaldust reverbs are much better quality OG free verbs.

      • Thankyou very much for the reply! I’ll know to take a closer look at these two next, once i get the time to fiddle again.

        Any thoughts on comparisons with “big-name” free/gift reverbs like Arturia Rev-Plate 140 (my current go-to for simplicity, not sure if it’s the best), Native Instruments Raum, Softube TSAR-1R, Valhalla Super Massive, Analogue Obsession Room041, & etc?

        (I’m hoping BPB would put out a more in-depth sound-and-controls comparison between all these options someday, both new & old. As i’m still a newbie, there’s just too many options to have to individually experiment with before figuring out each of their nuanced traits & which works better for what, in addition to having to learn/experiment with every other type of plugin.)

        • That’s already a good collection you have there and you are absolutely spot on: first try to learn about the different characteristics of the various reverb types to understand better which type of reverb is suitable in which scenario! Then you will be able to make a better judgement whether you really need another reverb.

          These are the basic types of reverb:

          room / chamber (small acoustic spaces with strong early reflections, short decay – can be very good for drums)

          hall / cathedral (larger rooms with long decay – good for anything that is supposed to sound large, orchestral stuff in particulary)

          plate (1960s method of creating space by using physical plates, great for vocals and reverb reminiscent of 1960s and 1970s records)

          spring (also 1960s / 1970s technology of using a electromechanical spring device to create a springy type of reverb – good for slapback style guitar licks, nice on snares, used massively in dub)

          There is further distinction between algorithmic reverbs (create the reverb based on mathematical equations that simulate reverbation behaviour) and convolution / impulse response reverbs (based on “samples” captured in real life spaces or from hardware devices).

          So it depends a bit on the style of music you are doing. You probably don’t need a spring reverb if you are doing hardcore or trance techno, since the spring sound is not characteristic for the genre, while when you are doing dub reggae or psychedelic rock, you literally need a spring reverb to nail the sound. That’s just one example.

          And don’t underestimate that your DAW probably comes with some pretty good reverb options already!

          The mistake beginners often make: they collect lots of plugins just for the sake of having them, but then end up being paralysed from the abundance of options when it comes to actually doing something creative and productive.

          Too many options actually hinder creativity. Imagine you want to use reverb in a project, you go to your plugin browser and there are 20 reverbs to choose from: wouldn’t that be a bit overwhelming? Especially when you don’t have a clue which reverb does what? If you only had 3 – 5 reverbs to choose from, you would know much better what each is doing and you would find the right one for the material much quicker. This is how productive music makers work. Minimise redundancy in your plugin collection!

          And don’t fall for the hype that some plugin companies try to create with their marketing, where they are basically trying to tell you that you need their plugin X and plugin Y to be a real “pro”. 99% of this is just marketing nonsense! If you can’t make a good reverb sound with the options you mentioned, then no plugin in the world will give you a good reverb sound,

          For free options I would suggest Orilriver and Convology XT (convolution reverb, just in case your DAW doesn’t already have a convolution option) and you are fully covered.

          • Tomislav Zlatic


            Great post! I completely agree that too many options hinder creativity. Use your plugins to make music instead of comparing plugins to find the best one.

          • Real life kept me from writing this earlier, i hope i’m not too late for my reply to get noticed by you?

            Want to really thank you (& of course Tomislav, always) for taking the time to clearly lay it all out for us beginners! While i’ve learnt much of this info already (my struggle is with sieving through the bazillion individual plugins), i’m still super appreciative for the caring advice & encouragement!

            Didn’t mention this earlier, but as a beginner, i have yet to properly sound-treat this bedroom-studio, or get better in-ear-monitors, & so subtle effects like reverbs are still harder to test & compare with one another. I was still afraid of committing to a few (choosing my “core”) due to my inexperience, not knowing which reverbs (and their UI designs) would work best for my needs & “flow”. Adding to this dilemma, nearly every VST instrument out there comes with their OWN reverbs built in! Having to figure out if the included reverbs work best with these instruments, or would it sound messy if mixed together with other tracks using other reverbs? Beginner mental paralysis hahaha.

            But yeah, i guess i need to just put my foot down & choose 2 or 3 reverbs to try & start mastering them, based on some of the recommendations by you all. My musical style is mainly modern atmospheric, acoustic, orchestral pop with light electronic elements, plus hard melodic rock for the heavier parts, whatever serves the lyrics/message of the song better. I’m a singer-songwriter first & foremost rather than a producer.

            • Tomislav Zlatic


              Yeah, I found that downsizing and trimming down my plugin collection to a few favorites always helped my productivity more than any studio upgrade.

              Of course, it’s cool to try new instruments and effects (oftentimes I pick up a new synth and a preset inspires me to do an entirely new song) but there’s as thin line between looking for inspiration and hoarding plugins/gear.

        • My thoughts are the same in regards to epicverb, just plain don’t care for it while I love the rest of their plugins.

          I wanted to throw in my suggestion for giantverb if you’re not using that already. Super simple huge verb that sounds good on literally everything with it’s stock setting. I have the arturia plate, soundtoys plate, valhalla verbs, and giantverb is really my go to for a lot of things.

          Also I really like convoxology and the free impulse responses of famous rack units that are out there that you can load into the plugin.

          • Hope i’m not too late for you to see my thanks? Thankyou very much for replying to me. I’ll definitely try out your advice. And i’ll fully pass on Epicverb since the consensus i’ve been hearing is that other options are better.

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      EpicVerb is good, but I prefer OrilRiver and TAL-Reverb 4 (when it comes to freeware). My favorite VoS plugin is FerricTDS.

      • TAL-Reverb 4 is a plate emulation is it not? I’m wondering if in future you’d be willing to do separated reverb comparison articles by sound style, meaning for example comparing all the free (& don’t forget the usually-paid reverbs that most of us keep getting free-gifted through BPB, tons of those! XD) plate-style reverbs in one page (whether algorithmic or convolution like Arturia Rev Plate-140), & so on and so forth. Part of my beginner option paralysis is: I don’t even know yet if a plate sound or something else will be more suitable for this track, and now i have to wonder which are the best-sounding plates that i can throw on this track to test, before comparing with a good hall (either algo or convolution), for example.

        Then, some algo reverbs are hybrids, can do so many different tasks, but how well do they do each of these? Ugggghhhhh…. [mind exploded]

        Since i’m already in “rant mode”, i’ve often heard how vocals go well with plates, & so i’ve been using the Arturia Plate a lot recently, but sometimes it sounds a tad too “vintage” instead of “modern” to my ears. I’m still wondering if it is because of this particular plate, or plates in general & i need to switch to something else (more fiddling, ugh), or if it’s just the fault of this weakly sound-treated room, or non-professional earphones (all my bedroom studio stuffs can only be properly set-up end of this year due to life business).

  4. Seems quite a lot evolved since the previous versions. Quite a bit more bold with the analog nonlinearities it feels like. Unfortunately it made Live crash on me a couple times so i’m sticking it in the beta/demo folder for the time being. PreFix was also giving me trouble, but all the other VoS 64-bit updates have been stable for me thusfar.

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      Sorry to hear about crashes in Live. Worked fine in Studio One (already used on several projects over here).

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