Charlatan3 FREE Virtual Analog Synth Is In Public Beta!


BlauKraut Engineering has announced the beta version of Charlatan 3.0, a freeware softsynth classic and one of the best released over the years available for Windows and Linux users.

It has been redesigned from the ground up to better meet the needs of today’s productions. The original Charlatan is still one of our favorite free synths, so it’s exciting to see it updated.

So those of you used to the older version will enjoy a completely revamped user interface, a new powerful synthesis engine, and an ultra-fast workflow like it has always been famous for.

At first glance, it reminded me of the recently updated free ZebraCM by u-he in collaboration with Computer Music Mag, another fantastic free softsynth.

Charlatan3 is more powerful and advanced than its predecessor, offering many more sound design options. Here is a breakdown of its main features:

At its core, it has two dual oscillators per voice with custom drawable waveforms, cross-modulation (Phase Mod, linear Frequency Mod, and Ring Mod as available options), and windowed hard sync.

The two oscillators are routed by default to the two multi-mode filters, which come with 9 filter types each and flexible routing.

You can, for instance, decide whether the filters are configured in series or parallel.

Additionally, by clicking ‘D’ under each oscillator, you can put it in ‘Direct Out’ or decide to route it to the master effects.

Furthermore, the oscillator unison offers up to 7 unison voices per synth voice, if you want to achieve lush, thick sounds.

There are four modulation generators with a user-definable shape where each can operate either as an LFO or envelope generator for maximum flexibility.

The four modulation transformers (XFORM) allow the reshaping of any control signal through a user-defined mapping.

This is useful if you want to customize to match the behavior of performance controllers like Mod Wheel or Pitch Bend (they perform linearly by default). This way, you can get very experimental and create more expressive patches.

Drag & Drop functionality is supported, too, to make routing of modulation signals incredibly easy and fast.

The master FX section comes with a selection of high-quality effects: Distortion, Phaser, Chorus, Reverb, Delay, and EQ.

Unfortunately, those are not reassignable and are fixed in their signal path.

Other great points worth mentioning are the optional internal 2x oversampling and the synth’s very low CPU and RAM usage.

Oversampling is something you want to activate, especially when you employ lots of non-linear processes like distortion and frequency modulation to avoid aliasing.

Overall, Charlatan 3 looks and sounds great, making it a free synth you want to definitely check out.

It’s available as a VST3 and CLAP format for Windows and Linux Ubuntu systems.

Download: Charlatan 3 (FREE and Public Beta)


Share this article. ♥️

About Author

Avatar photo

Fabio is a sound designer, sound engineer, and electronic music producer from Italy. His works can be found under the name HydraTek.


  1. Does it contain all the original presets and if it doesn’t, is it possible to import them into the V3? + Has the annoying preset bank shenanigans been fixed?

    • ” – Will it load patches from Charlatan 2.0?
      Not at this point. While being much more capable overall, Charlatan³’s architecture differs from that of its predecessor in ways that it could not reproduce every preset accurately.”

    • I am totally new with sound design and synth. I started to learn with this Charlatan 3. I came across an issue: where do I register my sound when I am happy with a sound ? There is no indication of that in the readme and the quickguide. I can’t either find it on their website. Maybe I overlooked something. Just need some guidance, thank you!

    • I much prefer BlauKraut’s Charlatan 2.0 GUI but it’s good to see that this underrated free synth is still being updated and I’ll give version 3 a shot. Thanks, BPB.

  2. Cons: It’s different. No PWM.
    Pros: It’s different! FX, OSCs,ModulationS, Filters. Wow!

    Not to dwell on the past, but I would welcome some support for the v2, because it has its peculiarities (and PWM…) and I would hate to see it gone. CLAP/VST3, Linux port even. Time/devtools permitting, obv.

  3. I much prefer BlauKraut’s Charlatan 2.0 GUI but it’s good to see that this underrated free synth is still being updated and I’ll give version 3 a shot. Thanks, BPB.

  4. Sweet! Thx! It was one of my favorite synths before it started crashing Reaper some years ago. Glad it’s got updated.

    • there is no need to buy software anymore literally it’s all gas , there’s everything you need and if you can get studio one artist free with an interface your set , no more paying

  5. I can’t install Linux version.
    // Do you accept the license terms? ([y]es or [N]o): ./ 6: read: arg count
    Installation canceled.

    • Then just pressed “y” and enter. But should be careful, because first time i skipped it and had Installation canceled message too.

    • look in the .sh code and you’ll see where the files go, just manually put the files and folders there. you might need to create a folder-in-folder type of file if there’s a vst3. just look at another example of a linux vst3 if so.

  6. Where can I find Presets for C3 ?? I don’t have the skills yet to program on my own, though I do alter existing presets if they’re in the ballpark.

  7. Yes I saw those, thank you. However there’s only but a few. Has anyone uploaded 70’s Classic Rock (Yes, Rush, Floyd, ELP) presets that will work with this new version ?

    • Way too early, technically the synth is in beta, albeit available to the public, so I’m sure some people are working on making presets already but I’m pretty sure no-one will release a preset pack before the final release.

  8. I love Charlatan 2. At first I didn’t see anything special about it, but it’s the perfect combination of simplicity and possibilities. Great learner synth too. There isn’t a project where I haven’t at least loaded it at some point, if only to get an idea. Great to see an update coming, although I have my doubts whether this can truly replace 2. This looks like a bigger league player and not the “twist 3 knobs and you’ve got a sound” pocket synth the old one is.

    • It’s too crashy when trying to work with it myself, but the presets sound amazing. It has a very pure sound and the effects too. This little synth has really grown up.

  9. Linda Audio releases Hyperdrive – versatile saturation effect with advanced filtering and modulation features:

    • in future, why not send Tomislav an email about it? That way he can work on an article for it. Otherwise you’re depending on him to read it in a thread and he might not be in the article writing mood at that time. and it’s not relevant to this topic.

    • Frits van Zanten


      OK, found it, Blaukraut (so VST3-compliant, but VST3 rules are SILLY, or Ableton is. You need to know the manufacturer of every plugin)

Leave A Reply