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)