Blaukraut Releases FREE Charlatan Synthesizer For Windows And Linux


Developer Blaukrat has released Charlatan 3, a new version of the free virtual analog synthesizer for Windows and Linux.

Charlatan has received a lot of good press over the years. I remember its initial beta release and how much love it received on KVR. In the years since its initial release, Charlatan has evolved into a very mature and stable synthesizer.

Despite its relatively simple feature set, it remains one of BPB’s favorites and is still recommended as one of the best free synth plugins.

If this is your first time hearing about it, there’s never been a better time to hop on board. Long-time users can humor me, but it is worth looking at the synth in depth.

At its core, Charlatan is a straightforward virtual analog synthesizer. It is designed for the express purpose of being easy to use while sounding convincingly analog. As such, everything on the interface is plain and easy to see.

This makes programming an absolute breeze, which certainly works in its favor. You’ve got a pair of oscillators with syncing and FM support. You can even dictate the phase of the oscillators if you so choose.

These can be further routed to a pair of filters. The filters themselves can be run in serial or parallel, allowing for a fair amount of flexibility in the creation of patches. It wouldn’t be a worthwhile synth without a little motion and modulation.

You’ve got quite a few options for modulation, with MSEGs, standard ADSRs, and LFOs all present. They work well, they’re quick to understand, and can be assigned to quite a few parameters.

Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to the newest release of Charlatan. Effects are thankfully now included, with your choice of distortion, phaser, chorus, reverb, delay, and an EQ.

All standard effects, but it is always a joy to have some basic processing on board. Charlatan does have the option of engaging in oversampling, which doesn’t do much to hinder performance.

I’d likely leave it off for the writing stage of a song, but having the ability to toggle it freely is nice.

The flexible nature of the synth even extends to your choice of operating system. Mac users are sadly left out of the mix, but if you’re on Windows or Linux you’re golden. Supported plugin formats are VST3 and CLAP.

Download: Charlatan (FREE)


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Liam is a producer, mixing engineer, and compressor aficionado. When not mixing, he can be found pretending to play guitar, as he has been doing for the last 20 years.


  1. Not gonna lie, as a big fan of Charlatan this release isn’t really as exciting to me as I expected. While I’m not complaining at all (played a bit with it and it’s great!), the thing Charlatan did much better than anything else was its absolute simplicity, and this version, while much more powerful, just isn’t as smooth to play with.

    Thankfully, the legacy version is still up and it still stands on its own, and the new version is also worth checking for its much welcome additional capabilities. I might just use both.

    • I was about to start my comment the same way. Charlatan 3 is a really nice free synth, but it should’ve gotten an another name. It’s so different from 2 that it’s not really a replacement. Charlatan 2 has still remained my goto synth when I just need some synthy sound very quick. Charlatan 3 has reached a level of complexity where I’d probably just load Vital, or Synthmaster instead and be able to create something just as fast, with barely any limitations.

      It turned from a versatile little pocketknife into a small toolbox. Too much hassle for the quick jobs, too small for the tough jobs. It has some powerful abilities and the demo presets are also really good, yet every time I start it up I end up switching to something else.

      On the (big) plus side, the super low CPU usage is incredible. I think it might just be the most CPU friendly free synth. Maybe even the most CPU friendly synth, period.

    • Charlatan used to be one of the few simple enough but capable synths I promoted as a beginner’s synth to a couple people. Charlatan 3 is far from it, not that’s it’s hard to use, but the learning curve is steeper. That said, wow.

      So remember kids, always use your Charlatan 2 first before you go on and try using Charlatan 3! ;-)

  2. was gonna go grab it but realized i had it already and it was released a year ago.. haha, not quite hot off the press this time

  3. Febbie Ivaaden (Febbs!)


    Great and honest takes from people here! But I love the new one better because of its powerful new features!
    But I will always appreciate its simplicity of its legacy version.
    Cheers to Charlatan and Blaukraut!|

    Also! BPB! Kilohearts has released 2 new snapins! a classic Waveshaper and a very interesting and creative Wavetable Waveshaper! Along with new visual updates for the Ecosystem! (mostly on the Node based modulators)

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