Monday, 13 July 2015

Helm - multi platform VST

Another day, another pretty VST to try out! Helm gets some interest for running as a multi-platform virtual subtractive synth with lots of interesting features that I haven't come across in a free VST so far. Whether you're PC, Mac or Linux, 32 or 64bit, VST or standalone executable, Helm has all the major options covered for all major DAWs, so it would be rude of you not to download it.

So what do you get? For starters, it's rare to see such a nice and clean interface and I'm digging the shades of grey with white/yellow/green/blue highlights. There's a contextual text box with parameter information and a waveform generator. Despite its initial appearance as complex, it's really quite straightforward and the layout helps to get over the initial confusion.

It also comes with multiple ways to sculpt your sound. Don't want to tweak sliders? Just drag the graph and tweak on the fly. Want to affect multiple parameters at once? Just click the blue helm icon of the LFOs and every destination lights up and shows you what you can edit. Plus, MIDI mapping for external controllers is a breeze as well. All good stuff for a freebie!

As for sound, it's a pretty brash little beast. Initial patches are a bit thin on the ground at the moment, but this thing can do some nice pads and synth lines when coaxed into it and can certainly go as wild as any analogue synth I have tried as well. Dual oscillators with multiple wave shapes (lots of stepped triangles!) plus cross modulation kick things off, together with a sub oscillator and noise generator. There are plenty of envelope, filter and LFO options to explore, plus lots of other features: a step sequencer, a formant selector, feedback options, built in effects (useable stutter, reverb and delay)...

It is in development so expect more updates and presets, but there's plenty to get stuck into so take a look!