The EMS VCS3 has inspired a virtual synth. You can try to get someone to give you a hardware EMS for $20 – or you can take advantage of this deal. Photo: Rosa Menkman.

Online retailer audioMIDI has begun a new sale I really love called the “No Brainer” series. They offer some carefully-selected instruments and effects for prices like $5, $15, or $20. These aren’t clearance bin deals, either; they’re some of the best plug-ins on the market, in either full versions or slightly stripped-down (but fully-functional) editions. audioMIDI has exclusively released details of the deals they’ll offer Monday to CDM, and among them is the wonderful XILS 3 – a virtual instrument with the matrix editing of the classic EMS synthesizers.


First, you have until midnight 11/30 to grab AAS’ fantastic modeled virtual analog, Ultra Analog, for $15 (instead of around $200). Ableton has their own version of this instrument called Analog, but if you’re using other hosts (or you don’t have Live Suite and want to save some cash), this is a great option.

AAS Ultra Analog VA-1 for $15



The Overloud Breverb is a multi-function reverb plug, normally going for $369. The audioMIDI edition comes with room and plate reverbs – nicely matching the free TC Electronic hall reverb we got last week – for five bucks.

Breverb audioMIDI Edition

Rhetorical question: could a great Breverb inspire a profound Bromance?



It’s actually the upcoming deals that go live Monday that have me especially enthusiastic.

Blue Analog Trackbox from NOMAD Factory is a tube-emulating multi-effects unit with loads of timbral options and modules for gate/expander, compressor, and EQ. After a quick play-round, it seems to sound great. It’s normally US$189, but from Monday, it’ll be $15 through AudioMIDI. Expires December 6. 

Trackbox offer link (will go live Monday, won’t work any earlier)

XILS 3 is a virtual modular with matrix editing. The creators don’t mention it by name, but the hardware in question is the legendary VCS 3 – a brilliant analog synth from EMS. The EMS synths are overshadowed somewhat here in the States by the likes of Moog; if you don’t know the VCS 3, go look it up.

Matrices were a great idea back in the day on hardware, and they remain a great idea now. Lovers of the EMS or synth sounds in general won’t want to miss this, especially with sequencer and synth modules and the ability to use the XILS 3 as an audio processor on live input. You’ll get a slightly stripped-down version, but at a steep discount – US$20. Expires end of December.

XILS 3 offer link (will go live Monday, won’t work any earlier)

I’m playing around with all of these, so if I have tips to share, I will. Let us know if you bite on any of these offers.

  • kid versus chemical

    Sounds good, but what featured are missing from the "stripped down" version of XILS 3? Thanks


  • I'd heard no mention of the XILS being stripped back either. Would also like to know what features have been stripped back.

  • Oh man, what a deal Ultra Analog is.

    I've had a demo of that on my drive that shipped with my audio interface for years.

    this thing can do 90% of what my microkorg can do for $15.

    totally snarfed that up.


  • This is some really awesome offers, Peter, I agree.

    I get the impression though that you rarely endorse VST plugins, unless of course you find them truly bringing something new, and get a little puzzled why you are mentioning this offer in particular.

    I know that your intentions with this is pointing out a good offer for your readers, but maybe a disclamer, whether you have a deal with them or not, could be in place, just so people get the right impression on why you selected to offer this particular offer.

    I'm just mentioning this because I, and I assume a lot of other readers, respect CDM as an independent news source, and there should be no ambiguity in the reason for the post.

    Keep up the good work.

    Respect from Copenhagen, Denmark


  • that should be: "..why you selected to post about this particular offer."

  • salamanderanagram

    @video music – you make it sound like there is something sinister to peter pointing out deals to his readers….

  • I think Peter's intention was to let readers know about drastically cut prices on quality VST's. I think this is absolutely in keeping with the quality of the posts.

    I rarely use VST's that have a price tag attached but even so.. Those are some fantastic prices. Also Audiomidi is a very reputable company and I had no problems with them when I bought my Nocturn, and plan to use them again when I buy my Launchpad.

  • Chad

    XILS is an amazing synthesizer. You will want the full version. Trust me.

    – c

  • @salamanderanagram & @Ezmyrelda

    I do not doubt Peters intentions at all.

    He has been very good at putting disclaimers at a number of posts where there could be even a hint of doubt on his relations to the topic at hand.

    I was only raising the question since he, unlike his previous post, has not stated his relation to the topic at hand.

    I have myself previously had good use of Audiomidi's offers and intend to make use of the coming two on monday.

    If my comments are out of line, I shall withdraw.


  • heinrichz

    As far i've seen Ultra Analog crashes under Snow Leopard. so what's the deal?

  • Matt Gnarly

    Ultra Analog runs fine here in Snow Leopard

  • salamanderanagram

    @video music, it's not that you're out of line… but i seriously doubt that audioMIDI is giving peter a cut or anything (which seems to be your concern?) when these are all 95% off already. they'd be left with nothing themselves.

  • dyscode

    I am just reviewing the XILS 3 for a magazine,

    and this is a damn fine top notch piece of dope!

    just my 2c 🙂

  • Yes, for the record, there was no payment and no affiliate relationship with audioMIDI here. If there were, I'd disclose it – and I'm confident in doing that, too, because I stand behind anything I'm saying and I know people will quickly offer their own opinions! audioMIDI at this point isn't even an advertiser (unless they come up through Google AdWords).

    Snow Leopard — what version? What host? I'm still hearing a range of issues with Snow Leopard; because Leopard is working so well, I still wouldn't recommend upgrading personally – at least not yet.

  • heinrichz

    10.6.2 yes generally..i can recommend Snow Leopard upgrade myself..everything is lighter and quicker.

  • heinrichz

    @mattgnarly thanks glad to hear..what version of Ultra Analog and what DAW are you using?

  • can any users of the XILS 3 comment on the quality of it's spring reverb? i've been looking for a decent spring reverb plug and i'd pay $20 just for that alone, and then i'll just run all my music through the live input.

  • Has anyone used the Blue Tubes Analog Trackbox? I have been in the market for a decent compressor / limiter / eq for about a month now. Was considering the T-Racks but for $15 maybe this would be all I need? That would be great.

  • Matt Gnarly


    I've just been fiddling around with it in standalone and have used it in Live lite as well without issue, I'm on 10.6.2 and everything seems to be running fine.

  • Pingback: a software analog synth for under a tenner !!! | Julio’s Creative Music Technology Teaching()

  • Tele-Pet

    Downloaded XILS 3 and played with the presets for about 15 minutes or so. Sounded pretty interesting, especially considering the sale price. However, every once in a while I hear this clicking sound, then I can't hear anything at all in my DAW, even while using another softsynth on another track. Please tell me this is a really rude demo doing its thing, and not software that won't work with my system.

    Snow Leopard 10.6.2

    Logic 9

  • digid

    I am confused about the XILS 3 offer on audiomidi, because they are calling it "XILS-3LE", which I guess means "light edition".

    However, no such edition exists on the XILS 3 web site, and audiomidi isn't clear on what exactly is non-existant in the light edition.

    To top it off, they use the list price for the non-light version of XILS 3 in the ad for the LE, which is rather dishonest.

    Yes, I know it's just $20, but if I don't what I am *not* getting, I might as well not get it at all.

  • dyscode


    (and everybody with the same question 😉 )

    check the XILS hompage again today!

    there are all the differences listed and also an upgrade path to the full version.

  • Janne Iivonen


    Does anyone know if these are downloadable versions or with physical cd/dvd? I live in Denmark and it would probably cost bit too much to ship from the US to here.

    Thanks for posting these tips… XILS sounds interesting.

  • from the http://www.xils-lab.com website:

    "The No-Brainer version is a limited features version of the XILS 3 which doesn't bring all the new modules and modulations possibilities of the recent 1.1.0 and it won't be updated with the incoming new versions (we plan new filter, new preset managements, new GUI, …)

    A special upgrade price will be launched in the following weeks for all the no-brainer customers : Full version and all its further updates will be available for €69 ($99)"

  • errorist

    I Just bought XILS 3le and I am tickled pink to try it but audio midi's download link on the receipt page provides a blank 98kb file. received my serial in seconds tho. anyone else get this thing up and running yet?

  • I noted that XILS 3LE requires PACE drivers, which makes me pretty sure I'm not going to purchase the plug-in. Sad, because it looks really good! However, I have some reservations against installing kernel level anti-piracy drivers.


  • Did anyone get the serial for AAS UltraAnalog yet? I bought it on friday, received the emails from AudioMIDI confirming the purchase but got nothing besides that.

  • @errorist – i got the same thing. the 98k download is actually a text doc that opened for me in quicktime(???) that contains the download links. it's a PDF, but maybe there's some kind of MIME header problem that's causing it to not open in Preview/Acrobat, or not open at all in your case. i have quicktime player 7.6.4 on Leopard if that helps. same thing happened with the bluetube download.

  • big alec

    @Fabio – I received mine, but it ended up in my spam folder, so I'd recommend you check yours.

    Hope this helps.

  • SecretKillerOfNames

    I have not received my serial for the Xils 3 No Brainer deal in the last 13hrs. I know it says it could take 4 days but how long have other people waited.

    Have checked the SPAM folder btw.

  • Will Copps

    I've waited about 11 hours and gotten neither serial yet. No biggie!

  • btw, here http://www.flickr.com/photos/noou/sets/7215762290… are some pictures of my personal VCS3.

    OK, OK, just kidding: it's a loan 😉

  • errorist

    heartcastle thanks for the heads up I just added a .pdf extension to the file. anyways loaded the synth and in my opinion its sounds and handles a thousand time better then the synthi aks vst that i had running on its own separate windows laptop here in the studio. looking forward to the special upgrade for E- Monday buyers in the next month the different voltage patch pin's for the matrix option should really complete this monster. Take advantage of the deal guys really!!

  • I went for the UA plugin. Need to dig deeper tho. Running nice on in Live on Leopard

  • Ordered the AAS UA, Blue Tubes and Breverb plugins. A ton of processing power for just $35. I've been waiting for some cheaper versions of good RTAS effects, thanks to CDM for the tip off. I received my download links and serial #'s almost immediately. One download link didn't show, but their support line responded immediately and I was recording 10 min later.

  • box

    Anyone used Nomad plugs before or can give a testament for the sound quality of the Trackbox? Thx

  • bassik

    I have ordered AAS UA as well from UK. It was last saturday and I still haven't received anything; even if I have sent them emails i haven't received an answer either.

    Quite annoying I have to say, are non-US customer considered differently?


  • big alec

    @Ogrim – The Trackbox also uses PACE for copy protection. Just FYI.

  • Wess

    I was ready to purchase Trackbox but then I saw iLok. Sorry, not buying it. I bought Analog though. Quite happy with it.

  • Jordaan

    Bought the Blue Trackbox. The activation and installation wasn't so bad.