So, you want to make some noise, but you don’t want to spend a lot of cash? Check out PowerFX’s new bargain-basement sample-based subtractive synth, the Swiss Army Synth. (via Harmony Central) It does virtual analog synthesis, it does sample playback, and it’s dirt cheap.
This bad boy has an interface only a mother could love (hence I’m picturing its namesake, instead), but for US$19 you get both the ability to use “big, raw sound files” and anti-aliased analog-style oscillators. 256-voice polyphony (hey, it is a soft synth, after all), and a surprisingly healthy set of effects and filters for the price (LP, LP ladder, distortion, comb-filter, frequency shifter, bit/sample rate-reduction, formant-filter, gate, delay, chorus, stereo-widener, frequency shift based flanger). It includes a few dozen bass, lead, and pad patches to start you out.
Obviously, nothing exciting if you’ve got some synths already, but if you’re on a budget and are synth-poor, it looks decent and has a money-back guarantee.
Personally, I prefer the free Mac/Windows Crystal for sounds on a budget; it looks a lot better and does a lot more. But Crystal doesn’t do sample playback, so for $19 you could have both.
Get it before the Wenger or Victorinox people sue PowerFX.