A Thanksgiving cornucopia of sound, made cheap. Photo (CC) Lawrence OP.

Winter is coming. If you had to hole up with just one instrument, getting deep into programming sounds while venturing out of your abode only for essential supplies, any one of these instruments would easily fit the bill. Yes, Native Instruments bundles (nearly) everything they make into the Komplete bundle. But truly, any one of these creations would be a sonic rabbit hole into which you could climb. In ascending order of rabbit-hole-ness:

Massive: Drag-and-drop modulation, rich wavetables, and an emphasis on bass and leads make this a sonic favorite.

FM8: There’s simply no deeper frequency modulation instrument on the market.

Absynth 5: This instrument’s presets alone can be heard in scores for games and film, but those willing to brave its atmospheric sound mangling features and become ninjas with its envelope could wind up making it their only instrument if they had to.

Reaktor 5: The patching environment allows custom synths, effects, sequencers, and other tools; its granular sound engine and DSP programming stand apart.

All are now US$ / EUR 99, but only through the weekend.

Reaktor in particular is an incredible deal – you get a huge library of instruments, effects, sequencers, noisemakers, and unusual sonic creations, plus access to the User Library and all the Reaktor community has done. That’s even before you delve into one of the deepest sound development tools on the planet.

Now, of course, this prompted one reader to ask if NI were clearing out Reaktor inventory prior to releasing a new upgrade.

Reaktor is certainly long overdue for an upgrade; as other NI software has gotten repeat, ground-up rebuilds, Reaktor 5 is now a number of years old. That’s not to say you’ll run out of capabilities in Reaktor – it could take a lifetime to do that. But loyal Reaktor fans understandably want improvements, especially as they’ve watched rival commercial patcher Max get an entirely new UI and now a version integrated with Ableton Live. (Reaktor, for its part, is still a candidate for Live users, as Reaktor owners can run their creations as plug-ins.)

Whatever the status of the next Reaktor, though, this is a download version, so there’s no inventory, period. And Absynth 5 is a brand new piece of software. The good news here is, any of these purchases should qualify you for the upgrade path.

Any one of these could make a good deal.

Synthsgiving Special

Incidentally, I have the same complaint about Reaktor that I do about Max for Live – creators need a run-time to distribute their work. It’d be fantastic if a future Reaktor could make instruments playable in NI’s free Kore Player. And it seems like that would be the perfect compromise between allowing distribution of Reaktor creations and protecting the value of the Reaktor crown jewels. But when it comes to making things for yourself, these are all great choices. Let us know if you spring for one.