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.