Here’s an early Christmas present for Mac and Windows synth lovers: Native Instruments is giving away a simplified version of its Prism instrument for Reaktor as a free (as in beer), self-contained synth. You’ll get access to Prism’s lovely “modal bank” synthesis method, which creates some unusual, shimmering timbres. (In fact, having a simpler version may be the best way to get a taste of what Prism’s deep sound engine can do.) You also get 70 sound, including what NI describes as “seasonal” bells and chimes – perfect for any last-minute holiday music projects – plus bass, more bells, keys, mallets, leads, pads, plucked sounds, and abstract, ambient “soundscapes.”

There’s also access to enough sound parameters that you can create some unique variations of the sounds, including built-in cabinet simulation, filter, flanger, echo and reverb effects, and modal bank and exciter parameters. So this is hardly a “rompler” or simple preset player; you can actually get a lot of different sounds out of it.

Mikro Prism, Free Reaktor Synthesizer [Native Instruments]

If you’re not a Reaktor owner, this instrument runs in Reaktor Player, which lacks its own preset storage but runs inside supported Mac and Windows plug-in hosts.

Thanks to Dave Ryan for the tip!