Sometimes, what you need is just a sound. And the best thing for your creativity is to get to that sound quickly – not to start thinking about which plug-in you’re meant to use.

With that in mind, you can get AIR’s terrific XPand!2 almost for free. (Pricing around a dollar, depending on region.)

First made for Pro Tools, but now available for any Mac or Windows host, XPand!2 kind of does everything. I remember that first joy in the early 90s of dialing through lots of sounds – wow, I can have brass, or strings, or synths, or some “ethnic” thing as they’re calling it that I may or may not recognize, or other oddities or whatever. Now, this category, called derivatively “ROMpler” for providing simple playback, actually can remain useful. Maybe you just need one of those sounds, or maybe you want a simple sound like that to route through effects and turn into something else.

But that said, XPand!2 is a lot more than a ROMpler.

You can set up sophisticated performance features (zones, arpeggiators), modulation, and effects. You can combine voices. There are “Smart Knobs” and other useful features for pulling that together. It’s kind of like getting a workstation keyboard for a dollar. There are powerful features, and dozens of effects.

It’s also got other sound engines in there – FM synthesis and virtual analog and tonewheel.

It’s all pretty ridiculous to get this for $0.97. There’s a full gigabyte of sounds.

In other words, I can’t think of much else out there that’s in the “free or nearly free” zone that does what this does. is selling instant downloads:
Air Music Technology XPand!2 Workstation

It’s a Cyber Monday sale, through today the 29th only.