I've spent the last few days setting up my new computer, and at least part of that time has been getting software stuff to work on it. While a lot of that has been dull and tedious, I've also had a bit of a play with some music stuff that I'd forgotten about.
Native Instruments is one of the big music software companies whose virtuasl instruments are used by all of the big names in electronic music, from dance to ambient. They make sensational stuff, including free players that allow you to use a MIDI keyboard plugged into your computer to play a host of amazing sample sounds from their commercial software.
Reaktor is their incredibly variable modular synthesizer, where clever people can prety much mix any components that they like to make weird and wonderful vitual music machines. So what you get for free is a Reaktor Player along with three completely different instruments that have been constructed with multiple sound sets.
Carbon 2 certainly looks the most intricate, which it is. A multi-filter subtractive synth. You get 85 preset sounds which you can then vary if you're game to mess with the knobs! There are some fantastic, complex, evolving sounds. We're not talking electric pianos here. If you do like the new variations that you create you can save the presets.
But wait, there's more...