When I get asked for resources for free synthesizer and effect plug-ins I often recommend ones by smaller developers.

Perhaps I tend to overlook the offerings of the big guys like Native Instruments since I mostly use the non-player versions of Reaktor, Kontakt and Kore (actually I use Kore Player quite a lot as it does a fine job playing presets and it loads a bit faster on my PC), but in my opinion these player editions are some of the best free plug-ins around.

Native Instruments’ latest freebie is Mikro Prism, a synthesizer instrument based on Reaktor Prism.

Using the same sound engine as its bigger brother and REAKTOR 5.5’s new dynamic ”Modal Bank” technology, this fully-playable instrument shines with a stunning range of brilliant sounds.

So basically Mikro Prism is the same Reaktor 5 Player powered instrument as Reaktor Prism, but without the full set of controls. It comes with 70 presets in various categories: Bass, Bells, Keys, Mallets, Leads, Pads, Plucked, and Soundscapes.

Although editing capabilities are limited, Mikro Prism still has plenty of controls to change the presets.

Native Instruments Mikro Prism

Mikro Prism controls

  • Exciter, the sound generation module which creates impulses & noise signals (both have independent controls), with a high and low cut filter.
  • Modal bank, a dynamic module that follows the exciter. Much of the sound of Mikro Prism is done here, by passing the signal through some resonating filters. The parameters for this section might seem a bit vague as the underlying controls are not available, but just playing around with them you will quickly discover how things affect the sounds.
  • Effects, includes cabinet emulation, 8-pole filter, flanger, echo/delay and reverb modules. Each has just one control.
  • LFO, with rate control and sync option.
  • Modulation, two synchronized internal modulation circuits (MC).
  • Automatable macro controls, all parameters are instantly accessible.

Besides these controls you can also use the randomize and morphing features of Reaktor Player to create new sounds.

So what do I think?

Product: Mikro Prism by Native Instruments
Format: Reaktor 5.5 / Reaktor 5 Player (VST/AU/RTAS)
Price: free
Like: great sounds, easy interface, free!
Don’t like: —
Verdict: 10/10

While it is not terribly hard to like most freebies, Native Instruments certainly never fails to impress me with their “little brother of” software. Mikro Prism is the exact same high quality instrument as its commercial counterpart Reaktor Prism, minus the full set of controls.

The 70 included presets include some most beautiful sounds, and even with the limited controls available this is still a versatile instrument capable of producing a wide range of sounds. Having just a few knobs and sliders to mess around with makes this “black box” interface rather intuitive and fun to play with.

Mikro Prism was undoubtedly created as a “teaser” instrument in order to get you interested in Reaktor Prism, it still has lots to offer and is truly an instrument that holds its own. Highly recommended!

More information: Native Instruments / Mikro Prism