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With the KVR Developer Challenge 2014 (KVRDC14) now under way I thought it would be a good time to to look back and celebrate the winners from previous years.

There have been four KVR Developer Challenges, with the first taking place during 2006. It was a huge success with 31 entries - all were available for Windows, with 5 of them also available for Mac OS X. We did it again in 2007 (41 entries: 40 for Windows; 3 for Mac OS X; 1 for Linux) before missing a year and resuming in 2009 (41 entries again: 39 Windows; 6 Mac OS X; 1 Linux).

A couple of years lapsed before we last did it in 2012. This was the busiest year yet, with 55 entries: 49 run on Windows, 7 on Mac OS X and 6 are Soundware for other products. 2012 also generated the biggest prize fund (donations from KVR visitors) of $2360.

So, let's take a look at what was popular, starting with...

KVR Developer Challenge 2006

Triple Cheese by u-he

Download:
Mac OS X VST2/3/AU | Windows VST2/3

KVR Developer Challenge 2006 was won by Triple Cheese by u-he, a unique-sounding freeware synthesizer plug-in for 32-/64-bit Mac OS X (VST2/3 & AU) and Windows (VST2/3).

Triple Cheese doesn't use any of the classic synthesis techniques – subtractive, FM or additive – but various forms of comb filter i.e. very short chromatically tuned delays. The three cheese modules in a row either generate their own signal, or process the output of the previous module.


Anna by Stefancrs is a Hybrid synthesizer with the four oscillators capable of complex waveforms, utilizing internal frequency modulation with separate waveforms and frequencies for the carrier and modulator.

Fire by Mdsp @ Smartelectronix is a sort of multi-tap delay with panning and controllable morphing between settings. Instead of controlling each echo separately, there's a bunch of parametrized functions that you can use to generate various kinds of effects from weird reverb to bouncing delays to sonic textures.

Read more and download for
Windows VST
Read more and download for
Windows & Mac OS X VST & AU

KVR Developer Challenge 2007

Sounds of Nature by xoxos

Sounds of NatureSounds of NatureSounds of NatureSounds of NatureSounds of NatureSounds of Nature

Download: Windows VST

KVR Developer Challenge 2007 was won by Sounds of Nature by xoxos, which is actually a collection of five VST instrument plug-ins for Windows (32-bit) for emulating common natural sounds - wind, rain, thunder, songbirds and insects.

The 5 plug-ins are:

  • Wind.
  • Thunder.
  • Rain.
  • Oscine tract.
  • Synsect.

hypercyclic by mucoder is an LFO-driven MIDI arpeggiator, gate effect and step sequencer for mangling MIDI input chords. Two tempo-synced LFOs can be used to modulate various parameters to create interesting rhythmic effects and chord variations. A unique feature is the possibility to modulate the sequencer step size itself, which is useful for creating glitchy stuttering effects.

The Element of Surprise by Ugo is a fun little freeware synth that is designed for one purpose only... to make really cool randomly generated sounds for fast inspiration and experiments in spontaneous song writing.

The interface is simple, but under the hood there is a full synth with multiple oscillators, filters, various types of modulation,and effects, all optimized to provide a wide variety of usable randomly generated sounds.

Read more and download for
Windows, Mac OS X & Linux VST & AU
Read more and download for
Windows VST

KVR Developer Challenge 2009

FerricTDS by Variety Of Sound

Download: Windows VST

KVR Developer Challenge 2009 was won by FerricTDS by bootsie (now of course known as Variety Of Sound), a 32-bit VST effect plug-in for Windows.

Inspired by the smooth dynamic shaping capabilities of some high-end reel-to-reel tape recorders, FerricTDS - Tape Dynamics Simulator simulates three of the most distinctive and much appreciated sonic effects generated by these devices:

  • Dynamics: gently shaping the overall dynamic response.
  • Saturation: adding extra harmonic-related content.
  • Limiting: controlling peak performance.

Functions at a glance:

  • Performs gentle audio dynamic treatments.
  • Masters difficult to handle audio material.
  • Adds extra harmonics and saturation effects.
  • Controls outgoing audio peaks.

FerricTDS features 4x oversampled core algorithms, performance-critical parts are written in assembler and it is SSE-optimized.


HybridReverb2 by Christian Borss is a convolution-based reverberation effect which combines the superior sound quality of a convolution reverb with the tuning capability of a feedback delay network. The sound quality of a convolution reverb depends on the quality of the used room impulse responses.

FMMF by de la Mancha is a 4-operator FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesizer with 2 primary aims:

  1. Make FM synthesis as accessible and user-friendly as possible.
  2. Use multi-stage envelopes and LFOs to give lots of movement and modulation.
Read more and download for
Windows, Mac OS X & Linux VST
Read more and download for
Windows VST

KVR Developer Challenge 2012

ThrillseekerXTC by Variety Of Sound.

Download: Windows VST

KVR Developer Challenge 2012 was won again by Variety Of Sound (bootsie), this time with ThrillseekerXTC, a contemporary exciter built around a true parallel analog style equalizer design. ThrillseekerXTC is all about adding weight, vibe and attitude back to the sound. It delivers all the character of an analog signal path and provides what digital processing usually is hard pushed to, including a rich low-end experience and that vibrant 'expensive' top-end.

At a glance:

  • A unique take on a parallel analog equalizer design which includes full control about sonic color and mojo.
  • Transient based processing to revive energy and vibe.
  • Made for musicians and engineers to pleasingly enhance audio during the mixing or mastering stage.

Proximity by vladg/sound is a collaborative effort by Tokyo Dawn Labs and vladg/sound. It's an easy to use distance "pan-pot" based on several psycho-acoustic models. The idea is to give mixing engineer a reliable tool which allows him to manipulate the "depth" of several sound sources in a straight forward and convincing manner.

Kamioooka by g200kg is a polyphonic Full-Modular synthesizer with patch cable system.

You can freely combine modules and make patches. 10 module slots and 7 types of modules (VCO, VCF, VCA, ADSR, LFO, MISC & SEQ) are available.

Read more and download for
Windows & Mac OS X VST & AU

Read more and download for
Windows VST

KVR Developer Challenge 2014

What will we get in the KVR Developer Challenge 2014?

To read the full rules for entry or to donate please go to:
www.kvraudio.com/kvr-developer-challenge

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