Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Practical tips for recording, editing, and mastering.

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Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by nyxeles »

Welcome to the Libre Music Challenge #23, for the month of October 2023.

This is a friendly contest where we make music with free (libre) software exclusively. Everyone is welcome to join, at any skill level.
This is a place for learning and sharing knowledge, and an opportunity to explore creativity through limitation.
But most importantly, we just hope it inspires you to make some music!

The challenge for this month is to make a track using the Helm synthesizer.
You can find out more about it at

The only sound source you are allowed to use is this synthesizer. You can use as many instances of the synth as you like, and you're allowed to use all of its features, including any built-in presets. You are allowed to bounce the synth output into audio for convenience or workflow preference, as long as there is no alteration done to the audio afterwards.

You are allowed to use any DAW and any effect plugin, as long as everything is free software. You are also allowed to use any hardware device to enhance your workflow, e.g. midi keyboards or other controllers.

Happy music making!


Rules are the same as the previous challenges, with the addition of a rule on file formats:

  • You must provide your audio file in a libre file format. Generally either FLAC or Ogg Vorbis. The file name must follow the following convention: "Artist Name - Song Name". You can use any capitalization you like. A WAV file is allowed, but it will be encoded as FLAC for the archive upload.

You can find them here for convenience:
Or here under version control: ... a/


I and many of us hang out on unfa's Rocket.Chat / Discord server. Come join us on #libre-music-challenge at

For more info on past events:

And if you'd like to stay up to date with future announcements, there's an RSS feed you can subscribe to:


Once the voting period starts, head on over to to enter your votes.

If you are a participant, you can simply log in with your linuxmusicians username. Upon your very first login, an account will be automatically created with the password you've chosen.

If you haven't participated, you can still vote! Make your interest known and I'll enable an account for you.


Playlist on



1. [49] LAM
2. [48] nyx eles
3. [45] A-Lin
4. [45] Spotlight Kyd
5. [40] sg75
6. [37] cieciu
7. [36] imMature
8. [35] Min Jun Gi
9. [34] Sahaathyva
10. [26] NickTheSic
11. [26] Trumpetrespas

Last edited by nyxeles on Wed Nov 22, 2023 12:21 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by nyxeles »

As mentioned above in the Rules section, I've introduced a new rule on file format requirements.
The audio file you provide should be in a libre format, like flac or ogg.
Additionally, the file must be named in the following convention: "artist name - track name".
For example: "coolDude - Best Song.flac". You can use any capitalization you like and it will be maintained when uploaded to the archive.

And for everyone, here's a small submission checklist.

Submission Checklist

  1. Use a libre file format (flac, ogg)
  2. Rename your audio file: "Artist Name - Track Name"
  3. Upload your submission, anywhere publicly accessible
  4. Ensure the file is downloadable, particularly if you are uploading to a streaming service like Soundcloud
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by trumpetrespas »

Here's my submission: ... mbda-dance
Here are my project files: ... e.rad/file

Code: Select all

 - Helm (Obviously)
 - Zita Reverb (included in Radium)
  - Calf Chorus (included in Radium)
  - Stereo Balance And Panner (I'm pretty sure this one is included in Radium as well)
  - Noise Repellent Adaptive 

Hope you enjoy :)

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by imMature »

Got a new tracker and decided to write this song to learn it a bit and just played around learning with every mistake as I go.
Back to basics, fun and weird fakebit chiptune in C G A F.
I composed this by putting on a C G A F loop and just 'meow wiooouw iiiiiii wouuu'-hummed melodies with my mouth to come up with stuff I enjoyed.

You'll probably hate the ending but it grew on me and there's a story behind it. So I guess I kept it because of the nostalgic feeling of just fooling around during rehersal. If you've ever played in a band with "that guy who forgets your cozy but carefully pre-written melodies and just freestyles something power metal-ish for a solo instead, which in turn confuses everyone else in the band so the song just falls apart one step at a time.." you know what I'm trying to convey with my ending (I hope?)

Just roll with it and pretend you're into avant garde sh!t or something and write some deep stuff about the artistry(?) in your comment so everyone thinks you're as mentally gifted as "one of those hipster dudes who's weirdly hot with a beard but looks like a mentally challenged chinless/homeless seven year old hermaphrodite without a beard".. you know the type... (no offence) and yes, this is totally important enough to occupy like most of the TLDR!

Code: Select all

$ echo $USER
$ nvim ~/lmc/

#! /home/$USER/c0d3/.env/bin/Parseltongue3.11
tracker = 'PolyendTracker 1.7.1'
def usedStuff(tracker=tracker):
  playing = True
  bpm = 178
  chordProgression = 'CGAF'
  beep = 'BEEP' # 1 second C note sampled from some basic helm sound
  umph = 'UMPH' # that default kick thingy from helm used for kick/snare
  psh = 'PSHHH' # just a short noise from helm used for noisehat/snare
  cacophony = f'({umph}{beep}{psh}{beep})'
if playing and chordProgression == 'CGAF': return cacophony else: pass

non-TLDR version:
So the TLDR was the whole the whole thing I guess... Apart from this part... You're welcome! I mean, since the TLDR is way longer than I'm guessing a TLDR should be, just be grateful the non-TLDR is only like this short-ish. Did I mention ADHD and how Geri in Spice Girls was pretty hot? And what was up with that whole Xena/Gabrielle thing? Were they like really, you know, "from lesbos" so to say or was that just family friendly 90's crowd pleasing? I mean, either way it was totally awesome. Not Baywatch awesome though.... I mean, that Hasselhoff is a walking snack with the chest of a testosterone injected lion.. GRAUW.. Oh, and that nerdy chick in Buffy who's now in Pen and Teller and did that awesome thing at band camp once! Like awkwardly nerdy hot, but also totally freaky in some kind of hot confusing way? Yeah, you get it! ... affunagain
the sound i used for everything except drums (default kick/noise from helm): ... kNt2vbRAB9

Was gonna make a 'normal/non rehersal version'.... but I'm not sure I can spend any more time on it before deadline and this just grew on me, so using this version for LMC and leaving some room to both remake and finish it in the future.

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by MetalPnkx »

Navigate Obscurity - NickTheSic
Wrote this to learn Ardour and a new workflow for making music. The ending is okay I just needed a way to finish the song after the break. It was originally 1:20 or so. I think it is hard to write music that sounds good and not be copying another song so making it weird forced me to not think and just make sure it flowed.

Key: C Maj (I think, didn't consider the notes I was playing)
Time Signatures (in order of appearance): 7/4 9/8 5/4 3/4, maybe 15/4 (as 1 bar of 8/4 and 1 bar of 7/4 with percussion in 5/4 or something)

Ardour Version 8.1.0

Midi Note/Channel Map LV2 Plugin by Robin Gaerus:
ACE Reverb
ACE Compressor
ACE High/Low Pass

Stream Song: ... -obscurity

Download Project Files, Audio Track ... sp=sharing

Listening To:
| Curbside | Safe to Say | Billy Talent | Seaway | I built the sky |

Libre Music Challenge Submissions: ... sp=sharing

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by Min »

Hello! I've been enjoying making music as a hobby on Linux for the past few years, but I've spent most of my time with proprietary software, primarily Reaper.
Now, through LMC, I want to familiarize myself with FOSS tools and actively utilize them.

The song I'm submitting is just a short loop, but I will still attach meaning to participating.
All the sounds, including the drums, were created using the Helm synth.
Thank you for listening!

[Project Files & Audio Track] ... 02c6?pvs=4

[DAW & Plugins]
Ardour 8.1
Helm (12 instenses)
ACE High/Low Pass
ACE Compressor
ACE Delay
Dragonfly Hall Reverb
CHOW Tape Model

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by cieciu »

Yo! What the Hellm!
Terrible Horrible! ... d-you-feel

(for @nyxeles here's link with filename in proper format :) ... drive_link)

Made with:
Ardour 8.0
Helm Synth
ACE Compressor
Calf Vintage Delay
*Micro Delay Line (by Robin Gareus)
Calf Analyzer
Airwindows Galactic

session ... wfdfhrEC4B

Last edited by cieciu on Wed Nov 01, 2023 11:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by LAM »

Here's my submission:



Made with:
BespokeSynth (

All sounds made with:

BespokeSynth internal effects
Livecut (
Luftikus (
Airwindows plugins (

Last edited by LAM on Tue Oct 31, 2023 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

in mix, nobody can hear your screen

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by SpotlightKid »

Here's my submission for the October 2023 LMC:

Title: Take the Helm and Engage Fusion Drive
Artist: Spotlight Kyd
Download (FLAC, 44.1 kHz, 16bit):
On SoundCloud: ... sion-drive
Ardour session archives: Rough Mix | Mastering

Made with Ardour 8.1 on Manjaro Linux using 21 instances of Helm (LV2 and VST2).

Hardware used:

  • Rzyen 7 laptop
  • Zoom R8 audio interface
  • AKG K92 / K 240 headphones
  • KRK Rokit 5 monitors
  • Yamaha FC7 expression pedal
  • Akai EWI USB wind controller
  • Fishman Triple Play Guitar-MIDI pickup (installed on a Yamaha Pacifica 611)
  • Studiologic SL990 Pro master keyboard
  • Yamaha MODX (only as MIDI keyboard)

All sounds from helm. I played the saxophone-ish sound using the EWI as the MIDI controller and the rhythm guitar with my Yamaha Guitar and the Fishman MIDI pickup. For the drums I used 12 instances of Helm alone, 3 layers for the snare and 2 for the bass drum. I used various x42 MIDI filter plugins to route the MIDI from one drum MIDI track to the 12 drum instrument tracks, so I could process each drum sound separately.

I made heavy use of the x42 EQ for the sax, the guitar and some of the drum sounds, but the basic sound character still always comes from the Helm patches. I had three aux busses for different reverbs (plate, drum chamber, hall), each with an LSP Impulse Reverb plugin and IRs from the Samplicity M7 pack.

For mastering, I exported a stereo mix and imported it into another Ardour session, where I applied a stereo x42 EQ, the ZAM multiband compressor and CHOW TapeModel.

Plugins used:

Code: Select all

| Count | Type | Name                                                   |
| ------ | ---- | ------------------------------------------------------ |
| 12     | LV2  | ACE Compressor (by Ardour Community)                   |
| 2      | LV2  | ACE Delay (by Ardour Community)                        |
| 1      | Lua  | ACE High/Low Pass Filter (by Ardour Community)         |
| 4      | LV2  | CChorus (by                             |
| 1      | VST3 | CHOWTapeModel (by chowdsp)                             |
| 2      | LV2  | GxCompressor (by Guitarix team)                        |
| 2      | LV2  | GxMXR Distortion (by Guitarix team)                    |
| 16     | LV2  | Helm (by Matt Tytel)                                   |
| 5      | VST2 | Helm (by Matt Tytel)                                   |
| 1      | LV2  | kpp_tubeAmp (by Oleg Kapitonov)                        |
| 1      | LV2  | LSP Impulse Responses Mono (by LSP LV2)                |
| 3      | LV2  | LSP Impulse Reverb Stereo (by LSP LV2)                 |
| 1      | LV2  | MIDI CC Map (by Robin Gareus)                          |
| 1      | LV2  | MIDI Choke (by Robin Gareus)                           |
| 1      | LV2  | MIDI Event Filter (by Robin Gareus)                    |
| 12     | LV2  | Midi Event Map (by Robin Gareus)                       |
| 1      | LV2  | MIDI Scale CC Value (by Robin Gareus)                  |
| 3      | LV2  | MIDI Velocity Gamma (by Robin Gareus)                  |
| 2      | LV2  | StereoCrossDelay (by                    |
| 2      | LV2  | Stone phaser (by Jean Pierre Cimalando)                |
| 14     | LV2  | x42-eq - Parametric Equalizer Mono (by Robin Gareus)   |
| 4      | LV2  | x42-eq - Parametric Equalizer Stereo (by Robin Gareus) |
| 2      | LV2  | ZaMultiCompX2 (by Damien Zammit)                       |
Last edited by SpotlightKid on Fri Nov 03, 2023 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by asublin »

Here is my entry:

Title: Rugo
Render: ... 0Rugo.flac
Project: ... dour8/Rugo
Resources: Ardour, 12xHelm, DragonFly Reverb, Calf Vintage Delay, Calf Phaser, x42 Limiter.
Trivia: I had to program some LUA code to complete it. I'll let you guess what that code does.


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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by Sahaathyva »

I am in !

This synth desserved this challenge.

I did it again in a rush and using bespoke synth like LAM
But i played it live and recorded the audio that was ""mixed in ardour.

Its minimalistic, i used

7*HELM and X42 eq
Cloud Reverb
Tal DUB3
x42 compressor
Filta (from ArtyFX iirc)
AirWindows Stereo Chorus
Airwindows ToTape6
AirWindows Autopan
JiPiCima StonePhaser
LSP Limiter stereo
Bespokesynth built in arp

Voilà tout!


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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by bsg75 »


Here is my submission:

And the session archive ... n-archive

The topic was formants and delays and perhaps I have gone a little wild on pitch bend and mod wheel 🤷🏼‍♂️

Made with

Code: Select all

Ardour 8.1.0

  3 * LV2    LSP Parametric Equalizer x16 Stereo (by LSP LV2)
  1 * VST2   BassDrive (by airwindows)
  1 * LV2    Calf Analyzer (by Calf Studio Gear)
  1 * VST2   Wider (by airwindows)
  8 * LV2    Helm (by Matt Tytel)
  1 * LV2    DR-14 - Crest Factor Loudness Range Meter (Stereo) (by Robin Gareus)
  1 * LV2    Calf Phaser (by Calf Studio Gear)
  2 * LV2    LSP Sidechain Compressor Stereo (by LSP LV2)
  1 * VST2   ToTape5 (by airwindows)
  1 * LV2    GxPhaser (by Guitarix team)
  1 * LV2    Luftikus (by Lkjb)
  9 * LV2    LSP Compressor Stereo (by LSP LV2)
  1 * LADSPA TAP AutoPanner (by Tom Szilagyi)
  3 * Lua    ACE High/Low Pass Filter (by Ardour Community)
  1 * LV2    LUFS Meter (by Klangfreund)
  1 * LV2    Calf Flanger (by Calf Studio Gear)
  1 * VST2   Crystal (by airwindows)
  1 * LV2    LSP Multiband Limiter Stereo (by LSP LV2)
  1 * LV2    x42-dpl - Digital Peak Limiter Stereo (by Robin Gareus)
  3 * LV2    Calf Sidechain Compressor (by Calf Studio Gear)
  1 * LADSPA Comb Filter (by Steve Harris)
  1 * LV2    MDA RoundPan (by David Robillard)
  1 * LV2    Calf Stereo Tools (by Calf Studio Gear)
  1 * LV2    Calf Compressor (by Calf Studio Gear)
  5 * LV2    EQ10Q Stereo (by Pere Ràfols Soler)
  2 * VST2   Verbity (by airwindows)
  1 * LV2    ReFine (by Lkjb)
  1 * LV2    LSP Gate Stereo (by LSP LV2)
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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by nyxeles »

Here's my submission:

Made with Ardour 8.

Here's the plugins list (probably not all plugins are actually active):

Code: Select all

  1 * LV2    Calf Analyzer (by Calf Studio Gear)
  3 * LV2    x42-dpl - Digital Peak Limiter Stereo (by Robin Gareus)
  2 * LV2    LSP GOTT Compressor Stereo (by LSP LV2)
  1 * LV2    Luftikus (by Lkjb)
  7 * LV2    x42-comp - Dynamic Compressor Stereo (by Robin Gareus)
  1 * LV2    MIDI Transpose (by Filipe Coelho)
  8 * LV2    x42-eq - Parametric Equalizer Stereo (by Robin Gareus)
  1 * Lua    ACE High/Low Pass Filter (by Ardour Community)
  2 * LV2    LSP Parametric Equalizer x16 Stereo (by LSP LV2)
  1 * LV2    vitOTT (by tstd)
  1 * VST3   BL-PitchShift (by BlueLab)
  6 * LV2    BYOD (by chowdsp)
  2 * Lua    ACE Amplifier (by Ardour Community)
 20 * LV2    Helm (by Matt Tytel)
  7 * LV2    Dragonfly Hall Reverb (by Michael Willis and Rob vd Berg)
  1 * LV2    GxAmplifier-X (by Guitarix team)

Session archive:

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by nyxeles »

All submissions are in! And voting is now open.

Here's the playlist:

For the voting, head on over to Use your linuxmusicians username to log in. You'll find more instructions on the page.

This month we had a record 11 submissions, up one from last month's 10! Keep it coming!
And a welcome to @MetalPnkx and @Min who joined us for the first time <3

As usual, on top of voting, posting feedback here on the forums is much appreciated.

Congratulations to everyone for participating! :)

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Re: Libre Music Challenge #23: Helm

Post by MetalPnkx »

I saw people review and comment on the last one so I'll do the same here. I like video games and it seems I listened with games in mind and I have lost the musical touch I once had that allowed me to explain the reason I liked something.

Rugo - A-Lin:
I liked that it had a calmness too it. The entire time I was thinking of this song playing in an RPG style game, during the last moments of exploring crystal caves before the big boss when the group settles down for a narrative break to remember the adventure that they went on. I also think I heard hints of Lauras Theme from Silent Hill 2.

Overcut - LAM
It was slow to start the modulation made me think of an old VHS. but as the song picked up I was thinking it would get heavy. I was thinking of something like the opening scene of Shadow the Hedgehog in a sense; like it was the intro cut scene of a 3rd/4th generation console game.

Take the Helm! - Min Jun Gi
The pulsing chords were a nice touch. It made me think of the credits rolling and it is themed from something 80's. I was thinking of that shade of pink blue purple I saw once.

Navigate Obscurity - NickTheSic
I wrote this, and listening to again it feels faster than I remember. And listening through phone speakers really shows some mixing errors that I could have solved by listening through my phone sooner

Tribute - Sahaavytha
First song in the list I did not immediately think video game, it just felt like it would appear in a 80's style movie or game - maybe hotline Miami.
Not something I'd listen to normally on its own. It really feels like I could add it to a game and it would make people think the time period is the 1980's. I didn't realize how long it was either! Seems like the longest in the list. The second half made me think of playing it through tap tap revenge for iPhone as that was my earliest instrumental electronic music experience in this style.

Take the Helm and engage Fusion drive - Spotlight Kyd
I liked it started with a old vinyl or vhs feel. Really jazzy and eventually thought of casino levels from Sonic games. I just thought of a yellow ballroom and people dancing old timey style. I don't listen to enough jazz and this was a nice little surprise.

Lambda Dance - Trumpetrespas
It made me think of the spiderman theme at points. The instruments used sound interesting, one of them is maybe a little too buzzy through my phone speakers. The other one doing the melody is quite nice. It has a jazzy feel to it too with the beat I hear in the background.

Window with view into fog (how'd you feel) - cieciu
I felt some dissonance and I do feel like I'm looking I to fog. I've been playing 2D short horror games and I could almost see myself having to step out of the house to get firewood. It did pick up at the end but not in the way of me being chased but more in the way that I just kept walking away from the trouble to something safer.

The adventures of Kattalina Gosellius - immature
Yay pop punk! A nice up beat tune. With the instruments used it felt like a pixel art style game maybe a platformer but this is the interactive credits scene and you have all the powers from the game, going through a version of each level passing all the other characters from the game and all the places you have been. With a fake slow fade to black before the screen lights up with new colors. New game+ unlocked.

At the Gates of Earth - nyx eles
Doom Nukem. I like how metal it feels and I can definitely play this while I go around shooting and kicking bad guys. This is the song I was hoping to try and make.

u-Eh-Lie - sg75
I hear a voice and I like that I do. I havent used synths before and I think this is the more interesting sound I ended up hearing. I could see this being a doom or duke nukem level but it takes place on a spaceship.

I hope you enjoyed me saying what games the songs made me think of cus I enjoyed listening and thinking of games :lol:

Listening To:
| Curbside | Safe to Say | Billy Talent | Seaway | I built the sky |

Libre Music Challenge Submissions: ... sp=sharing

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