Review: H.G. Fortune Arracis Gold Pro

H.G. Fortune is pretty well represented in my freeware folder. Over the years I have collected free versions of several STS (Space Transition Synthesizer) plug-ins, ProtoPlasmTSM, LaserBlade, AlioNoctis, and more.

Arracis Gold is the latest to join the ever growing collection of H.G. Fortune synthesizer plug-ins for Windows. The main feature that sets Arracis Gold apart from the other Fortune synths is an oscillator step sequencer.

From the manual:

Arracis Gold VSTi Synthesizer’s most significant feature is the 4 x 8 osc step sequencer with adjustable gatelength + modulation on gatelength. With this step sequencer you can have a quite rhythmical output incl short blips (stepping among the oscillators in selectable sequence) plus mixing to the normal (steady) output signal for vivid Pad or Athmos. Thus it is easy to get really fascinating sounds even at the oscillator section only.

H.G. Fortune Arracis Gold
H.G. Fortune Arracis Gold screenshot

Although I don’t find the interface particularly appealing or anything, it is clear and easy to understand.

As with most H.G. Fortune synths, the main sound source is a collection of SoundFont waveforms, 512 in total for the Pro version, 128 in the Free version. The Pro version also allows using your own sf2 or wav files as oscillator sources. The oscillators can be mixed and modulated in a number of ways.

The 4 x 8 oscillator step sequencer features various parameters to make sequences more interesting. You can set the amount of steps between 2 and 8, and a variator control makes the sequencer jump a number of notes to create a sequence that changes over time. The tempo can be set from 1/2 to 3/16 with normal, dotted or triplet notes. The gate length can be set from long to short (more rhythmic). The length can also be modulated for even more variation in the sound.

Arracis Gold features 2 resonant filters, a 24dB LowPass and a 12 dB HiPass, both with ADSR controls. The filters can also be modulated.

The controls for the modulation sources are located in the bottom left of the GUI:

  • LFO 1 & 2, waveforms: sin, saw, ramp and triangle. Speed from 1/16 to 6 beats.
  • LFO 3 & 4, waveforms: 9 complex waves. Speed from 01-30 (not related to bpm).
  • SLFO 1 & 2, waveforms: sin, saw, ramp and triangle. Speed from 2 to 16 beats.
  • Sample & Hold, random modulation signal like pulses at varying levels. Various Up, Down, UpDown, and Random modes. A Variation knob will introduce some variation to the S&H ‘patterns’.

A small grapic meter visualizes the selected modulation source so you can see how fast and in what way the modulation is moving. Very handy.

Arracis also includes the Spook FX, a lovely effect which provides some creepy metallic and flanger type effects. I think variations of this effect have found their way in most recent H.G. Fortune synths since its introduction in Atonoise, a synth and effect plug-in designed specifically for spooky atonal sounds.

The output section features 2 delays, a bass enhancer and more modulation options for the panning of the direct, delay 1 & 2 outputs.

Arracis Gold Pro - Lazy buttons

Lastly I’d like to mention one of my favorite things which most H.G. Fortune synths feature, a Lazy section.

In Arracis Gold you have 6 buttons which randomize either steps, osc sources, the filters, LFO, or All parameters. Note: “All” doesn’t actually mean all parameters. It excludes the step sequencer parameters, and since parameters are randomized in a sane way it won’t mess with values of tunings, output volume, etc. so randomizing will result in useful sounds most the time.

So what do I think?

Product: Arracis Gold Pro by H.G. Fortune
Format: VST instrument for Windows PC
Price: 25 EUR
(introductory offer)

I really enjoy H.G. Fortune synths in general, and Arracis Gold is no exception.

The gate step sequencer is great for creating rhythmic melodies and textures. Arracis Gold Pro also includes a large number of presets that remind me of the STS synth. Lovely pads, atmospheres and effects.

I reckon this synth will be great for anyone who is into creating ambient type of music. With 4 oscillator sources and lots of modulation you can easily build massive moving sounds which keep evolving. I was actually listening to a single Arracis patch for most the duration of my writing this review!

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier there is a Pro and a generous Free version of Arracis Gold so there is no reason why you shouldn’t check out the Free version for yourself, that is if you aren’t using a Mac…

More information: H.G. Fortune

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