Review: Tone2 Electra2 synthesizer plugin

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Being a fan of the original ElectraX synthesizer, I was really looking forward to see how Tone2 would push forward with the successor, Electra2.

The award winning Electra2 is not only one of the most powerful synthesizers ever – it’s the complete synthesis solution! Explore the vast musical universe of multi-synthesis oscillators, analog modeled filters, chaotic fractals, samples, psychoacoustic processing, flexible modulation and an immense sonic range.

Tone2 Electra2
Electra2’s GUI is reminiscent of ElectraX, but with a more subdued color scheme.

On the surface Electra2 looks pretty much the same as ElectraX, so if you are familiar with ElectraX you’ll find all panels are in the exact same place. In fact, Electra2 is downward compatible so it completely replaces the previous version.

The update includes a new patch browser and over 700 additional patches, 16 new effects, a sample editor, physical modeling synthesis, 5 new filter types, enhanced sound quality, improved user interface and many more improvements.

On the whole the interface is just a little more refined, with a subdued color scheme that to me is easier on the eyes. Subtle coloring is used to indicate which layer is active and you get interactive feedback of modulations. If you are new to this synth, I think you will find the layout to be quite straightforward and easy to program.

One of the main features of this instrument is its layers. With 4 individual multi-timbral synths and a wide range of synthesis modes, Electra2 is great for creating complex sounds. Tone2 has made some improvements like “Multilayer edit”, which allows you to make changes to all layers in one go, which will speed up sound design considerably.

With the addition of physical modeling synthesis, Electra2 now has no less than 14 different synthesis models, including wavetable, PD & FM, subtractive, virtual analog, ultrasaw, and more.

Electra2’s new sample editor features a bunch of tools to make working with samples easier, including autotune and auto loop. I found it a bit surprising to see that Electra2 still only supports mono .wav samples, with up to 10 seconds in length at 44kHz. Stereo samples will be summed to create a mono sample.

Each layer in Electra2 has up to 2 filters with a wide range of filter types and a drive parameter to add pre-filter harmonics to the audio. One insert effect can be assigned from a 30 types, including delay, reverb, chorus, compressor, etc. Furthermore, we have 3 LFO’s and a step LFO, a 10-slot modulation matrix, arpeggiator, 4 envelopes (amp, filter & two free), and a master FX slot.

Electra2’s versatility shows when browsing the astounding amount of factory presets — well over 1,200 in total.

Check the demo track below to hear some of the sounds of Electra2.

So what do I think?

Product: Electra2 by Tone2
Format: VST/AU
Price: $189 USD
Like: Ease of use, multi-layer, versatile
Don’t like: no support for stereo samples
Verdict: 9/10

This new version includes a good amount of new features and improvements. Some can really speed up your workflow, others are under the hood. For instance, Tone2 made an effort to improve its Psychoacoustic processing, resulting in a more transparent sound. I have to admit I haven’t done any extensive A/B testing but Electra2 sounds great to my ears (as does ElectraX). The CPU usage is also quite low, even when using multiple layers.

Electra2 remains a formidable, easy to use synthesizer for both the beginner and the advanced user. With its 4 layers and more than a dozen synthesis methods, this plug-in is a proper workhorse instrument that excels in versatility.

Tone2 is offering a free trial version of Electra2, so check it out and see how you like it.

More information: Tone2 / Electra2

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