Results for Sequential Circuits

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Arturia Origin Keyboard, synthesizer now shipping

Arturia Origin Keyboard

Arturia has announced it is now shipping the Origin Keyboard, its new flagship hardware synthesizer.

The Origin project started in 2004 and was aimed at creating a new kind of synthesizer. Ambitious from a features stand-point, innovative in design and sounding like no other digital synthesizer on the market- the Origin concept was bold.

As a matter of fact, the project proved tough. But a first step was completed when, in 2008, Arturia debuted Origin Desktop. With the delivery of Origin Keyboard, the cycle is coming to an end.

“Origin Keyboard is based on a vision. The vision of an instrument that would proudly stand among the greatest synths of all time” says Frédéric Brun, President of Arturia. “Difficulties have been numerous, but we are extremely proud to start shipping Origin Keyboard. This is an instrument breaking new boundaries by mixing the latest technologies and the grand tradition of quality and innovation in sound synthesis.”

Origin Keyboard features

  • Premium quality keyboard
    • High quality semi-weighted 61-keys keyboard, with velocity response and channel aftertouch.
    • New exclusive duophonic aftertouch.
  • Ergonomic design
    • Self adjustable front panel, from 0° to 135°, giving you total setup flexibility.
    • 5.2” TFT screen for clear visual feedback.
    • Easily transportable cabinet offering a complete mobile solution.
  • High level of control
    • Ultra sensitive 40cm ribbon controller.
    • Modulation and pitch-bend wheels, 3-mode Joystick, 21 potentiometers, 33 rotary encoders, 81 switches.
  • Complete connectivity
    • Analog Audio Connectivity: 2 audio ins,10 audio outs.
    • Digital Audio: SPDIF out, USB 2.0.
    • Built-in expression pedal and footswitch control inputs.
  • Superb audio quality
    • Analog Devices Tiger Shark ® processors.
    • TAE® engine.
    • Up to 32 voices of polyphony for a typical patch.
    • High quality effects: Phaser, Chorus, Delay, Distortion, Parametric EQ, Rotary…
  • Powerfull analog sounds
    • More than 600 presets created by talented musicians and synthesizer specialists.
    • Create your own patch by connecting independent modules from: Minimoog, ARP 2600, CS-80, Jupiter-8, Moog Modular, Prophet VS.

The Origin Keyboard is now available to purchase for a MSRP of $3499 USD / 2990 EUR.

More information: Arturia / Origin Synthesizer

Roberson Audio launches new website

Roberson Audio has launched a new website.

The website offers three freeware virtual synthesizer plug-ins by Chris Roberson.

Roberson Audio synthesizers
Roberson Audio Synthesizers: RA Mowg, Oddy-Free, and Prophanity

Roberson Audio Synthesizers

  • RA Mowg, a Minimoog Model D clone. From the deep, full-bodied filters, to the mellow analog-style oscillators, to the distortive drive from feedback-looping the output, this instrument can give you the feeling of playing a Minimoog without spending a small fortune to do so.
  • Oddy-Free, an emulation of an Arp Odyssey MkII. Much attention to detail was given in the layout of the signal path to have it behave as accurately as possible. It does have just a touch more umph than most originals would – this particular emulation was based on the “illegal” filter versions based on Moog’s -24dB Low-Pass filter, so it sounds quite a bit smoother and richer but at the same it can produce the harsh metallic tones known from the Odyssey.
  • Prophanity, a Prophet 5 clone. There isn’t a terrible lot to say for the synth, other than one major bug with the unison section. You may notice it isn’t present, and that has been done on purpose. It is a goal for a future release to re-include a unison feature.

Roberson Audio’s synthesizers are available to download as freeware VST instrument plug-ins for Windows PC.

More information: Roberson Audio

Kid Nepro releases Korg M3 Volume #5 – Vintage Synths

Kid Nepro Korg M3 Volume #5 - Vintage Synths

Kid Nepro has released Korg M3 Volume #5 – Vintage Synths, a new collection of 32 sounds for the Korg M3 Workstations.

An amazing assortment of fully KARMA-fied Programs & Combis perfect for Producers and Keyboard Players looking for some great classic synth sounds to add to their M3.

Kid Nepro’s Vintage Synth collection for the Korg M3 is the closest thing that you can get to a real analog synthesizer. Programmer Steve Proto has now tapped into his collection of classic synthesizers and has sampled three of the best analog synthesizers ever made – The Moog Mini Moog, Roland Super Jupiter AKA: MKS80 and the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS. Also included in the collection are six new multi samples from Korg’s MOSS virtual analog expansion board that is so popular with owners of the Korg Triton and Karma workstations.

Korg M3 Volume #5 – Vintage Synths features

  • Sampled vintage synthesizers: Moog Mini Moog, Roland MKS80, Sequential Circuits Prophet VS.
  • 32 new programs, 16 new combis, 32 new classic synth multi samples (no memory expansion needed).
  • Additional M3′s effects, real time controls and KARMA functions to create a mix of super analog synths on steroids.
  • Many of the wave sequencing GE’s found in Korgs Wavestation when triggering KARMA are included.
  • KARMA’s Arpeggio GE’s used to give you those cool arpeggio rhythms found in many vintage synths from the 70′s and 80′s.

Korg M3 Volume #5 – Vintage Synths is available to purchase for $30 USD.

More information: Kid Nepro / Korg M3 Volume #5 – Vintage Synths

Arturia releases Prophet V v2.0

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Arturia Prophet V 2.0

Arturia has released version 2.0 of Prophet V, a virtual synthesizer instrument plug-in for Windows and PC.

We have taken the FIRST and the LAST synthesizers created by Sequential Circuits™ and brought them to you in an easy to use software instrument format. As with all other soft synths created by Arturia, we bring you replicas of the Prophet-5 and Prophet VS both visually and sonically. Using the PROPHET V will be second nature for the connoisseurs. And if you are new to these synths, the only thing you will miss by not having the hardware versions is the workout from transporting them to the studio. Finally, since the PROPHET V is designed with Arturia’s TAE™ technology, you can be sure you will not give up sound quality.

New in Prophet V v2.0

  • A revolutionary preset navigation system called SoundMap.
  • New e-licenser (old Syncrosoft) copy protection.
  • MIDI RPN “pitch bend range” message is now recognized.
  • Ability to use NRPN midi messages for automation.
  • Fresh batch of presets made by a selection of top sound designers.
  • Presets now respond to modulation wheel.
  • Double click on joystick resets to center position.
  • Lower CPU utilization on Mac OSX.
  • Windows 7/Snow Leopard officially supported.
  • Vista/Windows 7 compatibility no longer requires UAC deactivation.

Prophet V is available to purchase for PC and Mac (VST/AU/RTAS), priced at $249 USD / 229 EUR.

More information: Arturia / Prophet V

Kreativ Sounds releases SYN Prophet V Sounds V1

Kreativ Sounds SYN Prophet V Sounds V1

Kreativ Sounds has released SYN Prophet V Sounds V1, a collection of sounds for the Arturia Prophet V synthesizer.

Sequential Circuits have created some of the most intriguing synthesizers ever, the notorious Prophet 5 and the wave lord Prophet VS. Arturia have managed to recreated them in software form and also to combined them into a hybrid monster, the Prophet HB.

These beasts have a sound of their own and this sounds set exploits their warmth, their uniqueness and digital fatness. Use the warm, digital and fat sounds of the prophets with SYN Prophet V Sounds V1!

SYN Prophet V Sounds V1 features

  • 34 outstanding presets in Native, FXP and KORE format for Arturia Prophet V.
  • Each preset features velocity and modulation wheel settings for more control over the sounds.
  • All future minor updates with new sounds are free.

SYN Prophet V Sounds V1 is a “pay-what-you-wish” product, meaning that it cost as much as you want to pay.

More information: Kreativ Sounds / SYN Prophet V Sounds V1

Review: FXpansion DCAM: Synth Squad

DCAM: Synth Squad

FXpansion has recently released DCAM: Synth Squad, a bundle of plug-ins that is supposed to be the “missing link between analogue and digital synthesis”.

The FXpansion team spent the last few years working on some virtual synths with a new technology called DCAM, or “Discrete Component Analogue Modelling”.

Say what?

DCAM: Synth Squad has been built by accurately analysing and modelling real-world components and circuits found in vintage analogue synths. As a result, don’t expect a standard ‘clean VA’ sound from these synths – you would never get perfect waveshapes on a real VCO-based analogue synthesizer. What you can expect is a set of meticulously crafted synthesizer instruments that sound truly alive in a way that is very rare in the digital world.

So instead of trying to model the way analog synths sound, FXpansion took a good look at the actual individual components of various synths to create a realistic model of the circuit itself. The Roland SH-101, Oberheim Xpander, Alesis Andromeda, ARP Omni, Korg MS-20, various Moogs and Analog Systems modulars are some of synths of which the circuits were carefully studied for the development of the DCAM synths.

Installation

DCAM: Synth Squad is available for PC and Mac as VST and AudioUnit plug-ins. I installed them on a dual core (Intel) machine running Windows XP.

The installation procedure is a straightforward next, next, finish type thing. At the end of the installation you can optionally check for updates, which would be a smart thing to do if your machine has an internet connection.

The next step is to authorize the plug-ins, which you can do from the license manager, on the web, or via another computer if your workstation doesn’t have an internet connection.

Both the installation and authorization processes are well documented in the manual so you can’t really go wrong.

Meet the Synth Squad

DCAM: Synth Squad

The futuristic looking figures on the DCAM product page represent the three synthesizers in this bundle: Strobe, Amber and Cypher. The fourth plug-in is Fusor, a performance environment that can host any combination of the 3 DCAM synths.

While each of the synths is quite different from the other, they all share some common components. The preset system, the TransMod modulation system, and the on-screen keyboard with performance controllers are visible on the interfaces of Strobe, Amber and Cyper.

Let’s take a closer look at the instruments.

Note: There is a lot to write about these plug-ins. I will try to highlight some of the more interesting features of DCAM: Synth Squad without writing a book.

Strobe

Inspired by monosynths like the Roland SH series, SCI Pro One, and Oberheim OB-1, Strobe aims to be a performance synthesizer for those classic analog synth sounds.

FXpansion DCAM: Synth Squad - Strobe
Strobe, a polyphonic 1 osc performance synth inspired by monosynths

Though Strobe has just one oscillator, you can get a multi-osc sound by a technique called oscillator stacking. Add a few stacks and before you know it you have incredibly fat sounds, without the use of any additional unison voices. In the example below I added slowly add 2 stacks and slightly detune the osc to get a nice d&b type sound.

As you can see in the image above you can mix the main osc waveforms (saw, square and white noise) and there’s a sub osc (sine, triangle, saw & square) as well. Every waveform can be freely mixed and there’s a hard sync option which lets you add harmonics for complex timbres (it resyncs on each cycle of the lowest sub-osc, keeping the same pitch as the initial osc).

Note: The square waveform is actually a pulse so that’s why you will also find pulse width controls for both the osc and the sub-osc.

FXpansion Strobe filters

The filter section features no less than 22 filter modes. Low-pass, band-pass, high-pass, peak & notch, but also various combinations of filters, e.g. N2H1L1 T, which has 2-pole Notch, 1-pole High-pass and 1-pole Low-pass filters, each an octave apart.

Strobe’s filter is based on an OTA (operation transconductance amplifier) cascaded core, with a diode clipper in the feedback section. The diodes are slightly mismatched, leading to the characteristic growl of a real analog filter.

And to get some nasty growl you can also use the drive knob to increase the gain of the signal going into the filter. Here’s an example of how the drive knob can change a sound, watch your speakers/ears!

The filter cutoff modulation depth can be set by three hardwired modulator controls: Keytracking, LFO, and Mod Envelope. Of course you can also use the TransMod system to modulate the controls in many other ways.

Next to the filter there’s a small amp section. Small but interesting!
The amp control lets you drive the sound so it gets distorted. There’s a waveshaping stage between the amp and the level. Turn up the level if you just want things louder, or turn up the amp for a nastier sound.

Another lovely feature is the Analogue control. This mimics analog synths by adding noise to the audio and control signal paths. I love these kind of “black boxes”. In the following sound clip I’m slowly turning up the analogue control to create a more noisy, yet lovely sound.

The next section includes a number of (gateable) modulators: an LFO, Ramp, Mod and Amp envelopes. The modulators have direct routings and depth controls for certain destinations. Of course you can also use these and many other modulation sources in the TransMod system.

In the bottom of the GUI you’ll find the arpeggiator, keying (for voice stealing priority and which held notes are played by the arp) and glide controls, and some general parameters for pitch bend ranges, tuning and voice/unison. Furthermore there’s a keyboard with octave up/down buttons, a pitchwheel, 2 perfomance wheels, a MIDI learn button and a Panic button.

Amber

If the sounds of the ARP and Solina string ensemble synths of the 70′s are your thing, Amber might be right up your alley.

FXpansion DCAM: Synth Squad -  Amber
Amber, sounds of the divide-down string ensemble synths from the 70′s

Ever heard of divide-down synthesis? This is a technique in which the frequencies of the master oscillators are divided down to lower frequencies to increase the number of notes available.

Amber’s sound is derived from a bank of oscillators that are frequency-divided to produce a full keyboard range of 96 notes within a single synth voice – this means that you can play 96 notes simultaneously. These notes, referred to as ‘paraphonic notes’, are then mixed down into a single signal to be fed through conventional polyphonic processing blocks (a single instance within each synth voice).

So basically, what this means is that you can put both your arms across your keyboard, press down, and get every key of your controller to play at the same time, all just using 1 synth voice.

Amber has two paraphonic sections within a single synth voice, the synth and ensemble sections. Both look quite similar with sliders for 8’, 4’ (and 2’ for the ensemble section) octaves and 1-pole filter stages (LP/HP filters).

The synth section also has a noise generator and a polyphonic multimode resonant filter (LP/HP), while the ensemble section has a lovely 4-band formant filter. Here’s where you can do a lot of shaping of the sound, and you can even route the synth section through this formant filter as well with the Syn Route control. In the next audio clip I am playing with the formant filter.

Very nice eh? You can really get some great variety with this filter.

I don’t know if you noticed but Strobe does not have any effects, neither does Cypher. Amber on the other hand has a chorus effect, like many real string ensemble synths. The divide-down architecture is not the best architecture for getting big fat sounds, so the chorus will help thicken things up a bit.

Amber’s chorus is modelled on some classic bucket-brigade delay (BBD) chorus circuits. Three different models are available, 1975, 1981 and 1984, each one sounding brighter as the years progress.

In the next clip you will first hear a dry string sound followed by the same sound with the chorus active.

Amber features a lot of the same things as Strobe like the gateable modulators, TransMod system, keyboard section, glide, key etc. It does not have an arpeggiator, which makes sense for a string machine. Instead there are some options for splitting the keyboard ranges of the synth and ensemble sections, and some performance modes can be selected: paraphonic, monophonic attack and release (single VCA paraphonic playing response) and monophonic note (1 voice = 1 note for both sections).

Cypher

Whereas Strobe and Amber are relatively simple and easy to program, Cypher is quite the opposite. The interface has so many knobs and sliders it may be slightly intimidating.

FXpansion DCAM: Synth Squad - Cypher
Cypher, audio-rate modulation goodness

The manual says:

The ethos behind Cypher is to provide a truly accurate model of an analogue synth capable of analogue-style FM and other audio-rate modulation (as opposed to multi-operator FM such as that found in Yamaha DX-series digital synths). It features thru-zero FM which allows musical digital FM-style sounds with an analogue-style circuit.

Some examples of analogue synths that feature FM are the SCI Prophet 5 and Roland Jupiter series, which allowed one osc to modulate another. Most modular synths also allow you to patch any audio-rate signal to vary the osc frequency.

Some of Cypher’s highlights:

  • 3 advanced oscillators, dual waveshapers and filters.
  • Continuously variable osc waveforms.
  • Precision-modelled audio-rate modulation.
  • Audio-rate FM, wave modulation, sample-and-hold.
  • Variable-depth oscillator sync.
  • Ring modulation, beat detune and more.
  • Built-in arpeggiator, 2 LFOs, 3 envelopes.
  • Advanced modulation with the TransMod system.

Alright, here’s where I should probably direct you to the manual because there is a LOT to tell about Cypher and frankly FXpansion did a much better job explaining this synth in detail than I ever could. So let me try and keep it short since we still have to take a look at Fusor as well.

Cypher’s oscillators can be modulated with FM (frequency modulation) and WM (wave modulation). Unlike the slow LFO modulation, these audio rate modulations can modulate parameters at much higher rates. The manual includes 8 pages explaining Cypher’s oscs if you want to know more.

Cypher has a beat control for each osc, which detunes the oscs against another while keeping the rate of the resulting beating constant across the keyboard. Here’s how this can sound.

In the next audio clip I am playing with the FM & WM controls.

Fusor

Fusor is a semi-modular layering environment, which allows you to load any combination of up to 3 DCAM synths to create your very own super synth.

FXpansion DCAM: Synth Squad - Fusor
Fusor, a semi-modular sound design environment

In the top and the bottom of the GUI there is a set of tabs which will bring up the various screens/pages in Fusor.

  • Global — You can select devices and presets, mix and route things (channels, aux sends/returns) and route the MIDI input channels.
  • Key Map — Have some complex layering action by setting up key splits. Up to 4 keyboard zones can be assigned and each zone has individual low & high break points and velocity curves. Each of the Key Maps can be routed to any of the synths and/or Animator engines.
  • MonoMod — Additional monophonic modulation sources (4 LFOs / 4 envelope followers) for modulation of synths or effects in Fusor.
  • Animator — An advanced step-sequencer/arpeggiator, with 4 separate engines which each can be an Arpeggiator, Note Sequencer, Modulation Sequencer, or Advanced engine.
  • Synth, FX, Aux FX & Master FX — These pages show the selected synths and effects. Effect pages have up to 3 effect slots with 4 modulation (FuseMod) slots each.

Fusor really feels like a super instrument. It is great for building big layered sounds with lots of effects and modulation going on. Here’s one I did layering 3 synths with various key zones and a bunch of effects assigned.

The Animator is a great tool for creating moving sounds. The step sequencer is perfect for creating rhythmic patterns.

Fusor Animator
The Animator step-sequencer

The melody in the following audio clip was done in the Animator. In my host I just ran the transport to get the sequence to play.

Since none of the DCAM synths have effects (except Amber’s chorus) you will be happy to hear that Fusor includes a whole bunch of them: Gain, (noise) Gate, EQ, EQ-Filter, Comp Chan (channel compressor), Comp Bus (bus compressor), Delay, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, RingMod, TinCanVerb, Filter Mod, FreqShift (frequency shifter), BitCrusher, Drive (overdrive/distortion), Freezer (granular buffer-looping/freezing effect), Breverb (Hall, Room, Plate & Inverse), Amber Chorus & Formants.

The audio clip below puts the following effects on the same loops, one after the other: Breverb Plate, Filter Mod, Freezer, and Amber Chorus.

There are also a number of X4 Quad FX, with 4 bands of the same effect running in parallel. These are X4-Filter, X4-Drive, X4-Comb, and X4-Delay.

Again, there is a lot to write about all these features so if you want to know details please check the manual.

So what do I think?

DCAM: Synth Squad has a lot to offer, especially to those who are willing to spend some good time getting to know each one of these plug-ins well. I personally wasn’t totally impressed with the included presets, but you don’t need a lot of time with Synth Squad to know that these synths pack some serious punch.

The sound quality is great to my ears and the synths sit well in a mix. You can get some great results for both analog and digital sounds, as the three synths cover a lot of ground. Fusor is a lovely environment for creating super instruments, tons of effects, easy layout, top notch!

The common interface sections help you get familiar with the controls/parameters fast.

That said the many features of the complete package can still be a little intimidating at first, especially if you are new to synthesizers. CPU usage can be a problem on older machines. My dual core Intel machine does OK, but one should not attempt to run many instances of heavy Fusor instruments on such hardware.

In short, DCAM: Synth Squad is an amazing package for a great price ($249 USD / €189 EUR / £157 GBP, excluding taxes where applicable).

FXpansion has just released a demo version so make sure to give it a go (FXpansion account required, free registration). Audio clips and demonstration videos are available on the FXpansion website as well.

More information: FXpansion / DCAM: Synth Squad

Gunnar Ekornås updates Memorymoon to v1.6 and Messiah to v1.2

Gunnar Ekornås Memorymoon v1.5

Gunnar Ekornås has released version 1.6 of Memorymoon and version 1.5 of Messiah, two virtual synthesizer plug-ins for Windows PC.

Memorymoon is based on the Memorymoog, while Messiah is inspired by the Prophet 5 synthesizer by Sequential Circuits.

Changes in Memorymoon v1.6

  • Previous version still had a multi-core problem. It is fixed.
  • Voice-modulation PW2 button fixed.
  • Octave shift button (control section) now works in the release period.
  • Voice card drift pitch2, and f-attack is now in the automation list.
  • Envelope times now has exp curves when controlled from external knobs.
  • GUI envelope deleted.
  • Improved GUI to DSP converter for envelope sustain.
  • Potential problem with clock2 in some hosts fixed.
  • New phaser by Christian-W Budde.
  • Updated wav player.
  • The soundfont player has now interpolation when “CPU” button is off, and advanced sinc interpolation when “CPU” button is on.
  • All patches has aftertouch to filter enabled.
  • Global off/on button for delay and reverb.
  • Some Midi-CC automation numbers corrected.

Changes in Messiah v1.2

  • Previous version still had a multi-core problem. It is fixed.
  • Poly mode is now 8 voices. All levels adjusted for the new polyphony.
  • Octave shift button (control section) now works in the release period.
  • Envelope times now has exp curves when controlled from external knobs.
  • New phaser by Christian-W Budde.
  • All arp patches synced to host clock by default.
  • Global off/on button for delay.
  • Improved page selectors.

Memorymoon and Messiah are available as VST instrument plug-ins for Windows PC for $30 USD each, or in a bundle for $40 USD.

More information: Gunnar Ekornås

Sounds To Sample releases Minimal Drum Hits

DrumDog Minimal Drum Hits

Sounds To Sample has announced the release of Minimal Drum Hits, a collection of single shot drum sounds by DrumDog.

The minimal beat programmer’s weapon of choice arrives in the form of DrumDog’s latest exclusive pack – featuring a whopping 700+ kicks, snares, claps, hats, fx and more, all optimised for minimal house and techno production.

Minimal Drum Hits features

  • 700+ pristine quality 24-bit WAV files – including 144 kicks, 142 claps and snares, 88 hi-hats, 14 crashes and 321 percussive elements.
  • Includes sounds from the Roland TR series, CR78 and Sequential Circuits boxes, many sounds sampled through the legendary 12-bit circuitry of the Akai MPC 60.
  • Each sound has been crafted exclusively for this collection using a a pristine class-A signal path, which includes the Empirical Labs Distressor, Focusrite Red, vintage Dbx 160 VU and much more.
  • Each drum folder is split into subfolders for easy browsing.
  • 100% royalty free samples.

DrumDog Minimal Drum Hits is available for purchase for 20.99 EUR.

More information: Sounds/To/Sample