Polymode is Cherry’s new soft synth inspired by the Polymoog, for $29

This idiosyncratic beast from 1975 gets a modern remake for playability.

We’ve been following the prolific independent software house Cherry Audio for a while now, with both their modular and their vintage models. Polymode is unique in that it’s not just a slavish remake but a reimagining of sorts – made to sound like the Moog Polymoog but with modern features and more accessible navigation.

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Let’s come straight out with it – you’re not getting a cheap hardware Polymoog any time soon. The original was massive, expensive, and … very much a product of its time. In modern US dollars, your 1975 purchase price would translate to – $25,472.20.

But that sound. Unlike even the Minimoog, the sound of which has become heavily familiar, the Polymoog sounds particular and aggressively retro. To our modern ears, we get all of the lush sounds of string synths and organs – but it’s still a synth, and still a Moog.

That’s the result of the architecture of the Polymoog, which is technically paraphonic and divides down frequencies to get other pitches (like a 70s organ or string synth, hence the ways it echoes those instruments). But it’s also deep to explore, because of its extensive modulation. Maybe it’s better to just listen:

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Moog modulation, with Moog filters, but lush textures. Now we’re talking. That gives you a tasty molasses timbral palette with tons of options to experiment with modulation. Cherry just added MIDI control, automation, extra LFOs, and a simplified instrument.

Oh, and it costs thirty bucks now, so a rounding error versus the original… heck, even a rounding error versus most hardware. I do get why people are resistant to subscriptions for software, too, yes.

So take the paraphonic architecture of the original, add 150 presets to get you started straight away, and then dive into this 32-voice plug-in monster.

Click for full size image. But that’s a friendly take on the original panel.

Specs from our friends at Cherry:

  • 32-voice polyphony
  • Extensive modulation routings for almost all synthesis parameters
  • Numerous modulation sources including velocity, pressure, white and pink noise and more
  • Simultaneously available saw and pulse waves for both oscillator ranks
  • Super accurately recreated “mode” filters
  • Expanded resonators section with additional LFO, 12db/24db slopes, and notch mode
  • Classic 24db ladder-style filter
  • Integrated ensemble, phaser, tempo-synced echo, and reverb effects
  • Classic Solina-style tri-chorus mode
  • Two bonus LFOs with five waveforms and tempo sync
  • Full MIDI control
  • Full DAW automation for all controls

There’s even a 30-day demo, with occasional white noise. (So just route it into some reverb and let there be a burst of noise every so often, like crashing waves.)

You will want at least a middling CPU, but otherwise, this thing runs easily. All the usual plug-in formats, plus standalone.

https://cherryaudio.com/instruments/polymode-synthesizer

US$29. (Initially we had the incorrect info that this is an intro price – apparently they’re sticking with it!)