chipSynth OPS7 Offers Bit Accurate Emulation Of Yamaha DX7, DX1 & DX5

chipSynth OPS7 Offers Bit Accurate Emulation Of Yamaha DX7, DX1 & DX5
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Plogue has introduced chipSynth OPS7 – a new software synth for Mac & Windows, based on the sound engine of the Yamaha DX7 and offering the the patch layering feature of the rare DX1 and DX5 synthesizers.

Plogue says that they’ve gone ‘all in’ on modeling the original’s sound:

“In terms of emulation, Plogue goes all-in: by exactly matching the digitally captured output of the original EGS and OPS chips, we’ve recreated every nugget of sound from the original keyboard.

This includes exact envelope stepping patterns that vary note-to-note, every facet of the convoluted pitch calculation, and absolutely identical operator math for each algorithm down to the bit.

The analog side of the original keyboards and modules is also recreated with lavish attention to detail: you want the unique crunchiness of the original DAC?

We got it down to its insane compander and the full analog filtering section.”

While Plogue has closely modeled OPS7 on the DX7 sound engine, they’ve also expanded on it in several ways:

  • Dual-layer system of the DX1 & DX5 for creating more complex sounds
  • Full effects section
  • “Game-changing dynamic patch editing system” that they say makes FM patch creation easier than ever
  • Full SysEx bank file support
  • Full hardware SysEx interfacing

Audio Demos:

If you want to know more about the emulation process, here’s behind-the-scenes look at the development of OPS7 from Plogue’s David Viens:

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Pricing and Availability

chipSynth OPS7 is available now for $49.95 USD.

Cherry Audio Mercury-4 Brings Back ‘Primal Poly’ Sound Of Roland Jupiter-4

Cherry Audio Mercury-4 Brings Back ‘Primal Poly’ Sound Of Roland Jupiter-4
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Cherry Audio has introduced Mercury-4, a new software synthesizer for Mac & Windows that’s inspired by the ‘primal poly’ sound of the Roland Jupiter-4.

Unlike the original design, though, Mercury-4 ups the polyphony to 16 voices, adds a built-in Space Echo style effect and comes with 400+ presets.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“It’s the rarest and most sonically unique of the fabled Jupiter series, and we’ve gone to great lengths to recreate the subtle (and not-so-subtle) nuance and character of this beloved classic. Every aspect of Mercury-4 has been expertly modeled upon a vintage Jupiter-4 originally owned by Greg Hawkes of the legendary 80’s new wave band The Cars.

The Jupiter-4 had its share of disadvantages, including limited patch storage, just four voices of polyphony, and boat-anchor weight. Cherry Audio’s Mercury-4 improves upon the original’s design by offering 16-voice polyphony, infinite patch storage, velocity sensitivity, MPE support, and much more. We’ve even paired it with a fantastic model of the classic Roland Space Echo tape delay!”

Features:

  • “Authentically modeled” oscillator with sub-oscillator.
  • All filter characteristics modeled, including powerful low-frequency resonance.
  • Up to 16-voice polyphony.
  • Over 300 presets, programmed by industry veterans.
  • Unique arpeggio section w/tempo sync.
  • Wide-range LFO modulation with “inverted” mod characteristics.
  • Drift control for increased analog realism.
  • Stereo ensemble effect.
  • Tape echo style effect, with multiple reverb modes.
  • Tempo-syncable LFO.
  • Detunable unison mode.
  • Single-key chord memory mode.
  • Low CPU load.
  • One-click UI magnification.
  • MPE support.
  • Full MIDI control and DAW automation for all controls.

Pricing and Availability:

Mercury-4 is available now for Mac & Windows with an intro price of $39 USD (normally $59).

Free Open Source Modular System, Bespoke, Offers An Alternative To Skeuomorphic Virtual Eurorack Synths

Free Open Source Modular System, Bespoke, Offers An Alternative To Skeuomorphic Virtual Eurorack Synths
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Developer Ryan Challinor has officially released Bespoke, a free open source software modular synthesizer for Linux, macOS & Windows.

Unlike software modulars like Cherry Audio’s Voltage Modular and VCV Rack, Bespoke does not use a skeuomorphic interface designed to look like a hardware Eurorack modular.

Instead, it’s designed to let you create completely ‘bespoke’ patches. This freedom means that the developer was able to do some creative things with the user interface, like animating patch cables with the signals that they carry.

Here’s the official walkthrough video:

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“Bespoke’s core design is to break everything into separate modules that can be patched together in a custom layout, much like a hardware modular. Bespoke is designed to be highly customizable, with the idea that any of the custom layouts that you create will be ‘bespoke’ to you as well,” notes Challinor. “In a way, Bespoke is like if I smashed Ableton to bits with a baseball bat, and asked you to put it back together.”

Pricing and Availability

Bespoke is available now as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is open source, licensed with GPLv3. While it’s freeware, if you try it and like it, consider donating to the developer via his site to help support future development.

Expressive E Intros Imagine Multidimensional Physical Modeling Synth

Expressive E Intros Imagine Multidimensional Physical Modeling Synth
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Expressive E & AAS have introduced Imagine, a new physical modeling synthesizer designed for expressive control.

Imagine offers hundreds of physically modeled instrument layers. Each preset combines two of these instrument layers to create expressive acoustic timbres.

Features:

  • Atypical instruments – Imagine offers hundreds of instrument layers, “meticulously modeled” to bring their very own character.
  • Playful sound design – Each instrument has its very own character that can be easily adjusted with great flexibility.
  • Vivid textures, morphing acoustic – Combine the layers of instruments and modulate their characteristics in real time.
  • Enhance and articulate – Imagine offers a complete tool set of effects ideal for enhancing your sounds. Everything is designed for real-time manipulation to easily create fluid articulations, breaks, drops, or to dynamically modify reverbs and delays.
  • Multi-stage envelope generators – For further expressive possibilities, Imagine contains MSEGs that pack a huge collection of modulations for your sounds.
  • Intelligent modulation system – Behind the scenes, everything is optimized to provide you the best expressive experience possible: no dead zones; sensitivity curves and ranges are continuously scaled.
  • Optimized macros – Significant optimization work has been carried out to allow you to modulate the sound of your instruments in real time, resulting in a unique expressive perspective.

Here’s the official walkthrough video:

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Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability:

Imagine is available now with an intro price of $83.40 USD (normally $139).

Arturia Intros SQ80 V, “Ensoniq’s Classic ‘80s Cross-Wave Synth Reborn”

Arturia Intros SQ80 V, “Ensoniq’s Classic ‘80s Cross-Wave Synth Reborn”
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Arturia has introduced SQ80 V, a new virtual instrument for Mac & Windows that’s based on the Ensoniq SQ-80 from 1988.

The original Ensoniq SQ-80 is a hybrid synth, with three digital wavetable oscillators per voice paired with an analog 4-pole filter. It also is one of the few classic synths to offer polyphonic aftertouch, a feature that lets you expressively control the sound of individual notes, after the initial key press.

Here’s the official video overview:

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With SQ80 V, Arturia has recreated the sound of the original using hardware modeling. But they’ve also expanded on the original’s design with a variety new features, including:

  • The arpeggiator – including arp direction, sync, octave range, and hold.
  • Unison – SQ80 V offers up to 16-voice polyphony – twice that of the original hardware instrument – plus ann 8-voice unison option for creating massive sounds.
  • Dispersion – subtle variations and inconsistencies in the behavior of its emulated circuitry that mean no two notes will ever be exactly the same,.
  • Envelopes expanded – Arturia included 2 additional envelope modes: DADSR and MSEG. The former adds a delay stage to the traditional ADSR for staggered strikes and interesting rhythmic patterns. The latter is a fully-customizable looping function generator.
  • The Mod Mixer – Combine any 2 modulation sources, from envelopes to keyboard controls, to distort, mangle, and refract your patches in interesting and unexpected ways. With 6 different modes of modulation mixing, the combination possibilities are enormous.
  • MPE compatibility – SQ80 V supports MPE-compatible controllers for advanced expression.

Features:

  • 3 digital oscillators based on the original DOC chip
  • Over 400 waveforms across 4 unique banks
  • Amplitude Modulation and Hard Sync
  • 4 analog DCAs; 1 for each oscillator, 1 master output
  • Analog resonant low-pass filter based on the original CEM chip
  • 4 polyphonic envelope generators with 3 modes; SQ80, DADSR, MSEG
  • 3 LFOs with 6 waveforms
  • 8 MIDI sources
  • Modulation mixer for combining 2 modulation sources
  • Built-in 7-mode arpeggiator
  • Up to 16-voice polyphony with Unison mode
  • 4 FX slots across 2 busses, configurable in series or parallel]
  • 15 master effect types
  • Advanced Brightness, Timbre, Time and Movement macro controls
  • 200+ factory presets, including 40 from the original SQ-80 instrument
  • MPE compatibility

Pricing and Availability

Arturia SQ80 V is available now with an intro price of $99 (normally $199).

VCV Rack 2 Coming Soon, Here’s A Preview

VCV Rack 2 Coming Soon, Here’s A Preview
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Open-source virtual modular synthesizer VCV Rack is about to get a major update.

The developer shared this sneak preview for VCV Rack 2, the biggest update yet for the popular modular synth platform for Linux, macOS & Windows.

The update promises an updated user interface, a Dark Mode for ‘patching at night’, workflow improvements to streamline browsing for modules and patching, and a VST plugin version.

Pricing and Availability

VCV Rack 2 is scheduled for release in November, with additional details still to be announced.

Free Moog Model 15 Update Lets You Use It In Your DAW

Free Moog Model 15 Update Lets You Use It In Your DAW

Moog Music has released a free plugin that lets you use their Model 15 Modular Synthesizer virtual instrument in your macOS DAW.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Earlier this year, we released an update that makes it possible for Mac users running Big Sur to recreate the sounds and workflow of the classic hardware Model 15 modular synthesizer using a macOS device through Audio Unit v3, or as a standalone sound design tool. This macOS compatibility update allowed for seamless integration with Logic, GarageBand, and MainStage for use in studio and live performance environments.

Now, the Model 15 App can be used standalone, as an Audio Unit v3 plugin, Audio Unit v3 and v2 plugin, as a VST3 plugin, or as an effect in your existing audio chain.”

Using Model 15 in Ableton Live:

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Automation in Ableton Live:

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Pricing and Availability

Moog Model 15 for iOS is available for $29.99. You can download the plugin via the Moog site.

Roland TR-707, TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers Now Available

Roland TR-707, TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers Now Available

Roland today introduced the TR-707 and TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers, the latest in their Legendary series of software-based virtual instruments available via Roland Cloud.

The pair of virtual instruments use Roland’s Analog Circuit Behavior (ACB) technology, which models the behavior of the individual components of the original circuits.

Here’s what Roland has to say about the TR-707 and TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers:

“In 1985, Roland introduced the now-famous TR-707 and TR-727, the company’s first drum machines with all sounds based around PCM samples. The TR-707, with its orange livery, had the most advanced pattern sequencing capabilities to date and included 15 punchy drum sounds covering all the basics, from kick and snare to toms and cymbals. Its sibling, the blue-highlighted TR-727, was an all-out percussion powerhouse with 15 Latin-inspired sounds that could take any groove to new heights. Each unit was formidable on its own, but together they were unstoppable.

Taking their rightful places next to other classics in the Roland TR series, this dynamic duo of drums and percussion has appeared on hit tracks in many genres through the years, including synth-pop, acid house, industrial, electro, indie, alternative, and more. The software-based recreations reproduce their sound and behavior with 100-percent authenticity, coupled with modern upgrades that take them into all-new creative territory.

The playback engines in the TR-707 and TR-727 were primitive by today’s standards, with 25 kHz sample rates and 8-bit resolution (and even 6-bit for some tones). To optimize performance, Roland engineers used short PCM waveforms with decay introduced later in the analog circuitry. But this early hybrid approach had its limitations, with deviations in the digital clock and analog circuitry causing variances in the pitch and decay characteristics. This combination of factors strongly contributes to the charm of the TR-707 and TR-727 and their unique and pleasing lo-fi punch. To replicate these behaviors in software, Roland started with the original PCM wave data from the hardware. Next, ACB technology was used to recreate the interaction between the PCM engine and analog output stages, carefully including all its quirks and instabilities.

The software-based TR-707 and TR-727 also include many updated features inspired by popular aftermarket modifications. Users have deep levels of sound control unavailable with stock hardware units, including attack, decay, and tuning for individual sounds, the ability to overdrive the internal circuitry, and much more. Additionally, the sequencer features include numerous modern enhancements for infusing grooves with added detail and nuance.”

Pricing and Availability

The TR-707 and TR-727 Software Rhythm Composers are available to now from Roland Cloud for $149 each, and are also included with the Roland Cloud Ultimate membership.

Steinberg Intros Absolute 5 Virtual Instrument Collection

Steinberg Intros Absolute 5 Virtual Instrument Collection
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Steinberg today introduced the immediate availability of Absolute 5, an updated version of their virtual instrument collection.

Absolute 5 features 28 VST and HALion instruments, offering more than 130 GB of sound content and over 7,500 presets.

New in Absolute 5 is the drum re-synthesizer Backbone , which re-synthesizes and decomposes samples into noise and tonal parts, making it a creative instruments for drum sound design. Also new to Absolute are the vintage keys of Amped Elektra, Electric Bass and the expansions Polarities for Padshop 2, Sounds of Soul for Retrologue 2 and Future Past Perfect for Groove Agent 5.

Absolute 5 includes a complete virtual studio of instruments, including sampler & workstation instruments, a dozen synths, virtual orchestra, cinematic instruments and more.

Feature Highlights:

  • More than 130 GB of instruments and 7,500 inspiring presets
  • First-class sample libraries for bass, choir, orchestra, and keys
  • New: Drum re-synthesizer Backbone
  • New: Vintage keys Amped Elektra
  • New: Electric Bass

Official Audio Demos:

Pricing and Availability

Absolute 5 is available now through the Steinberg Online Shop for 499 euros, including German
VAT, and 499.99 US dollars. Upgrade pricing is also available.

Sound Magic Intros FusionX Virtual Bass Instrument

Sound Magic Intros FusionX Virtual Bass Instrument

Sound Magic has introduced FusionX, a hybrid modelling virtual bass instrument for Mac and Windows.

FusionX is a new type of Bass instrument, based on a combination of several bass models including Fender Jazz Fretless, Gibson EB2 and Rickenbacker. You can select different bass for each technique, giving you a wide range of expressive possibilities.

FusionX is deeply sampled 21GB of over 23,000 samples, with multi velocity layers and round robin samples.

For each performance technique, Sound Magic recorded all 3 basses and picked the best sounding one as the primary sample set, so you get the best sound, but with the option to choose the backup sample sets.

FusionX also features Hotone’s VStomp effect system, which uses circuit component modeling to recreate the original device’s sound. VStomp has over 26 amps and 20 cabs. In addition, it offers multi effect/FX to let you create a unique sound.

Video Intro:

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Pricing and Availability

FusionX is available now with an intro price of $99 (MSRP $199) through Nov 2021.