Plug-in ReviewóString Synth by Algo Music

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Copyright 2006

 

 

 

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†††† Before I get started, let me first say that I am not a proficient keyboardist nor am I that familiar with the ARP and Solina synths that this plugin is meant to emulate. I programmed a short 2 chord phrase into BiAB to come up with some thing that resembled a person playing keys to do the patches justice. Also, since there are 40 presets, I canít put all of them up on the site due to time and data storage constraints. Youíll just have to download the plug-in and play around with it yourselves.

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†††† The interface is totally different from the Arpy interface I reviewed last month. It consists of 6 modules, of which two are switchable via a button to other functions. The face of the plugin is kind of a medium blue with lighter blue highlights outlining the function of each module. To me itís a bit of an eyestrain and if you had any glare on your monitor at all, everything would be washed out.

†††† The left-most module is the DCO/DCA module and is one of the 2 switchable ones. The DCA (digital controlled amplifier) section allows you to select the wave form via a button that cycles between S/S (sine/sine), S/P (sine/pulse) and P/P (pulse/pulse). You can also select the octave via† the same sort of cycling button as the wave form. This form of selecting options is common for this plug-in and Iím not really in favor of it at all. I like to push one button and get what I want. Having to cycle between options is frustrating and not efficient, IMHO.

 

†††† The DCO (digital controlled oscilator) section, as stated above, is accessed by toggling a switch located above the DCA module. This module allows access to the pitch bend options, midi channel and portamento.

 

†††† The module next to the DCO/DCA is vibrato (VIB). It has controls for rate and level on virtual sliders. Itís fairly self explanatory so Iíll move on to next oneóEnsemble (ENS). Itís simply a slider that controls the feedback of the signal. Basically what this does is send the output of the DCO back through the module again and youíll hear the effect when you listen to the samples Iíve recorded below.

†††† The description above the next module says AMP and has a light to itís left that lights up when you play a noteóIím not really sure what the need for this is, especially since the module has sliders for Attack, Delay, Sustain and Release (should be named Envelope). Next to it is the Filter section which again has the ADSR sliders, a slider for level and an EQ section. The EQ has a toggle switch labeled off, + and Ė. I assume the plus and minus are boost and cut. Next to that is the slider that selects the frequency and another for the Q (width of the band being boosted or cut).

 

††† The last section before the output level section (with VU meter) is the effect module. You can toggle between delay and phase and both are useable at the same time. The delay section has controls for input, left delay time, left Feedback, right delay time and right feedback. The two time sliders are simply denoted time and itís a little confusing until you realize there is a faint vertical line that separates them from the rest of the section.

 

†††† Toggling the button above the effects section brings you to the phazer effect. It has controls for Frequency, Q, LFO (on or off), Rate and Depth. Both the delay and the phazer can be used at the same time or not at all.

 

††† Alright, here are the samples.

 

†††††††† 1) Sweepy

 

†††††††† 2) Analog Drift

 

†††††††† 3) Phazlead

 

†††††††† 4) Upwardphz

 

†††††††† 5) Some Texture

 

†††††††† 6) Like an Organómisnamed I think

 

†††††††† 7) Deep Space

 

†††††††† 8) Doppler Space

 

†††††††† 9) Intro

 

†††† All in all, Iíd have to say that while the presets are usable, I didnít really connect with this like I did with Arpy. The user interface doesnít grab me and the selection of waveforms leaves something to be desired. By all means, download it and give it a tryóyou might like it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

†††† Last month, I put Algo Musicís Arpy† through itís paces and was pleasantly surprised with the usability of the interface and how musical it can be. This month, Iím doing the same for another Algo Music productóString Synthesizer version 1.1.

 

†††† I thought before doing the review last month that ďArpyĒ was going to be digital rendition of the ARP synth from the late 70ís and 80ís but it turns out that String Synthersizer is actually supposed to be just that.† It features a full ADSR (attack, delay, sustain and release) section, phase and delay effects and the ensemble effect. No samples are used to generate sound since all the tones, effects, etc are emulated in software.

 

†††† Also included are 40 preset patches from Tim Conrardy, UGO, Mathew DeMeritt and Dr. Ambient. Each patchís author is notated by either TC, UGO, MD or DR., respectively.