Plug-in Review—Phadiz by Algo Music

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Copyright 2006

 

 

 

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     Ok—onto the review. If you click on the picture above, you can see that there are basically two synths side-by-side and that you can have two different sounds panned right and left or however you prefer. The two top-most sections on the left are the DCO (digitally controlled oscillator) sections. You can select two waveforms in both of the sections with options for octave, note and fine tuning. This is especially effective if you want one DCO to be in harmony or detuned with the other.

 

     The next two sections below the DCO sections are notated as DCW (digitally controlled wave). There are sliders for Attack , Decay , Sustain  and Release as well as a knob for keyboard mapping. There’s also a selection control on the right DCW for EG (1, 2) that relates to whether or not the second DCW independent or tied to the first DCW. A slider marked WSD is for Wave Shape Distortion. There’s no visual feed back so it’s hard to tell exactly what it does but you can certainly hear the difference. There’s also a selector button that is for normal or inverse operation relative to the wave envelope.

 

     Below that is the digitally controlled amplifier (DCA) for each section. Again there are ADSR sliders and the EG selector along with a pan knob for each DCA as well as a level control slider. These are very useful in controlling the amount of volume for staccato vs held notes. You can hear the effect in several of the samples below as the last note is held and the volume increases.

 

     Two LFO’s below the DCA include selectors for wave form and destination. These selection buttons as well as most of the others mentioned above are those that scroll through the options so that you have to cycle through all the options before you find the one you want. These buttons are ok if you only have 2 selections to choose from but any more than that and a slider or knob would be preferable.  The destination button choses between pitch, volume and ….and  there’s a knob that controls the speed along with a “led” that blinks according to the speed you’ve chosen. In addition, there are sliders for attack, release and level.

 

     To the right of the dual-ized DCO, DCW, DCA and LFO sections are the  Global and Effects sections. The Global section controls the midi output channel, the input level from each channel (color coded), a portamento knob with accompanying led and a retrigger (yes or no) selection button. 

 

     The effects section consists of a delay section along with a DCF (digitally controlled filter) as well an option button to turn on ring modulation or not. Controls for the delay include time, feedback, LPF (low pass filter) and mix. The DCF has a knob for speed with a blinking LED for visual feedback. There are also knobs  cutoff frequency and resonance and a selector for low pass, band pass or high pass. The ring modulation is either on or off with no other options.

 

     I would have to say that this synth suffers the same issues that that the string synth does—user interface. I hate having to cycle through more than two options using a button and not being a synth affiicianado, I’m a bit lost on what does what (although I’m learning quickly). Phadiz has tons of tone shaping controls but as with the previous synth we reviewed from Algo, you’ll have to download it and play around with the knobs, sliders and buttons to dial in just the sound you’re looking for. I prefer to start with one of the presets and then fiddle with the controls to see what they do and if the sound is something I’m interested in.

  

     Below are some sound samples of the presets

 

                1)              Wobble

                2)              PD-reso

                3)              CZtronix

                 4)              RingMod

                 5)              Percuswell

                 6)              Epiano

                 7)              Slow PD Strings

                 8)              Amby

                 9)              Amby2

                 10)           Mithril

                 11)           Helicoptor Pad

                 12)           Resonant

                 13)           Ring Resonator

                 14)           TNZ Bass 1

                 15)           TNZ Bass 2

 

     I’m interested in what you’d like me to review in the future, so send your suggestions to thomas@yourhomestudio.com

 

 

 

     This month I’m putting the last of Algomusic’s free synths, Phadiz, to the test. The name is a contraction (sort of) of Phase Distortion and yes, you guessed it—It’s a phase distortion synth similar to the Casio CZ101. Before I get into what it does, I’m going to give you a refresher course on what phase distortion is and how it produces sound.

 

     Phase distortion synths only produce one wave type—sine, but it’s what they do to the sine wave that makes them unique. It’s a mathematical construct but the easiest way for me to describe what is happening is to say that, in the case of a saw wave, the synth kind of pushes the sine wave backwards and in doing so, compresses the wave into a saw shape.  Square, pulse and resonant waves can also be made in a similar fashion.