Multi-synthesis Software with Granular
If you are the type of composer that deals in
industrial type sounds, the strange, the dark and uncanny, or perhaps one
looking for new forms of rhythmic variation for the creation of some imposing
loop chemistry, or heck, just someone wanting top notch analog and FM emulations
then Absynth is a synth to look at and listen to. And it goes way beyond mere emulations. Some of the things you can do in Absynth you can't do on any hardware synth.
- Unique Synth Engine with unusual
features. Granular sampling and envelopes with breakpoints--very
- Easy Patch Management Scheme with Lots
of Presets included.
- Fast and Intuitive to program.
- Minor bugs due to the programs newness
- Does not use the wheel on a wheel
- Does not remember directories for
samples, banks, presets
|More info from
I got my Absynth 2 in the mail last week and
have just finished patch no. 25. So I am not too deep yet, but enough to
tell you my impressions. The program installed fine the 1st time and the
challenge/response copy protection seemed solid. The first bank of presets
loaded and played them all through once then made my first edit. Crash
Bang! I was less than 10 minutes into the program before it crashed, so
I'd load again, crash again, reboot. Then i figured, OK, I'll leave the
sampling part alone and all was better. Fortunately there was an update
released to version 2.01 today. I've been up for a good hour with no
crashing. Whew. This is all to say when you get Absynth 2 home,
install from CD and immediately go update it. That they release their disk
versions so full of bugs is cause for concern. Makes the honeymoon kinda
short if you don't.
Update 5/30/04 Absynth is now at version 2.0.5 and i am happy to report it works as smooth as the best of soft synths. I can now use it with Logic on my G5 without any worry about it crashing. If you already have Absynth go get the update; it's free for those with 2.0.
Here's the features as posited on the NI
website: I'll talk about each one and hopefully explain it for those new to this
newer form of synthesis.
Multiple synthesis techniques and granular
Yes indeed. Its Analog-like, FM, granular
and standard sample playback. You are probably wondering what "granular"
sampling is. Granular refers to a process where the sample is sliced into fine
"grains". The size of the grain, the speed at which it plays, and how densely
they are packed together creates different sounds. Each grain plays a tiny
fraction of the sound, and can be controlled together as a group or
independently of the others. For example, the grains can all be squashed
together for a percussive sound, or spread apart, for an eerie facsimile of the
original sound. Very cool here is that the grains can be randomized by
frequency, time or amplitude. That means you never know what's going to
Range of sounds
OK, I'll give them that. There is a wide range of sounds. Big 'N Low--I mean that- bass presets, utterly whacked hits and khordz, clear FM like bells, dirty, cloudy pads and the best, I think are the incredible rhythmic patches that will make your arpeggiator seem like kindergarten.
800 presets included
A good variety for those doing electronica, drum N bass, trance, hip hop, analog stuff. Heh, don't expect to find any acoustic pianos or brass here--there is nothing conventional about these sounds--except for the basses, and they are outstanding. But No FM EPs, or analog brass--of course you can make those for times when you don't want to be warped out. If you are an FM programmer, you'll find all the FM "standards" are possible. Ditto for analog tweaksters. It's as simple as ever here. Many of the presets will not be very useful. They show of the flexibility of the machine. But then again, one should not get Absynth for the presets. Go for the Pro53 or FM7 of you want conventional synth sounds.
Waveform editor for creating custom
It's there and is a treat. It's extremely easy to draw your waveform right as you are playing it. There's a huge selection of waveforms too. You can edit waveforms by drawing them, modifying the spectrum. And can perform mathematical functions on them with total ease. This sure beats drawing a wave in sound forge and sending it to my hardware sampler. These waveforms can be as Fat or as thin as you like with everything in between
Tempo-synced breakpoint envelopes
This is perhaps, next to the granular sampling,
the "gotta have" feature in Absynth. And it is what gives the sounds in
Absynth their rhythmic dexterity. If you are a loop maker, this is
awesome. You can set the envelopes to rise and fall as fast as you want at
any BPM and for as long as you want in any shape that you want. Those of
you like me who struggled to make other synths and samplers cough up BPM style
patches will be delighted at how easy it is here.
Conventional sampling with linked pitch and
True. But. There's no mapping
facility in Absynth. That means, while you can create some killer
synthetic drums, you'll not be playing them in the same instance. You can
lay down 3 samples, but they all share the keyboard. But if you need
mapping, you should be looking at Kontakt.
Granular sampling for atmospheric, freezing,
and time-stretching effects
Yes as I wrote above. You will be doing
things with your samples you never thought possible. It can mangle any
sample till it's screaming from the debris. The trick here is to find the
gems hiding in the wretchedness that granular sampling can create. Those
doing industrial have to have this feature
Waveform, envelope, and oscillator library
for easy patch creation
A strong point to be sure. There are
presets for oscillators, envelopes, waveforms and you can do cross-modulation,
where waveforms control modulation. The envelopes are perhaps the most
amazing I have ever worked with. Hey dudes, I am not going to tell you
that unless it's true. Retriggered envelopes set to BPM are a snap, it has
never been this easy, and you can edit all the envelopes on the screen if you
want with one command.
Full MIDI control
There is generous real time controlling that
can be done, from your choice of any of the MIDI controllers you have at your
Improved filters, antialiasing oscillators,
and more efficient CPU utilization
These filters truly do cut. Be careful
tweaking that resonance. If you quickly go from 0-100 the sound may jump
out in a painful way. No headphones, OK?
Improved Plug-In implementation
I did not have the previous version, but heard
it was a CPU-eater. I did do a song with 2 Absynth instruments among
others and Logic did not blink.
Upgrading from Absynth 1?
interfaces with PC and Macs here.
Concluding for Now
So who needs Absynth?
Experimenters, loop-heads, sample cutters, beat-makers, deep bass-freakoids,
trancendentalists, DNBers, industrialists, people that like Acid (the program)
people with dark intentions, hip hop pimps, atmospherisists,
philosophers and wild-eyed acoustic scientists. Who does not need it, imo?
Classical emulators, Pop-masters, pristine-sound Nu-Agers, Rockers of all
ages, Clean-sheeters, Folksey folks, Midifile crackers, Acid dudes without
keyboards, Fruity-Heads and peeps that don't read manuals. There, that should
give you an idea if it is for you. :)
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