looking for new soft syth...

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by perplex » Mon May 02, 2011 6:14 pm

+1 for massive

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by 3dot... » Mon May 02, 2011 8:25 pm

also .. I second 'Tyrell'...
and if we're on the free list... try crystal
very versatile and sounds awesome..

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by mholloway » Mon May 02, 2011 8:57 pm

Given your interest in programming, definitely either Alchemy or Zebra2 or Reaktor -- all will provide you with incredible depth of programming and good to great sound quality. Only do Reaktor if you really want a massive package to deal with, rather than just one synth.

I don't like the overall sound of Massive much....but it can be pushed into some pretty sweet territory.

my industrial music made with Ableton Live (as DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER): https://deadwhenifoundher.bandcamp.com/
my dark jazz / noir music made with Ableton Live: https://michaelarthurholloway.bandcamp. ... guilt-noir

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by Rinsemeister » Mon May 02, 2011 9:01 pm


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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by UncleAge » Tue May 03, 2011 4:24 am

I have 3 synths in my toolbox that I think compliment Operator well.

Rapture is a good synth if you like to program your own stuff. It comes with a decent selection of stuff. But you can also import your own sfz and wav files. You can layer up to 6 voices each with it's own set of filters, envelopes, eq's and step sequencers. There's actually a lot more to it than that even. Not as flexible when it comes to routing as the next two but I rarely miss those options when I'm actually using this synth.

Zebra2 is well regarded and often recommended for good reason. Whether you like to roll your own or whether you a preset junkie and want to take advantage of the thousands of free presets in the library it's hard to go wrong with this one. You also get the great freebie Zebrify, which is basically the effects section from Zebra that can be used on it's own. It is a very impressive multi-fx unit and he could have easily sold this on it's own.

Alchemy is a deep rabbit hole just like Zebra. The ability to load your own samples and modulate just about everything in the synth makes this one pretty deep and gives it a decent shelf-life as well. And since there's not much overlap with Operator it could be a good addition to your toolbox as well.

All of them allow for custom sound sources of some sort be it either single cycle waveforms, wavetables, wav-samples or sfz files. Alchemy & Zebra2 really allow for some crazy routing scenarios while Rapture allows the layering of 6 voices with a pretty low cpu hit (IMO).

Outside of these three I'd also recommend Absynth (owned it and loved it).

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by araz » Tue May 03, 2011 1:57 pm

I'm surprised no one has mentionned Sylenth1 yet...?


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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by ciw » Tue May 03, 2011 2:05 pm

Love the way nobody has asked what music you're trying to make. Another vote for massive here but it totally depends what sound you're after!

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by Akshara » Tue May 03, 2011 2:39 pm

Absynth is a deep and flexible synth which could compliment Operator, and my favorite sound creation tool.

While Zebra wasn't my cup of tea, I recently watched an excellent interview with Hans Zimmer where he says something like 99% of his recent synth work is Zebra. Ah, here is the link... http://forum.ableton.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=162721

Either one would be a solid decision/investment.

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by garyboozy » Tue May 03, 2011 3:09 pm

if you're on mac (pc soon), check out Aalto by Madrona Labs. has a similar sound to Operator when using just the oscs, as it's FM based (well, modelled on Buchla's Complex Osc), but the modulation options are ridiculous. cheap too.

littles pliffa
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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by littles pliffa » Tue May 03, 2011 3:23 pm

I use a vst called Crystal and for being a free plug in this synth is fairly deep. 3 voices with 6 LFOs each its own envelope. Cant beat it for being free and its a nice way to get an idea of which way to go.


you can go to the download tab of this link after clicking on it to get it. just install it and ableton picks it right up

anybody human
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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by anybody human » Tue May 03, 2011 4:33 pm

ciw wrote:Love the way nobody has asked what music you're trying to make. Another vote for massive here but it totally depends what sound you're after!
Yeah, I totally overlooked that, sorry. Totally depends on the type of music you're doing. What type of music are you working on?

I'm definitely in the minority, I don't go in for Massive really. Love NI's FM8 though (& Operator for that matter). However, if you do Dubstep or some other popular style that calls for a plugin sounding synth (I mean that in a good way), Massive would seem to be a good choice. I've always wanted to get Zebra, it just has a fantastic reputation and looks super versatile. If you happen to have the money lying around, don't neglect Omnisphere. Just it's regular VA virtual synth engine alone w/o samples is one of the best.

This is not an analog vs. digital comment at all but I think soft synths have a particular sound that is very important to contemporary music, popular & dance. While many can sound more than analog enough to get the job done, I think the character of software synths is underrated in terms of the way records sound now. Probably an obvious statement, just like the resurgence of analog has had an effect.

OT: Bizarrely, in the last six months I've drifted away from synthesis in general (!) and moved more toward heavy processing and editing of acoustic sources, electric guitar, and "found sounds". Maybe to accidentally stumble on to different timbres or more original sounds than I was getting programming synths. Maybe for the way acoustic space or room sound shapes the mix. Or maybe just as a continuation of the fun I had tweaking synths. I'm sure I'll come back to a more synthesized sound but it's kind of fun doing this for now. Totally off topic but any who...

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by Greeg » Wed May 04, 2011 10:05 am

If you're looking for a synth which offers plenty of modulation possibilities and overall very deeeep, then I suggest:
- U-he Zebra
- Camel Audio Alchemy

Synths with hmmm shorter learning curve :) :
- NI Massive
- Toxic Biohazard (love 6 oscillators, custom waveforms load, FM matrix, sequencer)
- maybe some "analog" synth ? PolyKB II is probably the latest one or U-He ACE

Also, don't underestimate freeware stuff. Some products give plenty of fun, and have commercial quality.
- Synth1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YTsuQqS ... dded#at=35

9000 presets (!!!)

- U-He Tyrell (500 factory presets) is pretty unique freebie and definitely a quality one ( http://www.amazona.de/index.php?page=26 ... le_id=3372 )

- Jeremy Evers Atlantis (Link: http://jeremyevers.com/atlantis/ , GUI: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ouWn-vuQSvY/S ... lantis.jpg) - also quite unique

- KX-Synth-X16 - inspired by EMS VCS3 - portable analog synthesizer with a flexible semi-modular voice architecture, initially made in 1969
http://kx77free.free.fr/English-contents.html , GUI: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ouWn-vuQSvY/T ... -main2.png
VST Cafe - music production blog, ableton, vst
Novation V-Station, Toxic Biohazard, Cakewalk Z3ta+ - modern electronic, EDM, pop soundbanks | Tone2 Gladiator Space Station - soundbank

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by Griogair » Wed May 04, 2011 4:00 pm

+1 Synth 1
+1 Crystal

Linplug Alpha

Last two aren't particularly sound shaping orientated..but meh, whilst we were on the topic of sweet free synths! :D
I wish I had a cool website to add here...

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by 3dot... » Wed May 04, 2011 4:22 pm

Griogair wrote: Oatmeal

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Re: looking for new soft syth...

Post by guntop » Wed May 04, 2011 9:57 pm

woah, wasn't expecting so much (i got like 50 tabs open right now!)...awesome. it's really helpful!

to answer the question, the sound i'm going for is a type of electro/progressive house/glitch sound...i guess. ive tried to get help genrezing it, but no ones sure. i'm also looking for that huge dubstep sound though, but not necessarily that style. this is why i want something super versatile as i'm still working hard on finding my own sound. best i can say are my favs and inspirations: justice, prefuse 73, deadmau5, edIT, telefon tel aviv, noisia, skrillex, elliot lipp. if that gives a more specific idea of sounds im after.

but i do have some money to blow, been saving up for this. Perhaps i'm thinking about two with small learning curves and one with a steep one. and the one with steep curve, super versatile and capable of practically anything, maybe reaktor or max or zebra? what should i consider for this? ...ill def get all the free ones...pft absolutely no reason not too. awesome.

while someone had mentioned hardware, i'd love to get into that too sometime, and i might have the mons for something legit within the year, how much does a decent modular synth cost? (sparing just some expense) id love to use both soft and hard eventually. what else should i consider for this?

d00d, once again, thanx.

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