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Online Guide Software Instruments
Software Synthesisers

 

In order to explain the various types of software instruments, it makes sense to categorise them in a similar way to their hardware counterparts. This should also help you to find the right one for the job:

Software synths are the most common, and certainly the place where it all began - using a computer to model simple bits of analogue circuitry seemed like a perfect use of the technology. The analogue sound was also prevalent in the popular music of the time, and so programs like Rebirth and those that followed were a great success with musicians who couldn’t afford the high prices that classic pieces of hardware commanded.

The driving force behind many software synth innovations has been German company
NativeIn computing, an application or process written to run directly on a particular platform or operating system. In audio applications this is particularly used to refer to plug-ins which use the computer's processing power rather than DSP chips on a card or external hardware.
Native
Instruments. One of their early
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
releases
was a model of the legendary Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. It looks superb, sounds amazing, and behaves almost exactly like the real thing. From there, NI deconstructed the analogue synth and demonstrated that there’s no reason to stay within the confines of traditional hardware when using a computer. Their flagship product ‘Reaktor’ lets you create completely new synths, or even forms of synthesis themselves from the tiniest building blocks, to produce structures that would simply be inconceivable in hardware. They also produced the soft-synth that Yamaha wouldn’t, which they called the FM7, based of course on the famous DX7, and which is even capable of loading old DX7 patches.

Arturia synths

The
ModellingSynthesis technique whereby a sound or set of characteristics is created from a mathematical model. This can be applied to create instrument sounds as well as to simulate the response of a device such as an amplifier, effects processor or speaker to any given input.
modelling
of hardware analogue synths continued, but it wasn’t until French company Arturia pulled their Minimoog V out of the bag that the legendary Dr Moog was happy to put his name to it. On the
ReleaseThe final stage of an envelope, that in synthesizers determines how long a sound will continue to play after the key has been released. In a compressor, release is the parameter that defines how long compression will continue once the input signal has fallen back below the threshold level.
release
of their Moog Modular V, Dr Moog said "Arturia's Moog Modular V is a high quality computer emulation of the
AnalogLiterally, a replica or representation. In analogue audio signals, voltage changes represent changes in sound pressure. On vinyl, groove depth is an analog for sound pressure levels.
analog
modular synthesizer that Moog Music® originally introduced... I am delighted that Arturia's Moog Modular V is adding a new dimension to an instrument tradition that has a special meaning to so many musicians." Arturia have since moved on to model the Yamaha CS-80 and Arp2600, to name only two. Amongst all this, it’s interesting to note how important the look and feel of software instruments has become - many promising soft-synths have failed simply because the
InterfaceA device enabling the connection of two or more devices, or types of devices. Examples include MIDI interfaces, for connecting MIDI equipment to a computer, and audio interfaces.
interface
didn’t look right, or was too difficult to use.

Moog

 

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Contents:

[Contents] [History] [Latency] [Software Synthesisers] [Software Sound Modules] [Software Samplers] [Software ROMplers] [Working within CPU Limitations] [Hotdeals] [Conclusion and Feedback]