Professional Sound - February 2018 - Page 24

PRODUCT TESTS IK Multimedia Syntronik Virtual Synthesizer By Paul Lau S yntronik from IK Multimedia is the holy grail of virtual synth plug-ins, and the company has recently updated its breakthrough offer- ing with some great new features and expanded compatibility. I should say now that I may be slightly biased as at one time or another, I’ve owned a PPG Wave 2.3 as well as Roland, Yamaha, Prophet, and Moog synths like the 38 classic instruments sampled for this package. Let me tell you, this virtual instrument definitely brings back fond memories from over three decades of musical instrument history. Introduction Now, since the age of software emulations of hardware instruments, there have always been the comparisons and arguments of how realistic the virtual sound or sample playback is compared to the original; how- ever, with advancements in the technology behind programming and sampling, I feel that, to a certain degree, the immortalization of these synthesizers via virtual playback has been accomplished and will continue to progress to an even higher sonic quality in the future. With that, I am tremendously impressed with the work and time invested to cap- ture over 70,000 accurate and high-quality samples to the tune of 50 GB of sounds. Call it something of a history lesson in some of the most popular, noteworthy, and unique synths ever created – and one that will bring a host of creative possibilities to your work. Syntronik is made up of a compilation of over 2,000 preset sounds that have been derived from 38 classic synths. These synths have then been divided up into 17 instru- ment categories. For example, there’s the aforementioned PPG wave 2.3 with iconic models from Yamaha, Roland, Moog, Proph- et, Sequential Circuits, and Oberheim, just to name a few. In Use In regards to the advancements in technol- ogy that have made way for the current crop of detailed and realistic virtual instruments, Syntronik showcases IK Multimedia’s new DRIFT technology that emulates the realistic response and sound of analog oscillators by randomly changing the characteristics of the multisamples (similar to the characteristics of the original). This results in very real, natural, and smooth sounds that, in my experience, 24 PROFESSIONAL SOUND are remarkably authentic in relation to the physical keyboards being recreated. The individual interfaces for each of the keyboard models being recreated in the software will look familiar if you’ve ever owned any of these beauties. What’s more, the controls are actually all the same as found on the original hardware versions, yet laid out differently in knob or slider formats. There is a filter section that has the circuit-level filter models of four amazing keyboards, which are the modeled emula- tions of the Moog Ladder, Oberheim State Variable, Curtis CEM3320, and Roland IR3109 resonant filters. Here, we can combine and mix oscillators with different filters to come up with some extraordinary sounds. So when is too much, too much? Or is that ever the case? For me, Syntronik finds the perfect balance with true four-part edit- ability plus multi-stacking and multi-splitting capabilities. Syntronik allows you to stack up to four keyboard parts simultaneously for a really thick combo or a series of differ- ent sounds that are split on each keyboard using between one to four keyboards. The combinations are so open-ended that you’re really only limited by your MIDI channels and creativity. The note and chord arpeggiator allows you to create and/or use the simplest pat- terns to set tempos and grooves based on virtually any style of music. The complexities of creating sequences whether you’re play- ing the notes or drawing them in makes it fast and easy to come up with some pow- erful melodies and bass lines that punch through and can enhance anything you’re working on! IK Multimedia is also well-known for T- RackS, its flagship collection of mixing and mastering processors, and its AmpliTube guitar and bass tone studio, so when it came to including additional effects for Syntronik, the company has included 38 different effects from the T-RackS and AmpliTube worlds. The drag-and-drop chain of effects is fast, effective, and super easy to use, with up to five effects that can be used at the same time and inserted on every instrument. The selection of modulation, dynamics, EQ, filter, distortion, amp, reverb, and delay effects is vast and well worth the price of admission. With so many options for creativity and customization, the program offers a browser that searches using key words or categories to help you find specific features or effects. The user interface is also resizable, which is quite convenient. And if you are familiar with IK’s SampleTank workstation, it can turn Syntronik into an open-ended expandable instrument plug-in with tons of potential. Syntronik sounds amazing, and remarkably true to its source material. It brings the user authentic sounds from classic synths while also providing editable tools that are super easy and inspiring to use. Whether you are a seasoned pro or just finding your legs with in-the-box composition and production, Syn- tronik brings a wide palette of sonic colours to explore and the potential to come up with never-before-heard sounds. This is a valuable tool that can really open up your creativity. Paul Lau B.Sc. Musician/Producer/Film Composer Managing Director of PowerMusic5Records, Member of the Cool Christian Pop Band Scatter17,