Boasting a powerful sequencer and a host of built in effects, Zone is an unique sofsynth from Audiaire, a new company from Sample Magic's head honcho Sharooz Raoofi.
Receiving a glowing four and a half stars from us here at Computer Music this “parameter sequencer synthesiser” (as Audiaire themselves put it) is also capable of rich virtual analogue synthesis.
Here we've created a handy step by step guide to help you create warm analogue sounds all without leaving the comfort of your DAW.
Step 1: Let’s create a simple sawtooth patch. Set both Osc 1 and 2 to Saw, then Fine tune both apart by around 2.6 cents for a detuned effect. To shape the amplitude, set the Amp Env up with minimum Attack, maximum Decay and Sustain, and Release at 0.08.
Step 2: Time to bolster and tweak our synth’s tone for maximum density and power. Turn the Sub Oscillator on, raise Level to 0.5, and swap it to a Sine shape for some clean weight; then flip to the Noise tab and turn up the Bacon noise type to halfway, giving the overall tone a crispy, fizzy top end.
Step 3: The Filter’s Cutoff is half-closed by default, so quickly push that up to max to open out the patch’s full range of frequencies. Now to the top-right Unison section: call up 2 Voices, push Unison detune to 0.080, then Spread the two voices out to around 0.5 for stereo flavour. Lush indeed!
Step 4: Next, head to the synth’s four-slot FX section for some reverb-like ambience. In the final FX 4 slot, call up the Rain Drop effect, then set Delay Time to the minimum 0.025s, Feedback to 1% and Mix to 0.15. While we’re here, slightly push up the three-band EQ’s High and Low gain knobs for more fizz and weight.
Step 5: Let’s spice up our saw patch. Head to the Osc Mod section and choose the FM (Exp) mode, which is exponential FM – ie, cross modulation, as found on classic synths like the Roland Jupiter-8. High values give unmusical dissonance, but a subtle Amount below 0.1 results in lush, detuned-style thickness.
Step 6: Sequencing is Zone’s speciality. Drag the Osc Mod Amount’s header bar to the main Sequencer lane and drop it there, creating a sequencer lane to control the parameter. After expanding this lane, draw in slight changes in Osc Mod Amount to create analogue-style fluctuation and drifting – subtle but effective.