The Cat came back: Cherry Audio gets its claws into a ‘70s synth classic as it releases a plugin emulation

Released in 1976, the Octave Cat was a biting analogue synth in the vein of the Arp Odyssey, but came at a significantly lower price. Now Cherry Audio has collaborated with Carmine Bonanno, the instrument’s original designer, to release a plugin version.

The software emulation replicates the Cat’s dual-oscillator design, and also brings you its aggressive resonant filter, flexible modulation system, oscillator cross-mod and oscillator sync. Enhancements include expanded 16-voice polyphony - the original was duophonic - sample and hold glide, built-in effects and a dual-step sequencer.

You also get MPE support, more than 300 presets and extensive MIDI mapping features. There's more than one way to skin this Cat, too: you can make it look like either the Mark 1 or SRM version of the hardware.

Carmine Bonanno says that,  as well as sounding just as good as his original synth, the new plugin “goes way beyond what a hardware CAT is capable of.” Explaining further, he adds that “on a hardware Cat, you can't save a patch, you can't control modulation with an external MIDI controller, you don't have full polyphony, etc." Cherry Audio's enhancements, he believes, make the plugin “incredibly more versatile than a hardware Cat."

If a real Cat is what you’re looking for, Behringer has a keyboard-free desktop clone that can also be used in a Eurorack setup.

The Octave Cat plugin runs on PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats and is available now priced at $49 (regular price will be $69). Find out more and download a demo on the Cherry Audio website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects… image
Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
…with the latest issue of Computer Music magazine