Forget your famous Yamahas and Rolands because Cherry Audio's next soft synth emulation is not an icon, more a rarity, being based on a vintage Korg machine of which just 50 were produced.
But it's fair to say that most of the synth greats have now been emulated in software, so it must be hard for developers like CA to find new targets.
One such strata worth mining is that of the super-rare hardware synth, and that's where Cherry Audio has focused its attention with its latest release, the PS-3300. It's a recreation of a Korg PS-3300, of which only 50 hardware units were ever made.
This 1977 monster synth was apparently once described as "the best synthesizer for fat sounds" by Bob Moog. Not the greatest PR exercise in that his own Minimoog was supposed to be that very synth, but either way, that is some endorsement.
With such limited numbers of the original synth available it has also led some to say that the Korg PS-3300 is "the Holy Grail of gear" but, frankly, if anyone ever uses "the Holy Grail of…" phrase ever again, it will be too soon.
Needless to say, with Cherry Audio's expertise at recreating these kinds of classic synths - the company always scores well in our reviews - this should be an exacting emulation of the original synth. It includes three signal generator panels, each of which is effectively a polysynth with six waveform oscillators, a couple of LFOs, low-pass filters, envelopes, and amps.
And what modern day software developer wouldn't take the opportunity to sprinkle in some 2023 extras? You get two different filter options (PS or MS), tempo sync, copy/paste between panels, and temperament tuning presets. CA has also expanded the front panel with more sound shaping controls plus chorus, delay and reverb effects.
Cherry Audio managed this recreation thanks to the Electronic Music Education and Preservation Project (EMEAPP) which allowed it full access to its own vintage PS-3300.
The organisation's role is to "share the history, artists, sounds, equipment, and technology of electronic and rock music, keeping it relevant and accessible for future generations," and as such it owns a number of iconic machines. Several Holy Grails, no doubt. Oops.
CA's PS-3300 has 360 presets (by sound designers James Terris, INHALT, and Drew Schlesinger) plus a legacy set of sounds from the original PS-3300 owner's manual.
We should finally add that CA's PS-3300 is not the first Korg PS-3300 emulation of the year. Full Bucket Audio announced a similar 3300 clone, the FB-3300, a few years ago, and we rate that as one of the best free synth plugins around.
That said, Cherry Audio's version is not a great deal more. The AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone PS-3300 synth is available for a launch price of just $49 (normally $69), which is certainly a little cheaper than the close to $100,000 that an original PS-3300 recently sold for.
More info from Cherry Audio's website.