We’ve seen plenty of physical modelling instruments in software down the years, but not so many in hardware. Steampipe is designed to mimic the way that sound is generated by wind instruments, strings, pipe organs and more, and has three major sections.
First up, there’s Steam, which mimics a musician’s lungs and mouth. More specifically, it simulates airflow, with the envelope section determining the force with which air is blown out. DC/noise refers to the sound that’s generated when ‘blowing out’ - this can be replaced with an external audio source if you wish.
The Pipe section, meanwhile, is akin to a flute. It’s here that the tone is formed, with the delay box subsection adjusting the tuning and shape. Finally, we have the Reverberator, which is used to add space and ambience.
Steampipe has been optimised for use with MIDI wind controllers but can also be played using a conventional MIDI keyboard. There are plenty of “organic and rich” presets, and you can create all kinds of “sonic imagery” that ranges “from wisps of cloud to fairground band organs, then to industrial horns of the railroad and finally, to massive, otherworldly ambiences.”
Find out more on the Erica Synths website.