With praise still ringing in their ears for their soundtracking of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, it’s been a big year for Underworld. Here, the band’s DJ and engineer Darren Price tells us which soft synths he likes to keep close at hand.
For a rundown of the synths you need to own in 2012, plus a heap of invaluable tutorials, check out Computer Music Specials (issue 55) - Top 10 Synths - which is on sale now.
Darren Price: “This is the one I use most in the studio. It’s an inspiration to use, and it makes it easy to create new, fresh and fat sounds that really cut through. It also has a fantastic arpeggiator and chord memory. I liked impOSCar2 so much I hassled the makers for one of the rare hardware controllers!”
“The ultimate sound design tool, Iris lets you make first-class ambient soundscapes from any sample. It’s really fun to use - you just draw your waveforms like you’re in art class at school.”
Native Instruments Komplete
“I was going to say Reaktor, but Komplete includes my other favourites like Massive, Absynth, FM8 and Razor. Check out Tim Exile’s Reaktor plug-in, The Mouth - an outstanding vocoder synth.”
“Designed by Eric Persing, one of the masters of the game, Omnisphere is a super-powered synth with very high-quality samples - these guys know how to sample! Load a choir preset, play a few notes on your keyboard, close your eyes and it’s like the choir is right there in the studio. A very impressive achievement.”
Rob Papen SubBoomBass
“This one goes lower than low. There are presets that make my cup move across the table if I turn it up loud enough! It’s not just for bass, though - there’s a vast array of other stuff like deep tribal toms and percussion as well as leads and pads.”
GForce Virtual String Machine
“Loaded up with emulations of Oberheim, Moog, RP and all the other synths that are virtually impossible to find nowadays, Virtual String Machine is like taking a virtual trip back in time. As someone who’s lucky enough to own most of the real synths, I’ve done some A-B comparisons, and the results have been surprisingly good.”
Darren Price will be touring with Underworld later this year as well as releasing his own material and touring as a DJ.