Orbit synth promises "a fresh approach to sound design"

On a day when our eyes are focused on the heavens, it's perhaps appropriate that Wide Blue Sound has announced Orbit, a new software instrument that promises to enable you to create "a wide range of pulses, textures, timbres, rhythms, and distinctive musical ambiences". It was conceived by film, TV and video game composer Jeff Rona and runs in Kontakt 5 (a version that's compatible with the free Kontakt 5 Player is in the works, apparently).

It works by continuously rotating and crossfading through four programmable sound sources known as Orbits. You can specify how long each Orbit sounds for (the range is from a 32nd note to four bars), and each one can have its own level, pitch, pan and filter settings. Many Orbit sounds will last for more than a minute before repeating (they don't restart at the beginning each time), and their timbres will change over time.

You can also choose the manner in which each Orbit fades or cuts into the next. In Flow mode, the transition is seamless; Pulse mode is for rhythmic sound design; and Chop is for stuttered musical styles. You have control over various parameters for each of these modes, so you can adjust the nature of the crossfade and the spacing between sounds.

Effects and sequencing

Other features include an effects section - this offers delay, chorus, flange and distortion processors and a convolution engine - and four independent sequencers that enable you to modulate virtually every parameter in the instrument.

"Modern music often relies on sophisticated textures, ambience and pulsing rhythms," says Jeff Rona. "Until now it has been very difficult and time-consuming to produce this kind of deep, abstract sound yourself. With Orbit we have created a deceptively simple but powerful musical tool that opens up a fresh new world of modern sound and rhythm. I certainly wish I had a tool like this when I've been under a heavy deadline!"

Orbit will be released on 25 March and sold via the Wide Blue Sound website. Its full price is $200, but it will be offered at the discounted price of $150 until 15 April, with further reductions available for students and anyone who Likes or Shares the Wide Blue Sound Facebook page.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

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.