Named because it’s designed to offer inspiration and help you generate ideas when you’re in a creative rut, Toneworks’ Catalyst is a new MIDI plugin that offers sequencing, harmonising and an arpeggiator, and can even host synth plugins.
Toneworks sees Catalyst as an alternative to an empty piano roll, and one that’s a whole lot more creative. Choose a root note and scale and you’ll never stumble on any ‘wrong’ notes, no matter how limited your knowledge of music theory.
Your first stop is likely to be the monophonic step sequencer. This enables you to create patterns of up to 32 steps long, and each step has its own pitch, velocity and gate time controls. Five pattern slots enable you to store different ideas and variations.
The harmonizer, meanwhile, can generate full chords from single notes. It will only ever play the seven fundamental chords in the selected key, but you can add 6th, 7th and 9th notes and change inversions to create more interesting progressions and smoother chord transitions. You can also select the number of notes in each chord.
You can then turn to the arpeggiator, which will create single notes patterns from your chords. You can design your own arpeggio patterns of up to 32 steps long, and there are various functions that you can use to add further interest.
Each of the aforementioned modules can be switched on or off, so you can use them individually or in any combination. MIDI from your DAW is always routed to the first active module, and you can also send MIDI out.
As well as being a VST/AU plugin, Catalyst is also a VST/AU host, which means that you can load a synth right into it and send MIDI notes to it. There are also dedicated parameter sequencers that can be used for parameter automation in your hosted soft synth.
Catalyst runs on PC and Mac and is currently available for the introductory price of €49 (regular price will be €79). Find out more and download a demo on the Toneworks website.