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  • Products of Interest

Ableton Operator Synthesis Engine for Live 4

Ableton has created a new, integrated synthesis engine for the latest version of Live, the company's loop-based music production software (see CMJ 26/3). Live centers around improvisation and on-the-fly manipulation of phrases, melodies, and loops. Multi-track recording, MIDI sequencing, sampling, software instruments, audio and MIDI effects, automation of all effects and mix parameters, and extensive synchronization capabilities are just some of the functionality provided by this application. The missing component for users until now has been the ability to include synthesized audio alongside their MIDI and audio loops and tracks.

At the core of Operator is a set of four oscillators, a multi-mode filter, a Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO), and a set of seven envelopes. The oscillators have been designed to facilitate subtractive and FM synthesis. The four oscillators offer a choice of different waveforms including some that include aliasing to mimic vintage hardware synthesizers. All of the oscillators can be used to modulate other oscillators. A graphic representation of the routing of the oscillators aids the user in combining them in various parallel and series configurations (see Figure 1). A global Tone control is available to quickly change the timbre of a sound and a global Time control affects the length of envelopes.

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Figure 1.

Ableton Operator oscillator controls and routing interface.

The resonant multi-mode filter in Operator features low-, high-, band-pass and notch filter settings. An LFO can be used to modulate the main four oscillators or can be used as a fifth oscillator. There are seven envelopes provided for the four oscillators, the LFO, the filter, and pitch. The pitch envelope can be used to modulate the oscillator and the LFO, and each of the envelopes has loop, beat, and synchronization features. Among the further functions in the synthesis engine are a chorus effect, a polyphonic glide, and further expressive modulation features.

As Operator is fully integrated into Live 4, the automation, parameter mapping, clip envelopes, routing, and MIDI and audio effects available for recording audio and MIDI are also available for manipulating the synthesized sounds.

Ableton Live 4 is listed for US$ 499, with various upgrade options for existing users. Operator is listed for US$ 149. Contact: Ableton, Schön-hauser Allee 6-7, D-10119 Berlin, Germany; telephone (+49) 302-887 630; fax (+49) 302-887-6311; electronic mail; Web

Arturia ARP2600 V Virtual Analog Synthesizer

Arturia has developed a virtual analog synthesizer based on the venerable analog synthesizer, the ARP 2600. The software synthesizer, the ARP2600 V, has all the functionality of the original hardware version with added MIDI control, up to 32-voice polyphony, and various signal processing effects. Designed to work as a stand-alone application or as a virtual instrument, the ARP2600 V is compatible with VST, RTAS, AU, and DXi systems. The digital software synthesizer is capable of sampling rates up to 96 kHz and bit-rates up to 64 bits (floating point) audio.

This virtual analog synthesizer comprises three main parts: the synthesizer, the sequencer, and the software keyboard controller. Seventy-three parameters can be controlled on the synthesizer, ranging from synthesis oscillator controls to effects settings. The synthesizer can be played using a MIDI keyboard, and full MIDI control of faders, knobs, and switches is available.

The synthesizer section (see Figure 2) of the ARP2600 V consists of 3 Voltage Controlled Oscillators (VCOs), a Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA), a sample and hold operator, ADSR and AR envelopes, an envelope follower, a ring modulator, a tracker, a low-pass filter, a multi-mode filter, a noise generator, a chorus unit, a stereo delay unit, and a mixer. The envelopes can be used to modulate both filters and amplifiers. The tracker (see Figure 3) is used to draw waveforms that can be used as modulation [End Page 109] sources as well. The filters available include a low-pass resonant 24-dB filter and a multi-mode 12-dB filter with low-, high-, band-pass and notch options. The stereo delay can be synchronized via...


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