Virtual variety from Softube
By Sound On Sound
New virtual instruments from Softube: a recreation of Valley People's 1980s Dyna-mite limiter/expander (top), the physical-modelling Rings for Modular resonator (below left) and sample-based synth Parallels (below right).
The latest instruments from Softube, makers of the Modular virtual Eurorack environment, exemplify the 'always experimenting' ethos for which the Swedish developers are known: there's an emulation of a classic but quirky (some say impossible to use) hardware processor from the early 1980s, the Valley People Dyna-mite limiter/expander, a new physical modelling software Eurorack instrument, Rings, which is only available for Modular, and Parallels, an easy-to-use, 14-voice sample-based soft-synth.
The Softube version of the Dyna-mite is available in VST, AU, AAX and Console 1 formats for $149, and will apparently recreate the vintage device in all of its inscrutable glory if required. However, in the interests of making the Dyna-mite more approachable, you can also access the modelled processor via two simplified windows, Dyna-mite Slam (which houses the original Dyna-mite's compressor/limiter functions) and Dyna-mite Gate (which handles gating and expansion).
Rings, meanwhile, is a ‘multi-resonator’ plug-in for the Modular environment which allows users to create virtual resonant plates, strings, membranes and tubes, define modes and points of vibration, and then excite the models with noise-based impulses or external audio sources. Rings can apparently produce sounds ranging from those of plucked and bowed string instruments to drones and percussion. It costs $39.
Sounds in Parallels begin with the output of the dual sample-based oscillators. There are just under 100 source waveforms, sampled from classic synths of all kinds, and playback can be be started from any point in the sample and freely looped. Three modelled analogue filter types and five types of modulation can be applied for sound-shaping, and the results can be passed through up to five types of effects (including distortion, delay and reverb) before output. The plug-in, which is available for $149 in VST, VST3, Audio Units and AAX Native formats, ships with hundreds of presets, some by well-known artists and sound designers including BT and Richard Devine.