Rhythmic Robot has released SpecTone, a chip-music-style synthesiser for Kontakt whose basic tones were sampled from the onboard sound chip of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It costs £2.50.
The Spectrum had a relatively unsophisticated sound chip which makes characteristically 80s-style beeps and boops, exhibiting some obvious aliasing artefacts. It was also capable of a variety of noise-based sounds. Rhythmic Robot's SpecTone samples the basic tone of the sound chip, but adds noise-based "drum" effects of the type often found in Spectrum games of the early to mid 80s. It also adds a secondary oscillator sampled from the vowel sounds of the Spectrum-based Currah MicroSpeech speech synthesiser (also available in sampled form as SpecTalk, from Rhythmic Robot). These vowel sounds can be treated as separate tones that can be blended with the Spectrum's basic chip tone.
SpecTone puts instantly familiar early 80s computer tones into the sonic toolkit of the producer, either for local colour in other styles of music, or to complement chip-music style productions. It provides additional control in the form of an ADSR envelope, onboard effects (including a filter to tame aliasing artefacts), and velocity control of noise samples.
- Sinclair ZX Spectrum sound chip samples at 24-bit.
- Further samples of the Currah MicroSpeech vowel sounds, with blend control.
- 5 vowel sounds can be selected, with or without vibrato.
- "Drum" sounds in the form of pitched and noise-based samples from the Spectrum.
- ADSR envelope allow pad-style sounds.
- Onboard effects include Drive, Compression, Filter and Bit-crushing.
SpecTone is available now from Rhythmic Robot, priced £2.50. It requires Kontakt version 4.2.3 or above (including all versions of Kontakt 5); Kontakt Player is not supported.