16th August 2010
Tactile Sounds has released TS Substance, a virtual analog software synthesizer emphasizing simplicity, flexibility, and sound quality. It's free and is available for Windows as a VST instrument plug-in.
The key factors in the design of Substance were that it would sound great, without effects, and that it would fit on one page. Substance has two of everything: two oscillator sections, two LFOs, two envelopes, two filters.
The oscillator sections were inspired by the architecture of classic analog polysynths, which used multiple oscillators to achieve polyphony, but allowed the oscillators to be combined for a monophonic Unison mode. The oscillators would generally be slightly out of tune with one another, resulting in a rich, chorused sound. Each of Substance's oscillators likewise comprises seven unison voices, with the amount of detuning, and the stereo breadth being addressed by a single parameter, Spread.
The LFOs can be used to modulate almost every parameter of the synth. They can be used to trigger the envelopes, to modulate the frequency and pulse-width of the oscillators, the cutoff frequency of the filters, and the volume of the amplifier. LFO-1 can be switched between free-running, tempo-synced, and key-synced modes.
A manual is included in the download link, detailing the other features. All parameters can be automated. Remote control is available via host mapping or MIDI learn.