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 Cycle by Amaranth Audio is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin for Windows and Mac OS X. It functions as a VST Plugin and an Audio Units Plugin.
Cycle
Cycle Cycle
Product Cycle
Developer Amaranth Audio
Price (MSRP) $149
Type / Tags
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Instrument(s)  
Operating System Availability
Operating
System
Latest
Version
Download Released
 1.6  Downloads Released
System Requirements
2 GHz CPU
4GB RAM
 1.6  Downloads Released
System Requirements
2 GHz CPU
4GB RAM
OS X 10.6+
Supported Sample Formats (loads or saves) include
AIFF, WAV, WAV Impulse Responses
Audio Demos
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionSerial Number

Cycle is the fusion of wave-draw and spectral synthesis techniques. With this instrument, a voice is processed in single-cycle units, starting with the user-drawn wave-shape. Each cycle of the tone is analysed in realtime for its spectral content, producing a harmonic and phase spectrum that are independently filtered or added to by spectral curves.

The geometry that creates wave-shapes and spectral curves has 8 states* to morph between, allowing exquisitely dynamic sounds. Giving these curves many attractive properties is a proprietary, audio-specific curve design.

Cycle's multi-point envelopes, waveshaper, and impulse response convolution effect leverage this curve design, benefiting from its extreme smoothness, flexibility, and ease of use. Envelopes can transform between 4 states*; for example, a volume envelope could morph as a function of note velocity - it could be a slow legato curve for soft notes, tremolo for medium velocity, and a quick decay for loud notes.

As the synthesis process relies on geometry in all areas, Cycle provides an integrated environment to create and edit the geometry, much like a CAD application. Most of the workflow is concentrated on a single page. The robust set of workflow tools includes freehand drawing, curve-fitting, smart line addition, multiple point selection, box selection, x/y-scaling, and full undo.

As you edit any knob or piece of geometry, the UI gives immediate, accurate visual feedback of the updated signal's spectral content and waveform surface. This aids the process of modelling target sounds and helps understand the audible impact of changes you make.

Cycle supports loading audio samples to see their spectral qualities and waveform surface. Importantly, this feature is only for sound design reference; there is no resynthesis (which limits flexibility). All demos of the instrument are hand-crafted presets.

For a more detailed, visual overview, see here.

* More accurately, they have unlimited states, but 2 or 3 dimensions (or degrees of freedom). By default this means 4 and 8 states respectively, like the corners of a square and cube, but the geometry can be subdivided to create more.

User Interface:

  • Waveform and spectral visualization of output sound, updated in real time as you edit.
  • Most workflow concentrated on single page.
  • Immediate preview of menu content (meshes, shapes, envelopes) on hover.
  • Resizing of entire UI as well as of internal panels.
  • 'Player' UI mode for quick loading and minimal memory usage.
  • Helpful mouseover messages and usage hints in console.
  • OpenGL acceleration for high graphic performance.
  • Standalone application provided in addition to plugin, for easier content creation.
  • Knobs and sliders tuned for greatest sensitivity in the most useful ranges.
  • Immediately audible feedback editing (to wave-shapes, spectrum, impulses, etc) on playing notes.

Sound Generation:

  • Waveform, harmonic magnitude and phase geometry surfaces.
  • Unlimited mesh layers per surface.
  • Per-layer panning for true stereo sounds.
  • Either additive or multiplicative nature (for magnitude layers).
  • Dynamic range adjustment (for magnitude and phase layers).
  • Easy formant filtering.
  • Up to 16x oversampling for waveform-layers.

Editing Workflow:

  • Proximity vertex selection / deselection.
  • Smart line creation logic helps minimize work.
  • Collision detection for lines to prevent unwanted overlapping.
  • Line path deforming for irregular paths.
  • Destructive editing operations: slice, connect, merge, extrude, delete.
  • Undo history for all edits.
  • Non-destructive tools: group select, move, vertical & horizontal stretch.
  • Easy curve sharpness adjustment by dragging curve.
  • Freeform drawing tool for creating new paths or for snap existing vertices to.
  • Wave-file loading, pitch tracking, and rendering for easy modelling reference.

Curve Design:

  • Meticulously crafted for audio purpose.
  • For wave-shapes, curve has cyclical symmetry to prevent discontinuities.
  • All standard wave-shapes are easy to create with few points.
  • Sharpness of curve is adjustable at any vertex.
  • Very smooth with a minimum of C³ continuity.
  • Easy to use—moving a vertex affects only its local region, not other parts of the curve.

Effects:

  • Programmable waveshaper with up to 8x oversampling.
  • Impulse response convolution designer graphically creates impulses of up to 16384 samples in length.
  • Automatic modelling (vectorization) of impulse audio samples.
  • Delay with revolving pan.
  • 10-voice unison with phase and detune jitter for smooth leads.
  • Reverb.
  • Basic EQ.

Presets & Browser:

  • Over 160 high quality factory presets.
  • Preset rating, tagging, sorting, revision counting.
  • Integrated preset sharing / downloading from central server.
  • Multi-keyword search looks through all text fields to narrow down list to specific author, tag, or keyword.

Installer:

  • Provides multiple install locations for any combination of applicable plugin types (AU/VST, 32/64-bit).
  • Remembers information for simplified installation of updates.
  • Easy serial number entry by copying serial string to clipboard.
Discussion: Active

Discussion

7 March 2014 at 5:35amrustman

This looks fascinating so I immediately grabbed the Win64 demo. Unfortunately, it crashes Cubase 7.5 64-bit on my machine immediately as soon as I load it on an instrument track. After some fiddling, I was able to get the standalone working. To be fair, I use a Roland Quad Capture and it has been notorious from day one for requiring a restart constantly. Although I only spent a short time listening to some presets, I must say that I love the look of the GUI, and there are some interesting sounds on tap, with tremendous potential for creativity. I hope this instrument evolves, as it looks to be off to a good start.

25 March 2014 at 8:27amKrakatau

i bought it recently and totally agree in saying it has a tremendeous potential for creativity, though i'm still a bit lost because the concept is truly innovative and needs some serious efforts for correct handling in a sound design purpose...luckily, no problens of stability on my macs (macmini and imac) so far...

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