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Straightliner is a straight-lined subtractive synthesizer in a modern guise. If you like the easy and intuitive feel of subtractive synthesis but are not excited by reverb-drenched virtual-analog arpeggios, then Straightliner is the synth for you.
You will find the well known building blocks of classic analog synthesizers (4 oscillators, a filter, 3 envelope generators) patched together in the traditional way. However, in Straightliner, these building blocks offer much more flexibility than commonly seen in virtual analog synthesizers: Instead of relying on a set of fixed waveforms, the oscillators support loading of arbitrary (single cycle) audio files which may be manipulated in various ways. The waveforms may even be in stereo and if they are not, they can internally be stereoized by some of the waveform-manipulation facilities. In turn, the whole signal path is laid out in stereo which allows for wide and enveloping sounds even without application of any effects.
The standard ADSR model for envelopes is replaced by a flexible modulation generator which allows to define an arbitrary number of breakpoints - by defining a sustain-loop, these modulators can also take over the role of LFOs. The heart of subtractive synthesizers is the filter, of course. In this department, Straightliner offers a multimode filter with 15 modes, among them a sophisticated Moog model.
The user interface of the synth focuses on visual editors optimized for editing on screen with a mouse instead of the commonly seen hardware oriented interfaces. These visual editors don't just 'sketch' the resulting curves but exactly represent what is being generated in a 'what you see is what you get' manner.
- 4 alias-free Oscillators, each of which may load a stereo or mono single cycle wave file (.wav or .flac). Waveforms can be manipulated in various ways, including stereoization facilities for mono waveforms.
- Full stereo signal path for wide and enveloping sounds right from the start even without any effects.
- Multimode filter with 15 modes, among them a sophisticated Moog model.
- 3 flexible modulation generators for pitch, filter-frequency and amplitude, with an arbitrary number of breakpoints and 9 options for the shape in between any pair of breakpoints.
- Support of microtuning via import of .tun files.
- Hierarchical preset management to let you load and save presets not only for the synth as a whole but also separately for each relevant building block to easily hybridize your patches.
- Intuitive WYSIWYG user interface to let you comprehend patches at a glance - optimized for use with screen and mouse rather than mimicking hardware.
Reviewed By goldenanalog
January 7, 2012
I agree with the previous reviewer that this soft synth deserves greater recognition! Perhaps this soft can best be described as a function generator in the disguise of a synth; at it's core, it's an exceptionally powerful wave-shaping engine that extends the oscillator and envelope toolsets in bold and beautiful ways. And it sounds fantastic! Some may not like the GUI because of the lack of eye-candy (no knobs, for one thing); but I found Straightliner's GUI fast, easy, fun, and very readable causing no distraction as I manipulated the synth's parameters. The waveform displays provide the user with immediate feedpack to adjustments made to many of the oscillator parameters; and there's a large osc parameter list to work with! It really does feel like you're playing with pieces of string that directly represent the oscillator waveforms; I would guess that with enough knowledge and practice, you could make almost any waveform shape that you could think up! It should be noted that Straightliner uses flac and XML file formats which are well known and widely used.
Yes, indeed, this is the golden age of the soft-synth industry-many of the soft synths that we all know and love are produced and supported by micro companies like rs-met.
Bottom Line: Straightliner is a found treasure, a jewel. It won't capture you with a gadget-filled, breath-takingly gorgeous GUI-it doesn't have one of those; But what it does provide the user with is complete, and noteably the oscillator and envelope toolsets are superb; really well though-out. And to repeat for emphasis: The sound of Straightliner is excellent!
A solid 10/10Read more
Reviewed By Aroused by JarJar
December 30, 2011
What, no review of Straightliner yet?
Most underrated VST synthesizer- just listen to the demo sounds at the rs-met site. One of the handful of software synths that does not need to be hyped with effects to keep up with real acoustic and analog sounds in the mix, or need these sounds to be watered down. But easily toned down to smooth padding if that is what you need because its strong presence is not due to harshness, but to clarity. Very expressive envelopes, smooth filters. Countless waveform possibilities. Far more sound design possibilities than first meet the eye- the envelopes and osc. parameters under "more" are key.
Great no-nonsense GUI. In fact, a no-nonsense synthesizer. The price is a mere token, if you are familiar with the prices of instruments with quality sound.
Only the lack of a true noise source keeps me from giving Straightliner a 10.
My first experience playing synthesizers in a public concert was with an Arp Odyssey- and it was not a "vintage" synth at that time. I still have hardware, including the original discrete analog Vermona monosynth and a Moog Theremin. Primarily I use Csound and acoustic instruments. Straightliner is the only VST synthesizer I still use, after trying and owning many, since VST first began.Read more