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 Z3TA+ by Cakewalk is a Virtual Instrument and a Virtual Effect Audio Plugin and a Mobile Audio App. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
z3ta+
Product Z3TA+
Developer Cakewalk
Price (MSRP)
No Longer Available
Type / Tags
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Instrument(s)    
Effect(s) 
Operating System Availability
Operating
System
Latest
Version
Download Released
 
2.1
 
Downloads Released
 
2.1.2
 
Downloads Released
 
1.3.2
 
Downloads Released
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionSerial Number
Important Note
Mac version is VST 3 and AU. Win version is VST 2.

Synth Page

Oscillators Section:

  • 32-bit wavetable synthesis with three interpolation modes (DRAFT, NQ, HQ).
  • Full Stereo processing.
  • 6 Oscillators, 60 built-in waveforms, 10 user loadable waveforms, PWM capable in all oscillators with any waveform.
  • Loadable Wavetable Sets: Programs using different wavetable sets can be mixed in a bank. z3ta+ will find and load the appropriate wavetable set when the program is selected on-the-fly.
  • Loadable Oscillator USER Waveforms: z3ta+ can load the USER oscillator waveforms 1 to 6 from standard wave files (.wav). Up to six individual waveforms can be loaded per program, and then transformed by using the shaper as the internal waveform set. It is possible to load different waveforms in each preset. z3ta+ will find and reload the used waveforms when the program is selected on-the-fly. The wave files must be mono, up to 64k samples, in any samplerate.
  • 64 voice polyphonic (CPU dependant) with polyphony limiter and Intelligent Voice Allocation (no clicks when maximum polyphony is exceeded).
  • Full Stereo processing.
  • 6 Oscillators, 60 built-in waveforms, 10 user loadable waveforms, PWM capable in all oscillators with any waveform.
  • Independent Waveshaper for each oscillator with 14 wave transformations: WARP, TWIST, MULTIPOINT, WAVE, SYMMETRY, DRIVE, WAVE, OFFSET, SHRINK, SELFSYNC, BIT REDUCTION, HIPASS and LOWPASS filters, , DC-OFFSET and WINDOW, all fully band limited and real-time capable.
  • Full Legato mode when operation is monophonic.
  • Circular inter-oscillator modulation.
  • Ring modulation, Hard Sync, PM and FM modes for any oscillator.
  • MULTI mode for any oscillator, which turns any oscillator in 8 oscillators (4 stereo oscillators) with adjustable detune.
  • Octave (-5 to +5 oct), Transpose (-12 to +12 semi), Detune (-50 to +50 cent) and Phase (0 to 360 deg) controls for each oscillator.
  • Key sync and Free Running, Normal or Inverted, with or without keyboard tracking modes for any oscillator.
  • Main Transpose, Main Tune controls.
  • Oscillator random tune control with per-oscillator generator.
  • Adjustable Punch control (drum machine-like DC burst).
  • Individual settings for Pitch Bend Up and Down (-12 to +12 semi).
  • 4 Pitch Bend modes: Normal, Up, Down and Hold notes.
  • 4 monophonic/polyphonic Portamento modes: Normal and Fingered, Fixed and Variable time.
  • Two mixing busses for oscillators outputs.
  • Individual Level/Modulation amount control.

Filters Section:

  • 2 Filters, 10 Filter Modes: 12dB/oct LPF/HPF/BPF/BRF, 24dB/oct LPF/HPF/BPF/BRF, 36dB/oct LPF, formant.
  • Individual Cutoff, Resonance, Resonance Boost, Pan, Level and Limiter controls for each filter.

LFO Section:

  • 6 Morphing capable LFOs, 4 global, 2 local (per-voice), all host Tempo Sync capable.
  • 60 Waveforms, 10 user waveforms.
  • Individual Offset, Delay, Fade In, Morph Time, Speed, Tempo Sync and Key Sync mode controls.
  • 10 LFO combination modes: MORPH, ADD, IADD, SUB, ISUB, MUL, MIN, MAX, HALF1, HALF2.

EG Section:

  • Eight 6-stage envelope generators, 1 bipolar, 6 unipolar, 1 main Amp EG, all with adjustable positive or negative amount.
  • Individual Delay, Attack Time, Slope Time, Slope Level, Decay Time, Sustain Level, Release Time controls.
  • Individual Attack, Slope, Decay and Release shape controls with 3 shapes (linear, slow, fast).

Modulation Matrix:

  • 16 row modulation matrix with Source, Range (min/max), Curve, Control and Destination options.
  • 24 modulation sources, including all LFOs, EGs, Attack and Release velocity, Unipolar and Bipolar keyboard tracking, internal functions and polyphony.
  • Min and Max modulation adjustable.
    12 modulation curves, including Linear, Slow, Fast with normal and reverse polarity, and four pitch curves.
  • Over 200 modulation controls, including all EGs, unipolar and bipolar Pitch Bend, channel and polyphonic Aftertouch, Modulation Wheel, Breath, all MIDI CCs, velocity, unipolar and bipolar keyboard tracking, audio input and X-Y pad.
  • Over 60 destinations, including Pitch, PW, Levels, Routing, Pan, LFO and EG parameters, Functions, and many FX parameters.

Effects Page

Drive Section:

  • 6 Drive modes, including Soft/Hard drive, Valve Amp, Smart Shaper and Heavy Metal (local plus global drive stage), individually selectable for both filters.
  • Stereo Decimator (lo-fi).
  • Tone, Drive and output Level controls.

Modulation Section:

  • 9 Mode Modulation section, full stereo operation (except when mono modes are selected).
  • Modulation speed sync'able to host Tempo.
  • 3 modulation waveforms.
  • Broad range of Chorus, Flanger and Phaser effects available, including mono/stereo chorus, flanger and phaser, 6-voice chorus, Quad phaser.
  • Delay, Speed, modulation Depth, Feedback, 2-band Modulation Equalizer with selectable modes and Level controls.

Compressor Section:

  • 3 Mode dedicated compressor, with Threshold, Ratio, Gain and output Level controls.
  • Delay Section.
  • 3 individual stereo delay lines, with Time (L & R), Delay, Feedback and Level controls.
  • Multi mode 3-band EQ inserted in the feedback loop, with 6 EQ modes.
  • Tempo Sync capable.

Reverb Section:

  • Full stereo reverb.
  • 4 Reverb modes, including Small Room, Mid Hall, Big Hall and Plate.
  • Size, Damp, Lo, Hi and Wet/Dry controls.

Eq Section:

  • Full stereo eq.
  • 7 band equalizer with 11 equalizer modes (Wide 1/2/3, Half 1/2/3, Low, Lo/Mid, Mid, Mid/Hi, Hi).
  • Simulator Section.
  • Stereo Cabinet-Amp simulator, with 19 different preset simulations.

Main Effect Section:

  • Stereo Main Limiter.

Graphic User Interface:

  • 2 page, 3 deployable windows (Shaper, X-Y Pad, Spectral Analyzer), several subsections display.
  • Graphics by bitplant.
  • Inertial sliders, menu-driven multi lists, fast page selectors.
  • Sound Preview ribbon at bottom, variable velocity (y position), MIDI transmit to host (VST).
  • Polyphony indicator.
  • Master Volume and Limiter controls, output VU meter.
  • Full mouse wheel support.
  • Focus-capable controls, full PC-Keyboard support.

X-Y Pad:

  • Deployable X-Y pad with random mode via right-click, assignable as CONTROL in the modulation matrix.

Programs / Banks:

  • Bank and Program selector, Program up/down, Program Name display/editor.
  • 6 banks (A-F), 768 program capacity, 128 factory presets.
  • Saves and Loads standard.fxb and.fxp files.
  • Compressed bank file format, to save space in song/bank files.
  • All settings saved in the song.
  • Copy/Paste/Initialise program utilities.
  • Auto-load of Default file, utility to save Default File.

MIDI Learn:

  • All controls are MIDI Learnable, with adjustable min/max/reverse status via right-click.
  • Multiple MIDI CC#'s are possible to be assigned to same control, multiple controls can be attached to one MIDI CC#.
Latest User Reviews Average user rating of 4.61 from 28 reviews

Reviewed By romanred
December 11, 2013

So happy when this was ported to Mac.

The interface feels very intuitive and with a little time you can get it to sound great for non-trance applications.

Highly recommended.

Read more

Reviewed By digitalboytn
November 17, 2011

I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying using z3ta+ 2...

I've had all of Rene's synths since back in the RGC days and they have always been special creations for me...

We know that he's a genius and his ideas are groundbreaking and inspiring...

But I must say that the new mechanics who worked on z3ta+ 2 have done a wonderful job in both paying homage to the original and bringing some new features to the table and everything is working perfectly for me...

I like the new library system and the GUI layout - both a big improvement on the original...It's easier to "drive" the new model......

The architecture of the synth engine is very similar to the original,but there's some new coding in there and the synth engine sounds better ...Top marks

The new filters and all the extra doo dahs are so cool and once again they sound great....

z3ta+ has always had a great vibe - it's got character and a real "mojo" about it and the new version loses none of that vibe...It's sounds great by itself and it's got attitude in the mix......


z3ta+ 2 makes many other soft synths out there sound soft alright ! Like limp lettuce :)

This synth is really deep and extremely versatile...Loading a few waveforms can transform it into whatever you want it to be - as Francesco showed us with the Virus mod...So cool and so many great possibilities...

Thanks to all involved at Cakewalk for the great work and especially to Rene for the original inspiration...

EDIT 12/18/2012

I'm using Z3TA+2 almost every day and the deeper I dig into it,the more I like it...

It doesn't do everything,but what it does,it does very well :)

It's one of my main workhorses and it would be an asset for anyone involved in synthesis and music production...

This one's a classic and it deserves the highest rating that I can give it...

Read more

Reviewed By Xenos
August 26, 2011

User Interface:

I quite like the way everything is laid out, especially in version 2.0, where the new GUI is larger, easier to read, and has a far better visual representation of what you are actually doing. At first, Z3ta can be intimidating to use, but with some practice, you'll "get" it pretty quickly, then programming new sounds becomes a piece of cake.
The Modulation Matrix behaves differently than in most synths, and that is the part that takes some getting used to. For example, in order to route the modulation wheel to close filter 1, it's not as simple as simply slapping "Modwheel" as the source, and "filter 1 cutoff" as the destination, then entering a negative value in the range slot. You have to put "ON" as the source, set "Filter 1 Cutoff" as destination like you normally would, THEN...you have to select a negative curve under the CURVE slot, select "Modwheel" under the CONTROL slot, then finally enter a POSITIVE value in the RANGE slot. Whew!! Man, oh man...when I first got Z3ta, I was tearing my hair out in frustration just trying to figure that out! The thing is, with added complexity like this comes added power. You can adjust the curve in how that filter modulation behaves. Select "Slow -" in the CURVE slot and then when you move the modwheel, the filter will close in a logarithmic fashion instead of a linear one.

Sound:

It ain't an Access Virus and it ain't Sylenth. It's Z3ta. It has it's own sound to it and I definitely like it very much. You can run the entire range from warm and analog all the way up to brittle, cold and digital. However you program it, with enough dedication to learning its features, you should be able to nail whatever sound you're looking for with at least 95% accuracy. Pay particular attention to the filter buses to get those lush, wide stereo sounds. Hell, let's take it further: with that and 6 oscillators, who needs a chorus effect? Combine the filter buses, some LFO action on the pitch on a couple of the osc's, maybe some light LFO on filter panning, and you made your own chorus effect. Sounds great on pads. Definitely try it and see if that works for you. Synths like Z3ta and Zebra really have quite a bit of leeway in defining their sound because they have a sufficiently high number of adjustable parameters that you can "bend" it well beyond the type of sound that jumps out at you on first impression.
Having said all that, I've seen synths with much more analog sounding filters. The digital character of Z3ta's filters become evident when you crank the resonance up. Then again, there's definitely some use out there for that character and I'm not complaining.

Features:

When it comes to the Z3ta vs Sylenth debate, THIS is why I pick Z3ta any day. Everytime. I'm a "mad scientist" when it comes to synths and that means I like being awash in a bunch of parameters just sitting there begging to be tweaked. 6 LFOs and 8, that's right, EIGHT envelopes can be assigned to quite an impressive list of parameter destinations. The number of LFO shapes on offer are simply astounding. Same goes for the oscillator waveshapes, and OMG, I love this -- the waveshaper parameters -- which can be tweaked on EACH oscillator separately. In Z3ta 2, you can also modulate these shaper parameters via the matrix and THAT is pretty cool :). Z3ta has those onboard effects like reverb, chorus, phaser, flanger, distortion, delay, etc, and...."meh". I like the delays and distortions, but the modulated effects and the reverb I'm not wild about, personally.
There are some features still missing in Z3ta 2, though. If Cakewalk adds new features in a future update, my wish list is as follows:

-Ability to modulate Evelope Attack and Decay values in the matrix.
-Ability to modulate Delay time and feedback in the matrix.
-An "Alternate" or "Flip Flop" source in the matrix.
-Ability to set the Decimator BEFORE the filter. As it is now, I don't use it much.

Documentation

They give you a PDF file that explains Z3ta's ins and outs pretty thoroughly, going over every single parameter and what it does.

Presets

They're good tutorial material for gaining an intuitive understanding of Z3ta's somewhat unusual mod matrix. From a musician's standpoint, there are a lot of them and IMHO, many of them are quite good, expecially the new ones in Z3ta 2. Check out the ones by Frank Genus ("FG"), BigTone ("BT"), and whoever "BC" is.

Customer Support:

At their very heart, I believe the folks at Cakewalk are good people who want to make their customer's happy. In my personal dealings with them, they always replied PROMPTLY to any questions I had. Example: I had trouble downloading Z3ta 2 at the Cakewalk store, sent a message and BAM!, they were on it right away. In regard to Z3ta 2's bugs and all the talk about that, I know as a business owner myself that there are many not-publicly-known variables behind the scenes at work which make it harder to get what you want done as quickly as you would like, as thoroghly as you would like.

VFM:

I got Z3ta+ during the $20 sale. It's easily woth more than the full price even as old as it is. There's a reason it's a classic and so many people swear by it.

Stability:

Z3ta+ - 10/10
Z3ta 2 - 5/10...currently buggy, but I'm confident they'll fix it.Read more

Reviewed By gdev1981
December 6, 2010

This is a nice synth esp. for trancey arps and leads, super saws, reeses and hoovers etc.

It has some good synthesis features including wave-shaping, fm, ring-mod etc.

It is ridiculously good value for money these days (I paid about 80 pounds for it but I still think it was worth it).

This synth is very cheap now but it became popular when it was much more expensive so people don't just like it because it's cheap - there is more to it than that!

It features oversampling and uses a low amount of CPU which is good because if you value sound quality you will probably feel the need to have the oversampling on and the quality set to the best level (beware! the offline and live modes have their own settings so make sure you change them both before you export sounds from it or you'll find your recording sounds very different!)

The only stability issues I have had from this have been when on the highest quality and oversampling whilst doing lots of program changes etc, apart from that it is very stable when compared to some, much more expensive synths.

It definately punches above it's weight in terms of usability and flexibility and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a value synth for trance and drum and bass leads etc.Read more

Reviewed By muLperi
July 8, 2009

EDIT: This review is for the first zeta, not z3ta+ 2

User Interface:
Looks professionally done and cool.
Actually it looks a lot easier to use and more simple than it really is in my opinion.
I'm not a pro but know some basic things about synth programming.
What is best in zeta is that it's so easy to create your own soundbanks,
fast to change presets back and forth and there are several very valuable features for live use.

Sound:
It sounds good. In the price range it sounds very good, pops out from the usual VSTi crowd, mostly beacause of the good presets.
It comes with lots of patches. Majority of the sounds are leaning towards harsh digital coldness.
I would have wanted more simple VA type leads and basic pads. Also in my opinion too few of the presets utilize mod wheel.
It's not a one trick pony, it can sound very analog and very very digital if you want and know how to program it.
It has not great but ok effects section that gets the job done.

Customer Support and stability:
As I undestand it, z3ta is not being developed anymore and that's it.
Crashed only couple times when multiple instances loaded in FLStudio or something like that. Maybe once in standalone.
My only gripe is that the midi file import feature does NOT WORK! It just doesn't and
it's a known fact and I should have studied the product better before buying it because
Cakewalk is never going to fix what's wrong with it. I would never have bought it.
Cakewalk told me to use some kind of work-around but I wont.
Also some of the 3rd party preset banks that I load up sound like the low sound quality setting
is turned on or something like that. Very weird, this doesn't happen with the factory sounds though.

Value For Money
I got it for some sale price about 79€ from cakewalk couple of months ago.
I wouldn't pay the full 126 € that it costs at this stage. If zeta would be developed more, maybe then.



plusses
+ Some great presets
+ Good for live use
+ Standalone included

minuses
- For me, building a sound with zeta is a bit hard. Not so easy and straight forward.
- Not developed anymore
- No OSX support (not issue for me but for some)
- Some irritating "bugs" that are not being fixed everRead more
Discussion

Discussion

Discussion: Active
PUSHA
PUSHA
7 January 2013 at 2:11pm

*Very High Sound Quality

*Lots of presets & expansions

*Nice GUI

OVERALL - 8/10.....

Pyrotek45
Pyrotek45
29 March 2015 at 2:54am

they need to fix the modulation for the wave shaper.

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Z3TA+

Average user rating of 4.61 from 28 reviews

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