486 W Ste-Catherine St., Suite 400, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 1A6, Canada
Applied Acoustics Systems was founded in 1998 and is based in Montreal, Canada. It is a privately-held company, specializing in innovative audio products for Mac and PC computers. Applied Acoustics Systems flagship product, the Tassman, a software-synthesizer program for amateur and professional musicians, as well as audio post-producers, is distributed worldwide through retail, direct and Internet sales.
Absolutely gorgeous sound for Unobtanium guitar with Mithril strings, played by Cyborg from Alpha-Centauri. It has strings, it can be strummed, amplified but it does not sound like something you hear on stage, or near campfire.
Background for my opinion: I'm not a guitar player - only keys. My main music interests: electronic/edm/experimental/hybrid.
I tried to choose my first guitar VI to buy. Of course I wanted to find "most of the most" guitar: realistic, simple and powerful...and inexpensive :) I trialed couple of them: MusicLab, Amplesound...Absolute fantastic edge of technology, but all of them seemed to me like sample archive with several knobs - you can build a music with it, but it is not VI for playing with keys. Okay, okay - it is not rocket science - I got some results with keyboard, but just did not like workflow. Then, I tried AAS Strum GS-2: "Oh, that is not guitar...and this is guitar..and..woah! i'm playing guitar!". One, two... and I just got music sketch and experiment with a result. Tons of sound presets and built-in rhythmic patterns, but you can just strum with keyboard. Or tweak sound in a way you never thought it was tweakable. "Do I really need 100% authentic super guitar sound?"
Pros: Playable fantastic strumming engine, Playground for guitar sound experiments, Built in patterns and FX, Quite realistic as electric rhythm guitar (and fast).
Cons: Not so easy, fast and plausible as acoustic guitar or lead guitar, No scratches/squeaks/slaps.
Forget about cons if you can consider this VI not as guitar, but "guitar-like synth", or "sketching/experimental instrument"
Chromaphone 2, bears the same, utilitarian face as most of AAS's virtual instruments. And that's fine - they've devised a simple, clear, and useful interface for their wares. Underneath, and at the speaker end of things, though, this synth is special. It's alive. Really, really alive and responsive (when you take advantage of the possibilities, of course. Read tommyzai's more-comprehensive review if you want more details. I'm "chiming in" here to lend another voice supporting this amazing synthesizer.
INTRO Objeq Delay is everything a virtual delay effects plugin should be — PLUS unique features that only Applied Acoustics Systems could deliver — combining a filter and acoustic resonators (objects) with a delay unit. This provides users with a wider palette of effects, timbres, and tones with crisp clarity. Repeats (from a tight slap-back to infinite) are free of the exponential mud that drag many units down. The interface is inviting and reveals a simple, yet effective signal/work-flow.
SIGNAL FLOW (Chapter 2 of the user manual provides a clear illustration) The input signal travels through a low-pass/high-pass filter and acoustic resonators (the Object module), which makes the object resonate. The signal then enters a two stage delay (Pre and Echo). The resonances and delay are processed to the primary signal in real time. The signal balance is determined at the output via the Mixer module. There is also an LFO to help shape the pre-filtered tone — Types include: Sine, Triangle, Square, Random, and RdmRamp.
MODULES 1. LFO: This can be automated or tweaked manually. The modulation destinations include the usual suspects, i.e., chorus, flanger, tremolo, vibrato, as well as auto-filter modulation effects. 2. Filter: Filtered echoes for added fullness and movement. Sounds especially cool on rhythm guitar and other chordal things. The filter module provides flexibility by shaping the resonance of one of the objects selected. 3. Physical Object: Shapes the tone prior to delay (Beam, Drumhead, Plate, String) 4. Delay: There are two delay lines. The first is a pre-delay. It is used to create a delay between the dry signal and the filtered signal from the Object. This stage allows users to tweak the low and high frequencies and add acoustic object resonances. The second is a feedback loop that can create Echoes, hence the name. 5. Mixer: Balance, Output, Out/In.
Note: Each module may be activated or inactivated.
METER The meter is located on the far right with numerical Db values and color-coding (green, yellow, orange, and red).
PRESET MANAGEMENT The preset management system is conveniently located across the top bar. The presets themselves are very useful straight-up or serve as a great start-point for custom control — and they load super fast. I really dig the preset management — banks and programs can be accessed either by up one/down one or a drop-down menu. There is also a History arrow to help users. Auditioning sounds is fast and simple. I created a basic vocal loop and easily scrolled through the seven banks of programs (presets). In total, there are 226. ECHOES contain standard and creative delays, many of which have some filtering. MODULATORS contain wet and wild motion. On the subtle end there are chorus', flangers and tremolos; on the not-so-subtle end there are waves of sweeps and swells along with pounding pulses and bubbling flutters. RHYTHMIC LOOP MANGLERS contains alternation, wideners and other effects that are perfect for mutating incoming percussive loops into a newfound pulse of gyration. KICK TRACK ENHANCERS deliver extra pow, puff, punch, and wobble. SNARE TRACK ENHANCERS bring resonance and snap with overtones that range from plastic to wood. DRONES can be swirling and surreal. The combination of the resonator and LFO create otherworldly, evolving modulation for atmospheric, mysterious ambient textures. RICHARD DEVINE SIGNATURE designed a bank of presets that are geared (pun intended) toward cool, crisp metallic industrial, EDM, and soundtrack. There are several glitches and dreamscapes.
FAV THINGS • Easy purchase, install, and authorization • Clear, concise, well-written .pdf user manual for reference, but probably not needed. • Neat, clean interface • Intuitive preset management system • Small digital footprint (about 10MB) with super low CPU hit (meter barely moves) • Inspiring • Musical • Simple, yet powerful • Cool developers • Unique features that justify the purchase.
OTHER THOUGHTS • The Objects provided are sensational, but I'm greedy and want more! • Scalable interface?
SUMMARY In addition to the pristine quality and all the things an electronic musical wizard would desire, this unit boasts features that set it apart. Nowadays, it's easy to find virtual delay that will sync to tempo, ping pong, slap-back, etc.; however, this plugin shines is in it's ability to combine a filter and acoustic objects with a delay. Even if another company released a plugin with this combination, it's unlikely they would do a better job at the modeling segment than AAS. How many electric piano plugins compare with Lounge Lizard? Objeq is perfect for anyone looking for a distinctive delay that is musical, inspiring, and sui generis (I recently learned this word and this is a perfect place to use it). I give this fine effect an affectionate double thumbs up — Love it! Thank you, Applied Acoustics Systems, for developing this effects gem.
Note: I'd like to give score this a 9.5, but that's not an option, so 10 it is (9 would be insulting).
Chromaphone-2 by Applied Acoustics Systems is an extremely versatile and dynamic virtual synth that is capable of an astounding array of timbres. It's the biggest little virtual synth I have ever used.
Chromaphone-2 does not use samples or waveforms, nor does it utilize FM, subtractive, or additive synthesis. It's based on physical modeling whereby algorithms emulate the specific vibration of instruments and other objects. The results yield an unparalleled array of realism and clarity of sound. AAS initially called v1 a "percussive synth," but it soon after proved to be capable of much, much more! As expected, it shined when creating one-shots, plucks, etc., but it easily produced lovely strings, pads, and ambient textures as well. The second version is called an "acoustic object synthesizer," which is more accurate — especially considering all the additions and enhancements. This is by far one of the most versatile virtual instruments ever created. The range of timbers is vast. I mostly used the previous version for ambient wah-wahs to add a hypnotic pulse to my tracks, but I plan to use v2 for just about everything! Be sure to check out the basses, pads, kicks and snares. The overall sound of this synth is fantastic — expressive, crisp, clear, and pleasing to the ear.
The redesigned interface is divided into three sections: Play, Edit, and FX. It's easier than ever to navigate around this lovely beast. There is a streamlined keyboard strip that is excellent for previewing sounds. The multi-effect processor contains all the groovy stuff needed to spice up patches: chorus, delay, distortion, flanger, notch filter, phaser, reverb, and the previously mentioned wah-wah. The filtering section has greatly been improved. It now has pitch bend and a really cool arp! There is also a very useful compressor and EQ on board. The new version contains over 600 patches that sound great as is or serve as an excellent start point for creating new patches.
• Easy purchase, install, and authorization.
• User-friendly, eye-pleasing interface.
• The sound! As nearly every reviewer states,"crystal clear"*.
• I love the compressor, which truly delivers "distortion-free dynamics"
• Excellent collection of presets with a convenient management system.
• Improved resonators.
• V1 presets can be converted.
• Easy to tweak and/or program.
• Fantastic built-in arp.
• Physical modeling = Small footprint (10MB for standalone version)
• Excellent developer — innovative and responsive. They are also great people. I met then in person at NAMM.
• *In general, the sound is crystal clear, but with a little creative processing the possibilities are endless.
• CPU friendly considering the quality of sound. More complex sounds are naturally hungrier. My favorite patches seem to range between 5 to 15 percent.
Chromaphone-2 is a joy to launch. Don't expect synth to be a one-trick-pony bell-like mallet machine; it's capable of just about anything, either straight out of the box or with a touch of processing. A few words that come to mind (besides clarity): Alive! Dynamic! Real! I highly recommend this fine software synth to any electronic musician, producer, sound designer, etc., regardless of genre! Tommy Zai gives this new version of Chromaphone an extra thumb up! Great job Applied Acoustics Systems. You are creating a clear path to the future of sound.
Lounge Lizard by Applied Acoustic Systems is a wonderful electric piano plugin based on physical modeling, not samples! It doesn't use much CPU and the sound is splendid. You can probably find exactly what you need from the list of presets, but if not. .. it's easy to tweek and create unique EP sounds. I have read a lot of debates about what is the best Rhodes VST. IMO, Lounge Lizard sounds better and is easier to work with than the original and the many sample library emulations. I used to be a sample guru, but after checking out this AAS plugin I can see the many advantages of a Physical Modeling electric piano — no loop points, no out-of-tune samples, no key-mapping, etc. It's also nice to free up space on the hard drive. But most of all — it sounds great and sits wonderfully in the mix. Lounge Lizard is dynamic and inspirational set of virtual EP keys!
Tassman by Applied Acoustics Systems is an amazing virtual analog synthesizer. This thing is a monster! I don't think there are any other physically modeled modular synths out there like this one. It's truly unique in look and sound. How can this plugin not make the top 10 VSTi list? The interface is simple, user-friendly, and fun. It's color coded to keep things neat and clean. There are lots and lots of great presets that are easy to tweak, but it's also fast and fun to construct your own instruments. The best part about Tassman is the sound — truly amazing, responsive, and as another reviewer called it. .. "MUSICAL." I highly recommend this plugin for designers, players, and producers of any genre!