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Harmless is an additive synthesizer doing subtractive synthesis. Or if you prefer, a subtractive synthesizer powered by an additive synthesis engine.

You may ask: why? Image Line says "there are too many subtractive synthesizers already, often bragging about being virtual analog. This one is digital, and proud to be. Everything is fake, the tone generator, the filter & its resonance, the phaser, all performed on the harmonics, before partials are computed".

Harmless is more than a proof of concept, it allows fine control that wouldn't be possible through classic subtractive synthesis. Filtering and phasing can be assigned unusual shapes & slopes, something normally only possible through offline digital filters. Filter slopes can even be defined in Hz instead of octaves. Finally, you get control on each partial's frequency, creating timbres definitely impossible using common synthesis methods.

Harmless is additive doing subtractive. Harmonics are not produced to be filtered, the timbre is filtered before being generated. This may sound like a detail, but generating sounds this way offers a lot more advantages than drawbacks.

Powered by a highly optimized, multi-threaded additive engine, CPU usage is comparable to the one of traditional subtractive synthesizers, especially for low-passed timbres. Voices may be generating hundreds of harmonics in parallel and still not overload the CPU.

Harmless was limited by design. No tabs, no hidden controls, no multi-point envelopes. All features are visible at once, and color-grouped. Over 100 parameters, most of which being automatable, are laid over a clear GUI.

Simpler to program, yet packed with evil features. Under the hood, you will find unique options, like linking the phaser's output to partials frequencies. The LFO section can act as a special modulation source, linking the phaser's width to the velocity, or the pitch to the filter's envelope.

Of course, Harmless also offers features typically unique to additive synthesis, like its automatable harmonic mask.

Harmless is also packed with effects, the usual chorus, delay & reverb, but also a multi-band compressor/limiter powered by Maximus itself. It also inherited the powerful unison from Sytrus.

User Reviews Average user rating of 4.67 from 3 reviews Add A Review

Reviewed By AoPenguix
February 26th, 2016

Harmless is like a little sister to Image-Line flagship synth - Harmor.

'She' is additive yet easy to use and is great for stunning organ sounds, loud wobble basses, supersaws and plucked sounds.

It has pretty color grouped one tab UI. Although built-in timbre shape amount is small you can load any waveform you want.

Harmless is equipped with basic effects including reverb, delay, chorus, and compression that can be used all at once.

Amount of factory presets isn't stunning but good enough.



  • Low price (Included in FL Studio Signature Bundle).
  • very clean sound.
  • easy to use additive synthesis with nice UI.
  • basic FX, equalizer, unison.
  • can load any waveform.


  • only one filter and LFO (although many knobs can be assigned to it).
  • lack of polyphony limiting option (big CPU usage with unison and long release time).
  • lack of built-in plugin browser.

I personally love this synth and it was main reason why I upgraded my FL to signature bundle.

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Reviewed By paladium
May 3rd, 2010

What first strikes you about harmless is it's user interface wich looks deceptivly simple , the signal path is arranged from top to bottom
starting with the harmonic content and ending with the effects output.
The timbre section (right click) let's you analyze imported single cycle waves wich are then shaped by a frequency mask , then gets filtered by a
handsome arrange of filtertypes.

The unison is complemented with a good balance between cpu power and voice number settings and parameters like detune can be modulated with keyvelocity.

next stage is the phaser section wich doesnt work as a conventional effect but
rather works with the masked harmonics themselves (kind more like a frequency shifter), this gives the effect a lot more detail than you would expect from a normal phaser.

We only have one main lfo wich is a bit sparse although the vibrato
in the pitch section works independent , this is the one section of the instrument that could use a bit more scope.

The effects section at the bottom rack provides all the tools you need to
give the sounds more spaciousness .
All in all harmless is a truly exceptional vsti , the soundquality is really superb and detailed , it oozes warm tones wich are normally not associated with this kind of synthesis , it's range crosses early synclavier /ppg mixed with a striking modern organic quality , top marks all the way
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Reviewed By bamim2
January 9th, 2010

Just when you think there's no reason to get another VST, then Harmless comes along. I must say, this is a VERY nice synth. It does what it does VERY well. It sounds great, looks great, it's easy to use & modify sounds & it's easy on the CPU too. It really is nice & well, Harmless...

It comes with (I should have probably counted them) about 100 presets (it's probably 128, but like I said, I didn't count them). The first thing to note is that just about every preset is very playable. There's everything from Electric piano type sounds to great swirling pads to REALLY nice bass & synth sounds.

This is where I need to add a little of my one opinion. Too many synths come with a million presets & most of the are just not useful. This VST comes with one bank of VERY playable sounds. They're also a great representation of what types of sounds the synth cam make.

I love this synth. I highly recommend it & if you can still get in on the introductory price of $9 US (yup, 9 bucks!), you really can't go wrong.

As for the numbers below, I didn't ever have use any documentation because the user interface is so straight forward. Same goes for customer support. It's supported by Image Line, but I didn't ever have to get support. I gave it the highest score just to keep on par with the rest of the scores.
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