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Cherry Audio releases Chroma Soft-Synth

Cherry Audio

Cherry Audio has unveiled Chroma, a virtual instrument that brings the unique sounds of the 1982 Rhodes Chroma into the digital age. Here's what they say:

After a meticulous development process lasting over a year and a half, the Chroma synthesizer is now available, offering the highest level of authenticity and ease of use. In conjunction with its launch, Cherry Audio has also released "The Story of Chroma," a captivating video documentary exploring the complex history of the original synthesizer through conversations with key figures from the industry's pioneering era.

In 1979, ARP Instruments began development of the 16-voice polyphonic Chroma analog synthesizer. With an ambitious modular architecture and unique sound, it was destined to be a marvel of its time. Unfortunately, ARP faced bankruptcy in 1981, and the design was taken over by Rhodes, who would produce it from 1982 to 1984. Though the Chroma's flat-panel numeric interface made it notoriously challenging to operate, the technology under the hood was an everlasting final achievement for the ARP team and its visionary engineers.

Produced in limited quantities, the Chroma has remained a coveted piece for collectors and musicians alike. Notable users include Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, and the band Spandau Ballet, whose 1983 hit album "True" featured the synthesizer prominently.

Recognizing the Chroma's iconic status and the inherent challenges of its intricate design and vast parameter set, Cherry Audio committed to creating a virtual instrument that faithfully reproduced every aspect of the original while vastly improving the UI and ease of operation. The result is a synthesizer plugin that not only captures the essence of the original Chroma but enhances the user experience with modern conveniences and an intuitive interface.

Key Features of the Cherry Audio Chroma Synthesizer:

  • Authentic Sound Reproduction: Meticulously emulated to match the original Rhodes Chroma, from its 16 polyphonic voices to its expressive velocity and aftertouch capabilities.
  • 16 Oscillators, Filters, VCAs, and LFOs, and 32 Envelope Generators: These modular elements are arranged in 16 distinct preconfigured signal paths, ranging from straightforward VCO-VCF-VCA setups to intricate configurations featuring oscillator sync, filter FM, ring modulation, and variable or serial filter paths.
  • Extensive Modulation Capabilities: All of the original Chroma's ahead-of-it's-time modulation capabilities have been precisely replicated to create a powerfully flexible modular synthesizer-like programming experience. Modulation paths are configured quickly and easily using Cherry Audio Chroma's comprehensive modulation pop-up menus.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Intuitive pop-up menus and real-time displays simplify the programming process, making it accessible to novices and seasoned professionals alike.
  • Expander Module Integration: Includes the Chroma Expander, which adds an entire second Chroma synthesizer to the mix, running in layer or split modes for expanded creative possibilities.
  • Full Array of Effects: Chroma includes seven studio-quality onboard effects, including distortion, phaser, flange/chorus, delay, and reverb, as well as a global EQ and limiter.
  • Direct SysEx Import: Owners of MIDI-retrofitted Chroma or Expander hardware can directly transfer banks and individual patches to Cherry Audio Chroma via a SysEx dump. Additionally, users can easily import Chroma SysEx files through drag-and-drop, thereby bringing decades of sound design into a modern workflow.
  • 700 professionally-designed Presets: Loaded with the original 250 factory presets and enriched by an additional 450 custom presets crafted by an all-star team of sound designers — James Terris, INHALT, Michael Oakley, James Dyson, Drew Schlesinger, and Mark Wilcox. Discover 100 more presets that blend vintage tones with a contemporary feel with the Chroma Classics Preset Pack by James Terris (sold separately).

Pricing & Availability

Chroma is available at the introductory price of $69 (Reg. $89) for macOS (10.13+) and Windows (7+) in AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone formats. A free 30-day demo is available.

Cherry Audio will donate 5% of profits from its May website sales of Chroma to the ARP Foundation, supporting Alan R. Pearlman's legacy of innovation that ARP and the Chroma represented.

Visit cherryaudio.com for additional product details, a deep-dive instructional video, system requirements, and an extensive collection of sound demos.




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