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Synth (Semi Modular) Plugin by Native Instruments
No Longer Available
Absynth by Native Instruments is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin for macOS and Windows. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
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30-Day: 1018; 7-Day: 1198; Yesterday: 6509

Absynth is a synthesizer with unique sonic potential. Its specialty is a limitless spectrum of unusual, evolving sounds created using the powerful, hybrid synthesis architecture and sophisticated modulation and effect system - resulting in sounds far removed from the everyday. What's more Absynth is not just a synthesizer, but a powerful effect plug-in for treating audio tracks using the unique Absynth effects bank.

Top Features:

  • Forward-looking semi-modular synthesizer with unique sonic characteristics.
  • Innovative and unique sound generation from multiple synthesis and sampling methods.
  • Powerful filters and effects section with new tools such as special Aetherizer, Cloud Filter and Supercomb.
  • Sound Mutator for creating fresh sounds through the mutation of the qualities of several Absynth sounds.
  • KoreSound Browser for intuitive finding and organizing of the 1,800 sounds and effects settings.
  • Fully compatible with Kore (sounds for the browser preconfigured as KoreSounds for seamless integration with Kore 2.
  • Flexible 68-stage envelopes with presets, envelope-step mode and Tempo sync.
  • Sophisticated surround sound panning to animate three-dimensional sounds or even individual sound components.
  • Live-input for each channel and new audio modulator section for using Absynth as a fully functional effects unit.
  • Pro Sound individually assigned macro controls for quick changing of several sound settings with a single knob.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.18 from 11 reviews

Reviewed By LasBas [all]
September 9th, 2017
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

One of the best for soundscapes and atmosphere sounds! I always find a sound that suits me in the large banks.

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Reviewed By Hierophlex [all]
August 27th, 2017
Version reviewed: 5.3.1 on Windows

This is one of those colossal, towering sound monsters that make you feel intimidated at first. But when you get in to it... Infinite sonic possibilities!! I really like the semi-modular structure of this synth, you can make it as simple or complicated as you want. Even a one oscillator patch can yield truly 'out of this world' results with all the waveshaping, modulation and filtering options! With all this power it's amazing how intuitively it works, but there's bound to be some quirks too: The envelopes, for example, can be really tricky to program no matter how graphic they are. And I would really prefer a simple 'keyboard follow'- knob option instead of the messy key-by-key editing across the 8 octave 'board. Some might find this very useful, but to me it's just unnecessary complication. Anyway, just for the unlimited range of never- heard- before sounds you can conjure with Absynth, it deserves the max points.

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Reviewed By ~Pd~ [all]
March 6th, 2014
Version reviewed: 10.9.2 on Mac

It took me some time to realize everything that Absynth is capable of, and I'm going to blame that on lazy sound designers. It's too easy, in Absynth, to animate a couple of oscillator and filter parameters with envelopes then throw a bucket of effects over the top and have something that's impressive on first listen. Unfortunately everyone has already done that a zillion times.

Consequently, when learning Absynth, it's very important to work your way through the seemingly endless folders and categories of sounds that are now included in the factory library, finding the ones that work for you and stand out. Absynth is well known for its typical ethereal sounds but also does beefy mono leads, gut-punch basses, versatile percussion and mallets, rhythm and melodic sequences, and very usable FM and electric piano timbres as well as organs.

When you find a sound you like, categorize it as a favorite and learn what makes it tick. Turn off effects and waveshapers and find out what's happening with the oscillators, filters and envelopes. Are there combs? What are they doing, how are they modulated? Are they being used to model or enhance the resonance of an instrument?

The options for sound sculpting are endless, starting right with the oscillators - load a standard oscillator, draw one, create it by fractalizing a primitive shape, lowpass filter it if it's sounding too trebly, morph between osc shapes, ring mod or FM them, select individual partials in the overtone series, load a sample and granulize it - and this is before coming to any of the filters or waveshapers or effects. And just about everything can be modulated and cross modulated by performance macros, LFOs and what are quite possibly still the most advanced envelopes in the realm of plugins. Hint for budding sound designers: you don't need to use every feature in every patch.

One of the most exciting and criminally under-explored features is the tuning tab, where you can create and load tuning files - everything from exotic world scales to alternate tunings from early and modern classical, or create your own from scratch. There are other synths that let you load Scala .scl and .tun files, but not many that let you create your own custom tuning right in the plugin. It's a rare and special feature.

Absynth has the best CPU efficiency to sound quality ratio of any synth I've tried. You can get pristine sounds at very little resource usage. If you don't like freezing tracks but still want high quality sound and bottomless options, Absynth should be in your tool kit.

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Reviewed By oskroskroskr [all]
October 25th, 2013
Version reviewed: 4 on Mac

I've been using Massive for years so it was inevitable that the search for new sounds would eventually lead me to Absynth. After spending a few hours messing around however I can't say that I'm really that impressed. I don't think Absynth does anything that can't already be done faster in other soft synths.

For starters the GUI is pretty darn small and fiddly. Instead of knobs you mostly get digits. Which helps if you're looking for precision, but it means you have to learn the range of each knob before you can get going. The other immediate downer is that the macros are pretty hard to assign and there seems to be fairly arbitrary set of parameters that you can assign.

The "patch" diagram is quite large and versatile. Which means you can use several waveshapers, several filters and several effects all at once. I'm not sure why you would need to do this though. There seems to be more ways to "destroy" the sound rather than sculpt it.

You do get a couple of cool oscillator options like FM, wave morph and fractalize. But I messed around with this for a while and didn't come up with any remarkable sounds.

With Absynth you can (almost) do everything. But generally I think users want specific tools for specific tasks. Not sure how often you need to make huge complex ambient soundscapes that you can perform with a keyboard. It would probably be well suited to making the ambient music for a horror film.

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Reviewed By groovizm [all]
October 7th, 2010
Version reviewed: 5 on Mac

Native Instruments’ Komplete 6 arrived on my doorstep last week and I have been diving into Absynth 5 every spare moment since. For those who consider buying this software I’d like to share a few thoughts on Absynth here.

First and foremost I’d like to say that Absynth is a really great source of fantastic sounds. Like Kore, Absynth 5 has a library-view where you browse your library by attributes like ‘piano’, ‘dark’, ‘electric’. This is a nice way to explore the 1.700+ sounds that come with Absynth. These sounds are mostly experimental in nature but Native Instruments succeeded in making them very playable and easy to use.

Basically Absynth’s routing is modular but simple. There are three oscillators that can be routed through modules like filters, waveshapers and effects, and there are (of course) envelopes and lfo’s to modulate various parameters. What makes Absynth depart from well known analog ground is the flexible nature of those modules.

The oscillators have a wide variety of waveforms to choose from, plus you can draw your own, use samples, or morph existing waveforms into new ones. The oscillators offer a dual mode with FM and ringmodulation capabilities.

The filters have low-pass and high-pass modes, but also comb, notch, band and allpass with different db/octave characteristics to choose from.

The waveshapers can use all waveforms that are available to the oscillators, but can also be set up as, amongst others, frequency shifters and grainbased effects. That is a lot of raw material to begin building your own sounds, before you even started applying modulation.

Modulation in Absynth is possible via lfo’s, macro control’s (means midi) and envelopes. The envelopes are Absynth’s strong point. You can set up a new envelope for every new parameter you want to modulate and create up to 68 breakpoints, apply different trigger and loop-modes and sync it all to tempo. So one key can trigger whole soundscapes, basslines or rythmic sequences.

The LFO’s are flexible as well, with tempo sync, phase, and again, all wave-forms available to the oscillators can be used by the LFO’s as well. LFO’s are not created especially for the parameter you want to modulate, like the envelopes are. Instead there is a fixed number of 3 LFO’s. If you want to modulate something by LFO, you have to route the LFO to the target in the LFO page. This is the other way round, compared to the envelopes, which is a bit confusing. That you have to look up the desired parameter from a long list makes matters worse. That the list does not contain every parameter I’d like to be able to modulate and sometimes appears under another name than in the rest of the application is downright irritating.

If you want to control parameters of a software synthesizer with performance controllers like modwheel, after-touch, or knobs and sliders you normally would assign a controller on your hardware directly to a parameter in the software via it’s button or slider. Due to Absynth’s enormous amount of parameters and lack of knob’s and buttons (most parameter values are edited directly in a value-field), Native Instruments decided on another approach. Instead they created a performance-view in which a fixed set of sliders called ‘macro controls’ can be assigned to one or more of Absynths’ parameters. This way you can create complex control-setups. By assigning the controls on your hardware to the sliders in the performance-view you could have real-time control over many of Absynth’s sound shaping capabillities. I am sorry to say the parameters of the build-in effects in Absynth can only be modulated by Macro Controls. Not by LFO's or envelopes. Bummer!

It is a pity that in the vast soundlibrary most sounds have no, or only a few parameters pre-assigned to the sliders. I also would have liked to be able to assign hardware controls to these sliders globally, so that with every new sound I load I’d be able to fiddle some knobs and explore the possibilities of that sound to evolve during a performance. Now every sound has to be set up manually fo midicontrol, and that my friends, is a LOT of work…

- Vast and very usable, easy to navigate, soundlibrary with a unique character.
- Immense programming possibilities will keep any sound-designer up till the wee hour’s of the morning ( or is that a ‘con’ ? ).

- Assigning modulation sources and macro-controls has it’s anomalies.
- Editing the envelopes is to difficult.
- Library could have been prepared better for hardware control
- Awfull color-scheme, some tiny fonts here and there, and a bit too much eye-candy for me.
- Some of the more exotic features of Absynth are not completely self-explanatory, and the manual does not always describe them in the detail I would have liked.
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Comments & Discussion for Native Instruments Absynth

Discussion: Active
3 May 2012 at 8:24am

4 numbers after the point in absynth.(osc)

That is why more imaginable.

26 October 2013 at 1:20am

rosko12 didn't completely understand the Absynth, so he wrote a lot of non sense.

26 October 2013 at 6:04am


26 October 2013 at 7:58am

Re: 25th October 2013 review.

I nearly stopped reading at, "arbitrary set of parameters"...And I suggest any potential buyer/demo-er synthesist possessing the slightest amount of patience to -learn- a software do the same. Absynth's interface is the only issue I've personally ever had with the synth, however be aware that with a proper understanding of this instrument there are sounds and performance features to be had that young lad Massive can presently only dream to achieve.

I say these things being a owner of the nice Massive synthesizer myself. One must have a massive amount of respect for the Deep programming potential and complex modular synthesis that Absynth can provide the right user. I would even go so far as to say that Absynth is more than likely one of the most complex software synthesizers ever developed and requires a good measure of patience/study (versus a need for instant gratification) in order to understand that statement.

26 October 2013 at 4:53pm

Well stated.

Arrested Developer
Arrested Developer
28 October 2013 at 5:25pm

I don't think it's reasonable to write such a review.

If you would write, "I didn't feel comfortable with the UI of Absynth so i had no motivation to explore it", that would be okay.

But don't adjudicate something you obviousley don't understand...

28 October 2013 at 10:43pm

Mess around with this and mess around with that, what a silly "review".

29 October 2013 at 12:29am

What nonsense this review is, Absynth is a very deep and capable piece of software indeed.

15 February 2016 at 11:20am

Guys, what the file format inside SIT archived file "Cubico AbSynth"? Unpacked SIT and inside was file named "Cubico suitcase" without extension and with strange file header "CLaM"... cannot figured out how to use this "bank"...

12 December 2022 at 10:19pm

Absynth 5 is dicontinued at Native Instruments. No selling - no activating via Native Access 3. Installed version runs on your computer.

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