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Synth (Semi Modular) Plugin by Native Instruments
$199 / €179

Absynth has an average user rating of 4.18 from 11 reviews

Rate & Review Absynth

User Reviews by KVR Members for Absynth

Reviewed By LasBas [read all by] on September 9th, 2017
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by LasBas on 9th September 2017.

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

Reviewed By Hierophlex [read all by] on 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.

Reviewed By ~Pd~ [read all by] on 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.

Reviewed By oskroskroskr [read all by] on 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.

Reviewed By groovizm [read all by] on October 7th, 2010
Version reviewed: 5 on Mac.
Last edited by groovizm on 10th January 2011.
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.
Reviewed By weaponEX [read all by] on December 14th, 2008
Version reviewed: 4 on Mac.
Last edited by weaponEX on 14th December 2008.
I've had Absynth 4 for over a year and I'm not tired of it's presets yet. It really does have top notch presets! They vary from outstanding to very good.
Being a musician (rather than a synthesis engineer) my interest lies in playing music rather than crafting sounds. I also play the violin but I wouldn't know how to make one. For those who do, Absynth must be a wonderful tool. It's what they used for all the SFX sound design in The Matrix.

I use it for ambient, reverby, ever-evolving, tempo-synced pads and granular/metallic/percussive effects (very long notes or very short notes). The sounds twinkle and flitter about while they growl and scrape and crunch beautifully. They, in fact sound a lot like the sound design used on The Matrix!
It does lots of very good leads, basses and arp presets, although these sound 'decorated', with use of clever FM, resonances-sweeping and effects which will make the sound stick out and be noticed (rather than sit back and gel). You wont escape the soundscape territory. It's not the obvious choice for basic or 'bare' sounds (unless you can make them yourself). I don't use it to play melodies.

Since playing with it, I've noticed it's presets cropping up on professional tracks, but so what. This is always a problem with very good presets. I also play the violin and I've noticed it's sound cropping up from time to time. It's really doesn't matter. Having such great presets is a Godsend to musicians like me!
Absynth is the ultimate pad machine. If you make industrial, it's the ultimate companion to Massive.
Reviewed By jopy [read all by] on January 14th, 2006
Version reviewed: 3 on Windows
I think that Absynth was the first soft synth I ever really understood, so I admit that I'm rather biased towards it. However, I do think that Absynth has some enormous advantages for those who want to develop their synthesizer skills. First and foremost, the graphical envelope displays take a lot of the mystery out of programming parameters. Second, because pretty much any part of any patch can be modified by the graphical envelopes, which makes Absynth extremely programmable.

It is often said that Absynth is not appropriate for bread and butter synth sounds, and I would tend to agree, but I think those who complain about this are missing the point. The reason one would want to use a synthesizer that can create complex envelopes and has a "draw your own waveform" capability is to get outside the typical synthesizer concept. Most synthesizers do tend towards generating very similar output when you push their parameters to the max, but that there are dozens of complex sounds that can be created very quickly in Absynth. It's not perfect to be sure, but for big, spacious moving pads and soundscapes, Absynth is very powerful, easy to use, and flexible.
Reviewed By dreammaka [read all by] on January 16th, 2005
Version reviewed: 3 on Mac
I had absynth since version2, but I haven't used it much.
after I upgraded to absynth3 for free through komplete2 upgrade,
I'm using it everyday. becuase of new GUI.

version3's GUI makes programming much faster and easier.
and looks a lot cleaner.
some people hate this GUI and I was one of them but after
installing the new version and having to use it for a while
I can say I was wrong. new GUI is much better than previous one.

but the most important thing is the sound and it's really amazing.

with new unison feature it can make quite good analog synth sound,too.
but I think the strength of Absynth3 is the granular/sampling feature.
you can take any sample and make really complex evolving sounds.
and often I sample other synth and use that sound as a osc.
that gives you more complex sound too. imagine sampling
reaktor's complex pad sound and use it with absynth's
graunlar function.

I was hoping more new features in version3 upgrade but
still in my opinion it could be the best synth ever released.
(maybe with zebra and exphraze too)
Reviewed By mdg [read all by] on October 19th, 2004
Version reviewed: latest on Windows.
Last edited by mdg on 19th October 2004.
With many synthesisers you will find that there are a few things that make you glad you chose them over another version or model/manufacturer. There may be some good patches you find attractive and worth using as a starting point for your personal sound mix.

Inside the cool green graphic is a program called Absynth 2:

Almost all synths have sounds outside of what you might prefer. Absynth 2 has some sounds that right away called to me and many others that absolutely revolted me! Grunge! Noise! But..... this says an awful lot about the program where side by side exsists not only those harsh sound elements but also beautiful drones, evolving pads and so forth that can be massively tweaked. I downloaded a demo of Absynth and chose a patch and then called my close friend to hear "my new synth" sound. They did not realise a VSTi was playing, they looked at my Waldorf q, at the Fizmo, my Roland and at the rack of synths. Which one??? They were amazed that the VSTi could make such deep sounds! So was I... my love of sound is very deep and has held me since the 1980s when i bought my first Analog, a Korg PS3100.

Let me tell you, a synthesiser worth anything can make horrible sounds, teeth grinding and joltings, things that make your fillings loose. It can also be stroked into producing fantastic harmony. The Absynth 2 has many tools for making sounds, for forging them into coherent (or incomprehensible) sounds.
I can play a stack of actual hardware instruments and find a patch or make one that fits right in. The effects are rather stark in the Absynth 2 but the delay is pretty smooth. The envelope functions are awesome and you can make a library of envelop settings you like and want to move to a new sample or waveform. The modulations are like Analog setups in a way. A sound can evolve so much it almost puts a real burden on you to make other sounds fit in with the Absynth. But it can give you ideas...

I like to use the small stereo recorder it has inside to make files I can import into Acid or Ableton live. It will over dub and has a function to change volumes. This is a great idea I hope you see the value of this. The instrument fits into Cubase like a dream and uses very little CPU.
It is stable. There are dozens of patches availible, many using the noise and grundge I mentioned. I have seldom heard a VSTi that will do hard core noise music and 'hearts of Space' sounds right out of the box but this is one that will.

Drums? Hmm, not really.Kinda.
Flutes? Sure, space flutes played in a alien movie.
Band instruments? No way!
Pads? Textures? Absolutely and much more. Leads are very good but this VSTi leans towards the special niche usually reserved for the hardware patched like a madmad that you forget after you change things a couple of times.

Drawing the modulations are easy and having the ability to sync - these made owning the Absynth 2 a reality for me. I got a student discount of 149.00$ u.s. so it was affordable. The registration process was kind of complex and moving it from computer top computer looks like a hassle but at least there is no dongle/hardware key to deal with. Forget a back up disc it will TRASH your computer drive, it has a hole in the CD!!! Dude just hire Vinnie to bust my leg if I cheat but give me a back up disk.....heh.

With so many decent companies and products folding without warning *ahem*Waldorf-Logic for PC*coff* I wish I had a backup or 3.
Reviewed By ew [read all by] on December 21st, 2003
Version reviewed: 2.04 on Windows
Absynth 2 is a vast leap forward from the original.
With such features as using your own samples(in either granular or "normal" fashion),controller driven envelopes,panning for each channel(finally!)and the ability to save oscillators,filters,effects or whole channels as presets to use in other patches makes the possibilities mindblowing.Oh,and did I mention that the "analog" waveforms(sine,square,etc.)can be antialiasing if you so desire?Nice,nice,nice!
A lot of people are bewildered about controlling Absynth parameters through MIDI.Absynth doesn't use MIDI learn-instead,you draw an envelope for the parameter you want to control and assign a controller to it.A very flexible arrangement once you get used to it.
Another great thing about the envelopes-any(or every,if you wish)can have an virtual LFO assigned to it.What this does is superimposes the "LFO"'s waveshape onto the envelope.You can adjust speed,depth and slope of the "LFO" for every breakpoint in that envelope.Wonderful stuff!
The 2.04 update fixed a mess of bugs,and it's relatively stable on my system.
As was said earlier,it's not as hard to program as it looks.As was also stated,it isn't for everyone.However,if you want sounds that you've only heard in your dreams(or nightmares,for that matter),Absynth's a great place to find them!
Reviewed By MarkM [read all by] on November 12th, 2003
Version reviewed: 2.01 on Windows.
Last edited by MarkM on 13th November 2003.
I have recently upgraded to Absynth 2. This is one of my favorite softsynths. The sounds are unusual and organic. I find it very versatile. It can be an incredible ambient synth or useful in dance. The new version allows you to import samples. You can implement granular sampling and mix it with other samples or the oscillators. However, I find I crash frequently when importing my own samples. But when programming my own patches with the three oscillators I rarely, if ever crash. The power of Absynth lies in the incredible flexible envelopes. The new version has even more to work with. Most parameters have their own envelope. It has a very unusual interface, but it is logical and easy to work with. This would be a great first synth for anybody learning subtractive synth. In standalone it has its own recorder with SOS. I use it flawlessly with Chainer. Sometimes with multiple instances in Sonar 2.2XL I will crash but not too frequently.

Latest 11 reviews from a total of 11

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"...

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