Being quite a fan of Majken’s SubDuer, I was intrigued by the sound creation method he employed in his latest instrument, Chimera. This was an intrigue well worth exploring…
User Interface: Thankfully, Chimera sports quite a large GUI. This is a worthwhile feature as there are a lot of knobs and sliders to display. Such a large array of controls was a little overwhelming at first, but didn’t take long to get used to as everything is grouped together logically. Majken uses colour well in order to assist grouping together of the various sections. Broadly, the three noise generators are located together, the comprehensive modulation parameters occupy most of the lower part of the GUI, filters and fx are all in the top right hand corner (along with a very cool graphic), and the output section is in the lower right hand corner. This is a quality interface – clear, crisp and easy to use.
Sounds and Features: Ok, Chimera’s synthesis method is a fair bit different from your standard analog/subtractive stuff in that it uses noise generators with note controlled filters to produce it’s sounds. And what sounds they are – unearthly is probably the best way to describe them (which is just the way I like em’!) If your typical virtual analogue VST is considered to be ‘vintage’, then Chimera sounds like it was built at the Dawn of Time; it sounds positively ancient, and its this quality that makes it perfect for ambient soundscapes, majestic drones and epic soundtracks for movies yet to be made. Can you tell I like it?
So, how does Chimera achieve such aural-wonders? I’ll admit I’m not the greatest technical wiz, but I think the secret lies not only in the tuneable noise generators themselves (‘elements’), but also the level of control over each of them. Each element has, amongst other things, an HADSRT envelope and I found this flexibility very inspiring for creating real depth and movement in the sound. Even such ‘bread and butter’ controls as panning and volume on each element really made a difference to the overall feeling that the sound suggested.
There is also a very comprehensive modulation section offering three fully assignable envelopes and 3 LFO’s. You can really go to town with such flexibility to give the sound movement and dynamics – great for evolving pads. The filter, dual delay section, distortion and MIDI control all serve to subtly enhance the overall sound as well. Make no mistake – Chimera is a feature-packed piece of work.
Documentation: There is no documentation provided, but that’s ok – this synth is well laid out and logical, so it’s quite easy to get to grips with and get good sounds with minimal effort.
Presets: I think the presets provided show off Chimera’s capabilities very well as they provide a broad range of sounds. They cover, drones, atmospheric pads, more melodic sounds, plenty of special fx and even some synth drums.
Customer Support: Though I’ve never had to request any help as such, Majken, is very friendly and keen, particularly during the development/ of Chimera, so I’d say he’d be very helpful if you had any problems with it.
Value for Money: Did I mention its free? Well, it is! For such a quality synth as this, you can’t get better than that!
Stability: I’ve never experienced any crashes, instability or unusual behaviour at all, so full marks there.
Overall impressions: If you’re looking for hard basses, bouncy leads or the next ‘trance-meister’, then look elsewhere. On the other hand, if you love ethereal, evocative and cerebral sounds, then I’d highly recommend you download Chimera; its something different from the everyday. Like all good synths, Chimera rewards experimentation and you’ll soon discover a myriad of gorgeous and inspirational sounds.