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Microtonic (µTonic)

Drum Synth Plugin by Sonic Charge
Microtonic (µTonic)
Microtonic (µTonic) by Sonic Charge is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin for macOS and Windows. It functions as a VST Plugin and an Audio Units Plugin.
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Sonic Charge Microtonic (also known as "µTonic") is a drum and percussion synthesizer combined with a pattern based drum-machine engine.

You can use µTonic as a sound module to play drum sounds from your MIDI keyboard or sequencer, or you can use the built-in pattern engine to play drum patterns in sync with your sequencer. The sound of µTonic is 100% synthetic and rendered in real-time. No samples or pre-rendered waveforms are used.

Sonic Charge µTonic was created by Magnus Lidström. Magnus is best known for his work with Propellerhead Software. In particular, he was the brain behind the highly acclaimed Malström synthesizer introduced in Reason 2.0. (Magnus is also responsible for Typhoon, the alternative OS for the Yamaha TX16W.).


  • Eight channel drum and percussion synthesizer. Fully automatable.
  • Pattern based drum machine engine, synchronized to the host sequencer.
  • 100% synthetic sound, rendered in real-time. No samples.
  • Versatile sound architecture allow for a wide variety of tweakable drums and effects.
  • Powerful sound shaping possibilities, including equalizing and distortion for each channel.
  • Uncompromised audio quality (Over-sampled oscillators, sample accurate triggering etc.).
  • Extreme parameter ranges with virtually infinite resolutions. Works in any sample-rate.
  • Straightforward and easy to use interface with context menus, popup hints etc.
  • Cut, copy, paste, load and save programs, individual drum patches and patterns.
  • Plenty of creative editing options, including randomizing functions etc.
  • MIDI out support. Use the pattern engine to control other plug-ins.
  • CPU efficient. Typically less than 5% CPU utilization for all eight channels on a 2.0GHz P4.
  • Comes bundled with a hefty chunk of factory sounds and patterns, free to use in productions.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.67 from 9 reviews

Reviewed By Tagirijus
December 12, 2020

Already there (aka "Pro"):

  • extremely CPU friendly and fast loading.
  • easy and fast to set up in general.
  • good sounding.
  • almost endless (?) patterns online in the Patternarium.
  • minimalistic yet powerful.
  • scriptable things.
  • preset format is "open". So it seems to be some kind of JSON format, which is nice for geeks like me (-;
  • many parameters can be linked to MIDI CC#s.
  • easy and minimalistic, but useful preset system.
  • after 10 years (if I read correctly) the development seems not dead yet, I guess ... at least that's my assumption, since the last update was in april 2020. Still waiting for the dev to "verify" (-;

Could be there (aka "Cons", or better: "Feature wishes"):

  • some more sound noise types.
  • filter envelopes.
  • linking velocity to more parameters than just the three ones.
  • polyphonic mode in the "Pitched MIDI mode".
  • adjusting the decaying curves (especially for the pitch mod).

Really looking forward to the future of this plugin. (=.

Read Review

Reviewed By beatz
March 26, 2006

Sounds very, very good.

Easy and intuitive to program. Initially the 'chained' patterns are not easy to handle, but it doesn't take long to master. It's actually a very powerful feature, and allows for complex sequencing.

I personally love the graphics, and the various colours make it very easy to see what is going on.

There is just one feature i would like to see: to be able to copy a single instrument's pattern sequence and copy it to another pattern. Not indespensable, but could be handy.

EDIT. The feature i thought was missing, is already there! You just need to option click when copy pasting patterns to edit a single drum voices pattern.
This drum machine is truly powerful, and the more i use it, the more i love it. The new Sonic Recharge bank of patches is brilliant.

It can be used in many different ways: as a sound generator, synth, drum machine, drum synth, etc...
The midi controller implementation is fully featured, as is host automation. Every possible parameter can be automated, and you can even use a computer keyboard to record automation takes. This is one of the instrument's strong points: total control.

The many supplied presets are excellent inspirational starting points.

Stability is rock solid.

Overall an awesome beat box which is worth a lot more than it costs !!!Read Review

Reviewed By 11011011
October 31, 2005

> link buttons which tell 'Tonic what to play after (or as a shortcut, what comes before) the current pattern. Pretty simple.

You can also cut & paste patterns all over the place, so simple.

You can drag to set arbitrary beats from 1 to 16. If you want 12 beats per, it's easy.

Also, there are nice sliders at the bottom for roll time (to go from 'da-da-da' to "bzzzzzzzzzt!'), swing, and tempo match.

It's pretty easy to dial up a new drum sound, but my guess is you won't need to (often). There is an army of included presets that suit most music where you'd find a beat box.

User Interface: I was at first put-off by the "Aqua" look, but it's actually very easy to use.

Sound: @#$%^&-ing brilliant. Exactly what you'd want in an electronic drum machine, and then some. One thing to note is that it also supports "tuned" patches, so you can go nuts with the sounds.

Features: The only thing I feel lacking in the step sequencer is the ability to set more velocity levels. However, since I can easily cut & paste any pattern or set of patterns back into my sequencer, it's super easy to do final tweaks there. The "random" button is also excellent for industrial or ambient tracks. Just press "play" and hit the button till you get something odd or nasty. Nice! It supports either a 4-out (2 stereo pairs) which you can easily choose A/B for each part, or a separate out for each patch you have dialed up.

Documentation: very good, though I haven't needed it.

Customer Support: haven't needed it yet, but I got a prompt response on a new feature request.

Value for Money: It's more than I wanted to spend for a beat box in general, by about $20. But I'm cheap, and it was worth it anyway.

Stability: Rock solid.Read Review

Reviewed By LarsErik
August 20, 2004

The sound that comes out of this VSTi is great. Filters run smoothly and the bass drums, snares and claps are better then most I've ever heard. The range of all the drum and percussive sounds is, since the editing is so easy, nothing but marvelous.

I'm a preset guy myself, so I actually got really surprised how much I like to tweak this machine. All the controls that I need is up front and there's no science to editing presets (or patterns). Out of the box you get a bunch of programs (patterns) and presets (drum and percussive sounds) that work great as a start. (Cliche but nevertheless true.)

The step sequencer is easy and straight forward. Programming patterns are made in a 808/909 fashion and two or more patterns can be linked to make up larger pattern chains. Copy, paste and other expected sequencer features are all there. Other reviews here on kvr say that the sequencer is the weak part of this VSTi but I must say that I can't agree. I like it, I like it a lot. I mean, beside ease of use it's got MIDI out, something that is really useful for me.

With the latest update (version 2.0) the two main features that I was missing, eight separate outputs and midi CC learn, are included. Among the new features the direct preview when browsing programs and presets (in sync) and the pitched MIDI mode stands out from the rest.

So what's the downside? Well, when loading a program you're not only loading a set of presets (drum sounds) but also the patterns. The option to load "only" presets and not the patterns of a program would give a more "standard" feeling of loading/saving drum kits. This would be good for trying out different drum sounds to an already perfected set of patterns.

The UI works great from an usability point of view, the looks of the UI however is not what it could be. Icing on the cake would, IMHO, be a more photo realistic (3d) look that breathes more of a vintage-analog-VCO controlled-feel to it. (Something like Tassman4 to be more exact..)Read Review

Reviewed By Sensational
February 13, 2004

I slep on this one at first, it had been out for two months before I noticed it on the KVR ad banner. I said "fuck it! I have nothing else to do , I'll try the demo". Whoa! This damn VST is the best fuckin thing I have heard in a long time! The sound quality is amazing,everything in it is tweakable. I have been looking for something like this for a long time. I just have to say I can't wait to see what Sonic Charge does next! This Vst is going to be a classic along side the Pentagon I.Read Review

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Comments & Discussion for Sonic Charge Microtonic (µTonic)

Discussion: Active
27 May 2014 at 7:08pm

I picked up Microtonic a couple of months ago and use it in everything i do now. Can't believe i never purchased this one earlier. Everything about it is great. Its a really fun and great sounding drum synth. Top notch for House and Minimal beats among others. Probably one of the best purchases iv'e made for my needs. This ones a keeper. I'd love to see some extra features but as it stands right now it's just perfect.


27 May 2014 at 9:09pm

You bet ya. It's a quick way to some really creative hits...and basses...and FX. It helped to teach me what a bass drum can be besides a beater in the front, a bump and sin wave slide. So much more is possible with this, esp with 96 or so semi modulation range on the pitch and the various modulation options in this section. Synthesis engine. That simple interface is very misleading because some of the controls are actually dependent on other controls' settings. Experimentation is the key with this one. There are great options for getting patterns to the grid in a DAW and there are some fantastic Scripts with the semi-new script engine that can be added to help workflow and other neat things. It's a fantastic tool indeed. Congrats on yr new acquisition, may it continue to provide fruits. Cheers.

2 August 2015 at 12:30am

I Love this drummachine! To be able to play the parts separately with keyboard in different pitches is an outstanding feature.


Is it just me or did a DC-offset bug krept in on windows 7 when turning up the distortion? It was fine on XP.. tried it at a diffrent DAW and pc, but still the same bug.. DC-offset sucks. : (.

maybe i have some wrong settings in Win7? strange that i can't find anyone else posting on this matter.

2 August 2015 at 3:51am

turns out the DC-offset is also on XP ...maybe i didn't notice it before.. but its very obvious when turning distortion up and EQ-gain to the negative side (left)

11 March 2017 at 11:50am

And if you sucked it dry completely you can use the sequencer to trigger other instruments because it transmits MIDI out.

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