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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.
Reviewed By beatz
March 26, 2006
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 more
Reviewed By 11011011
October 31, 2005
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 more
Reviewed By LarsErik
August 20, 2004
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 more
Reviewed By Sensational
February 13, 2004
Reviewed By Fette Töle
February 13, 2004
Sound: Just great. It cuts though everything without being painful.
Features: All you need from an electronic drum module. Can be both nasty and very clean. Great versatility with a very modest amount of parameters.
Documentation: Very good manual which covers everything you need to know in a clear and simple language. I just don't like that it comes as html, I had preferred a pdf document.
Presets: myriads, both patches and patterns
Customer support: My questions were answered within two days at max, unfortunately without being able to solve my problem (see below). As a positive side remark: there was a very nice free Xmas package with additional patches.
VFM: although 70 bucks is at my upper limit for a specialized plug, I consider the VFM very good.
Stability: never ever had a crash, although I sometimes treated it not too good (changing whole drum kits while it was playing etc.). A big nuisance, however, is that when you record midi notes through the midi output of the plug, these notes are mostly out of sync. The developer is aware of the problem (which seems only to occur in Cubase SX) but wasn't able to fix it so far. Also, µtronic sometimes seems to ignore the start/stop commands via midi notes.Read more