This is a very clever concept and one that i wondered about when i first learned how FM/PM synthesis works... and here it is, available as a free, well skinned (nice looking, like all of the VST stuff from Land of Cockaigne), easy to fiddle with and making horrifically bizarre and beautifully weird sounds. i think i tried an older version a few years back and it was not stable or it was someone else's product and not Land of Cockaigne's, but i've been playing around with the currently available download for some time now and i am being inspired by the sound destruction possibilities and lovely grittiness and have not experienced any bugs or crashes so far in Tracktion.
i would love to see Land of Cockaigne update ALL of their VST plugs because it's clear these were all made with the shareware version of synth edit (version 0.71) and i bet recompiling these lovely looking and cleverly designed VSTs would help with CPU use and sound quality if using the most recent and commercial release of Synth Edit. i tried to email the author of Land of Cockaigne, but my email was returned, so someone find this guy and poke him, nicely! (Mikko Hyyrylainen) i actually located his plugs via a nice thread on old-but-goodies here at KVR and the Land of Cockaigne website's links seem all to be broken (including contact). i had to, sadly, give no points for customer support because Mikko Hyyrylainen seems to be unavailable and his website is largely broken.
i do not know of anything else out there that is like Morpheus, at least not for free, so this is also a rather unique tool. It might seem to be a one-trick-pony at first, as the presets are all quite similar, but the real value is in using your own samples after you get done playing with the presets (of which there are only 16, as per the shareware limitation of Synth Edit). i highly recommend using it for mutilating drum loops (and don't forget to add some healthy reverb in your device chain to make this thing sound smoother, sweeter and more monstrous)! The value of Morpheus is really up to the user's perception and intent. If you like screwing up sounds until they have traditional dynamics but an overall timbre or character that is new and unique (and noisy) or totally off the wall, you will have fun with Morpheus. If you want clean and pretty sounds, this might not be the tool for you if you only use presets; but do try it out anyway since it's pretty open-ended with the ability to use your own samples for carrier and modulator function in the FM synthesis path. i like organic dirt and filth, so Morpheus makes me go "Oooooo!" That doesn't mean that you can't construct pretty sounds by loading in your choice of samples and adjusting the settings appropriately, but the presets are mostly filthy and noisy, so experiment a little before you toss it aside. The value here is the potential of the tool, not its presets.
Note: Morpheus can potentially freak out on you with certain settings and samples, so if it starts to go goofy, just reset your host's audio interface and make smaller changes to the settings when you toy around; this definitely will not be a candidate for the "Randomize" button, if your host has one. This is not uncommon in many soft synths; sometimes configurations can cause massive CPU use or even bad math. i've seen it in commercial stuff, too, but i note this here because i've seen it happen with Morpheus and the author Mikko Hyyrylainen has himself noted this in the read.me document included. The docs are short but get to the point, btw.
I shoved it aside the first time I downloaded the file, but following some positive reviews I gave it another chance, and now it premanently resides in my "Second-Best VSTi's" directory.
This is a surprisingly unique and well-sounding SynthEdit creation, an FM wave-morphing synthesizer. The GUI is less than polished for my taste, and could use a few more labels, but it is perfectly functional. If you know the difference between an Amp and a Filter envelope, you won't need any documentation; and in any case, the textfile that comes with it gives you a good start. I had to give a high mark for customer support since the author replied to my e-mail within an hour, but truth be told, you don't need any support for this baby.
But the essence of a VSTi is in the sound and features, right? Well, it has enoug controls (17 knobs and 7 multiple-choice switches) to mess around for days, but not so many as to overwhelm you...
...and the sound is absolutely terrific! Unlike many 'fx' and 'weird noise' type VSTi's, Morpheus has a thick presence and a rich sonic spectrum. If you want dark, brooding textures that would scare the pants off an Alien (see the preset 'Nostromo calling'), go no further! As far as I know, other than Ultran and some Reactor ensembles, there isn't anything else out there (free or commercial) at the moment that would do solid wave-morphing, so Morpheus is rather unique. I found it great for ambient, fantasy, symphonic, or soundtrack styles, and I can see how it could be used for frightening background textures in post-apocalyptic hard-techno as well.
If the author updated/tweaked the GUI, and perhaps added a few twists to it, I'd gladly pay around U$20 for the privilege to own this horrormeister. As it is, I consider Morpheus a must to download, and an impressive creation from an obviously talented designer!
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