|Product||Strobe (DCAM: Synth Squad)|
£157 / $249 / €189 (bundle)
|Type / Tags||Synth (Analogue / Subtractive)MPE|
|Copy Protection||Online Activation (Challenge / Response)|
DCAM: Synth Squad is a collection of 4 software instruments:
- Strobe: a performance synth - easy to program, begs to be played.
- Amber: a divide-down string ensemble synth emulation.
- Cypher: a complex 3-osc synth with dual filters/waveshapers and realistic audio-rate modulation.
- Fusor: a semi-modular layering/FX/step-sequencing environment for the above synths.
Designed to be as easy to program and satisfying to play as an analogue monosynth, Strobe also adds polyphony, osc-stacking, a versatile multimode filter and deep modulation to create a modern classic. Strobe specializes in no-nonsense analogue-style leads, sick basses and complex pads.
Reviewed By Aiynzahev
August 4, 2013
This is my rating and review for the whole of Dcam SynthSquad as you can't buy them separately anyway.
I will have to keep this review short, as to write an exhausting review of DCAM would be, well.. exhausting.
Synth Squad can be looked at a collection of 3 relevantly simple analogue modeled synths which can be integrated into a shell called Fusor giving you modular connectivity between all synths loaded and then some extras too.
Fusor provides complex arpeggiation and step sequencing as well as effects processing. It allows for the combination of any of the three synths (Strobe, Cypher & Amber) and provides an interconnection of modulation sources and destinations.
The synths themselves are a pleasure to use. Strobe in particular is irresistible for it's simplicity and phatness factor. Sporting 4 sub osc's + Osc Stacking plus Stereo & Polyphonic Unison It has produced some of the biggest and most lush pads and supersaws this writer has heard come out of his DAW. Furthermore unison mode gives you a lot of options and this is true for all of the synths as they all share the same transmod system (never could get used to the name transmod though, makes me shudder a little).
You can use variations of Unison as modulation sources. One obvious use is the have the destination be fine tune and pan, each unison voice will be detuned and panned in the stereo field. But there are many other possibilities. The transmod system itself is brilliant and allows for fast routing and it's fairly easy to keep track of what is modulating what. A very good system and much nicer than Modulation Matrices. It has has some similarity to NI Massive in this respect.
If you want to get into more complex synthesis you're not at a loss because there is Cypher. Green & cluttered with a thousand buttons; its the ugly duckling, but it sings beautifully.
Here you have 3 oscs and 2 filters instead of Strobe's single Osc and filter and it also has a Moog filter model. The differences between Cypher and Strobe are in their architecture and in Cyphers Moog model filter. Otherwise they both share the same sound.
It also has some rare features, control over osc beating etc which makes it a very intriguing synth, but you probably know about those already. If not it's on their website.
As for Amber, well I've had a look at it numerous times but it's nothing that interests me at the moment. The interesting resonator is available in Fusor for any of the synths to use anyway.
All of these have a great amp section where you can really drive them. It makes for very interesting shaping.
Now Fusor is both great and at times a little frustrating. I had to refer to the manual a good few times to figure out some things, which is fine for something so complex, but there were some things I still couldn't get working. No big problem as most everything I wanted to do was self explanatory.
Things I liked about Fusor:
- Plenty of effect slots.
- Modulation of effects.
- Loads of good effects.
- Easy to use Arp/Sequencer with clear visibility.
- Some more in-depth features lengthy to explain but very practical in use.
Things I did not like about Fusor:
- Lots of tabs & buttons in the Animator which are not immediately understandable. Not sure how they could help it but I am sure it could be helped some.
- Gets a little complex with Fusor presets vs individual synth presets. You just have to keep track of what you're doing though.
- Cannot use Synth Envelopes as mod source.
- No metering between FX to help gain staging.
- Not the best phaser/flanger/chorus.
Final thoughts: These synths are able to bring something more organic to the table than many others while at the same time offering enough of a tight controlled sound to allow them to work well in modern highly processed and precise music. Fat but not obese.
I've got bucket loads of VSTi's but Strobe often gets pulled up when I want a reliably big but more earthy sound, not something that turns to noise easily through processing, but retains is liveliness. Hard to explain. But it's robust.
This is an important part of my synthesizer selection.Read more