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Synthulator derives its waveforms from the sounds of a classic Emulator II sampler, but puts them into a framework that harks back to early Sample & Synthesis machines like Roland's D50. The Synthulator engine grafts short Attack samples (guitar plucks, string bows, flute chiffs, synth blips etc) onto twin Sustain waves, allowing the user to create complex evolving sounds with a minimum of fuss. The two Sustain waves include both Emulator II-derived acoustic tones (for example, strings, brass, woodwind) and a wide variety of synthesiser patches (including a full complement of synth staples like sawtooth, square, sine, triangle, pulse etc).
Synthulator incorporates some extremely useful performance controls, such as allowing incoming MIDI velocity to affect the Attack and Sustain waves differently, and allowing Sustains to be inverted (to allow crossfading with velocity). There are also some neat modulation abilities, including X-Mod, which slowly crossfades between the two Sustain waves to give subtle or extreme movement to the sound – this technique can create tonalities that are reminiscent of PPG-style machines.
Synthulator's tone palette is definitely digital in focus, with every onboard wave stamped with the Emulator's 12-bit convertors and 8-bit sample grain. This makes for a synthesiser with extensive sonic capabilities that nevertheless sounds like an Emulator: ideal for "new sounds of the 80s", unusual synth patches, and vintage-flavoured tones. The onboard Glitch button musically randomises the control set for instant new patches: