Unison is a 6 oscillator synth with 3 paired sets of oscillators. Each pair can be added, mixed, ring modulated, FM or synced together. The oscillators each have variable shape sine, square, saw, tri & noise options as well as user waveforms built from upto 64 harmonics that can be manually set or derived from wave file analysis, this allows a huge variety of possible waveforms. The Oscillators then have there own pitches, tuning & volume set. There is also a unison feature for each pair that allows a copy of each oscillator pair to be modulated against its self with tuning amount and modulation speed. The 3 paired oscillators can be configured in 4 different paths, parallel, serial & 2FM paths. The oscillators then have options of which of the 3 filters they route to, or an option to route to all 3 filters at once.
The filters have 14 different types or a bypass option. Options are low, high, BP, BR with 12, 24 pole and state variable options as well as ring modulation and comb filters. Each filter has volume and key tracking parameters. The filters do a great job of shaping & mutating the sound & have a vintage character to them.
From here the output of each filter can route to any or all of the 3 effects cells. There are 10 effects to choose from, delay, 4tap delay, comb filter, chorus, ensembler, phaser, reverb, distortion, wah wah & cutter. The effects have good editability and have seperate pan and pan mod options. The effects are of a good standard & fairly light on the CPU. The Effects have a variety of routing paths and there is a global vibrato, tremelo, widen, 2band E.Q & compressor.
There are 6 envelopes with 6 stages each with retrigger, velocity and mod options. The LFO's are flexible with -&+ sine, square, saw, tri and noise waveforms with sync, retrigger onkey, freerun options and velocity mod options. The waveforms also have smooth, phase, distort, bit reduction, tracking & delay parameters! This allows for very flexible modulation. There is more though! There are six 16 step sequences with smooth, retigger, freerun and swing parameters amongst others.
To make the most of all these modulation sources there are 3 fixed path modulation matrix (one per oscillator pair). Mod sources can be routed to volume, oscillator pitch, shape & combination parameters (add, ring, FM etc), filter freq & resonance. Each source can be used in varied amounts for each matrix, which allows for a lot of modulation!
The options area has oscillator & FX routing as well as arpeggiator and poly settings. There is a control setting area that allows velocity, mod wheel & aftertouch amounts to be set for vol, shape, mix, freq and Q and a filter smooth to zeduce zipper effect. There is a global area that allows adjustment of global volume , each oscillator pair volume & a global volume envelope with attack, decay, sustain, fade & release. Midi learn, latch is available for all control parameters. There are usefull copy and paste settings options for many different sections of the synth.
Unison seems fairly straight forward to use (given the amount of parameters and options), it keeps most of the main editables on one screen & you just click through envelopes, LFO's and stepsequences & global editing options etc to show in there own little areas. Though I do wish there where options to use the keyboard or right mouse button for more precise value changes. This is only a minor niggle on an otherwise fantastic synth.
It sounds vintage, in a Radiophonic Workshop/scientific equipment with a soul type way. It has real depth to its sound & can sound big and full very easily, especially with its unison features. It is probably aimed at pads primarily, but this is just a fraction of what it can do. Its wealth of features & routing options allow for a huge range of distinctive sounds, from leads to over the top sequenced riffs. I just find the tone & layout of this synth very conducive to sounds that I like. If you dont like to make sounds yourself, it comes with a number of banks containing hundreds of presets to give you something your after. It also has a usefull randomize section where you randomize sounds using settings for different areas of the synth such as, each oscillator, filter the envelopes, Lfo's & sequences etc. This is much more usefull than just having a global randomize, doesnt have to be as hit & miss.
I got this as part of a synth pack deal that ConcreteFX always have on offer, & this makes their synths even better value. Their synths are some of the best value out there but as part of a synth pack it has to be about as good value as commercial software synths get! I really dont know why this synth isnt more talked about, it seems there are plenty enough people (judging by the talk on forums) into pads and big sounds that this synth excels at. Dont let this one sneak past you, download the demo go through the presets, turn a few knobs & see what you think.