Native Instruments Absynth 4

MC Rebbe The Rapping Rabbi reviews Native Instruments Absynth 4 in The Technofile

Absynth is one of the best sound design tools out there. Like its brethren, ‘Battery’ (reviewed below) and ‘FM8’ (review coming soon), it has recently had a makeover.

If you’re not already familiar with this soft synth, then check out my Absynth 3 review. If, on the other hand, you already know the score, read on.

Unlike Battery, the changes here are mainly cosmetic. The patch, wave, effect, LFO and Envelope windows are exactly where you left them in Absynth 3, though they have been given a facelift, making them easier to use.

A new ‘browser’ window replaces the ‘main’ window, bringing Absynth 4 into line with NI’s other Kore enabled products by allowing you to search for sounds by instrument, source, timbre, articulation and genre; search for effects by type, mode, characteristic, application and genre; and to explore your patches/drives using a windows explorer style interface (with a nicer skin).

The brand new ‘perform’ window offers a similar feature set to the ‘MIDI’ window it replaces and throws in some extra functionality for good measure. Laid out far more logically that its predecessor, it sports a clear, easier to navigate, tabbed interface, that includes new master ADSR controls.

MC Rebbe The Rapping Rabbi reviews Native Instruments Absynth 4 in The Technofile

On a waveform tip, wave morphing, allows you to, as you might expect, morph two waves, while the new ‘Sync Granular Mode’ allows you to take your own or a library waveform, tear it up and then put it back together in a new way. This is done using resynthesis, which breaks your waves down into ‘grains’. You can change the frequency of these grains, use the density control to determine how they overlap and the scatter control to change the level of diffusion of the ‘grain cloud’. More to the point, it is now easier to edit waveforms, as NI have decided to implement one of the suggestions made in my Absynth 3 review…albeit in a less than optimal fashion. I expect the cheque for my consultancy is in the post…

On an effects tip, a drive parameter has been added to ‘Resonator’, allowing it to be driven to distortion; the level of an oscillator can be used to modulate an effects parameter and ‘Audio Mod’ allows the level of an audio signal to act as a modulation source enabling the use of Absynth as an effect.

Filed under miscellaneous are the new macro controls which assemble all incoming and outgoing modulation data to allow quick interaction with Absynth parameters and a new envelope ‘Step Mode’, which allows you to place break points in a rhythm grid, in a step sequencer stylee.

Naturally there’s a bunch of new patches and effects (in addition to the Absynth 3 library) all of which sound superb. So if you want anything from ambient pads to alien soundscapes, look no further. The changes to version 4 might be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but they are nonetheless welcome, particularly the interface changes, which improve usability and workflow.

MC Rebbe The Rapping Rabbi awards Native Instruments Absynth 4 four and a half bagels in The Technofile

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