Review: SynthMaster semi-modular software synthesizer by KV331 Audio

By | 2016-11-07T13:47:12+00:00 September 9th, 2015|review|

In my search for new plugins to extend my “sonic possibilities”, I finally stopped on one of the most (famous) underrated synth ever- SynthMaster. I do not regret that I came across this beast of synth and it seems that finally my thirst for sound was satisfied (at least for the next few months, I think).

At first look, SynthMaster looks like an amalgam of modules that can be intimidating for many users. When it comes to synthesizers of any kind, I usually jump directly into sounds, but SynthMaster made me study it more closely. Here, I will limit myself to highlight some features along a few paragraphs.

SynthMaster is a semi-modular synthesizer featuring two layers, each layer having two main oscillators, multiple filter types and modulation units. In each layer, you can opt for the “Basic” oscillator setup, or to go into depth with “Additive”, “Wavetable” or “Vector” oscillator and an “Audio In” oscillator that passes your audio input through the filters and FX. Besides the typical waveforms such as sine, triangle, square, sawtooth, pulse and noise, you can pick from hundreds of single-cycle waveforms and SFZ instruments or come up with your own SFZ files. There are plenty of other features, each oscillator setup coming with its own characteristics and sound-modeling tools.

SynthMaster comes with a huge amount of filters: ten digital and nine analog types. Adding the three FX slots, you can shape your sound using distortion, lo-fi, ensemble, phaser and eq. Moving one level above, we have vocoder, compressor, chorus, tremolo, echo and reverb effect units. Next to them is a Layer FX Routing section featuring five inserts per layer, then two layer sends and a Global Effects section with two busses with up to five effects on each.

The LFO tab contains four independent LFOs, each with six wave shapes: Sine, Triangle, Square, Saw, Step and Glide. You can sync them with your DAW’s tempo, also adjust the phase and speed. The powerful arpeggiator allows you to control each step’s duration, slide and hold. Similar like almost any other arp, you can adjust the mode, range, steps and velocity.

There would be a lot to say about what it has under the hood, but I’m afraid that maybe I will take away the joy of discovering by yourself the beauty of the instrument. Or better, rather than waste space here with geek stuff, take a look at SynthMaster User Manual covering every aspect.

Audio demos:

The sound is simply amazing, very rich, clean and I prefer to call it milky, creamy. You have 4 levels of sound quality- Draft, Good, Better and Best plus a customizable preset. I was amazed by the sound quality with SynthMaster set on Draft, just imagine what sound is at the other levels. Of course, an increase in audio quality leads to increased consumption of system resources.

SynthMaster comes with 1100 factory presets from a world class team of sound designers: BigTone, Michael Kastrup, Rob Lee, Umit “Insigna” Uy, Ufuk Kevser, Aiyn Zahev, Frank “Xenox” Neumann, Teoman Pasinlioglu, Nori Ubukata, Gercek Dorman, Vorpal Sound and Brian “Xenos” Lee. With such a large volume of presets, it is obvious that the interface must provide easy access, so, you can search sounds by type, attributes, style, author and bank. You can select multiple features at once and thus reach the desired sound. An useful feature is the folder where you can save your favorite sounds. It is located in the “New” tab on top.

Appearance is not neglected, SynthMaster comes with 8 skins, including the simplified Player Skin, which it will certainly be a favorite of those who are not too technical.

SynthMaster runs as a VST, AAX instrument on both Windows and Mac OSX, and also as an Audio Unit instrument on Mac OSX.

In conclusion, to make a joke, this synth is the voice that any MIDI controller wants. It is perfect for any style of music, from EDM to pop/ RnB, from progressive rock to trap etc. Its rich and full sound will satisfy any producer, either amateur or professional, and the variety of presets plus the ability to (really) create your own sounds, transform it in an everyday tool.

SynthMaster is one level higher than most popular virtual synthesizers!

About the Author:

Stephen Rich
Stephen is the founder of flstudiomusic, and every day brings you the latest music production news. He also writes reviews from time to time. You can find him on Facebook.

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