Music is a much nicer thing to write about than religion, so let’s get back to it without delay, shall we?
I try to avoid buying new bits of music software, because I already have too many great devices, but I keep my eyes open, because you never know. Today, while poking around on the Reason website, I grabbed a free 30-day trial version of a new filter called Strive. And, oh my. It’s very nice.
Here are a couple of audio clips. First you hear the sound of the synth dry, and then after a few bars Strive kicks in.
And here’s what Strive looks like:
I deliberately tried it out with a couple of vintage synth replicas from Cherry Audio. I really like what they’re doing with their instruments. I bought their Eight-Voice and reviewed the PS-20 for the Synth & Software website, and I now have their other instruments, which I’m looking forward to digging into — but I have to admit that after a while all vintage analog emulations start to sound just a tiny bit alike. Ideally, one would want a couple of analog-style synths, a couple of FM synths, one or two physical modeling synths, a synth with wavetable oscillators, a sampler with a hefty library, and a granular synth. Each has its own sonic signature.
The simplicity of an analog model is why adding a device like Strive to the signal chain offers some real possibilities. A nice rich analog sawtooth wave is ideal as an input for Strive. The first audio clip uses Mercury-4, as you can see. The second uses their Polymode. In both cases Strive is being animated a bit using Reason’s stock Pulsar dual LFO module.
Strive provides 8, 16, 32, or 64 bands of filtering. The curve on the panel, which is animated when the parameters are being modulated, gives you an idea what sort of filter response you’ll hear.
Or maybe in saying all analog models sound alike, I spoke a bit too quickly. Here’s a slightly more worked-out sketch using the same patch as the second one above, but this time with an added melody from Cherry Audio’s CA2600 (modeled on the fabled ARP 2600) and some chime chords from the PS-20. The trick is to find sounds that have some character of their own, and then figure out what notes to play on them.