Tone2 Wavetable Synth Icarus in Public Beta 2 – First Impressions

Icarus-beta-2

For the past week I've been working with Tone2's new virtual wavetable synth Icarus. They just released public beta 2 and if you have any interest in wavetable synthesis or resynthesis you owe it yourself to give it a try. 

Download Icarus Beta 2 here – http://www.tone2.org/forum/index.php?topic=2402.0

Real-Time 3d Wavetable Synthesis 

What's unique about his instrument? Their marketing blurb says…

Icarus is a '3D wavetable synth', because we extended the popular traditional wavetable synthesis, which allows to cross-blend waveforms, with an additional dimension for morphing.

What this means is you get traditional wavetable modulation where you can jump or smoothly blend from say a square to a sine wave as shown below.

Wavetable-icarus

But you also have the ability to morph that waveform in real-time to a morph mode. Here are the possible morph modes.

Icarus-morph-modes

For example, if you morph a sine wave with FM Sine 2x you get something that looks like this.

Icarus-morphed

What's cool about this is you can modulate both the wavetable index fluidly (changing the source wave) and modulate the depth of the morph. This is similar to the waveform blending on Rayblaster but with real-time feedback. While you can do this in real-time, you can also alliteratively render the result of the morph (ala Gladiator) and then apply more real-time morphing on top of that! 

Now multiply this by 3 discrete wavetable oscillators, run those through a pair of modulatable filters (62 filter types w/ drive), a vocoder, 3 insert effects (53 to choose from with routing options and feedback), and arpeggiator (which can also be a modulation source) – you get a stunning sonic range. Top this off with Alchemy like resynthesis, wavetable editing (Waveform,spectrum,phase) you get an amazing sound design tool. 

You can't save or export in the demo, but when the final is released you'll be able to export wavetables as well. I'm looking forward to building some wavetables for my Blofeld.

Icarus-wavetable-editor

Video Tutorials

If this all seems a bit too abstract to wrap your head around, have no fear. The developer Markus Krause is starting to post a series of video tutorials to help explain Icarus in detail  here  https://tone2.com/html/icarus_tutorial.html

First Impressions

The resynthesis engine is fantastic. Within minutes of using Icarus I was able to create interesting and expressive unique sounds. There are quite a few wavetable synths on the market right now and what sets Icarus apart is it's straight forward user interface with interactive visual feedback – and cool ideas like autofocus. An example of autofocus is if you click on the Env knob in the filter section, the Filter Envelope snaps into focus on the left hand side in the Envelope section. Ultimately, the GUI allowed me to get going with Icarus faster than most synths in this class, and get to a musical idea in less time. 

More To Come…

I'm definitely going dive deeper int to Icarus and will share more notes on my progress on the category http://www.modulatethis.com/synth-icarus/.

Download

Download Icarus Beta 2 here – http://www.tone2.org/forum/index.php?topic=2402.0

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