First Impressions & What’s New with Tone2’s Electra2 – A Major Upgrade to ElectraX Synthesizer


Tone2 has just announced Electra2, a major upgrade to their fantastic ElectraX synthesizer, on their Facebook page.

A major upgrade to our ElectraX synthesizer, Electra2 offers a large range of new features and enhancements. Like a comfortable patch browser to give you an instant overview of all available categories and sounds. 16 new effects, a sample editor, Physical Modeling synthesis, 5 new filter types, enhanced sound quality, improved user interface and a huge number of further enhancements.

ElectraX is all over my albums Fear Cannot Save Us and I Hear Your Signals, so I was quite excited to hear about this update since this is one of my goto instruments.  Below are some first impressions after participating as a beta tester. This is followed by a list of what's new and links for more info.


Refinement of GUI

The GUI is more polished and the lighting is a bit more subtle, but hasn't changed from a layout point-of-view which is good news from for existing users who already have muscle memory.  If you've never used ElectraX or Electra2 before, you'll really enjoy the straight forward layout and interactive graphic feedback. For example, if you use an LFO to modulate the filter and resonance, you'll see this movement in real-time in the interface. The interactive feedback makes learning from factory presets more immediate as you can see all the modulations expressed as graphical movement.

 Backwards Compatible with ElectraX

According to Tone2, "Electra2 is 100% downward compatible with the previous version. It completely replaces ElectraX and you will be able to load your old songs and patches." During my testing with the beta, I found all Electra2 presets were backwards compatible with ElectraX and it loads the factory and my custom presets from ElectraX just fine. In Ableton, Electra2 still appeared as ElectraX so old my old sets that were dependent on ElectraX simply load with Electra2 – brilliant!

Integrated Sample Editor and Sample Saved with Preset

One of my favorite new features is the integrated sample editor. ElectraX allowed you to load samples as oscillator sources. Electra2 takes this a step further with integrated sample editing. This is a huge time saver as you can loop, tune, cut, trim, reverse, and more – all without leaving Electra2. As with ElectraX, Electra2 saves the sample as part of the preset. So you'll never have the borken link to source sample issue. With the addition of these new features, I'm finding Electra2 to be great choice for Musique concrète.  Being able to use one workflow to tweak source samples, plus use the as sources for synthesis is organic, fast, and inspiring.


New Utilities in Menus = Huge Time Savings for Custom Sound Design

Electra2 has added even more utility functions to the menus throughout the instrument. For example if you click the "INIT" button just above the "SETTINGS" section you'll see a new "Reset all" option which initializes all four layers of the instrument (you used to have to do this a layer at a time).  Also new is "Reset synth arpeggiator" and some new menus that will load template presets for the new PhysicalGuitar and PhysicalFlute filter types.


The "SETTINGS" "COPY" button has a fantastic new option called "Multilayer edit". If you click this, any change you make in one of the four layers will be reflected in the other three. This is a HUGE time saver!


Electra2 adds a new handy patch browser making it easier to browse. The info pane automatically generates a snapshot view of what major features were used in a patch. Again this is a nice touch if you are trying to learn from factory patches. You can also us a 5 star system to rate your favorite patches (default is 3 stars).



I've only scratched the surface with my first impression notes above. Below is a more complete list of what's new from the ElextraX to Electra2 upgrade page.

Upgrade summary:

– Over 700 additional patches with over 1500 sounds
– Completely reworked all factory sounds
– Comfortable patch browser
– Sample editor
– Physical modeling synthesis

Read more

How to Use ElectraX Synth with Ableton Push Pad Pressure and Use Ribbon Controller Like a Mod Wheel

push electrax

I finally got my hands on a Push. I’m going through songs in my existing live show and tweaking synths to be even more expressive with Push’s aftertouch and ribbon controller. In this post I’ll be focusing on the wonderful ElectraX synth by Tone2 Audiosoftware but the same concepts apply to any synthesizer that allows for CC mapping in their Mod Matrix – including all the other Tone2 synths.

The image below (click to enlarge) illustrates how to map Push’s pad pressure (aftertouch) and ribbon controller in the mod matrix.


Ribbon Controller

If you are using Ableton instruments, the ribbon controller on Push is hard wired to pitch wheel. One advantage to using third party synths is synths like ElectraX, Absynth, and others allow you to map MIDI controller information right into their mod matrix. In other words you can map the ribbon to anything you like

In ElectraX if you want to disable mod wheel so it doesn’t change pitch got to Settings and set “Pitchwheel” to off. Now go into the Mod Matrix and map Pitchwheel. In the example above, I’m using the ribbon to crossfade oscillator 1 and oscillator 2 volumes.


To map pad pressure, which is really exposed as aftertouch, go to the Mod Matrix and map “Afterto.” to parameters. In the example above I’m using pressure to close the filter and increase filter resonance.

Keep Up with Push Posts

I’ll be doing many more posts on Push in the future so keep an eye on this category You can subscribe to the RSS feed for this category here The ElextraX category is here |

Mark Mosher

Tone2: ElectraX 1.4 released


One of my goto synths ElectraX has been updated to 1.4.

New features:

  • 64 Bit VST & AU version for Mac (requires OSX 10.5 or higher)
  • Mouse-wheel support for list selectors and knobs (if the host supports it)
  • PDF manual can now be viewed from within the plugin (Mac)


  • Better overall performance in big projects.
  • Reworked graphics and skins.
  • Enhanced workflow.
  • The GUI code was completely rewritten. It’s faster and supports alpha blending now..
  • Enhanced LFOs (random types & frequencies below 4Hz)
  • Enhanced Legato.
  • Key follow of filter with glide.
  • Gatekeeper support on Mac.
  • 64 bit version is Windows8 compatible.
  • Improved installation process on PC and Mac.
  • Many other small enhancements.


  • Workaround for a host bug in Logic (garbage Midi data was sent to the plugin)
  • Fix for hosts that did not open GUI on plugin loading (Ableton, Logic)
  • Workaround for a Windows problem when mouse buttons are click-held for a long time.
  • Fix for a possible permission problem in OSX Lion.
  • Fixed a memory leak.
  • Legato, sustain pedal.
  • Fixed some GUI glitches.
  • Several smaller bugfixes.

More information is available at

My 2012 Go To Virtual Synthesizers


I own a lot of virtual synths :^)  As part of a voluntary simplification exercise I started in January,  I’ve been limiting myself to a smaller number of instruments over the last year so I could go deeper and create more expressive and unique signature sounds for compositions and live performance. The image above (click to go to interactive map and then click branches learn more about these synths) shows a mindmap of synths I’ve been most drawn to over the last year. In other words, these are the instruments that consistantly make into my tracks like “And What do the Trees Hear When the Wind Blows”, “Orbiting Miranda”, and “Now is Now Remix”.

When narrowing down to this list, I worked to find a very complimentary set of instruments with great workflow. The instruments range in character from pure synthesis instruments (Zebra and Predator), to sample-based instruments (Sampler, Iris), to hybrids (Alchemy, ElextraX) to virtual drum machines (utonic). The instruments with green dots in front are ones I’ve been spending 100s of hours with working to create signature "patches” from scratch that I’ll use in future compositions, productions, and live performances. I should also note that I’m also using many of these synths as effects processors allowing me to capitalize on the investment I made learning the synth workflows (here is a post on this notion) .


For those not familiar with some of these synths checkout some audio samples from past sound design experiments. First is a clip with Alchemy (download MP3) where I use granular synthesis to repurpose the field recording of a fluorescent light bulb.

Here is a little behind-the-scenes video on the creation of this patch.

Here is another example where I use Alchemy (download mp3) to repurpose crowd noise from a CU bastkeball game, a morse code key, and add in something called factalized waveforms.

Next is a Zebrify patch where I slowly pitch up and then process this incoming signal of a Theremin with two comb filters with the pitch of filters being modualted by a step LFO (download mp3)?

Next Steps – Deeper with the Top 3

As I go into the fall I’m going to be spending a lot more time with Zebra and Alchemy. They are both extremely deep and very complimentary. They nicely cover the entire spectrum from pure synthesis to sample mangling. Absynth, which I bought in 2002, is the first virtual synth I ever owned so holds a special place in my rig. I’ll be doing some synth work with it as well but will focus heavily on using it as an effects processor.

Which Should You Pick?

If you have limited funds or time and just want to go deep with one synth, you can't go wrong if you pick one of the three mentioned in the previous paragraph. Again, Zebra is pure synthesis (no samples) and semi-modular. Alchemy is great at resynthesis and sample mangling so if you are into field recordings this is your best bet. Absynth is somewhere between the two and is a great pick if you want to work with extreme multi-segment envelopes and very interesting and unusually effects. I give them all 10/10 and the deeper you go, the more you’ll be rewarded.

If you are looking for a fantastic subtractive that can also be used as an effects processor Predator is fantastic choice. If you want a hybrid with subtractive workflow with visual feedbak, ElectraX is a good bet.

Controllerism with the Top 4

Now that I’ve further narrowed my list, I’m working on templates for various controllers to get even more expressive results with Zebra, Alchemy, Absynth and Predator. I’m using the Alchemy Mobile to control Alchemy on my computer, I’m working on a custom Lemur template for Zebra and Absynth. I’ll also be working on mappings for my Novation Remote SL and refining my AudioCube patches for these synths.

I’ll leave you with a video I did some time ago showing the use of one Percussa AudioCube face in sensor mode to play a note plus send MIDI CC info to control the XY of Alchemy.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder CO