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