by Robin Vincent | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Fxpansion CYPHER2

Fxpansion CYPHER2  ·  Source: Fxpansion


Fxpansion has released a new virtual synthesizer focused around sound design and MPE based expressive performance. CYPHER2, it says, takes us on “a sound design adventure” and is designed for deep sonic exploration and expressive performances. That sounds exciting!



It sounds huge and looks complicated. So complicated that they’re afraid to put a screenshot on the product page. CYPHER2 uses analogue modelling through 3 oscillators, FM and up to audio-rate modulation. There are twin filters with 6 circuit types and 30 effects modules all primed for modulation. It is optimised for MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) and has a “state-of-the-art” 5-dimensional step sequencer and arpeggiator. It’ll run great with regular MIDI as well. CYPHER2 is all about modulation and has a powerful and intuitive “TransMod” engine for sound manipulation.


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Sonic diversity

Oscillators can morph between all sorts of waveforms and cope with advanced FM synthesis and extreme audio rate modulation. Further timbral variety can be found via audio-rate wave-modulation, sample & hold, ring-mod, variable-depth sync and tempo-synced beat-detune. The filter and waveshaper possibilities are all modelled from modular sources processing the complex oscillator section. There are lots of effects. The TransMod system found in the original CYPHER has been reworked letting you apply modulation all over the place monophonically or polyphonically. This includes all 5 dimensions of ROLI’s expressive controllers.

New dimensions

It’s quite a lot to take in really. There are three modulation sequencers alongside the 5-dimensional step sequencer. Everything on the screen is animated and moving with full signal flow visuals and preset descriptions. The LFOs can be synced, divided or free-flowing. And there’s morphing and randomisation all over the place. The complex interface is also pleasingly scalable for high definition screens.

They say it’s been years in the making, taking features from Strobe2 and the original Cypher, combining Fxpansion and ROLI teams in order to produce what they hope will be an awesome instrument. There are over 500 5D enabled presets (out of 1300) to play with and you can map your ROLI Seaboard to any parameter with ease.

“This project has been a true labour of love for the FXpansion team and ROLI’s veteran sound designers”, says Angus Hewlett, founder of FXpansion and now VP Engineering at ROLI. “The expressive power of 5D MPE and the sonic fidelity of circuit modeled synthesizer components is a uniquely powerful combination: an advanced software synthesizer which responds to your playing like no other”.

This could be amazing! Worth downloading the demo and giving it a whirl.

CYPHER2 is available now as a standalone or plugin for £159, or £64 if you are a Seaboard or Blocks owner until the 7th September.

More information

Fxpansion CYPHER2

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