Software developer Konarie have just released their “Chirp” Rack Extension sample-based synthesizer for Reason. They are claiming that it is the first RE synth that “you can actually touch” because it’s been “designed specifically for optional hardware control”. I’m not so sure about that.
Hardware control over software? No way!
Yes way! Chirp is a software synthesizer but wait, you can control it with a piece of hardware like it was a hardware synth. You turn a knob on this piece of optional hardware and by some magic wizardry, it turns a corresponding knob on your computer screen. That’s awesome! What will they think of next?
Ok, sorry, I’ll reign it in a bit. Konarie have laid Chirp out in such a way as to mirror the layout of the discontinued Behringer BCR2000 desktop MIDI controller. All the controls are then mapped to the hardware using a BCR2000 remote script. And to round off the total immersion experience, you can buy a sticker overlay to stick on the hardware.
I’m being a bit sarcastic because of the way it’s being put forward as some kind of revolutionary concept. This is just MIDI control – you can do it with any MIDI controller and any parameter, knob or button in Reason and any Rack Extension. But Konarie have done something quite neat here, albeit perhaps over-the-top for a Reason RE and with a product you can’t buy. It will, of course, get them a lot of attention.
So what about the synth itself? It’s a sample based synthesizer modelled on analog synthesizers of the 70’s and 80’s. It has a simple front end, with no hidden pages or modulation matrix. You get what you see on the front panel. They could tell us a lot more about it but they are too busy claiming all that nonsense about being the first synth you can touch.
I think this is a good example of why we need MIDI HD. It highlights that there should be a profile so that all software synths are automatically mapped to hardware controllers. But why oh why go with a MIDI controller that’s no longer in production?
No news on the price of Chirp, but it should be available from the Propellerhead should in December. Try eBay for the BCR2000 but I’ve seen it used for £199 on Amazon.
- Konarie Chirp webpage.