Miclop Ctrl X virtual synthesizer and hardware controller combo
Coming very soon to Kickstarter is a new virtual synthesizer from Miclop which comes with its own rather dashing dedicated hardware controller.
A polyphonic virtual synthesizer that integrates perfectly with a knob and touch-screen controller. Giving you the tacticity of hardware control over the versatility of software. Is it the best of both worlds or not really one or the other?
The virtual synthesizer within Ctrl X is polyphonic with 2 oscillators based on the sampled sounds of SoundFonts. You can mix basic waves and sampled instruments together, add in some FM and ring modulation, waveshaping or phase distortion. A sub oscillator brings up the rear. There’s a bunch of filter types with more than 50 slopes with EQ and drive. There’s modulation aplenty and a Matrix system to route sources to destinations with the minimum of bother. Each oscillator has its own arpeggiator and at the end of the chain there are delay, reverb, flange and more effects to play with. It’s a comprehensive, solid virtual synthesizer that can make use of decades of SoundFont libraries.
The hardware comprises of 13 parameter knobs, some buttons and a touchscreen interface. All the relevant parameters are shown on the screen for editing. Using the buttons you can switch between oscillator, filter, envelope, modulation and effects views. The hardware also contains a step sequencer for both notes and modulation.
It’s all MIDI so it can also be used to control other synths and virtual parameters. They have tried to make creating templates as easy as possible and include a whole bunch applied to popular synths ready-to-go.
The hardware is based on Arduino and is open-source and programmable, so it has the ability to be a great many things. It uses NRPN and 14bit encoding to get around the limitations of MIDI.
Ctrl X is currently in the prototype stage and will be launching on Kickstarter sometime in May. No news on the pricing or timescale as yet. I’m not entirely sure whether they are pushing their own integration or the template approach to other synthesizers as their key feature. Maybe it’s important to capture the attention of both areas. The use of SoundFonts feels somehow dated, but it all comes down to the approach and how well it works in practice. Looking forward to seeing how it develops.
- Miclop Electronic webpage.
This is great, but wouldn’t it be better simply as a configurable controller? It could have templates for common VST/AU plug-ins, and plug-in manufacturers could publish their own.
More knobs would be good too.