Expressive E the makers of the weirdly wonderful Touché wobbly MIDI/CV controller has introduced Arché, a suite of virtual instruments that model the acoustic qualities of cello, viola and violin.
The software simulates the physics of real bows hitting real strings and aims to recreate every last detail of that interaction. It is designed to work flawlessly with their Touché controller taking full advantage of the resolution and degrees of expressive control – but it will work with any old controller.
Creating physical models means that you describe the materials and behaviour of sound during their interaction. The strings, the body, the bow and unlike multi-sampled instruments where you have to record every way of playing imaginable, a physical model behaves authentically depending on how you play it.
To play these instruments you need to get familiar with your modulation wheel because it’s that control that mimics the movement of the bow. With Touché you can stroke the nice wooden bit to simulate the action, with a mod wheel or controller strip it’s not quite as elegant but works well enough. You can play legato by playing different notes on the keyboard during a single stroke. Or use quick movements to pull off some staccato sounds.
There don’t appear to be many controls or parameters to worry about – just a couple of knobs for vibrato, pitch bend and reverb. It’s all very minimalist and pure.
I really like how Expressive E are not afraid to approach it differently and the way they’ve tied the bowing to the modulation wheel seems to work really well. I’ve not seen this before. Watching the videos the sounds being generated seem to be amazing. As authentic and real as I’ve come across. Not sure about the brightly coloured plastic instruments they’re using in the marketing images – but they are very striking.
The Arché Collection is available together as a suite for €99.
- Expressive E Arché Collection webpage.