Rumours were swirling about a “revolutionary” new synth – in fact, Pigments 3 is a solid update to Arturia’s polychromatic synthesizer Pigments which adds a Harmonic engine, Utility engine, Wavetables, a Jupiter-8 filter and a bunch of new effects.
Pigments is an immensely powerful software synthesizer that brings together a hybrid of different forms of synthesis and sound generation is a very visual package. It has effects, sequencing and more modulation than is reasonable. Let’s check out what version 3 is bringing to the table.
They’ve done something very subtle to the interface that you can’t quite put your finger on. It feels smoother, fresher and more detailed although even with them side by side it’s not that obvious. As far as I can tell they’ve flattened some knobs, turned blue indicators to white and increased the resolution of the waveform display. Looks great in any case and they’ve lost none of the visual flair that sets Pigments apart.
The new Harmonic Engine offers detailed additive synthesis where you get to play with up to 512 partials, dual morphing formant filters and lots of modulation. The display does a great job of visualising this and it’s a fin place to play.
The Utility engine brings in a sub-bass oscillator and 2 noise sample layers. It appears as the third tab alongside the two sound engines. There’s a whole bunch of different noise sound sources from digital white noise through to natural sounds like boiling water, birds or crowds and textures such as crackling vinyl. The Sub can be either a sine, triangle, ramp or square wave with pulse width modulation. All three tones have their own filter routing options.
There are a lot more wavetables knocking around bringing the total up to 164. They’ve added a ramp waveform to the virtual analog engine. There are additional sound banks and some celebrity presets.
The Jup-8 V4 Low-pass filter comes from their software emulation of the classic Roland Jupiter-8. They’ve also revamped the filter routing so they can now be routed to either effects bus.
This is a rather nice feature. Clicking on the Cog icon reveals the settings and MIDI mapping in a column on the right of Pigments. There’s a new tab here called “Tutorials”. In here you’ll find step-by-step guides to all the major functions within Pigments. It’s not just a bunch of text either, they take you through each part highlighting areas on the GUI and waiting for you to complete tasks before letting you move on. This is a really valuable tool in helping you to get to grips with Pigments. Along with covering the basics, there are also guides on sound design to get you looking deeper. It’s impressive.
On the effects side, they’ve added some nice Pitch Delay, a BL-20 Flanger, a JUN-6 Chorus and a Multi-Band Compressor.
Yes, I think so. You’ve got whole new sound engines to play with and a fuller use of noise and the thickening effect of a sub-oscillator. You can’t beat a Jupiter filter and the additional effects are a real bonus especially the multi-band compressor which could help keeps things tighter in the mix.
The tutorials are a brilliant idea and hopefully with help people who find it all a bit daunting. Pigments has a lot to offer and this could help more people get into it.