Rob Papen Predator 2 with waveform display · Source: http://www.robpapen.com/predator2-screenshots.html
Predator was originally released in 2007 and put Rob Papen’s name on the virtual instrument map. It would become legendary in its ability to produce killer leads and dangerous good electronic sounds. Can Predator 2 build on 9 years of experience and development to produce something better than the best? Yeah probably, this Papen guy is no Gary Busey, he is Danny Glover all the way. Although unlike the movie, the sequel is better than the original.
Sidestepping any more references to frighteningly ugly alien hunters we find Predator 2 to be a very familiar affair. Rob Papen’s instruments have a certain look about them, sort of crowded but clear, dark but inviting. He likes to have every control present on the interface which can make it a bit busy. I think it’s become apparent that the visual complexity can be a barrier to some people and so there’s now an “Easy” mode which removes some of the controls and leaves the really important stuff. There’s still a lot going on, it should perhaps be called “A-Little-Bit-Easier mode”, but it’s certainly less intimidating.
The waveform side of the synth has had a major overhaul. Each oscillator now has dual waveforms with many different ways of mixing them including morphing between them. Every preset holds up to 8 waves, which can be combined into wave-sets. Each wave can use up to 256 editable partials. On the filtering side the two filters are now stereo (as are the oscillators) and the second filter is greatly expanded with full controls and envelopes. Unison mode has been improved pushing up to 6 unison sub-voices for each full voice.
There are two arpeggiators with a join mode to allow for 32 steps but a new sequencing arp mode. The number of envelopes and LFO’s is doubled to 4 and modulation steps have risen from 8 to 20. Chord editing has been improved and there’s a dual 3-band EQ with low/high filters post or pre the effects section. With almost 6000 presets it was time to introduce a better tagging and search facility.
Predator set the bar for intuitive programmable software synths and version 2 brings some refreshing new qualities to the table. It’s not a whole other thing, it’s a decent expansion on what was already a first class synth.
Predator 2 is available now for €149 and version 1 owners can upgrade for €49 – the same in dollars. More information on the Rob Papen website.