Sampleson has used their unique spectral modelling approach to producing software instruments like a Rhodes piano and a Wurlizer. Now they’ve been stripping acoustic instruments of their spectrums and have built the wonderfully weird and organic sounding Akoustic Spectral Synthesizer.
I have to ask – what’s all the fur all about? It’s like a jam session at a tribble party.
Akoustic is built upon the analysed spectrums of acoustic instruments. Every aspect of the instrument is broken down into component sine waves. These simple waves are then reconstructed in the synthesizer. There’s no massive library of samples or virtual analogue going on, rather it’s a combination of additive synthesis and the spectral blueprint of each instrument.
Within Akoustic are 30 oscillators and each sound is broken down to 30 partials, each mapped to an oscillator. Each partial can be modulated individually with ADSR, Gain, Tuning and Offset. There are also two noise generators and a ring modulator to service the higher partials.
The interface is a little on the drab side (although it looks better in the flesh) and pretty basic but it gives you control over the level of each partial and amount of modulation. There’s a Delay, Reverb and Drive you can add as well as a 16 step arpeggiator.
How does it sound? A bit weird to be honest. It has a very organic and earthy feel, with wooden, bell and organ type sounds. It does include some completely awesome acoustic sounds. Those electric pianos are sublime, so is the steel guitar. The woodwinds are interesting and have moments of perfection but the strings are slightly other-worldly. But Akoustic is actually all about mutation and it’s once you start going down that road it starts to get very unique and very strange. And that’s no bad thing! When manipulating partials the changes are subtle and you have to spend a bit of time listening and adjusting. You don’t have the instant satisfaction of a filter sweep, this is nuanced and more deliberate.
There’s nothing quite like it which should make it an interesting place to play for any sound designer.
Check out the “preset walkthrough” video (below) for a good understanding of the range. The other video with the “Violas Morphing” is just too weird.
Akoustic is available now for an introductory price of $39.
- Sampleson website.