The promo video for Icarus starts off with a THX-style pitch gathering chord and then goes on to tell us how this is the most powerful wavetable synth ever. The sounds on display are certainly impressive and it’s taken Tone2 on an odyssey of several years to finish their Icarus masterpiece. Have they flown too close to the sun?
When talking about Wavetable my mind flickers to Waldorf. In particular their Nave advanced wavetable software synthesizer. Tone2 have their work cut out if they want to surpass Waldorf as the masters of wavetables.
Make a hit record with Icarus
What I love about the marketing spiel is how it’s full of tips on making a hit record and how Icarus effortlessly helps you with that. Apparently we instinctively love vocals – and nearly all hit records feature them. But rather than messing around with singers, microphones, talent and all that nonsense all you need is an Icarus vocoder patch and you’re there.
It has never been so easy to create professional tracks with vocalic sounds!
Icarus comes with over 1000 “production-ready” sounds, built by that mysterious band of professional sound designers who seem to make patches for everyone these days. There are 53 effects you can combine into multi-effect combinations. There’s re-synthesis and modulation aplenty and a fully featured arpeggiator with chords, glides, swing and shuffle.
At the heart is this 3D wavetable synthesizer thing. What this means is that wavetables can be morphed in several dimensions. Still no clue? Well, it’s difficult to say what that means exactly but Tone2 claim it allows them to create sounds not possible on other synths. What you do have under the hood is a waveform and spectrum editor giving you complete sound design control over the wavetable.
There are three stereo oscillators to play with that can run Hypersaw, Supersaw, Unison, Stack and Chord waveforms. A wavetable can contain between 1 and 256 waveforms which can be crossblended. This is where you see the 3D display come into it’s own as the waveforms line up back towards the horizon and you dial through them – very nice.
Morph mode is Icarus’ secret weapon. It can apply waveshaping to the wavetable which can create some very unique effects when combined with the wave crossblending. Morphed wavetables can be saved as new wavetables and then morphed again. This takes us into the realms of the old limitless possibilities. Perhaps this is what they mean by a third dimension.
Along with a nice clear interface Tone2 seems to have created something that’s easy to play with and yet intensely deep and enjoyable under the surface. There’s a lot of very pleasing sounds in here and the animated interface is simply lovely. It’s fiercely digital but in a really good way – you should download the demo and check it out.
Icarus is available now for €149 or $199 from their website where you’ll also find a free demo.
For more information and hilarious marketing check out the Icarus product page on the Tone2 website.