DCAM - Synth Squad

Latest version: 1.0.4.2
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DCAM - Synth Squad

DCAM: Synth Squad finally delivers the satisfaction of playing real analogue instruments in software! Advanced modelling technology carefully reconstructs the soul of dusty vintage circuits within your computer, for the unmatched vibe of hardware at a fraction of the cost.

Oscillators ooze immense sound pressure, amp stages can be overloaded for extra grit, and real-world chaos can be dialled into the circuit for delicious instability. These synths don't break with extreme settings, so you can abuse them just like the real thing. Meanwhile, the intuitive TransMod modulation system brings your sounds to life in new and expressive ways.

Fusor, a versatile sound-design environment that can layer and keysplit 3 instances of the DCAM synths, is also included. It provides a variety of ways to add new dimensions to your sounds with high-quality FX, extra modulation and an advanced step-sequencer/arpeggiator.

 

Strobe - performance synth with a cutting modern edge

Designed to be as easy to program and satisfying to play as an analogue monosynth, Strobe also adds polyphony, osc-stacking, a versatile multimode filter and deep modulation to create a modern classic. Strobe specializes in no-nonsense analogue-style leads, sick basses and complex pads.

Strobe's design is motivated by the immediacy and simplicity of classic performance synths like the Roland SH101 and SH-09, Oberheim OB-1 and Yamaha CS-10. Such synths are not overly endowed with complex controls - as a result it's difficult to make a bad sound with them and they beg to be played! Similarly, Strobe features a relatively simple architecture, allowing you to program great sounds quickly so that you can get on with making music with them!

 

Osc section

While Strobe has a single oscillator, it's a very flexible and powerful oscillator. Saw, pulse and noise waveforms can be freely mixed alongside sine, triangle, saw and pulse sub-oscillators. You can set each sub-osc up to 3 octaves below the main waveforms, and adjust the pulse width of both the main and sub pulse waveforms. You can also sync the osc pitch to the lowest sub-osc. The osc-stacking feature lets you layer up to 5 copies of the osc and detune them to achieve thick multi-osc tones without using entire unison voices.

 

Filter and Amp sections

Strobe's filter is capable of delivering an extremely wide range of timbres, due to its plethora of filter curves and rich modelled drive circuit for extra-thick tone. As with the other instruments in DCAM: Synth Squad, the amp section can be overloaded, just like in a real analogue synth.

 

Arpeggiator and direct modulation

Strobe contains a built-in arpeggiator and a range of modulators with flexible gating options - you can gate envelopes with the LFO, for example. Direct modulation depth controls exist for varying the pitch, pulse width and filter cutoff from LFO, envelope and keytracking sources, allowing you to dial up classic subtractive sounds quickly and efficiently.

 

Transform your sounds with TransMod

Like the other DCAM synths, Strobe is equipped with the TransMod advanced modulation system, which allows you to modulate almost any parameter with an extensive range of modulation sources. This takes Strobe's potential way beyond that offered by the direct modulation controls on the front panel. Apart from offering a huge range of modulation sources, you can also modulate controls based on active voices and unison voices. Using 2 unison voices and deploying unison modulation instantly turns Strobe into a dual-osc synth, with a filter and amp for each osc!

 

Amber - bathed in vintage psychedelia

One of the first attempts to realistically model the divide-down string ensemble synths from the 70s, Amber perfectly captures the lush, psychedelic sound of these much-loved but often-forgotten instruments. A formant filter, 3 separate chorus models, a variety of playing responses and flexible modulation build upon the legacy to deliver a new take on these vintage classics.

Amber's sound is derived from a bank of oscillators that are frequency-divided to produce a full keyboard range of 96 notes within a single synth voice - this means that you can play 96 notes simultaneously. These notes, referred to as 'paraphonic notes', are then mixed down into a single signal to be fed through conventional polyphonic processing blocks (a single instance within each synth voice).

 

Synth and Ensemble sections

Amber includes two sections which both feature very similar paraphonic sources, with the subsequent polyphonic processing blocks defining their final character. The Synth section is fed through a multimode resonant filter, giving it a synth-like tone, while the Ensemble section goes through a formant filter and chorus, to impart the character of a string ensemble. The two sections are mixed together at the final output of the voice, and there are several routing options for the Synth section which allow it to be fed through the Ensemble section's formant filter and/or chorus.

 

Playing responses

Both the Synth and Ensemble sections are capable of several playing responses. They can be set to 'paraphonic' mode (96 notes simultaneously with an envelope and VCA for each note - similar to the Logan String Melody and Korg Lambda), a couple of modes which can emulate synths with a single envelope/VCA for all paraphonic notes (such as the Eminent Solina and ARP Omni), and a fully monophonic mode, which dispenses with paraphonic response altogether. With the latter setting on both sections, you can force Amber to operate as a conventional monophonic/polyphonic synth.

 

Stack and modulate voices

Unlike vintage hardware string machines, Amber is capable of running with multiple voices and unison. This, combined with the DCAM TransMod system, offers a potential universe of new, unheard sounds!

 

Cypher - audio-rate modulation monster

Cypher takes analogue FM into the future, combining the most realistic audio-rate modulation to date with digital luxuries like polyphony and precise tuning. With dual shaper/filter stages to drive and sculpt the raw output of the oscs, alongside DCAM features like the TransMod modulation system, Cypher is a tweaker's utopia for producing timbres ranging from visceral mono and poly sounds to abstract textures and sound effects.

The ethos behind Cypher is to provide a truly accurate model of a synth capable of analogue-style FM, wave modulation, variable-depth sync and other interesting oscillator processes. The osc section is a source of vast sonic diversity even before the dual filter section is called into action. Cypher can also be used as a more conventional 3-osc subtractive synth, for situations when you require more complexity than Strobe can offer.

 

Advanced oscillators

Cypher's 3 oscillators feature continuously variable waveshapes, ring modulation, white/pink noise sources and beat-detuning (which keeps the rate of oscillator-beating the same across the whole keyboard).

The real depth of the oscillators lies in the various ways that they can inter-modulate each other at audio rates. Osc3 can perform FM on Osc2, while Osc2 can modulate the waveshape of Osc3 at audio-rate frequencies. The osc section features thru-zero FM behaviour and the ability to tune in precise harmonics, which allows musical digital-style FM sounds rendered with fat-sounding modelled analogue oscillators.

 

Innovative osc-sync and audio-rate sample-and-hold

The oscs also feature advanced sync capabilities - Oscs 2 and 3 sync to Osc1 to varying degrees, leading to a range of 'hard' and 'soft' osc-sync sounds. Another innovative feature is the audio-rate sample-and-hold, which quantizes the waveform of one osc with the frequency of another. The sound is reminiscent of lo-fi digital FM and sampling, but has a unique sound of its own.

 

Dual Filters and polyphonic waveshaping

The osc section is fed into two paths, each containing a filter and waveshaper, which can be routed in various ways. The waveshapers allow you to twist the osc shapes further with several flavours of gritty distortion. The filters are selectable from state-variable and transistor-ladder models, with rich drive and realistic filter FM.

 

Fusor - semi-modular sound design environment

Evoking the era of huge wrap-around analogue keyboard rigs, Fusor is a semi-modular layering environment for the DCAM synths with extra LFOs, envelope followers, step-sequencers and a suite of high quality FX. All this, combined with versatile inter-modulation between its internal devices, makes Fusor an inspirational environment for complex effected patches and deep, experimental sound design.

 

Layering, keysplitting and adding FX

Fusor lets you layer and set up keyboard splits for 3 instances of the DCAM synths. You can add high-quality FX as inserts on each synth, as aux sends or on the master output. The built-in FX suite includes a licensed version of Overloud Breverb for high-quality reverb, as well as DCAM circuit-modelled compression, filtering, chorus and overdrive, not to mention an array of other creative processors for sculpting sounds into new shapes.

 

Animate your sounds!

Animator is Fusor's powerful integrated step-sequencer and arpeggiator device. Offering everything from programmable arpeggio patterns to complex real-time performance sequencing, Animator brings your synth sounds to life! Dial up inspiring riffs and hooks in minutes, lay down funky, swung drum machine lines or simply lose yourself in infinite sonic experimentation. Fusor also includes a set of extra LFOs and envelope followers to inject further dynamic aspects to your performances.

 

Complex modulation

Fusor's internal modulation system, called FuseMod, opens up semi-modular control possibilities for the various devices in Fusor. Synths can modulate FX parameters, extra LFOs, or Animator engines - for example, you can modulate a phaser or clock Animator from a synth LFO. You can even use the envelopes and LFOs from one Fusor-hosted synth to modulate another polyphonically to create monster semi-modular hybrids.

 

TransMod and FuseMod modulation systems

DCAM: Synth Squad introduces the TransMod system, offering a more intuitive way of programming complex modulation than a traditional 'mod matrix'. A spectacular range of modulation is possible - the mod source menus include active voice/unison-voice counts and versatile randomized values in addition to more conventional sources like LFOs and envelopes. You can even harness beating rates between oscillators as LFOs in Cypher, or load entire presets as parameter modulation amounts for patch-morphing effects.

Fusor extends the TransMod concept with the FuseMod system, making DCAM synth modulators available to Fusor's internal FX and LFOs, as well as to the Animator step-sequencer/arpeggiator. Use synth envelopes and LFOs to clock step-sequencers and modulate reverbs and granular freezers, and play self-oscillating filters with keyboard sources.

In addition, the TransMod source menus for Fusor-hosted synths are expanded with modulation sources from other synths and devices in Fusor... so you can create a super-performance synth with 3 inter-modulating Strobe instances, or complex hybrid textures and soundscapes with Strobe, Cypher and Amber. The creative possibilities for sound design are limited only by your imagination!

 

Expressive performance control

All of the supplied presets offer expressive timbral variation through the use of modulation by keyboard velocity and two performance controllers (which you can map to aftertouch, mod-wheel, breath and other MIDI CCs). Our team of sound designers have strived to create dynamic presets full of energy and movement. If you've grown accustomed to flat, boring VA synth sounds, prepare to be inspired by the possibilities that DCAM: Synth Squad presents.

The DCAM synths introduce a new type of glide alongside traditional pitch glide. Velocity glide smooths transitions to new notes' velocity modulation depths, creating rich expressive possibilities. Glide times can also be modulated - if you modulate them with voice/unison-voice counts, different glide times are possible for each voice. Independent settings for legato glides and envelope retriggering complete a set of features that allow incredibly flexible and varied playing responses.

DCAM: Synth Squad also includes a standardized MIDI learn system, and full support for host automation. There is even an integrated program change list, so you can assign presets to MIDI program changes for live performance!

 

MIDI-controlled audio effects

As well as being supplied as instrument plugins, Strobe, Cypher and Amber are also supplied as MIDI-controlled audio effect plugins, meaning that you can process external audio through them! You can use unison stacking and modulation functions with the audio and use normal oscillator shapes alongside to create complex textural hybrids. In Cypher, you can even use the external audio as an audio-rate modulation source for the oscillators. The amp sections must be gated by keyboard input, meaning you can play the effect plugins rhythmically and engage their envelopes and other modulators.



Features

Strobe

  • Next-level analogue-style performance synth
  • Super-oscillator with osc-stacking
  • Sub-oscs up to 3 octaves below the main osc
  • Filter with rich drive and 22 filter modes
  • Built-in arpeggiator
  • Advanced TransMod modulation system
  • Easy to program, begs to be played!

 

Amber

  • Stunningly realistic string ensemble synth model
  • Ensemble section with formant filter and chorus
  • Synth section with multimode resonant filter
  • 3 separate circuit-modelled chorus algorithms
  • Varied playing responses to emulate various string classics
  • Stack and modulate voices with the TransMod system

 

Cypher

  • 3 advanced oscillators, dual waveshapers and filters
  • Continuously variable osc waveforms
  • Precision-modelled audio-rate modulation
  • Audio-rate FM, wave modulation, sample-and-hold
  • Variable-depth oscillator sync
  • Ring modulation, beat detune and more
  • Built-in arpeggiator, 2 LFOs, 3 envelopes
  • Advanced modulation with the TransMod system

 

Fusor

  • Versatile DCAM sound design environment
  • Layer and keysplit 3 DCAM synths
  • Add high-quality FX and extra modulation
  • Animator: advanced step-sequencer/arpeggiator
  • Inter-modulate synths and other devices with FuseMod

 

System Requirements (for standalone operation @ 256 samples/44.1kHz)

  • Windows XP SP3, Vista SP1 (32-bit)
  • Mac OSX 10.5.7
  • Strobe/Amber/Cypher: 2.0GHz Intel Core (or AMD equivalent)
  • Fusor: 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (or AMD equivalent)
  • 1GB RAM free
  • 350MB of hard drive space
  • Low-latency audio interface
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • Internet connection

 

Available Interfaces

  • Standalone
  • VST - Win and Mac

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Product rating
Sound quality

5

Value for money

5

Ease of use

4

Features

5

Presets

4

Rated by 26 people

AWARDS

Computermusic_performance Computer Music - Performance Award Computermusic_innovation Computer Music - Innovation Award Futuremusic_platinum FM - Platinum Award

REVIEWS

VIP TESTIMONIALS

Screen-shot-2014-10-02-at-14.56 All three synths have a weight, depth and level of animation that's unusual to find in any synth.
Craig Anderton leads a dual life as a musician and author.

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