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Gearwire Review: AAS Chromaphone

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Applied Acoustics Systems released Chromaphone, a percussion synthesizer instrument for Mac and Windows.

What's new from Applied Acoustics Systems (AAS)? Chromaphone (Mac / Win), a creative percussion synthesizer instrument that combines acoustic resonators to create drum, percussion, mallet, string, and synth-like instruments.

According to the maker of the instrument, Chromaphone is driven by drum skins, bars, marimbas, plates, strings, and tubes, which form pairs that are sparked to life by a configurable mallet and a flexible noise source. At the heart of Chromaphone lies a coupling technology that precisely models how vibrating objects interact and influence each other, capturing key acoustic behaviours of musical instruments. This, combined with access to the resonators’ physical properties, results in a library of truly expressive instruments as well as a vast range of sonic colors, according to Applied Acoustics Systems.

Chromaphone's sound library includes a range of expressive and responsive instruments that span from warm and mellow pitched percussion for melodies to punchy one-shots and kits for rhythm tracks. A wooden bar makes a xylophone, and when turned metallic, it becomes a glockenspiel. Adding a tube transforms it into a vibraphone or marimba. Plates shape up in bells and cymbals. Membranes are used for drum skins, and when combined with a tube, they make bass drums, snares, congas, and bongos.

As for one-shots, AAS notes that Chromaphone uses the entire keyboard range to modulate volume, mallet noise and stiffness, noise filter frequency and density, hit position, and coupling to open a whole world of expressive sounds.

Chromaphone ships with ready-made creative kit patches where each note provides a new sound slightly different from the previous one. Over the entire keyboard range, the sound morphs from bass drum to snare to hi-hat.

“This new resonator coupling technology we are introducing in Chromaphone brings our physical modeling platform to a whole new level,” said Philippe Derogis, CTO of Applied Acoustics Systems. “Musical instruments are made from combinations of interacting mechanical objects and coupling allows us to take into account this complex dynamics with great acoustic precision and sharpness. It has been really exciting and rewarding to see how our partner sound designers took advantage of these new synthesis possibilities and put together a creative library of vivid sounds that feature the richness and presence of real-life instruments.”


Try before you buy

Download Chromaphone 3 + PACKS trial version for free!

Other Applied Acoustics Systems products