amSynth

amSynth (Analogue Modelling Synthesizer) is a two-oscillator virtual polysynth.

I installed Arch Linux package amsynth (from the standard Community repository). The package includes a standalone version as well as LV2 and DSSI plugin versions.

amsynth-01

As you can probably tell from the screen shot, amSynth includes many typical features. Here are some features that aren’t so common:

  • The filter mode is switchable between lowpass, highpass, and bandpass.
  • The filter response is switchable between 24 dB and 12 dB.
  • Each oscillator includes a SHAPE control, which allows the waveform to be continuously varied from triangle to sawtooth or from square to narrow pulse. There’s no built-in functionality to modulate SHAPE (e.g., for pulse width modulation) but presumably SHAPE can be automated within a plugin host.
  • The keyboard mode can be set to poly, mono, or (mono) legato.
  • There’s no dedicated noise source but both oscillators have noise waveforms.
  • For effects, amSynth includes reverb and “drive” (distortion).

The standalone version includes features that aren’t available in the plugin versions, such as a preset manager, a panic button, and MIDI learn. (It appears that controls set up with MIDI learn in standalone mode can be used, but not edited, by the plugin versions.)

Annoyances

amSynth has a few issues that are annoying to me:

  • I feel there’s something wrong with the envelope decay and release curves. Near the end of the decay and release stages the sound just stops instead of smoothly fading away.
  • I often have to turn the volume way down to avoid distortion. For example, for preset Synth Strings 1 (patch 1 in the amsynth factory bank) I reduce the volume to -20 dB. I don’t know if this is related to amSynth or to my system but I haven’t had this issue with any other instrument.
  • I’d like to be able to disable velocity. This can be done externally but it would be easier to do it within amSynth.

Despite some issues, I like amSynth and plan to use it.

More Information about amSynth

Version: 1.4.2
Author: Nick Dowell
Web Site: https://code.google.com/p/amsynth/

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Posted in Instruments

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