Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sawmill

I have released new instrument at Kontakt Hub. It is inspired by the supersaw... In a broad sense, it doesn't try to emulate the classic supersaw sound. In fact, I don't particularly like the supersaw sound. But I think it's interesting how layering detuned oscillators turns a static waveform into something with evolving texture. I have been wondering how would it sound if you could detune other parameters, not just pitch. A filter, LFO frequency, effects... And here comes Sawmill, where you can detune... everything. For each oscillator.


There are seven oscillators in this instrument and it is quite like having a stack of seven synthesizers, with controllers conveniently grouped by type. Each oscillator has independent signal path with separate set of controllers, including effects, from filters to chorus or delay (with single exception of convolution processor, which would make it too much of CPU hog). So if you want tune a filter cutoff you have a row of seven knobs to deal with. It makes it easy to experiment with oscillator layering.
The instrument is build in Kontakt, but it's not quite a sample library. Rather a synthesizer with sampled oscillators. There are 32 waveforms, generated mostly with modular analog system and vintage analog synthesizers. The samples are fairly long to capture bits of analog drift and tiny electronic imperfections which makes it sound more alive. Each sample has been looped by hand without any additional processing, to preserve as much of the original flavor as reasonably possible. The waveform selection is focused mainly on different variations of saw, but it also includes other basic shapes, as well as some fancy waveforms you can generate in a modular by mangling the oscillator with rectifiers, ring modulators, inverters and the like, all in analog domain.
Sawmill includes nearly complete palette of what Kontakt has to offer in signal processing: full range of filter types, classic effects, different types of envelopes, LFOs with various shapes and frequency modulation.
Additionally there are several innovative functions. There is a sequenced modulator, which is a crossover between step sequencer and LFO - you can program a value pattern and shape it to LFO waveform. There are six patterns which can be combined and/or patched to different parameters, like pitch or filter cutoff. In fact, any parameter can be automated using MIDI CC. There is pitch glide function with adjustable acceleration curve. And then there is multi-arpeggiator, which is like having a stack of eight arpeggiators, which you can sequence or combine in different ways to create complex note patterns out of a simple chord.



It started from the supersaw, but it's not really just about supersaw. It can go way beyond it.

The instrument requires Kontakt 5.8.1 or newer (full version).
It it a 2GB download (unpacked samples take 2.75 GB, there are 2574 samples in wav format).
It is available at Kontakt Hub.