(AKA: Free Updates!)
Generate and Pendulate are unique synthesizers and designing them was an incredible undertaking. When we released them in September the response was phenomenal, but there were also a number of great feature requests that users sent. Many were so great that we wanted to include them, and we had a little inspiration ourselves, as well. All that to say, we've added a number of new features to Generate and Pendulate 1.2 and I'd like to tell you about them here.
If you'd like to just download the updates get them here.
If you don't yet have Generate it's on sale now!
1. New Generators (Generate Only)
Generate's oscillator is replaced with a chaotic system called a Generator, and Generate initially shipped with 5 Generators that were all different takes on this noisy, chaotic, sound. However, six months of playing with Generate made me wish for Generators that hinted at more traditional, less chaotic synth sounds as well. So Generate 1.2 adds three new Generator types...
Helix is a bright, tonal Generator based on spirals. Increasing the CHAOS SHAPE control will increase the number of spirals, and with SYNC off it has a vaguely FM sound. It will get noisy as CHAOS SHAPE reaches 100, but for most of the range it's pretty well behaved. However, turning SYNC on will turn this Generator into a noisy beast - this can be fun too, but be forewarned. This Generator is more sensitive to the INTERVAL parameter than the original 5, even when CHAOS SHAPE is turned up, so experiment there.
Crescent takes its name from its tendency to create a shape like a crescent moon. Its bright, tonal quality is great for making more traditional synth-like sounds. It almost sounds like a stack of sawtooth waves, but not quite. It will also turn to noisy chaos at the extremes, but has a very large playable range. Like Helix it's also sensitive to the INTERVAL parameter, so have fun with that.
Finally, Magma is a warm, distorted Generator, maybe similar in sound to a PWM pulse wave. Another super-playable Generator, it is great for making Taurus style bass sounds, or warm keys without worrying about too much chaos. Finally, like the others, it's more sensitive to the INTERVAL parameter, since the chaotic aspect of it isn't overwhelming the core algorithm quite as much.
With these three new Generators, Generate reaches out into the realm of more traditional synth sounds, while staying grounded in its roots, making it a more versatile instrument overall.
2. Expanded Modulation (Generate and Pendulate)
The modulation system in Generate and Pendulate was inspired by trying to bring modular synth style control to a software poly-synth. To extend that metaphor we've added a lot of modulation features that are more common in modular synth-land. I'll go through them and explain why they're cool.
Looping Envelopes: The ADSR envelopes in the modulation section can now be switched between triggered and looping. When they're in looping mode they become envelope shaped LFOs that will cycle through their Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release states, all while outputting their ADSR, AD, and ASR shapes independently. This creates a second type of quite organic sounding LFO that's capable of adding nice movement to your sound.
Bipolar LFO outputs and independent Output Levels: The LFO and Sample and Hold modules each get the option to switch between unipolar (default) and bipolar (new) output version. This is a subtle difference, but it allows you easily create more powerful modulations that modulate around a the knob value instead of just adding to it. The Output Level control is especially useful because we've also added...
Modulatable Modulators: The Rate and Output Level of the LFOs and the Sample and Hold; as well as the Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release of the Envelopes are all modulation destinations, now. This allows you to create more complex modulations, especially using MPE note controls to modulate modulation amounts per key, and creating the kinds of cross modulation that make modular synths so much fun.
Modulation Control of the Master Pitch: Generate and Pendulate were my first synth designs, and I made an oversight, there was no way to setup vibrato or pitch envelopes. Now you can route any modulation output to the Master Pitch by routing it via the Pitch Bend knob. Think of it as being able to modulate the Pitch Bend per note.
3. Micro Tuning/User Scales (Generate and Pendulate)
I'm not going to lie, I'm a drummer and the thought of adding user scales to Generate and Pendulate was filling me with dread. The guys from ODDSound saved the day with their MTS-ESP implementation. If you go to ODDSound and download and instantiate their free MTS-ESP Mini plug-in you can load Scala files which will set all synths that support their MTS-ESP standard to the desired scale and tuning. If you're really into it you can build your own scales with their bigger MTS-ESP plug-in. I implemented it and it seems to work great, but this is all fairly new to me, so let me know if you see problems.
That's what's new in Generate/Pendulate 1.2. We also got a bunch of new presets to show of the new features, including 10 from SonalSystem! I know there are some other feature requests out there, and we'll try to get to things as we are able, but in the meantime enjoy all the new features, there's a lot going on!