Tone2 proudly present Electra2, the successor of their ElectraX. The high-end sound engine, multilayer support and many more features makes Electra2 to be one of the most versatile synthesizer workstation on the market that can be used for all major electronic music genres.
The Tone2 Electra2 is the sound designer’s dream! It is probably the most complete synth I’ve ever seen. Four layers of synths, with three oscillators, two filters, four LFOs, four EG’s, an ARP/Step Sequencer, an insert Fx on each layer, plus a master Fx slot. So, imagine stacking the four layers one on top of the other, and get a beast of twelve oscillators, eight Filters, four Independent ARPs/Step sequencers, four FXs, and a master FX on top of that! Wow!
Oscillators and filters can be as analogue as you can imagine, or as digital as they can be. Each of them has the usual controls, OCT (huge range), Interval, Fine tune, PW, and tone -which can make your wave brighter or darker.
You got five different modes: Wavetable: here you’ll find your classic analog waves (Pulse with variable PW, Tri/Saw, variable from one to another via PW Knob), as well as some very clever digital wavetables. All of this waves can be modulated via the PW knob. The second mode is the Ultrasaw, which takes multiple saws and pulses detuned once against the other (Trance leads anyone?), here, the PW Knob, controls the amount of detune.
Next mode is Noise/Fractal, and here, you get all kind of noises you can possibly think of, as well as fractal, which is based on maths’ Chaos Theory, here, the PW Knob, creates the chaos, making the sound more unpredictable. Next, you have got the Sample mode, in which you can import your own samples, and do just anything you would do on any regular sampler, except for the auto tune function.
Finally you get the Custom Wave mode, which re analyses and do a re-synthesis of your own waves. Remember, there are three oscillators to play with. You can also hardsync OSC 2 to OSC 1, and OSC 3 to OSC 2, which gives some beautiful angry sounds. You can also apply FM from OSC 1 to OSC 2 and from OSC 2 to OSC 3. Finally, there’s a mixer with volume and mutes controls and a knob which lets you choose how much of each oscillator will feed each of the two filters. One thing to mention is that you can assign the range of notes for each oscillator: very useful indeed.
The two filters, are exactly the same, and can be used in serial or parallel, you get classic filter emulations (12 dB, 18 dB, 24 dB) for LP, HP and BP which are also self resonating. With this, you can virtually emulate any vintage analog classic like the Moog, Prophet 5, TB 303 just to name some. Also, you get some wise thought digital filters, which sound absolutely brilliant! One thing to mention is that filters, have almost no stepping, in fact, they are pretty creamy when you do sweeps. The filters also have a drive knob and you can select the type of drive applied from four analog and two digital distortion types. Each filter can be panned and has it’s own volume control.
Filters also can be modulated by keyboard and EG in positive or negative amounts.
Speaking of EGs you get the classic, very snappy ADSR type of envelopes for AMP and Filter, but you also get two aux EGs that can be used for modulate almost anything.
In the modulation department, there are also three very powerful LFOs that can get really high! up to 440hz! Again, OMG! they can be re triggered by key or free running as well as they can be synced to host. Of course, you’ve got multiple waveforms to choose from, even random for S&H effects. There’s a fourth LFO which is more like a step sequencer with up to 16 steps, and synced to your host. Also, you get a dedicated arpeggiator, that can also be used as a step sequencer with slides, rests, resets and swing! Once again, OMG!
As this is a real beast, there’s a 10 slots mod matrix with 64 possible sources and over 70 destinations, including the matrix itself. How many times should I say OMG?
Finally you get an insert FX per synth and a master FX with Reverbs, Delays, Modulation FX, Compressor, Gate, EQ, Amp Simulation, and even a Vocoder!
It’s polyphony is up to 64 voices, and you can even get it more analog with some OSC slope presets for a bit of detune. Got glide, and selectable pitch wheel bend As it is 4 synths in one, you can have it as four part multi-timbral, stack one on top of the other, split your keyboard, or even velocity splits! There’s also a master three band EQ, and every section of the synthesizer has real time visual feedback on the screens. MIDI implementation is as easy as it can be.
Electra2 includes over 1200 presets ready to be used by any music producer and sound designer. The new patch browser that is very handy and help you to browse and pick your favorite preset. You have the option to rate each presets with stars, from 1 to 5 stars.
If you are in a hurry, or just feeling lazy, presets are great! But, the real power behind this beast, is that you can design any sound you can imagine, or even things you would have never imagined possible! If I have to choose to have just one synth, I’d probably go with this one.
While I tested Electra2 for this review, I managed to make 4 custom presets (.fxp format) available for free download, enjoy![soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/162222886″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] Rafael Hofstadter is a recording and mixing engineer and sound designer with 10+ years experience in playing and programming synths, recording, mixing and producing pop/rock/folk albums. He also runs piggysounds.com.[/author]