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Review: FORM Software Synthesizer by Native Instruments

Native Instruments Form Review

In this review, we are going to be going over Native Instruments new synth ensemble for Reaktor 6 called Form which is included in the new Komplete 11 package.

Form is a complex yet very easy to use synthesizer which allows you use bespoke motion curves and a bit of additive synthesis to twist and mangle any sample you choose to use into something new and exciting.

Form synth takes any sample you have lying around on your hard drive and forms that into something new letting you create awesome Basses, Leads, Plucks or Soundscapes with just a few clicks of your mouse. So get ready to dig up some old sample packs that you haven’t taken a look at in years and breathe some new life into them because that is what Form can and will do for you.

So let’s take a look at what Form is all about!

Native Instruments Form

First of the presets is where all of us look to see what kind of sounds this synth can produce and I can say they sound really great and could be thrown into your productions just as is.

Getting your own sounds started in Form synth couldn’t be easier with a file browser on the left and a ‘drag and drop’ system for loading up samples in the “Samples Select” tab. These samples can then be chopped up to whatever length suits your needs.

Form Synth Presets

Once a sample is loaded, you can set the playback speed in “Sample Length” (Hz and Bpm) and then add some bespoke motion curves to shape your sound in the way you like it. The motion curves themselves can be edited in a host of different ways.

“Insert L” and “insert R” add extra motion slots to the Left and Right of the motion curve that was originally there. These extra slots can be filled with more curves letting you build complex curves quickly and easily.

“Merge L” and “Merge R” merges two slots next to each other together. Besides this: Split, Copy, Paste and Delete seem kind of self-explanatory but with all of these controls it is really easy to build some really weird looking motion curves.

And that’s just part of the story…

So let’s say you have put in a vocal riff – you could set each curve to sound of a different part making it super easy to get those chopped up vocals you hear allot of nowadays or mangle it up beyond all recognition into something totally different and fun.

With the “Perform” section In Form you can save multiple iterations of your sound and select them with the press of a key on your keyboard – is just so easy when playing things live.

Fun tip: Setting the motion curves to loop a certain section can create some fun and weird effects if you have a long note press in your arrangement.

Form Synthesizer

Form Synth GUI

The “Sound” tab is where you can really shape your sound the way you like with separate sections and settings for the Sample Osc, Additive Osc, FX, Modulations, and Filters.

Form Synth OSCThe Form Osc (sample osc) has controls for the pitch your sample is playing at with a mode to flatten the pitch to the note you are pressing on your keyboard as well as Panning and Formant control with formant tracking for those chipmunky sounds or those deep dark type voices. The Amp control controls the volume of your sample and is always connected to Env1.

Form Synth OSC 2The Additive Osc is where you can add another layer to your sound by adding a full sine wave, a soft saw wave or a soft square wave to your Sample osc the pitch of this oscillator can be set from -24 up to +120. This ‘Additive OSC’ is also used as a modulator for the FM modulation In the Osc FX tab.

Osc FXIn the OSC FX tab has some pretty neat FX in it that can mangle up your sound beyond any recognition but still keep it within the realms of sounding good. Deform overrides the pitch tracking and introduces a sonic destruction effect that totally deforms your sound.

Shaper shapes segments in the Form Osc and turns it into something new I found it does a nice job of harshening up a sound.

FM uses the additive Osc as a modulator to modulate the Form Osc.
Stereo can make your sound nice and wide or keep it tight in the center of your mix.

Multiply compresses your waveform and introduces interesting harmonic content that makes it seem like your sound has doubled.

Form Synth Modulation

In Form you get two envelopes, two LFO’s and a SC (sidechain) these modulators can be set to control almost any parameter in Form, as most parameters in Form can hold up to 3 modulation sources this makes it pretty easy to shape your sound precisely as you want it.

Form Synth Filters

The Filter section in Form has 3 filters in: a Low pass, a High Pass and a Notch filter with a standard cutoff knob and resonance knob, the filters we have do sound good but could use a few extra just for fun.

Form’s Effects tab comes with five different types of effects Frequency shaping, Warmth, Dynamics, Delay and a Reverb.

Form Synth Frequency shaping

The Frequency Shaping section is basically a multiband filter where you can modulate the Volume, Width and placement of each of the two bands great for subtle modulations like vibratos or something like that.

Warmth can only be used if the frequency shaping section is on as this gives some subtle warmth and drive by using Digital and tube saturation models to add to your sound.

Dynamics is a Compressor unit with Attack, Release, Ratio and gain controls and has a level meter that shows how much compression is being put on your sound. Modulating these controls with the sidechain can give you sidechain compression without the need of other plugins.

The Delay in Form is a simple ping-pong delay with Level, Length, Feedback, Damping and Routing controls. The routing knob lets the reverb and the delay work together where full left will set the delay and reverb in serial, Centre position will put Delay and Reverb in parallel and full right will just feeding the delay into the reverb.

The delay slider controls the stereo position of the delay allowing you to keep the delay centered or to the sides for a more stereo effect.

The reverb in Form has 5 types to choose from Small, Large, Space, Cheap and unreal with four knobs to control the Level, Size and dampening for low and high frequencies. This may not seem like much like with the filters but when you start to use the delay and the reverb together they produce some really nice effects.

Conclusion

Native Instruments Form synthesizer is an excellent synth ensemble for Reaktor 6 it turns sampling into a new Form of synthesis and makes it fun and easy to do and can be applied to any genre that you choose to use it in. Form synth will definitely transform the darkest deepest crevices of your sample library into a new vibrant place to hunt for sounds. The amount of different sounds you can pull out of this synth is as endless as the amount of the samples in the world, which makes it in my book a must have synth to own and play with!

Pros:

  • Complex sampling techniques made easy
  • Sounds wonderful.
  • Easy to use and fun to play with.
  • Not too heavy on the CPU.

Cons:

  • Can’t really think of any as I was having too much fun with this synth.

Form synth is part of Komplete 11 by Native Instruments and runs in the free REAKTOR 6 PLAYER or the latest version of REAKTOR 6.

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