Recording - August 2016 - 50

Soundware Showcase
KV331 Audio SynthMaster 2.8
by Mike Metlay

In the years that I've been writing Soundware
Showcase (and its predecessor, Recording's
Showcase of Sounds), I've tried a lot of cool virtual
instruments. Sample players, loop slicers, digital
synths, analog modeling, physical modeling, conventional, weird, simple, complex... the landscape
of computer-based sound creation is wider and
deeper and more colorful than ever before.
All that being said, though, every once in a while
a virtual instrument comes along that simply leaves
me stunned and blinking. It could be because of
incredible flexibility, phenomenal sound quality,
beauty of presentation, simplicity of form, or value
for money. Even with that in mind, it's vanishingly
rare for me to run across a synth that offers all five
at once. Dear readers, allow me to introduce you to
KV331 Audio and its brainchild, SynthMaster.
SynthMaster, then and now
KV331 Audio is headquartered in Ankara,
Turkey, but features a tight team of programmers
and sound designers all over the world, from
Canada to the UK to Japan. Headed up by Bülent
Biyikoglu, KV331 has been in business since
2004, and has been quietly dazzling the world of
computer music ever since with SynthMaster, its
only product. Believe you me, when your one
product is SynthMaster, one is plenty!
SynthMaster has been on our radar since version
1; I still have a screenshot of the very first release,
from back when Bülent and I first began corresponding. At the time, I made the same mistake
that a lot of folks did-I noted this upstart company's ambitious beginnings, wished them luck, and
then didn't delve deeper. More fool me! Twelve
years later, SynthMaster is now on version 2.8.4,
and its slowly-building reputation has become a
worldwide phenomenon. Better late than never...
it's time to learn what all the fuss is about.
The SynthMaster ecosystem
Besides the full version, KV331 also offers
SynthMaster Player, which provides easy but limited sound tweaking options-eight knobs and two
XY pads with preset functions designated by each
patch's designer, plus basic effects mixing.
I'm mentioning SynthMaster Player (and its iOS
counterpart, reviewed January 2016) up front
because once we dive into SynthMaster's capabilities, less experienced sound designers are likely to
worry that it's too complicated for them. For those
folks, the Player version provides all of SynthMaster's
sound quality and none of its complexity.
Both the full and Player versions of SynthMaster
can have their libraries expanded with add-on preset
packs. Organized by creator and genre, these packs
usually contain 50 new presets for $15 (larger packs
50

RECORDING AUGUST 2016

cost more); you can obtain everything in the store (1750 patches as of press
time) for $279, a huge discount over individual purchases.
Note that many of the packs are for dance music, and you could find
yourself well fitted out for non-dance genres with only a few specific
packs. Listen to the demo songs on the KV331 Audio website to choose
what works for you.
The basics and beyond
SynthMaster is best understood by its basic patch structure, the Layer.
Each Layer has two Oscillators, run through two Filters, followed by a chain
of five effects (FX) modules. Each Preset has two such Layers, run through a
simple mixer with two buses for global FX chains (also with up to five modules each). That much seems simple enough, but when you realize what
you can do at each stage of the chain, things get crazy in a big hurry...

Delivery: Web download
Format: Windows 7 or better, standalone/VST/AAX;
macOS 10.6 or better, VST/AU/AAX
Copy Protection: Serial number
License: Single user, single use, multiple computer installs
Documentation: Downloadable PDF User Manual
Price: full version, $99; Player, free or $29
More from: KV331 Audio, www.kv331audio.com


http://www.kv331audio.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
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Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
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Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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