DRC Synth – Plugin Review and Interview with Imaginado
Today we are sharing with you a short review of the softsynth DRC by company Imaginado (whom we recently posted about their free DLYM plugin). This synth just passed its second anniversary of being released so we thought it to be a fine time to do a review and talk to some of the developers of the plugin.
DRC is a lovely synthesizer all around and it is one of the more heavily equipped plugins we have seen in terms of modulation capability. In the upper left, you’ll find two oscillators, a suboscillator, a modulation matrix for them and a performance matrix. The first oscillator has an octave transposition knob, pulse width control, and a dedicated pulse-width modulation LFO. The second oscillator doesn’t have the pulse-width control but it makes up for with a semitone transposition option.
In the modulation matrix you will find controls for assigning either and/or both of the oscillators to one or both of the two modulation sources (LFO 1, 2 and EG 1, 2). You can adjust those modulation sources in the lower right module of the synth. There you will find ADSR controls for the envelope generators and the controls for each LFO.
Above that is the Filter module where you can control the main low-pass filter’s parameters (cutoff, resonance) and control the amount that the modulation sources affect the main low-pass filter. Finally, there are controls for the amount of modulation applied to the voltage-controlled amplifier.
In the lower left, you get an awesome mixer section for setting levels for the oscillators and controls for mixing ring modulation and noise. Also in that module are the three onboard effects – Delay, Reverb, and Chorus. Each effect has a fair amount of control for making your run-of-the-mill time-based effects sounds with potential for getting more unique tones. The delay is the most versatile by offering the most control parameters. The Reverb has a very handy option of being modulation by LFO 2, and the Chorus effect has a really cool feature that switches between ‘ANA’ an ‘DIM’ which effectively alter the tone of the effected signal.
One of the coolest features of the plugin is the boatload of presets that come with it, and the ability to upload custom presets to the cloud and synchronize across platforms (DRC is also available for iOS and Android). We had a great time playing around with the many many features this synth has and love the interface, we highly recommend you try it out and purchase it! You can purchase the synth on the Imaginado websiteand see a cool tutorial in the video below! Below that is our interview with Imaginado discussing their inspiration behind DRC and other projects they are working on.
When did you start developing music software?
I have been fascinated by music software ever since I first saw Fast Tracker running on MS-DOS in the 90’s. This obsession got me thinking; how can I make such a program on a computer? That feeling kind of molded by future aspirations. In the early 2000’s I studied Computer Science at university and began learning the skills and knowledge I would need to create software and hardware to produce and control music. My first attempt at making music related software was around 2005 and it was a simple delay line with GUI. After graduation I became a professional software engineer, working with digital signage and multitouch interaction.
Around 2011 I started experimenting with music software development again as a hobby at first. My goal was to make my own Ableton Live controller and the result was ‘LIVKONTROL’ – it was the first step towards what Imaginando is today.
Are you a music producer in addition to a developer?
Not anymore, I’m sad to say. I have been actively djing and producing music between 2004 and 2012 under the name of LPX (https://www.soundcloud.com/sinosoidal) but since I started doing software development I don’t have the necessary time and focus to dedicate myself to music production anymore, so I tend to play with the instruments I’m building while I’m testing them.
Any advice for young developers and/or music producers?
Follow your passion, follow your gut! What you love is the thing you can do for hours in a row without getting tired. Whilst I love electronic music and can’t live without it, my GREATEST passion is building things and playing around with technology. That passion is greater than making music alone! Whatever you passion is, listen to your heart and follow it!
DRC has a great interface and a lot of controls (envelopes, LFOs, etc.), what would you say is your favorite feature?
My favorite feature of DRC is the chorder. It’s incredible how addictive is to choose a simple patch like “Harpa” from the Factory bank, and play with it in the chorder, strum a bit and hear the reverb tail decaying.
Were you involved with the other projects at Imaginando, and what inspires you and/or your team to head in those directions?
Yes, I have been involved in all Imaginando projects as we are micro team. Harpa Laser was a artist installation created during the development of DRC, as we wanted to make a physical extension of the synthesizer to allow people outside of electronic music production to play with it. It was a huge success! Last year I decided to go a step further and create yet another physical extension of DRC with the Digital Music Box (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTGUPbbJtgHA-mgB-A7PzCqg4yxu4j36m). The goal was to show how a piece of old and abandoned furniture can be turned into an astonishing piece of interactive art, allowing people to crank their own music. For both of these projects the inspiration has been essentially the same: “combining music with technology to create inspiring musical experiences”, that’s our mission!
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