Sound Design and Workflow Tip: Make Better Use of the Stand-Alone FX Versions of Your Virtual Instruments
Music Monday: "Digital Graffiti" a Free Compilation Album by Denver/Boulder Producers

Tone2 Saurus Synthesizer: First Impressions and "In Use" Video


Last week, my friends at Tone2 released their latest virtual analog synth Saurus. I'm a huge fan of Galdiator and was a beta-tester for ElextraX - both of which are all over my last two albums -  so I was very excited to see what their take on a streamlinked modelled analog synth would be.

First Impressions

I’ve been playing and programming it almost with almost  every free moment since it released. Here are some things I really love about Saurus:

  • Great sounding circuit-level oscillator and filter models, especially the filter feedback and drive
  • Waveform morphing with PW changes
  • Easy on your CPU compared to other synths that model at the circuit level and instances share resources so you can insert many instances into a set without audio dropout
  • Straight forward and tweakable interface (Tone2 made great choices on what to include)
  • Killer modulation matrix with some cool new sources like the “x” modifier, voice output
  • A new take on ElectraX’s arp and gate where both are combined into one interface
  • LFO’s that run at audio rate (just use the mod matrix to patch LFO to Osc Pitch and you have FM)
  • Basic but solid essential built-in FX (Chorus, Reverb, Delay)
  • A fresh take on noise on both oscillators with morphable FM/AM noise source
  • Pink and white noise as a modulation source in the matrix
  • The factory patches sound great and since they heavily use the mod matrix - they also provide great insight into how to take advantage of the new modulation features. I’m learning a lot just by reviewing the mappings.

Some things I would like to see in an update:

  • Add FX params as modulation targets
  • Add the “\” arp step type for note glide as implemented in ElectraX
  • Add a comb filter type

Who’s It For

I think Saurus is a great synth for up-and-coming producers and synthesists because it straight forward and follows a classic workflow. It’s also only $119 US which is a great value.

Seasoned players are going to love the sonic range, tweakability, and low CPU usage. As a controllerist, I find it super expressive when mapping it to my Novaiton RemoteSL MK II Keyboard in an Ableton Instrument Rack.

A buy is a no brainer and this just might become your goto subtractive virtual analog.

In Use

This is video of a single patch improvisation I recorded in one pass with no edits  using a single instance of Saurus. I only use the built-in effects. I start with a factory patch in the "Lead" bank called "1970s Soloist H". I only touch the computer once during the performance in the middle to turn up the gain in the mod matrix so that LFO modulates pitch. Prior to recording I mapped all sorts of parameters to my Novation Remote SL MK II Keyboard:

  • XY map to Filter and Rez
  • Bank 1 of the top 8 knobs are mapped to filter parameters and OSC Balance
  • Bank 2 of top 8 knobs are mapped to effects parameters
  • Bottom row 8 knobs are MIDI mapped to Oscillator noise type AM/FM, LFO Speed, Glide rate
  • The first 4 sliders map to the volume ADSR
  • The next 4 sliders map to filter ADSR

I used my projector to paint my wall with Saurus to the knob movement you see on the wall is in real-time and corresponds to my controller movement.


The demo MP3s don't do Saurus justice. I recommend you download the demo and try it yourself. Make sure you try velocity, aftertouch, mod and pitch wheels on every patch.

Grab the demo here

Full disclosure –while I did get an NFR copy of the software, I don’t benefit financially if you buy Saurus. I’m just a big fan of both Saurus and Tone2.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO
Official Web Site:
Listen/Download Albums: