FXpansion, the makers of BFD and Guru, have released a new bundle of virtual instruments called DCAM:Synth Squad. I've been using the package for a number of weeks and have a good feel for a majority of the features.
In this review I’m going to offer a high-level overview of the elements that make up Synth Squad, and highlight some features that make DCAM: Synth Squad stand out from the crowd. I’ll offer my impressions about usage along the way. Note that this review is over 2,300 words and I barely scratch the surface of the the features within DCAM: Synth Squad – it’s a huge feature rich package.
WHAT IS DCAM SYNTH SQUAD?
Over three and a half years in the making, DCAM: Synth Squad is a collection of modeled software synthesizers with a sound design rack environment called Fusor. The package runs on Windows XP SP3, Vista SP1 (32-bit) VAST/RTAS OR Mac OSX 10.5.7 AU/VST /RTAS. Instruments include:
- Strobe - A modeled single oscillator analog synth
- Amber - A modeled string divide-down synth with a formant filter
- Cypher - A three oscillator synth with dual filters/waveshapers and realistic audio-rate modulation
- Fusor - A sound design rack to hold three instances of any combination of the Strobe, Amber, or Cypher. Fusor also includes digital FX, global modulation capabilities, as well as a step-sequencer/arpeggiator.
UNDER THE HOOD
The DCAM synths are not just emulations of analog synths from days past. While FXpansion did analyze old analog synths from each class of synth represented in SynthSquad, they didn't simply model the output of these synthesizers. Instead they modeled components within circuits and they then created new instruments using these components. The end result is a fantastic set of rich sounding instruments with analog character but with modern interfaces.
FXpansion made a wise decision to create three single-page interface synths with a sound design rack (Fusor) synth rather than some monster synth with a multi-page interface. As a result controls on the synths themselves are very focused for the type of synthesis at hand which makes programming more immediate. While you can use Fusor to setup splits/layers, map global modulatators, insert FX, and trigger notes and modulation via a step-sequencer/arpeggiator - you can also insert each individual synth directly into your host application.