Workstation is a Gladiator 2 soundset featuring 155 new and exciting presets designed by Bastiaan van Noord, showcasing what Gladiator's Harmonic Content Morphing synthesis is capable of. A collection of warm & lush pads, beautiful soundscapes, pumping basses and fierce synth sounds, suitable for a wide range of music genres, including Progressive, Electronica, IDM, Minimal and Cinematic.
I just bought the new “State of the Art” expansion for the fantastic Gladiator 2 virtual instrument for $69US. With this expansion you not only get new presets, but the expansion also unlocks new synth features.
Tone2's Upgrade Model This is the third in a series of expansions for Gladiator 2, and with each expansion you get all the features from the previous expansion. So if you were to buy just this expansion you’d get the combined features from the two previous expansions. Note, you need to buy each expansion if you want access to the presets though.
Features Rather than list the features as a bulleted list, I spent some time creating the mind map at the top of this post which summarizes the features in relation to the signal path in Gladiator2 with the idea that you can print this and use it as a quick reference as you explore the new features.
Presets “State of Art” includes 315 unique presets aimed at “miscellaneous genres of electronic music”. Sound designers who contributed were Markus Feil, Bastiaan van Noord, Bryan 'Xenos' Lee, Alusio de Lima, Dajan Izzo, Massimo Bosco, Marco Scherer and Patchen Preston.
Included in this update are 26 additional waves for OSC5. OSC5 is a special oscillator that is used for playing back these sample and noise waves. As a consequence, a larger portion of the new presets are centered around motion pads, percussive sounds, and FX. In general this expansion really shows that Gladiator’s range.
Listen For Yourself Rather than me trying to describe all this further, take a few moments to checkout the audio demo in the player below (or you can download an mp3 verson if you don't see the embedded player).
Bottom Line I use Gladiator 2 a lot. Its easy on the CPU and really cuts through the mix. It's all over my album REBOOT and in my new song "First Orbit". I also enjoy programming it so for me this update just makes it more powerful and was therefore a no-brainer.
Is it right for you? My opinion is that non-programmers will appreciate the 300+ new sounds. Sound designers will appreciate all the new synth features - especially if you are still running Gladiator 2.2 without any expansions.
The launchpad is used as a visual reference for what is going on inside of Live. at 2:55 I switch to User Mode 2 on the Novation Launchad and trigger a metallic sound then change the Rate by breaking the beam between cubes. I then play notes on the launchpad which plays both Gladiator and Absynth. When I pick up the Sensor cube, I’m modulating arpeggiator Gate and Distance. Opening up the gate makes the Absynth patch much more tonal.
Marc W. from Ableton Denver just gave me additional footage from a second camera angle and I plan to post a video on my channel of just the song by combining footage from both cameras. I’ll also post this live performance of the song in audio format and will also do a studio version down the road and release that as well.
Despite the economic downturn, 2009 was thankfully a huge year when it came to new technology for electronic music artists. Rather than try and cover every significant release, I’ll instead list some of my favorite products and notable trends.
The Year of Ableton What a big year for Ableton. Live 8 with great new features set, Max for Live, 10th Anniversary of Ableton, launch of Live Intro, dedicated hardware controllers (APC40 & Launchpad). Awesome!
Grid (Matrix) Controllers
Grid controllers everywhere in 2009. New controllers like the APC40, Launchpad and Bliptronics 5000. Continued development with existing controllers like Tenori-On and Monome. The grid metaphor also became quite prevalent in apps as well. I have the APC40 and Tenori-On and simply love them.
Percussa Audio Cubes “Tangible Interface”
Not new in 2009 but new to me, Percussa AudioCubes are self-powered wireless computer systems. Cubes can detect and interact with each other and can detect the proximity of your hand near a cube face sensor and send this controller information to your DAW or to various free software apps provided by Percussa. I working with a 4 cube configuration within Ableton Live.
Fantastic Synths A great year for virtual instruments. Below is a list of new and updates synths that I used over and over again in 2009 for both sound design and for music performance.
u-he ACE (Any Cable Anywhere) This synth just released by I use it all the time now! It’s a fantastic virtual analog synth with a great UI with patch cables. Sounds like butta’.
SAVE $30 ON GLADIATOR 2 TILL AUGUST 6TH If you follow Modulate This!, you know I’m a fan of Tone2’s Gladiator Virtual Synthesizer. My recent video Sound Design with Gladiator 2: HCM Synthesis Explainedis already close to 3,000 views. As a result of the popularity of this video I’ve met Markus Feil, the developer or Gladiator 2. Markus was kind enough to extend a $30 off discount for Modulate This! readers – so you get this great synth for $169 instead of $199. You can see the link in the right hand column of the blog.Please don't post this link on other sites and instead direct people to Modulatethis.com. This will help me bring more offers like this to you in the future.
Two other items of interest for Gladiator users are listed below. I pulled the info from the most recent Tone2 newsletter.
Gladiator v2.1 (free for all Gladiator 2 users) Improvements in sound quality: - Drastically improved low notes oscillator sound - Improved reverb sound: Softer and more diffuse reverb tails - Improved psychoacustical processing - Improved spectral slope of low frequencies to reduce gibbs effect for more 'analog' sound - Improved sound quality of intelligent microtuning (IQM): Warmer sound for long release times - Extended dB range of master volume knob - Reworked existing factory presets: Warmer sound
New features: - 3 new phase modulators for analog sounding pulsewidth modulation: PWM, PWM alt, phase shift - Added song position sync support for LFO 1/2 ('bpm' has to be set to 'on' and 'retrigger' to 'off') - Added split keyboard support; new modulation sources: Low keys, High keys - Added new 'split' arp mode which applies ARP on high keys only and leaves low keys for basses - 18 new factory sounds
Changes, fixes and improvements: - Faster loading time of PC full version - Demoversion: Nag Voice only every 9 minutes instead of every minute - Improved host compatibility: Cubase 4 & 5, Orion, Fruity Loops, Logic - Fixed (PC): Wrong version number was displayed in Cubase - Fixed: Microglitch in volume envelope - Fixed (Full version, Mac): 'Demoversion' instead of user name was displayed for 2 seconds after loading - Fixed (PPC Mac): 'Spec format' and 'Spec clean' modifier could output silence - Fixed (FUll version, Mac): 'save all' could crash Gladiator2 - Changed (Mac): Focus of mouseover when 'show editor' was set to 'off'
ELECTRONIC EXPANSION: - Over 300 handpicked sounds - Additional stereo trancegate effect with 22 patterns - Additional reverb type: Reverb ultra - 3 additional early reflection effects - Additional aliaser lofi effect - Additional stereo enhancer effect - The expansion is directly integrated to the interface of Gladiator 2.1 - 3 additonal skins as bonus content: Gold, red and black Impressive arpeggiator sequences, resonant basses, groovy drumlines, vocaloid sounds, cutting leads, chiptune sounds, techno stabs, rhythmic trancegates, deep housechords, atmospheric pads and ambient textures are among the many types of electronic sounds featured inside this expansion. A must have if you're looking for new sounds or if you want to expand Gladiator with more features.
Update: checkout the discount link on the right side of the blog.
I started using Tone 2 Gladiator 1 a year ago and recently upgraded to Gladiator 2. Gladiator 1 & 2 are based on a new type of synthesis called Harmonic Content Morphing (HCM). HCM offers a clever way to generate wavetables with a massive variety of harmonic content that can be modified over time. Tone2’s approach with HCM is quite unique so I put together this video which offers a step-by-step explanation of what HCM synthesis is and how to use it. These techniques apply to both Gladiator 1 & 2.
If you like the sound of Gladiator 2 but find it too expensive, you should check out Firebird+. Firebird+ only has a fraction of the the editing capabilities but is still quite a capable instrument for the price.