I just started experimenting with iZotope’s Iris 2. Wow! Iris 2 wins the award for most improved virtual instrument for me in 2014!
While Iris 1 focused on interesting ways to manipulate samples using photoshop-like editing to do spectral filtering along the timeline, it was lacking on the automation and sound shaping side for me. Things have certainly changed for the better in Iris 2!
In this article I’ll offer a hands-on review of the new features, offer some tips, show you some early sound design experiment videos as well as offer first impressions on Iris2.
There are plenty of Iris 1 reviews and videos out there so I’m not going to cover that ground. I also won’t cover the Spectogram editor either. I do offer some links to video tutorials at this bottom or the article if you want to see these features in action.
Synthesist, Boulder, CO
WHAT IS IRIS
In a nutshell, Iris is a sample-based synthesizer with four audio pool layers that can contain your own samples or samples from the factory library. The spectrogram display allows you to manipulate edit the audio spectrum across the timeline. Iris 1 was released in April of 2012. Version 2 was released in November of 2014.
You can play tune and play samples back like a classic sampler in various modes that allow you to play samples forward, revers, looped, and triggering one-shots. Radius-RT mode allows for real-time pitch shifting. In other words, in Radius-RT mode, playing the sample higher up the keyboard changes the samples pitch but not the speed as it would in the other modes.
Modulation and Automation with Visual Feedback
Iris 2 now has 5 LFOs, 5 ADSRs, 8 Macro knob mappings, MIDI mappings (mod wheel, aftertouch …). There are over 100 Modulatable parameters now!
The new modulation system is killer with simple drag-n-drop style mapping (you can also use right-click). Once you drop you can scale the level of modulation on the target circle. A ring will also appear on the target allowing you to further manipulate depth. You get visual feedback in real-time as parameters are modulated.
In the illustration above I mapped LFO2 and Macro Knob 1 to modulate LFO1s rate. You can also modulate the shape of an LFO.
Tip: Envelope 5 is mapped to master gain by default making it the AMP ADSR. You can of course repurpose it, but go to ENV to make tweaks on factory presets.
MODULATABLE AUTOMATABLE INSERT EFFECTS
In addition to 4 master effects that were in Iris 1, there are now 4 insert effects per sample pool. All of the parameters can be modulate and automated. iZotope did a great job implementing this so there are little or no artifacts.