IK Multimedia’s Syntronik is a virtual synthesiser that allows you to tap into 17 famous synthesisers, including several models by Roland and Moog. Syntronik uses advanced sampling techniques combined with a new hybrid sample and modelling synthesis engine. Add to that a new analogue modelled filter section, a very user-friendly arpeggiator and the option of having four instrument layers, each occupying their own zone of your keyboard. With over 2,000 preset sounds covering a wide selection from 38 of the most iconic and painstakingly multi-sampled vintage synthesisers and you know that Syntronik is a music ‘system’ that you simply must have.
Syntronik can be used as a standalone app or as a DAW plug-in. I only briefly tried it as a stand-alone app, then went on to test it with Logic Pro X and Reason. The first thing that came to my mind when I got a bit used to the interface was that Syntronik resembles the instruments within Reason a bit.
The controls and parameters you can set in Syntronik are close to the original, mostly analogue, synthesisers. The result is that you are not presented with sliders, draggable LFO curves and the lot, but knobs, faders and other real-world controls. That interface much resembles how Reason presents its instruments, but luckily for Syntronik users, there are no cables to route.
I received the full version to play with and that one comes with that huge library of presets. I tried only a fraction of the collection so far, but what I’ve heard was exhilarating. You can use the presets as a basis to create your own sound signature.
I can’t comment much on the controls as they are more or less the same for each synthesiser, except perhaps for the Galaxy, which has a completely different looking console. Suffice it to say the controls are simple to use: if you’ve ever turned a volume knob and are familiar with equalisers, waveforms, filters and LFOs, you can use any of the included instruments.
A different matter would be choosing among Syntronik’s 2,000 preset sounds if it weren’t for the categorisation by type and synthesiser. As for the sound it all produces, IK Multimedia says Syntronik’s synthesis engine goes well beyond traditional sampling thanks to a brand new analogue modelled filter section created with IK’s expertise in virtual circuit modelling.
Syntronik includes “DRIFT”, a new technology that IK Multimedia claims to breathe more life into the sampled oscillators themselves. The explanation states that sample-based synthesisers have the limitation of having always the same exact sample attack, which is not the case in their hardware counterparts. IK’s DRIFT technology varies the phase, colour and pitch of the sampled oscillators to keep them moving just like the real analogue oscillators do. The website reads: “Much more than simple detuning or even multiple-source modulation, DRIFT emulates the way real analogue circuits behave over time. The result is the unmistakable sound of analogue that is the origin of any classic synthesiser sound.”
I can tell you is that some of the sounds I could eventually create with Moog-based Syntronik instruments have a sound quality — a signature, if you wish — that is very close to what I can squeeze out of Moog’s own Model 15 app that I have running on my iPad. I’ll leave you to decide if that’s close enough to real analogue instruments as the Model 15 is digital, of course.
If you’re after a sound that closely reproduces the sound of instruments like — a whole series of — Moog, Roland, Oberheim and Yamaha models, an Alesis Andromeda or others, then Syntronik has great appeal. Considering that Syntronik allows you to combine so many of its features that you can create something truly unique, in my opinion, you should try the free version. That one comes without the huge library of presets — only a few are included — but it does give you a taste of what Syntronik will enable you to do. My hunch is that once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked. The full version costs €241.99.