Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Few Blade Impressions - Part II

In this second part of my impressions of Blade I wanted to 1st observe what Blade does not do that most additive synthesizers do and that is re-synthesis. What is re-synthesis? In additive synthesizers it takes a sample and breaks it up into a series of partials each with it's own pitch and amplitude envelope.

What Blade does is provide a series of additive models with a large number of partials which can then be shaped by various additive shapers for lack of a better word. Blade calls this a harmolator. Because of this design Blades sounds are more edgy than most I have used.

Pads and soundscapes are not really part of this synths sonic vocabulary. IMHO it lends itself more to leads although I an personally intrigued by using it with velocity maps and another sampled layer similar to a Kawai K5000. Certainly the partial heavy sounds lend themselves well to cutting through a mix which is perhaps the reason for it's name. The name might also be a play on Native Instruments synth Razor. Both seem to cater a bit to dance music with Razor and it's spectral filters claiming more of a dubstep ficus.

Blade has a plethora of interesting effects that extend well beyond the yawn worthy delay, flange, phaser, distortion effects that you find in many soft synths.

What you can do with these effects is something I rarely see on soft synths is the ability to modulate effect parameters. This combined with the XY pad that us stage center for Blade opens up some real interesting possibilities. More on this in Part III.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

1st Impressions of Rob Papen's Blade - part I

It's been a long time since I have invested in a new synth (software or hardware) so I did see something unique about this synth before I bought it.

Whenever I buy a synth now I will only buy it if there is little overlap with what I have. For additive synths, I have used Cube, Poseidon, Chameleon, Alchemy and now Blade. Blade has very little in common with any of those so first test passed.

I also like to be able to start using a synth without ever looking at the manual. Good synths have a vision behind their design and if you get that it's easy to go exploring without the manual. Blade's focus us dead center on the XY mapping of parameters. Nicely designed and clear. Second test passed.


Most additive synths use morphing. Blade does not but rather morphs between additive parameters that effect the structure of the partials. One of my frustrations with additive synthesizers is that I really get very little sense of what an additive model sounds like looking at partials. Blade rather shapes the partial to create the type of harmonic shifts that
make additive sounds so interesting without the need to interpret graphs if partials.

So, that's it for part I. In Part II I want to get more into the sound which is really where things get interesting.