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Atmosphere from Spectrasonics.

Sep 30, 2003 - by Didier Pascalis
Translation by Bonatoc.
First approach.
     
    Amosphere is a virtual synthesizer, available as multi-format plug-in (Audio Units, MAS, Direct Connect and VST, Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X), which makes it usable with every major music sequencer on the market. An exclusive 3.7 Gigabytes sound bank is provided, all sounds being based on well-renowned sythesizers, hardware (from the original Mellotron to the Virus Indigo, the Jupiter 8) and software (Reaktor, Absynth, EXS24). The built-in effects are also simulated after famous effect units (Lexicon 480, Eventide DSP 4000, Langevin EQs).

    Every single top synthesizer that has made history, past or recent, is virtually available. The creator of Atmosphere is Eric Persing, founder of Spectrasonics (Distorded Reality). You probably already heard its works as a sound designer, which he has been for the past twenty years. Remember the Roland D 50 ? That was him. Most of all the synths and samplers made by Roland carry on its sonic touch.

    In addition to cover all the actual audio plug-in formats, Atmosphere can be used as a stand-alone synthesizer when installed on a second computer.
Sounds and specifications.
     
    Atmosphere aims at being the ultimate "Pad" synthesizer. A thousand and more presets are available, and almost all are the sum of two layers. Each Layer (named A and B) is indipendently editable, and can be switched with any other from the sound bank. A layer comes with a full range of parameters : Active/Inactive switch, Volume, Pan, Pitch, 4 different modulation sources and LFOs, a "master" filter with High Pass, 3 Low Pass (12,18 and 24 dB per octave), an ADSR filter envelope, an ADSR amp envelope, velocity sensivity, a glide button (to generate a mono legato behaviour). All of the parameters are subject to automation via MIDI controllers, except in Pro-Tools, which can only generate the automation through the modulation wheel. You can store all of your presets within the application, or independently.

    The sound quality is astounding, and gets even better when using the switchable 32 bits mode (requires more computer RAM). Whether you need a soft ethereal layer, or a more experimental designed sound, all styles are represented. All the presets are usable straight out of the box, even for really high end projects. Plus, you can achieve personal sounds from the existing presets very quickly, the interface being easy to get familiar with. Some presets have a very wide spectral range, so be careful not to let them cover every other instrument in your mix! Atmosphere instances are hungry: you will one hundred megabytes for eight plug-ins.
Conclusion.
    In the end, the only flaw that this software synth has may be its inner quality, which makes it the most likely to be heard soon on the latest productions, wathever the genre. Some may also find its license to be a little restrictive.

    The price of 350 Dollars/Euros is very fair when compared to huge expense in hardware synths it would require to get near the quantity, quality and ease of use Atmosphere proposes. Plus, the talent of Eric Parsing is included in the price.

     Spectrasonics official site.
About the author: Didier Pascalis
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