As the Sonic Academy ANA 2 Ambient project I started long ago comes to a finalization, I started to think about my next sound development project. I began by listing a project checklist. I needed:
- A new, upcoming synth with great potential
- A synth with high quality audio outputs
- A synth with zero samples, and pure oscillators
- A synth with multiple synthesis capabilities
- A synth that allowed hand crafted oscillators
- A synth that had deep modulation capabilities
- A synth that was modular in nature
- A synth with unique, and multiple filters
- A synth that was affordable
After researching many options for almost two weeks, I finally found my next sound development project source …A Synthesizer not many people have heard of, but for those who have, they are as excited as I am about the unlimited possibilities this upcoming Synth has to offer.
The Fathom Synth by Seaweed Audio, is a modular software synthesizer which specializes in original waveform development, advanced modulation and high quality audio output. Fathom is built for the sound designer who finds existing plug-ins restrictive in their architecture and is looking for more creative latitude. The modular signal flow places the entire structure of the instrument in the hands of the user. You can connect any oscillator to any filter or effect in any combination and there are no predefined paths within the processor. The only limit is the twenty open positions in the signal flow view and your CPU usage. The synthesis types, which include Additive, Subtractive, and FM come from 8 oscillators, and can be shaped by 33 filter types …a sound designers dream!
Available Alias Free Oscillators Types:
- Basic Waveforms – Sin, Triangle, Square, Pulse, Saw & 400 Partials
- Wave Draw – Free-hand Draw, Bezier and Exponential Curves.
- High Definition Saw – With Control over Odd and Even Harms
- Wave Table – With 16 x 16 Morphable Wave Table Positions
- Additive Spectrum – With 64 Partials with Graphical Spectrum
- Frequency Pulse – With Six Algorithms
- Impulse – With Single impulse or Alt & Mod Impulse Width
- AM/FM Synthesis – With Single, Double, Triple Carrier/Modulator combos
Available Filter Types:
- Low Pass – First Order, Second Order Resonant, Bristow Johnson Low Pass Resonant, State Variable Low Pass Resonant
- High Pass – First Order, Second Order Resonant
- Band Pass – Band Pass, Band Stop
- Butterworth – Low Pass, Low Pass Variable Order, High Pass, Band Pass, Band Stop
- Variable – Variable Order 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Variable Slope, Oberheim Variations, Linkwitz Riley Low Pass, Linkwitz Riley High Pass, Linkwitz Riley Band Pass, Polar Morph, Zero Delay, Zero Delay Gaussian
- Virtual Analog – Analog Nonlinear, Voltage Controlled Low Pass Resonant Ringing, Voltage Controlled High Pass Resonant, Ladder Low Pass Resonant, Diode Low Pass Resonant, Massberg Low Pass Resonant
- Parametric – Parametric, Low Shelf, First Order, Second Order, High Shelf, First Order, Second Order, Parametric 6 Band EQ, Parametric 12 Band EQ
If you think that’s an impressive sound engine list, features also include: 7 Effects including Two Chorus, Two Reverb, 3 Channel Digital Delay, 8 Channel Phaser, Mixer. 9 Modulators including ADSR, Drawable LFO, Multi-Segment Envelope, Sequencer, Random. Envelope Segments include Line, Exponential, Bezier, Double Bezier, Non-Linear Sin.
The Fathom Synth was obviously created with the Synthesist and Sound Designer in mind. But how easy is it to create a patch? Using Fathom for the first time, I decided to create a classic Saw Pad, without opening the manual so that I could answer this question. OK, so I started with a blank slate, and added the following:
- 4 Saw Oscillators, detuned and panned for a “thick” analog sound
- 1 Mixer that connected all 4 Oscillators
- 1 Voltage Controlled Low Pass Filter
- 2 effects units. a Pro Reverb and Air Chorus
After finishing the main Synth architecture, I added simple modulation: an ADSR routed to Volume, and Filter Cutoff Frequency controlled by the Modulation Wheel. All of this took about 15 minutes. And that was without looking inside the Manual!
Here is what the final result sounded like:
And this is what my simple Saw Pad looks like within the GUI:
If you have Fathom, and would like to see how this was put together, you can download this patch by clicking here. Sound Design on a virtual modular system has never been easier, not to mention fun! I can see countless hours of sound design ahead!
I highly recommend any and all sound designers out there to give Fathom a try, and hear for yourself. There is a “Mono” only version available for free, but I am convinced that at currently $32.00 for the pro version, you are going to want to buy Fathom before the list price of $125.00 comes into effect! You can check it all out at: www.fathomsynth.com …Be prepared for some new Ambient sounds in the future!
Since this initial post on March 8th, I have created quite a few new patches for Fathom. One of them is the newest and final version of my original first patch I linked above: “Saw Pad”. I’ve added a lot of improvements to the original, and if you compare the before and after screenshots, it becomes obvious. Eventually I am going to share all of these patches, but for now, let me share the update of my very first patch …Now called “Sunrise on Titan” Click here to download. Notice it still pretty much keeps the same Saw Pad structure, yet now enhanced and modulated better