We’re also lucky enough to have got hold of a Touch Digital Controller – dedicated impOSCar2 hardware controller (no keyboard, just control) – one of only 100 initially made to compliment the synth experience. Made by a separate company its designed to offer an extremely robust hardware control of this synth. Somewhat inspired by the one-off controller made by Synth-project.de earlier this year.
But back to the software:
- impOSCar2 has a familiar layout to imp1 users:
- 2x Oscillators multi-wave with 2, Additive 24 partial user waves
- 2 LFOs syncable with multi-waves
- Multimode VCF with separation control for adding a dual peak resonance
- 2 ADSRs ADSR2 features a delay trigger
- 2 FX – Chorus and stereo delay tempo syncable
- Separate Instrument and Effects Versions
- Mono Unison and Poly Unison Modes
- New Aux Mod Section with comprehensive routing
- Nine Filter Types with Drive, Cutoff, Q and Separation.
- New Chord Memory and single note retrigger
- 6 Portamento modes with new Unison glide voice spread
- New Unison Voice Pan
- New Note Pan Modes
- Programmable Velocity Responses and New Aftertouch Modes
- Improved Arpeggiator
- Small, Regular or Large Interface Sizes
- New Ring Modulator
impOSCar2 does not disappoint on the sound department – the oscillators have plenty of analog beef and the additive user-built waves give you some unusual tones and buzz to broaden the sound. The filter is of the standard we’ve come to expect from GForce with a real character and musicality – even the 2-pole LPF – somewhere I dont usually venture has a lovely smooth quality to it. Envelopes are very fast and snappy giving plenty of scope for percussive sounds. However, dial in some multi-voice unison (up to 8voices) add a little detune and it grows an extra pair of the proverbial. For pads it can really create some massive stereo textures and creamy beds – very nice. Although you might be forgiven for thinking this is more of a polysynth, but its equally adept at basses and leads – the arpeggiator and envelope triggering (linked to a tempo control) can get some good sequence fodder. One thing that made it pretty hard to review was each time I focussed on a feature, I’d wander off into synth exploration – very much aided by the hardware controller – these two together are like having a massive hardware synth – a real joy to tweak.
Back to the controller – this thing is built like a tank – 2mm metal plate, each aluminium capped knob bolted on, extremely heavy – I’ve not come across anything like this before in terms of construction. One might be tempted to say its over-engineered, but it is designed to tour. The MIDI is handled by a custom implementation of the Kenton USB Solo interface. The result is very responsive and just works – I had no trouble – plug and play in the standalone version. It would have been nice to see some knobs centre-dented for parameters with +/- values and perhaps a program change panel for flipping through presets would have been nice, but as it stands, it integrates extremely well. In VST mode, you get bi-directional feedback with the LED status lights reflecting the patch settings.
Speaking of which, the impOSCar2 handles patches in a slightly odd way – banks are selected by in the patch browser window, select one with to load – mouse driven only unfortunately. You can load patches into a program change slots to create custom banks which you can then recall from a master keyboard. Unfortunately, program/bank change assignments can not be saved in standalone mode, but are recalled when running as a plug-in saved in the DAW document. It makes flicking through patches a little clunky as you dont get to see the front panel unless you first assign a bank to program changes (a simple shift click).
I loved the combination of synth and controller – its amazing – totally changes the way you interact with the instrument, and indeed makes it into one in the proper sense. The impOSCar2 in itself is a very capable synth and does sound great GForce having once again created a comprehensive synthesizer with a character of its own- very musical.