Sonic Charge – Microtonic 3 – Drum Synth
I’ve been meaning to do a review of this program for a while. I am quite fond of the Sonic Charge products.
SynPlant & Bitspeek are both awesome.
Microtonic is all about Analog sounding drums, and boy does it deliver! Since all the sounds are synth driven, you get much more flexibility than with samples (although adding samples as extra layers can give great results as well).
For those familiar with the programing style of the vintage Roland Drum machines (606, 707, 808, 909 etc), you’ll find it quite easy to get started. There is also a pattern setup similar to Propellerhead’s Rebirth style (r.i.p.).
You are given 8 separate channels to work with which can be made into any drum sound you like, or even synth tones. There is a Multi version of the vst that allow you to separate all the sounds on their own audio track in your DAW of choice. This makes for fantastic flexibility!
If you like to change patterns & tweak parameters on the fly, Microtonic gives you the ability to easily set it up to a midi controller.
There are an amazing amount of great drum sounds to choose from & they are VERY usable. The quality is top notch & would sit well in any professional production. Keep in mind that each sound is not a sample, but is driven by a synth at the source. Once you get the hang out how these sounds are made, which only takes a couple hours of tweaking parameters, you’ll be easily tweaking presets & building your own sounds from scratch.
There is no shortage of drum patterns to get inspiration from as Microtonic gives you loads of patterns not only inside the program itself, but also has it’s Patternarium online where the whole community shares & votes on drum patterns. It’s not your typical set up, as the patterns tend to evolve & spawn new patterns. Pretty innovative stuff!
Other cool features
Sound morph – This allows you to to tweak all the synth parameters in extreme ways and then use a slider to morph the sound to whatever degree you like. Incredibly cool.
Pattern Alt – This slightly alters your pattern but still keeps it recognizable, allowing you to easily vary your patterns.
Drag as midi Clip – This is a favorite feature of mine which allows you to create a pattern & then drag it into your DAW as a midi clip that you can further tweak & alter. I especially like using this feature in Ableton’s session window, allowing me to drag multiple patterns in & jamming them out. Loads of fun.
Swing & timing sliders – Creating a more humanistic groove has never been easier with the Swing slider. Just slide it until it gives you a satifying groove & you’re done. The timing slider (I’m sure it has a better name but..) let’s you change you whole pattern to 16th note or 8th note triplets without any extra programing as well as 32nd, 16th & 8th notes. Give this a try & see what happens. I like to jame things out for a few minutes & cut out the bits that sound good to me for variations.
I’ve just scratched the surface of how flexible & straightforward this drum synth can be. Check out the video below & pick yourself up a copy of Microtonic if it looks cool to you. For what it is offering, the price is fantastic!
Happy Music making!