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Synth and Software’s Top 10 Soft Synths

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Reveal Sound Spire ($189)

Beyond just sounding good, much of what makes Spire stand out is that it delivers beyond what you may expect. For example, two independent filters have six modes, including emulations of filters from the Access Virus (Infecto), Roland TB303 (Acido), and Minimoog (Perfecto). Four envelope generators offer slope time and level parameters in addition to the usual ADSR. Each segment lets you choose from three curve types. Four LFOs give you an unusually broad selection of waveforms and the means to change their shapes further. Two unusual step sequencers called Steppers serve as additional modulation sources. You can copy and paste parameters between similar functions, too.

Spire is essentially an analog-modeling synth with four identical oscillators that Reveal describes aspolymorphing. Choose from seven oscillator modes ranging from Classic to Vowel, with frequency- and amplitude-modulated modes among the choices. You can change waveform shapes continuously using knobs, but things get much more interesting when you use modulators in real time. Spire’s mod matrix has 15 slots, each accommodating two sources routed to four destinations. Additional features include microtuning, random drift for oscillator and LFO frequency, and a reasonably deep multi-effects section. Tons of extra content are available, too.

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