We will not use brand names such as Yamaha SPX-90, Roland Dimension D, or Arp String Ensemble
Italian developer Overloud is the company whose Breverb plug-in finally ended the debate over whether software reverbs could compete with hardware ones about 15 years ago (yes they can). And the rest is history.
Overloud’s latest plug-in in their Gem series of hardware-inspired processors models the modulation/chorus programs in three famous units. Gem Modula “emulates classic modulation units such as the Dimension D*, Solina Ensemble* and SPX90*.”
“DIMENSION – The Dimension unit offers a very soft and organic modulation. It was the go-to unit for vocals in the 80s and 90s but it can also be used on a full mix to increase the space perception without adding reverb. Its input section has a very musical harmonic generation when pushed into saturation.
“ENSEMBLE – The Ensemble circuit was included in a line of string machines, so it is particularly suited for synth and pad sounds. It can greatly enhance stereo depth on strings and soundscapes as well.
“SYMPHONIC – The Symphonic unit is the classic digital chorus of the 90s. It has a 3-voice modulation scheme with sinewave LFOs for heavy modulations. It was the Zakk Wylde and Mike Stern chorus, but it has been heavily used on vocals and synths as well.”
While Overload uses skeuomorphism – a word that (if we even spelled it correctly) means the software interface copies hardware – they did add some 2021 features: input saturation for “super-musical harmonic generation”; parametric EQ; a stereo width control; and a dual-mono mode to process each channel differently.
And then the really good stuff:
“All the main parameters can be dynamically controlled by the input envelope. The effect will ‘breathe’ according to the level of the input signal. This is particularly useful in electronic music. For example, the modulation speed can increase during the transients. Or the amount of effect can be decreased on louder passages to increase their clarity, while keeping a sense of wider space on the softer parts.
“Thanks to the analog modeling design, it is possible to virtually mod the original circuit and change the LFO and filter’s behavior while keeping the character of the original unit. You can experiment with using LFO shapes to change the motion of the modulation, or add resonances to transform the chorus into a flanger, for example.”
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