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Applied Acoustic Systems Tassman 4 Download of the Month

August 30, 2010

Tassman 4 (Mac/Win, standalone and plug-in) from Applied Acoustic Systems (AAS) has long been one of my favorites and is my go-to synth for all types of physical-modeled sounds. When I saw the incredible July special price reduction from $349 to $99, it was too late to write it up for “Download of the Month.” I mentioned that to AAS, and the company offered a coupon extending the special price to EM readers until the end of September. To use the coupon, go to, 
fill out the order form, and enter EMFALL2010 in the Coupon Code box.

Tassman is a modular synth, which means that it is as many different synths as you can imagine and then build from its 100 or so basic modules. But if the time-consuming black art of building your own synths doesn''t hold great appeal, consider that Tassman comes with a huge collection of instruments already designed, built, and loaded with presets. Those are spread among acoustic, analog, FM, hybrid, organ, and processing categories and include step-sequenced and keyboard instruments, as well as effects processors (see Web Clip 1).

Tassman uses physical modeling in all of its modules. For example, rather than recording samples of a dulcimer or DX-7, it does the math to model the way those acoustic or synthesized sounds are created. One happy consequence is that new and totally unexpected sounds are only a few knob tweaks away; you don''t even need to get under the hood (or, in Tassman speak, delve into the Builder). Beyond that, Tassman is fun to play with. The control panels have a retro feel that draws you in, and you can assign MIDI CCs with a mouse click. In a nice touch, you can load and save presets at all levels: individual modules, module collections called Sub-Patches, and the whole instrument. This lets you quickly copy one part of a preset and apply it to a different preset using the same module or Sub-Patch. Check out Dennis Miller''s detailed review of Tassman 4 online in the March 2005 issue.

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