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Devine Machine Krishna Synth 1.5 Review (Bonus Material)

September 30, 2009

Hairy Krishna

At one pole, Krishna Synth can create contemporary-sounding, complex electronic timbres with plenty of motion. At the other, it can sound like a DX7 with a hairball. I hasten to add that I don''t mean that in a bad way; beauty is not always pretty.

Freshly imported sounds have a grainy, vocoded quality, much like the synthetic character of the popular Auto-Tune effect. You can put that quality to good use or tame the graininess somewhat with Krishna Synth''s filter. Practically anything can be modulated in interesting and unusual ways, so you may appreciate having something raw and edgy to sculpt sounds from as a starting point. For example, once you have used the frame-drawing tools to your satisfaction, you can save your hand-drawn waveforms as a new Movie for a fresh starting point. Built-in batch conversion lets you create new Movies from audio files, and I put that to good use with some WAV loops from an Omnisphere contest (see Web Clip 4). Left- and right-arrow cursors quickly let you load the next Movie, or you can choose a specific file from a pop-up menu.

Factory sounds range from run-of-the-mill to hair-raising. I am less impressed with the add-on sounds, many of which seemed to just sit there. You won''t find glassy bells or diaphanous pads here. Pads have an organic, yet electronic inner life, crackling with buzzes and swirling with strange overtones. Hidden away in the Options menu is a Desync switch for imparting subtle tonal differences between oscillator voices as they are played. In many cases, the built-in multi-effects emphasize the instrument''s quirky, aggressive qualities, but they are often unnecessary. The warm-sounding, programmable tube preamp can dial in anything from subtle saturated overdrive to hard distortion, and in most cases a little bit goes a very long way. If you are looking for saturated, tempo-synched loops, you''ve come to the right place. What Krishna Synth''s rhythmically oriented LFOs and envelopes can''t accomplish, the built-in step sequencer can.

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