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Downloads of the Month: HarpTime Pro and MicroRock - EMusician

Downloads of the Month: HarpTime Pro and MicroRock

HarpTime Pro (Mac/Win, $59.90), HarpTime Fun (Mac/Win, $29.90), and MicroRock Pro (Mac/Win, $46.90) from LiqihSynth (http://nusofting.liqihsynth.com)
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HarpTime Pro (Mac/Win, $59.90), HarpTime Fun (Mac/Win, $29.90), and MicroRock Pro (Mac/Win, $46.90) from LiqihSynth (http://nusofting.liqihsynth.com) are physically modeled emulations of a folk harp and a synth with electric-guitarlike sounds. All three plug-ins are available in VST format for Mac OS X and recent versions of Windows, and in Audio Units format for OS X. Demo versions (which beep periodically) and MP3 audio examples are available for all products from the LiqihSynth Web site.

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HarpTime Pro

The HarpTime plug-ins model the sound of a plucked folk harp. Twelve strings are modeled to allow for simultaneous sympathetic resonance. By default, its 12 virtual strings are tuned to equal temperament. The plug-ins differ in polyphony (8 notes for Fun, 12 notes for Pro) and controls. HarpTime Pro features individual string tuning, excitation, pick position, and brightness. Both models have a unique Shaping control that selects among 12 presets for string type, attack and decay behavior, and bray-pin model. In a nice touch, MIDI Mod Wheel is used to generate a multioctave glissando.

MicroRock is a monophonic synth with three playing modes: Lead, Bass (which doubles string length), and PowerChord (for which the oscillator and suboscillator are doubled a fifth above the played note). It has a complement of built-in effects for emulating the pedal-effects-laden sounds of early psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd. In short, it's nasty.

The heart of MicroRock is its string emulator, which has controls for plucking energy (Exciter), string stability (Modulation), pick tone, and pick position. Additionally, a suboscillator can be mixed in to add gravitas. The string emulator feeds a Tone section offering distortion, overdrive, saturation, and color. Effects include a retriggering ADSR envelope generator, auto-wah, chorus, vibrato, and tempo-synced delay.