Muon Software's Electron is another dual-filter,envelope, and LFO application for VST 2.0 synth devotees using aMac or PC (minimum requirements, respectively: PowerPC G3/400, 128MB of RAM, Mac OS 8.5; Pentium II/400, 64 MB of RAM, Windows95/98/98SE). Though it's not designed to emulate any one synth, thebreathy warmth of Electron's pads, organs, and filters isreminiscent of the Elka Rhapsody and early Oberheim string synths,with a little Casio CZ-101 zaniness thrown in for good measure.Boasting three 64-bit analog-modeled virtual voltage-controlledoscillators and voltage-controlled filters per voice (thedocumentation calls them “virtual computerized oscillatorsand filters”), Electron can take you on one hell ofa sonic joyride.
Electron's manual (a PDF file) explains and shows howto edit the sounds pretty well but fails to say how to load theincluded bank of Electron presets. Once they are loaded,however, the 32 patches are full of lush, dreamy pads; swirlingfilter sweeps; rude basses; a handful of mono leads; and lots ofspace sounds that all serve as good jumping-off points for personalexploration. Electron lacks an onscreen keyboard andpitch-mod wheels, but their absence saves on screen space and CPUpower.
Electron includes a cool x-y interface thatlets you control two assignable synth parameters with a singlemouse move. The futuristic window features knobs for selectingparameters that are controlled by the mouse's horizontal(x) and vertical (y) axis movements, enablingsubtle to dramatic morphing between tones. You can create dramaticbreaks and emphatic mood shifts by clicking anywhere in thisdisplay to jump instantaneously to a certain combination of sounds.You can also slowly drag the yellow dot around the window to morpha sound's timbre gradually. The plug-in's automation capabilitiesallow you to record all of your parameter moves and play them backexactly as they were originally performed.
Although it's not the ultimate synthesizer plug-in,Electron is very easy to use and provides warm and emotivesounds. I also found the x-y controller interface —similar to the one featured in Arboretum's Hyperprismplug-in suite — useful and inspiring. Electron addsan interesting range to any sound chaser's arsenal.
Randy Alberts is a musician, writer, and audio engineerexploring music and recording technology in his studio in Pacifica,California.
MUON SOFTWARE Electron
PROS: Unique, breathy sounds. Great control layout withlots of knobs and sliders. Futuristic x-y parameterinterface. Three oscillators per voice.
CONS: No onscreen keyboard. Very few presetsincluded.
Overall Rating (1 through 5): 3