By the time you read this, CreamWare will have unveiled its first hardware synthesizer, Noah ($2,075), which it expects will ship in April. What is most

By the time you read this, CreamWare will have unveiled its first hardware synthesizer, Noah ($2,075), which it expects will ship in April. What is most remarkable about Noah is that it is not based on a hardwired synthesizer engine but relies on plug-in technology to determine the DSP. This makes Noah a tabula rasa capable of becoming a completely new sound-generating tool with each plug-in.

The unit will ship with a number of synthesis plug-ins; they will emphasize physical- and analog-modeling instruments. Many of the initial plug-ins are already available for CreamWare's Pulsar and Scope DSP card systems.

CreamWare touts its Minimax plug-in as an accurate reproduction of the Minimoog. B-2003 models drawbar organs in the style of the Hammond B-3. Vectron Player emulates the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS with its ability to create sonic motion by smoothly crossfading between oscillators. Lightwave is a wavetable synth with 128 waveforms, 2 multimode filters, and a flexible modulation matrix.

CreamWare claims the included Six-String physical modeling plug-in can produce stringed instrument sounds with an unparalleled degree of realism. Six-String focuses on acoustic and electric guitar sounds, but it can emulate other stringed instruments such as acoustic and electric basses, harps, dulcimers, and sitars. It can also produce soft, woodblocklike sounds or metallic and bell-like timbres.

The fundamental Six-String sound production technology was developed by Dr. Rudolf Rabenstein and Dr. Lutz Trautmann at the University of Erlangen — Nuremberg, Germany. The model takes into account a string's physical characteristics in real time — including string diameter and tension, rigidity, and excitation type. These parameters are editable and exert influence over the modeled sound in the same fashion as their real-world counterparts. Because Six-String was developed specifically for guitar emulation, it also includes programmable parameters for emulating the acoustic characteristics of the guitar body and pickups.

You can select from different string types such as steel, nylon, or special bass strings and choose position and the type of string excitation (pick, fingernail, or fingertip). You can also select from various body profiles, adjust two virtual pickups, and control the slap behavior. Six-String's effects section includes guitar amp simulation and chorus and delay effects. A tube simulation section imparts amplifier characteristics and overdrive.

Initially, Noah will ship as a rackmount module. It features a 2 × 40-character display and is equipped with four combination continuous-control — push-button performance knobs. Noah provides analog stereo input and output; digital Lightpipe output; a headphone out; MIDI In, Out, and Thru; a USB interface; and a Compact Flash slot for data storage.

The Noah EX ($2,525) doubles the capacity of the synthesis engine. Noah EX can play as many as four instruments at a time (the standard version offers two). CreamWare, Inc.; tel. (800) 899-1939 or (818) 610-2896; e-mail info@creamware.com; Web www.creamware.com.