SCHOPFHEIM, GERMANY: hardware and software developer Ploytec is proud to introduce its latest (V2.1) firmware update for its πλ2 MIDI- and πλ2 Leukos USB-powered, super-small footprint, software editing-enabled duophonic synthesizers at Musikmesse 2015, January 15-18 in Frankfurt, Germany.
The synth world was, quite frankly, taken aback by something so small sounding so huge when Ploytec’s ‘playful’ πλ2 made its impressive musical debut last year. This MIDI-powered, super-small synthesizer — with a super-small footprint fit for fitting into the smallest spaces — was soon joined by its USB-powered, super-small sibling, πλ2 Leukos, seriously satisfying those with a hardware craving to make music while on the move, wherever their inspiration might (literally) take them — with or without eminently portable laptops or an Apple iPad — with Camera Connection Kit — in tow (though these are always helpful to have at hand to power πλ2 Leukos, of course). Without wishing to sound silly, surely it’s impossible not to be impressed? It’s a knockout concept, after all!
As implied by their shared PI L Squared alternative appellation, πλ2 and πλ2 Leukos generally stick to the principals of subtractive synthesis, whereby the working waveform — bred by two square wave (pulse) oscillators — then travels through an adjustable — lowpass, high-pass, and bandpass — digital filter stage to transform the frequency spectrum and/or raise resonance, if desired. Digital filtering duly dispensed, an additional analogue lowpass filter follows forthwith. Destructive, digital-like tones balanced by all-the-rage analogue warmth are available at the press of a key. Could there be more? More than likely. Moreover, in fact, an analogue saturation stage at the output offers dynamic compression, adding a respectable bass punch to the proceedings — perfect for those that need to make some Boom! shake-shake-shake the room-style noise!
But beneath those tiny black (πλ2) and white (πλ2 Leukos) square-shaped exteriors — living in perfect harmony with Ploytec’s PI L Squared alternative appellation — lie a wonderful world of options for further sound-sculpting and manipulative performance possibilities, like LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) modulation, PWM (Pulse Width Modulation), ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelope, plus play modes to make music performance more playful, whatever your musical leanings — LFO and envelope speed synchronise automatically to an external MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) clock, whereby both πλ2 and πλ2 Leukos adjust accordingly to suit song tempo, for example.
Extended operation comes courtesy of a free software editor for Mac and PC — perfect for sending realtime tweaks to/from πλ2 or πλ2 Leukos as MIDI CC (Continuous Controller) messages. Modules onscreen offer even easier user interaction with πλ2 or πλ2 Leukos while future features can conveniently be integrated into πλ2 or πλ2 Leukos by updating the firmware.
Which brings us neatly to the here and now... now, for instance, it is possible to assign all 128 MIDI controllers to πλ2 and πλ2 Leukos’ currently-available controllers, courtesy of firmware V2.1. Users can conveniently save, load, and also share them with others. Other notable advances include HQF (High-Quality Filter) mode, doubling the digital filter’s resolution, resulting in a higher quality sound experience; Legato Playing possible — if ‘note priority’ is set and program is monophonic then the lowest key triggers when holding down multiple keys and only the highest one will trigger the ADSR envelope attack phase again upon releasing further keys; even when portamento is switched off, it is now possible to activate it for a single note with MIDI Portamento Control — portamento time is used for the glide effect; when no MIDI clock is available, it is now possible to select one of 12 different default speeds for πλ2 and πλ2 Leukos’ respective internal clocks and also store the value, together with MIDI channel, note limit, and startup program. Speaking of which, two new presets — both benefitting from HQF mode enhancements — replace the originals stored in ROM (Read-Only Memory) while leaving the 32 user presets unchanged.
Ultimately, then, thanks to the V2.1 firmware, the world’s smallest synths have changed considerably. Come check them out at Musikmesse 2015, April 15-18, in Frankfurt, Germany, where Ploytec is showcasing them for all to see and hear in Hall 5.1, Stand C53. Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but πλ2 or πλ2 Leukos likely prove once and for all that small is, indeed, beautiful!
πλ2 and πλ2 Leukos are available for €99.00 EUR each (or other currencies) via Ploytec’s growing global network of authorised distributors: Comline GmbH (Europe); Eleven Dimensions Media, LLC (USA); Dirigent Corporation (Japan); Soundcat (Korea); Positive Audio (China); Om Sound (Switzerland); and Rhythm Active (Australia).
For more in-depth πλ2 and πλ2 Leukos information, please visit the Ploytec website here: http://www.ploytec.com
Listen to a demo song showcasing V2.1 firmware-enhanced πλ2 sounds and drums here: https://soundcloud.com/ploytec/sounds-drums-firmware-v2-1
About Ploytec (www.ploytec.com)
Markus Medau — keyboardist with Berlin-based band Edit_H, and also a hardware and software developer — joined forces with information scientist Werner Wirsum in 1999 to develop USB ASIO drivers. It all began with Steinberg Cubase, a computer, and lack of an audio input. Reputable manufacturers — Apogee, SoundDevices, TerraTec,andYamaha (later followed by Access, Alesis, Lexicon, Numark, SPL, Tascam, and others) — soon secured licenses. Kicking off their hardware business in early 2004 with the founding of Ploytec, the entrepreneurial business partners are now busy developing USB3 audio hardware and software.