Progress Audio''s motivation for developing its new plug-in synth reads, “Because ADSRs are so last year.” A few minutes playing with Kinisis (Mac/Win, $110) will convince you the company is right. The one-screen user interface is divided horizontally into three sections: synth parameters at the top, the timeline in the middle, and global parameters at the bottom. Changes you make to any of the controls in the synth section apply at the current point on the timeline. Whenever you play a note, the sound morphs through the timeline settings. (Global settings such as effects parameters, voice mix, and so on apply across the whole timeline.) You can also freeze the timeline for a static sound, which is convenient for editing, and you can manipulate the frozen time position manually or from a MIDI controller.
A Kinisis patch has as many as four layers, whose mix is managed in the global section. (The layers are called Voices, but should not be confused with polyphonic voices, of which you get as many as 16.) The synth panel has a separate on/off switch and a programming tab for each voice, but they are all programmed in the same way using the timeline. With four layers, a single patch can get quite active (see Web Clip 1).
The signal path is standard fare—oscillator, filter, amp, and effects. The oscillator holds four waveforms, which you mix with an X/Y controller that is managed on the timeline. You can load waveforms from Kinisis'' browser, draw in your own, or have Kinisis extract a single-cycle waveform from any WAV file. A five-row modulation matrix lets you route two built-in LFOs, along with MIDI note-number, velocity, mod wheel, and aftertouch to other synth parameters.
Download the demo of Kinisis from the Progress Audio website. You''ll also find audio examples, an excellent manual, and a brief video, which will give you a good feel for how easy this synth is to use.