Rhizomatic Plasmonic is Brian Clevinger’s (Absynth) new Synthesizer plugin that offers a deep expressive dive into physical modeling and subtractive synthesis.
Even if Absynth 5 looks like it belongs to another plugin era. This iconic virtual instrument remains one of my favorites in my sound tool arsenal. Brian Clevinger was responsible for Absynth 1-5, who has brought a lot of innovation to the software synthesizer market. Not only because of the distinctive interface design but due to the many new approaches to synthesis.
Brian is back shortly before the turn of the year, not with Absynth 6 but his own development and company Rhizomatic Software Synthesis. Already at NAMM 2020, he teased Plasmonic, a new physical modeling Synthesizer plugin with full support for MPE controllers. The good news: the plugin is officially out and ready to hit the computers (PC / Mac) of music producers
Brian basically follows the classic approach of physical modeling, recreating the depth and detail of an acoustic instrument. But he doesn’t stop here and goes several steps further. The Plasmonic Synthesizer engine relies on a subtractive synthesis design that is capable to produce classic pm timbres but also anything you want.
Plasmonic uses two wavetable oscillators, a sample-based impulse generator (built-in samples only), and a filtered noise generator. Both oscillators have waveform transformations that nicely complement the waveguide. The impulse generator is especially suited for making the waveguide ring. But it’s not the most important part.
The Heart Of Plasmonic
The heart of the plugin is a self-oscillating delay-based waveguide/multimode ladder filter pair. This, combined with the audio sources, makes the magic of physical modeling possible especially because the waveguide creates a very organic resonance suitable to acoustic sounds.
They work in parallel or in series. Each filter can take any combination of the audio sources as input. This creates some very interesting interactions between the audio source and a feedback loop of the waveguide.
Deep Modulation & Effects
Modulation goes deep in Plasmonic. It has multiple ADSR and LFOs equipped with unique expressive and triggering features. They allow you to add detail and life to your sound. The workflow is super straightforward. Each parameter has a popup panel displaying the depth, polarity, and inversion of each modulation source. Brian’s aim was to create a modulation section that is evolving rapidly and to make it as fun and flexible as possible.
The effects section has also an interesting touch. The master section features a 3-band EQ but also a super flexible saturator. This operates in monophonic or polyphonic. Further, it comes with modulated delay effects that are capable of self-oscillation that opens up the sound design potential of Plasmonic even more. At the final stage, you have an additional resonator effect.
What makes this physical modeling synthesizer so exciting is its engine, which is optimized for the MPE technology. Keyboards like the Roli Seaboard, Roger Linn Linnstrument … allow you to play sounds very expressively. This technology can also be found here. So you can play these physical modeling timbres in a new way. Very organic, natural, and full of motion. It’s a shame that I don’t have an MPE keyboard, that would be a lot of fun now
I am very happy to see that Brian Clevinger’s new plugin is finally here. Already at the NAMM, I was enthusiastic about the concept, the features, and the first sounds. It took longer but this is probably one of the best synthesizer plugins of 2020.
Rhizomatic Plasmonic is available now at a special introductory discount for 99€/$ (33% OFF), regular 149$/€. It runs on PC & Mac systems in VST3 & AU plugin formats and in standalone.
More information here: Rhizomatic