Roland Fantom 3.0 introduces the n/zyme model expansion that turns the flagship workstation in a powerful multi-layer wavetable Synthesizer.
January is the time of NAMM. A time with many new products. Unfortunately, the fair fell victim to the pandemic again and was cancelled. It was moved to the summer. Hopefully it can take place then.
Roland are not bothered by this cancellation and have announced big news. Digital, of course. Besides their 50 year Roland event year, the Japanese company has also released a major update for the Fantom Synthesizer. With a new model expansion that sends the Fantom in new directions. Not a free expansion but a super exciting.
Roland Fantom 3.0: n/zyme
Many have accused Roland of not being innovative anymore and that they always rehash old technology. Jupiter-8, Juno-106 emulations, etc. Now completely new paths are being taken. Yes, also innovative in my opinion.
Welcome n/zyme, a new model expansion that introduces wavetable synthesis with unique phase and shape modulation to the Fantom series. This turns the Fantom into a hardware multi-layer wavetable Synthesizer.
The wavetable oscillator features two layers with 64 different tables with a wide range of parameters: position & mix per layer, and more. Alternatively, you can activate the draw oscillator giving you the freedom to draw your own waveform shapes with the touch screen and drawing tools. Great for creating very aggressive, edgy sounds, and more.
Advanced Waveform Modulation
Then, you can shape the wavetable core with advanced phase modulation and shaping modulation. Advanced because you can do this very expressively. Either with the available X/Y pads using the touchscreen or with full automation with 30 onboard shapes. With tempo-sync over speed, intensity, and more.
The shape technique reminds me a lot of the Vector Synthesizer where you can also change timbres in motion. An inspiring function for creating sounds with very slow evolving timbres. Also great for ambient pads and textures. In the filter section, you can find Fantom’s eight onboard filter types including many recreations from legendary synths. To finalize your sounds, you have the full range of 90 ZEN Core based effects at at your disposal.
Most parameters of the engine can be modulated. With envelopes, LFOs, randomizers and more. The n/zyme model expansion also offers two onboard step LFOs, each with 16 tempo-synced steps and 37 different shapes per step. There is also a step kick switch that allows you to create percussive attacks. Not only cosmic pad sounds are possible, complex rhythmic patches can also be built. The two new Step LFOs are waiting for you.
And thanks to the massive DSP power, you can not only load a single instance of n/zyme, you can layer multiple sounds and create multi-layer patches.
In addition to the possibility of turning the Fantom into a complete multi-layer wavetable Synthesizer, other features and improvements have been added in firmware 3.0. According to Roland, they added three new types of effects to the MFX, the effects section of the Fantom.
Phonograph recreates the character of an analog record being played on a record player. This allows you add the unique noises produced when a record is played, as well as variations that occur when the record spins. It also adds an exciter that adds dynamics to the sound as well as the JD-Multi. This recreates the effects including in group A of the JD-800 Synthesizer including distortion, phaser, spectrum, and enhancer.
Two function got improvements. First a pattern now has up to 64 measures and secondly, the beat can now be set in combination. I don’t use a Fantom myself, so unfortunately I can’t say much about it. Plus, the Roland developer fixed many bugs and maybe added others, hehe.
Wow, that’s a model expansion surprise. For me certainly the most exciting that Roland has released so far. It’s not free, but if I had a Fantom I’d jump on it right away. Alone the possibility of morphing the wavetables in motion sounds like a killer sound design feature.
Roland Fantom 3.0 firmware is available now as a free download. n/zyme model expansion is available now as a lifetime key only for $149 USD.
More information here: Roland Cloud
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