Arturia’s soft synth gets bigger and better.
For the second time in as many years, Arturia have released a major update for their flagship software instrument. I reviewed the original Pigments in May 2019 and here we are, just over two years later, checking out Pigments 3. This is an interesting release strategy for a virtual instrument, where it’s more common to release major versions every three or four years. But will Arturia’s strategy of rapid‑fire free releases keep Pigments at the top?
Pigments is a departure for Arturia, who had previously focused on software recreations of famous synthesizers. By contrast, Pigments is completely new, embracing the advantages of digital, rather than emulating old analogue hardware. Upon its release, Pigments was a sophisticated wavetable and virtual analogue synth with dual multimode filters, flexible effects, a sequencer, a complex yet intuitive modulation system, and even MPE support. Pigments 2 added a granular sample engine to the list of oscillator types. It also improved upon the sequencer, and added some new effects and a Buchla‑style low‑pass gate filter.
Pigments 3 continues the add‑on approach with an additive oscillator engine (the ‘harmonic oscillator’), a ‘utility engine’ for flexible noise and sub‑oscillator duties, four new audio effects, 64 new wavetables, a Jupiter 8 filter, and 200 new presets.
Pigments’ core workflow and interface haven’t changed. There are two sound engines, which can be set to one of four modes: Analog, Wavetable, Sample and now Harmonic. These two engines are joined by the new ‘Utility Engine’, which allows you to beef up your sound with two noise sources and a flexible sub‑oscillator.
The three engines can be sent to two multimode filters in varying amounts. Along with the nine different filter types available already, Arturia have added their Jupiter 8 modelled filter from their Jup‑8 V plug‑in. The two filters can be routed in serial or parallel, or a mixture of both, before heading to the effects.
There are two insert effects busses and a send bus, which can each hold up...