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Krotos Concept 2

Software Synthesizer By Robin Vincent
Published March 2022

Krotos Concept 2

The latest version of Krotos’ Concept adds granular synthesis and an impressive modulation engine.

You can’t help but be drawn into the modulating centre of Concept 2. The block of colourful, animated waveforms stands very proud from the rest of the interface. You immediately get the impression that you are going to be spending a lot of time in that central section. Version 1 looked slightly odd to me with the grey/white surround but in version 2, with the flick of a switch, you can give it a night‑time look which I feel hangs together so much more pleasingly. The Default preset is cinematically epic and you quickly get the sense that you’re in for a treat...

Easy Synth

The new granular oscillators offer easy controls and variation.The new granular oscillators offer easy controls and variation.

Concept 2 is a relatively straightforward software synthesizer and that’s one of its strengths. As you start to play with it everything unfolds really smoothly. Parameters are familiar and do what they say, and anything that’s being modulated is easy to spot because it’s tied in both colour and movement. I kept expecting to find extra pages of finer synthy detail but everything you need (almost) is right there on the front panel.

At a basic level you have two oscillators and an envelope on the left and the filter and effects on the right. In the middle is the marvellously mad modulation station which we’ll come onto in a minute. The original virtual analogue side of the oscillators remains the same. You can choose two waveforms from the familiar choice of five plus noise, and morph between them with the Blend knob. The result can be detuned, panned, and have its gain set against the second oscillator. FM is provided by an internal sine wave and is probably the easiest and most well‑behaved FM circuit I’ve ever come across. It gives a nice wide range of usable tones from wavefolding to metallic chaos. All the while, the waveform modifications are being displayed and animated in a little window.

Getting Granular

With version 2 they’ve added a granular option to the oscillator and a bucket load of audio files to play with. There are samples from synths, from instruments, drones and plucks, mallets and crashes, there are a whole bunch of Foley environmental sounds, moans, groans and strangled voices. You can import your own samples and add to the already decent library of tones and textures. Without doing any granular shenanigans you can load up a sample and play it as a sound within a single grain of up to 1 second in length. But the shenanigans are the point of this oscillator so let’s get granulising.

In a break from the idea of having everything out on the front panel, the granular parameters are held within three tabs. The Grains tab deals with the start point, the size of the grains, and the rate at which they are generated. This can scan from a slow throb of 0.4Hz to the screechingly metallic sound of 100Hz. Detuning is available along with stereo width and gain. The next tab is called Variation and starts pushing your grains about the place. Spray controls the randomisation of the start point, Density applies randomisation to the size, while Flux messes about with the rate. Drift randomises the pitch, Spread the width and Jitter takes on the level. So, everything you did so nicely in the first tab has an alter ego in the second tab ready to move things about. Tab 3 reveals...

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